Muhith allowed to import SUV under duty-scheme for MPs

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-08-21 03:06:02 BdST


The government has allowed Abul Mal Abdul Muhith to import a luxury car without paying any customs duty on it -- a facility reserved for serving MPs.

The National Board of Revenue or NBR granted former finance minister the exemption on the import of a Toyota Land Cruiser V-8 SUV.

He could avoid paying over Tk 30 million in taxes and duties as a result, according to a customs intelligence official.

The NBR said Muhith had not availed the duty-free scheme while he was still an MP. But he has been given the facility under 'special consideration' despite not serving as a lawmaker at present.

Muhith, who 'retired from politics' in 2018 after serving a 10-year term as finance minister, could not be reached for comment.

As per customs law, an MP is entitled to import one car for each term of parliament under the duty-free scheme.

An order granting customs duty, supplementary duty and VAT exemptions to Muhith, signed by the Second Secretary (Customs Policy) to NBR Md Jahangir Alam, was issued on Monday.

The order noted that while Muhith was a lawmaker in the 10th parliament, he had not been elected to the 11th parliament.

"In this context, even though he is not entitled to the duty-free vehicle import facility, the authorities granted him the benefit considering the existing circumstances," it said.

The NBR granted the benefit to the former minister after receiving a recommendation of the National Parliament Secretariat through the Internal Resources Division.

Asked about the matter, a customs intelligence official told that in the case of a brand new car such as the Land Cruiser, 25 percent import duty, 500 percent supplementary duty and 15 percent VAT are payable to the NBR.

"If the market price of a Toyota Land Cruiser V8 is around $70,000, then it equates to over Tk 6.7 million. In that case, he will be exempted from paying over Tk 30 million in taxes."

"The former finance minister did not avail the facility during his last five years as an MP. As a result, he has been granted the benefit under special consideration," said NBR Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain.

"Besides, he may have applied to the parliament secretariat earlier which is why it passed the recommendation to the NBR."