The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has prescribed for formulation of a national tariff policy (NTP) to help Bangladesh overcome its upcoming challenges both in the internal and external fronts.
The aim of the proposed policy is to make Bangladesh's tariff regime vibrant and time-befitting.
The IFC recently wrote to Commerce Secretary Md. Jafar Uddin about the formulation of the policy for Bangladesh through officials concerned under its advisory programme.
"Currently, there is no such policy in the country," a senior official of the commerce ministry said.
When contacted, the additional secretary and director general of WTO cell under the commerce ministry said, "We have received a letter from the IFC putting forward a suggestion for the formulation of a national tariff policy."
The commerce ministry is yet to decide on the suggestion made by the IFC. If the ministry decides to frame the policy, the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission will prepare it.
When contacted, Distinguished Fellow of Centre for Policy Dialogue Prof Mustafizur Rahman said formation of a NTP is necessary. If formulated, such policy would help determine the sector-wise tariff structure, he added.
"The IFC has put forward the suggestion to make the Bangladesh's tariff regime more delivering and protectionist," he said.
IFC has expected that the tariff policy for Bangladesh will duly address key building blocks for a modem tariff regime with particular focus on jobs and investments, export diversification, sector competitiveness, economic recovery from Covid-19, LDC graduation and other priorities set out in the just-released 8th five-year plan.
For the first time, the private arm organized a national virtual workshop on tariff modernization in October 2020. In the workshop, senior officials from the finance and commerce ministries, National Board of Revenue (NBR), Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC) and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) were present, according to the letter.
From follow-up meetings and bilateral discussions, all concerned have reached a consensus for the formulation of tariff policy and phased implementation plan, the letter mentioned.
The participants also suggested that the commerce ministry be the lead agency for tariff policy as per allocation of business by the government, the letter also said.
"Besides, the policy will guide the NBR to develop phased implementation plan," the letter reads.