Petrol, octane prices rise Tk 2.5 per litre, diesel by Tk 1

Published at : 30 April 2024, 10:24 pm
Petrol, octane prices rise Tk 2.5 per litre, diesel by Tk 1
Representational iimage

The per litre prices of petrol and octane have risen by Tk 2.5 and diesel by Tk 1 as the government has adjusted the fuel prices in coordination with the international market.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Division set the new automated price through a gazette notification as per the government decision on Tuesday.

As per the gazette notification, the prices of diesel and kerosene was raised by Tk 1 to 107 per litre from, existing Tk 106 while the price of petrol was set at Tk 124.50 per litre from Tk 122, up by Tk 2.50 per litre and octane price was set at Tk 128.50 per litre from Tk 126, up by Tk 2.50.

The new prices will come into effect from May 1.

Issuing the gazette notification in this regard, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources in a clarification said that the new prices have been in line with the prices of the petroleum on the international market.

Earlier, the government on March 1 issued a “Fuel Pricing Guidelines” through a gazette notification to set an automated price for the petroleum fuel across the country.

It said the local prices will go up and down in line with the international price and every month such prices will be announced by the government for one-month tenure.

Meanwhile, in a separate gazette notification the government also raised gas prices for power plants.

As per the notification, the power plants will pay Tk 15.50 per cubic metre (each unit), upo by Tk 0.75 while captive power plants will pay Tk 31.50 per unit, up by Tk .75 until further order.

The price will be effective from May 1, that is tomorrow (Wednesday), said the notification.


Provident funds to pay 27.5% tax

Published at : 20 September 2023, 04:57 pm
Provident funds to pay 27.5% tax

Companies and organisations will be required to file tax returns on the income generated by employee welfare funds from the current fiscal year and pay a 27.5 percent tax on the earnings. 

The Income Tax Act 2023 incorporates the provision, lifting the tax exemption and amnesty on the compulsion to file returns for funds such as provident funds, gratuity funds and workers' profit participation funds maintained by the private sector.

The law, however, has exempted government-managed provident funds from taxation, raising questions.

TIM Nurul Kabir, executive director of the Foreign Investors' Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said there were many other avenues to collect tax.

"Employees benefit from provident funds after their retirement. So, the authority should not slap taxes on retirement benefit."

He said while levying the tax, the government has not treated provident funds of the private and public sectors equally.

"It is discriminatory," he said, adding that they would appeal to the tax authority for the withdrawal of the tax on income from provident funds.

Debabrata Roy Chowdhury, director for legal, regulatory and corporate affairs at Nestlé Bangladesh PLC, said the introduction of income tax on trust funds would lower the overall income from such schemes.

"This will have an adverse long-term impact on retired employees of private organisations."

Chowdhury urged the authority to address the issue in line with the spirit of the government's initiatives aimed at ensuring social security for private sector employees.

"The recent introduction of the universal pension scheme for private sector employees is a good example of that."

A senior official of the NBR, on condition of anonymity, said the income of government-managed provident funds was exempted in line with the Provident Fund Act 1925.

He said provident funds under the private sector had been historically exempted and there was no requirement to submit tax returns. As a result, it was unclear whether the funds were properly utilised.

"From now onwards, we will see proper disclosure."

The tax official said the contribution of payroll tax is about 3 percent of the total income tax although it should increase as the economy is growing.

Md Shahadat Hossain, a former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh, said income from investment in savings certificates, where people invest as a source of future earnings, is already taxed.

"From that perspective, the imposition of tax on provident and other employee welfare funds seems okay."

However, Towfiqul Islam Khan, senior research fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said social protection for private sector employees was low.

"Provident and other workers' welfare-related funds provide little social protection. The imposition of tax will increase inequality. But there can't be any discrimination in taxation between private and government provident funds."

Khan, citing the latest income tax law that replaced the Income Tax Ordinance 1984, said the NBR tried to find new avenues to increase tax collection and improve the nation's revenue-gross domestic product ratio, which is one of the lowest in the world.

"We can see the desperation of the tax authority to boost collection. This ultimately reveals the inability of the NBR to catch the tax evaders and illicit money makers."