Thursday, 13 June, 2024, Reg No- 06
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NBR tightens ambulance import rules

Published : Tuesday, 11 June, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 149

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has tightened rules on import of microbuses used as ambulance by   a section of people misusing the facility. If ambulances are imported following the amended rules, the misuse will come down, officials say.

To prevent misuse, it was decided that the minimum length of a vehicles passenger cabin must be at least nine feet to be eligible as ambulance. Currently, mostly Toyota Noah and Toyota HiAce models are imported as ambulances.

However, as per the new rules, Noah can no longer be imported as an ambulance from the current fiscal year as its passenger cabin does not meet the length requirement, according to an NBR official.

The decision was announced  on last Thursday when Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali unveiled a Tk 7.97 lakh crore budget for 2024-25.

Importers get an average of up to Tk 12 lakh in duty exemptions when importing microbuses for use as ambulances, according to NBR officials.

Some importers were using the facility to import microbuses and registered them as ambulances with the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, but the vehicles are not used for that purpose. This prompted the NBR to toughen the rules, they said.

About 6,570 microbuses have been imported as ambulances since 2019-20; customs data from Chattogram and Mongla ports showed. The government provided duty exemptions of about Tk 820 crore to the sector during the period.

According to a NBR report of Central Intelligence Cell in January, these vehicles are used by various organisations and institutions to serve personal purposes despite being imported as ambulances.

Especially, small-sized microbuses, mainly Noah, imported as ambulances are largely misused, it said. The report recommended three measures to end the misuse of ambulance import facilities, including fixing the minimum length of passenger compartment.

Another recommendation was to check whether the vehicles were already being used as ambulances in their manufacturing country and whether required alarms and lights were permanently attached.

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