The government has waived nearly Tk 1,024 crore on stamp duty to Barisal Electric Power Company Ltd (BEPCL), who is building a 307MW coal-based thermal power plant in Taltoli’s Khottar Char in Barguna.
This disclosure came on Thursday through a notification issued by the Internal Resources Division (IRD), which operates under the Ministry of Finance.
This exemption is granted under Section 9 of the Stamp Act, 1899. According to the notification, Tk 1023,72,20,618 has been waived for the stamp duty levied against financial documents and contracts of the project.
According to the IRD sources, the BEPCL had requested the IRD through the Power Division a few years ago seeking stamp duty waiver considering national interest, as well as to meet the growing demand for electricity.
The Power Division had made such requests recently on behalf of other companies as well. The IRD also responded to these requests. If the Stamp Act 1899 was followed, all those companies would have had to pay hundreds of crores of taka to the government treasury.
Under such circumstances, the Stamp Act was amended in 2022. The amendment stated that whatever the stamp duty is, the amount shall in no case exceed Tk 10 crore. The new amendment came into effect from July 1 last year.
As the Barisal Electric Power Company made the plea a few years ago, it was approved in various stages. According to this notification, the duty is waived in a total of 15 sectors. The highest waiver of Tk 199 crore was given to the marine insurance sector.
Apart from this, huge sums were also waived off in land rent, insurance, security, share contracts, electricity distribution contracts etc. The BEPCL is a joint venture between Chinese state-owned company PowerChina and Bangladeshi company ISO Tech Electrification Company Ltd. PowerChina owns 96 per cent of the shares.
The site is on the bank of the River Payra, which is one of the major fishing grounds for Bangladesh’s iconic hilsa and close to a hilsa sanctuary.