Staff Reporter, Dhaka : Grameenphone has been honored as the highest taxpayer for FY 2021-22 in Bangladesh. The Connectivity Partner to Digital Bangladesh has now attained this prestigious recognition of the highest taxpayer in the telecommunication sector for seven fiscal years in a row and has urged the regulator to lift the still continuing six-month-long SIM sale embargo.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) conferred the award to Grameenphone during an event held on December 28, 2022, at the Officers’ Club, Dhaka. Hon’ble Finance Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal, FCA, MP, graced the event as the Chief Guest. Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun MP, Hon’ble Minister of Industries; and Fatima Yasmin, Senior Secretary of Ministry of Finance; also graced the event as Special Guests. The event was chaired by Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem, Chairman of NBR and Senior Secretary of the Internal Resources Division. Yasir Azman, CEO of Grameenphone, received the award at the event on behalf of the organization, followed by his earnest request placed before the esteemed attendees to comprehend the consequences of the SIM sale ban in the country and an open invitation for all to stand by Grameenphone to help resume its regular SIM sale operations once again for the betterment of the communities and the people of the nation. Md. Arif Uddin, Acting Chief Financial Officer and Md. Mohsin, Head of Corporate Tax from Grameenphone, also joined the event.
During the fiscal year 2021-2022, the tech enabler has contributed to the national exchequer as a direct tax of Tk 2,490 crores and withholding tax of Tk 1,158 crores. Since its inception till September 2022, the total contribution of Grameenphone, a responsible corporate citizen, to the national exchequer is Tk 103,497 crores, which includes a contribution to NBR of Tk 72,086 crores as direct and indirect tax, withholding tax of Tk 11,107 crores, and contribution to BTRC of Tk 20,305 crores.
On the occasion, Yasir Azman, CEO of Grameenphone, said, “We are grateful to NBR for honoring us with the highest taxpayer award in the telecommunication sector for the seventh consecutive time. And our heartiest congratulations to the Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh and all the citizens for the remarkable achievement that the country has made today by inaugurating the metro rail in the capital, another milestone in Bangladesh’s history which is exemplary of every citizen’s collective efforts. The country’s digital development and physical infrastructure development together will play a pivotal role towards Smart Bangladesh.” “Unfortunately, on this very auspicious day, we are unable to serve new customers despite meeting QoS benchmarks set by the regulator. We believe this will have an adverse effect on the overall economic development of the country, not only because NBR will lose out on tax revenues but also due to its impact on all other sectors which rely on connectivity and digital solutions. It is important that authorities withdraw the SIM sales ban immediately as this is a counter-productive move towards tax revenues and ‘Smart Bangladesh’ vision,” He added.
Since the ban on Grameenphone’s SIM sales in June 2022, the country’s telco sector has been witnessing an overall decline – from recording a total of 184.45 million subscribers in June to 181.67 million in October. Besides directly hampering the telco sector, this embargo is also said to have been affecting the company’s stock market investors and the country’s general image to attract prospective FDIs. NBR is also losing revenue from corporate tax and indirect tax, which includes SIM tax of Tk. 200 per new customer. Moreover, BTRC is losing 6.5% of GP’s revenue from new customers.
It is noteworthy to mention that previously Grameenphone was honored as the highest taxpayer award by NBR for Tax Year 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021 in the telecommunication category.