NBR targets hospitals enjoying duty waiver

Private hospitals and clinics that have imported medical equipment by taking duty benefit have come under the scanner of the National Board of Revenue.

The revenue authority will see whether these hospitals and clinics use the equipment for business purposes instead of serving people free of cost, said newly appointed NBR Chairman Md Nojibur Rahman.

The NBR, on various occasions, has given duty waiver to private clinics and hospitals for importing modern machinery on condition that they will not use those for business purposes, he said.

“We want to ensure that the machinery is being used to serve people free of cost as was promised during import.”

Rahman said he directed customs intelligence officials to take legal actions against those who breached the conditions.

He was talking to reporters following his visit to the tax administrator’s Customs, Intelligence and Investigation Directorate, which has come into the limelight for frequently capturing gold hauls smuggled into the country.

Revenue officials said the duty benefit for importing machinery and medical equipment has been effective for the last several years and 14 private hospitals have so far enjoyed the privilege.

“I think, through my visit to this office, you have got an idea in which areas we want to focus on,” he said, adding that the tax authority will strengthen the customs intelligence office to detect duty evasion.

Rahman said customs intelligence teams would work beyond political influences.

The customs intelligence office seized 565 kilograms of smuggled gold in fiscal 2013-14, the highest since fiscal 2009-10. The value of the gold is Tk 256 crore.

The intelligence office seized 251kg gold worth Tk 125 crore so far in the current fiscal year.

Rahman said the NBR will take steps to settle the pending tax-related cases fast.

He also said, despite political unrest, the revenue collection target for the current fiscal year will be met.