The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has requested a waiver of source tax on fish at the purchase level, arguing that the current tax measures affect both farmers and frozen fish exporters. The apex business body recently made a formal request on behalf of the Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) to the National Board of Revenue (NBR).

In a letter, the FBCCI said the NBR issued a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) on 3 October 2023, requiring a 2 per cent source tax deduction from suppliers when fish is procured at exporters’ factories. The 2 per cent tax is being deducted from farmers as manufacturers primarily collect fish directly from cultivators, the letter added. According to FBCCI, this is causing farmers, including small-scale ones, to lose interest in selling fish to exporters.

The FBCCI underscored the frozen fish export sector’s contribution to the national economy, noting that with proper policy support, the industry could generate more foreign currency. “Therefore, the deduction of a 2 per cent source tax is not realistic,” the letter read. According to Export Promotion Bureau data, Bangladesh’s frozen fish sector earned $422.28 million in the fiscal year 2022-23 and $248.19 million in the July-January period of FY 2023-24.