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‘Govt to consider tax holiday for CNG filling, conversion stations’ PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 March 2008

Staff Correspondent

The government will actively consider offering tax holiday facility to CNG filling and conversion stations in the upcoming budget to encourage investment in the sector, National Board of Revenue chairman has said.

‘The proposal of tax holiday will be considered positively in the budget for 2008-09 fiscal year,’ Abdul Mazid told a pre-budget discussion with the representatives of automobiles and transport (land and waterway) sector Tuesday.

The meeting, held at the conference room of the revenue board, was attended by private sector transport operators and high officials of NBR. With global oil prices rocketing to $105 a barrel, the demand for CNG-run vehicles and conversion of engines peaked in recent times.

More automobile owners have opted for switching over to compressed natural gas, whose cost is just a third of petroleum. As a result CNG filling stations and conversion centres proliferated in the country in last few years.

Frequent use of unfit cylinders has come as a fresh worry, prompting the authorities to initiate drive against such accident-prone gas cylinders in automobiles. Industry insiders said the government should take some effective measures for the next five years to promote use of CNG in automobiles to reduce import of petroleum products.

CNG-run vehicles, whose growth has largely outpaced that of filling stations, have to wait in long queues during peak hours at filling stations in the capital and other parts in the country, they said. A total of 210 CNG filling stations and 111 conversion stations are presently operating across the country.

Another 21 stations are in the pipeline, which will start operation within a short time, according to a data of Bangladesh CNG Association. The government earlier cancelled land allotments for a number of entrepreneurs who failed to start business within the given timeframe.

In the pre-budget discussion, CNG filling and conversion station owners demanded duty-free import of conversion kits, cylinder and other equipment for converting diesel engines into CNG-fuelled ones. Leaders of 25 associations in the transport and related sectors attended the meeting and proposed different measures to be incorporated in the next budget.

Experts from Dhaka University of Engineering and Technology and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry also spoke on the occasion.

‘The NBR should have a research and technical wing to monitor obstacles to implementation of different revenue related measures,’ DUET professor Anwarul Azim said. FBCCI director Manjur Ahmed said that the transport sector should be declared as a thrust sector to facilitate trade and commercial activities.

He also proposed for imposition of specific rate of duty on import of all kinds of transport to lessen the duty burdens on the sector, which would eventually give dividends to the masses and businesses.

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