Govt to allow vaccine import by pvt cos

The government has decided to withdraw the advance income tax on import of all types of human vaccines in the country.

The move is planned to encourage private sector to join hands with the government's efforts to make the Covid-19 vaccination programme a success.

The National Board of Revenue in an order recently waived the advance income tax (AIT) with an aim to allow private sector to import all types of vaccines, including vaccines for Covid-19 without paying 5 per cent AIT, said an official of NBR's income tax wing.

"If the private sector joins hand with the government, the Covid-19 immunization will get expedited. Withdrawal of 5 percent AIT will help keep the price of the vaccines, especially the anti-Covid-19 jabs, affordable and facilitate the overall immunisation process," said a NBR official.

NBR second secretary, income tax policy, Mohidul Islam Chowdhury told Bangladesh Post, “As there are no other duties and taxes on the import of the vaccines, the AIT exemption would help make vaccines affordable across the country.”

“This decision will also not affect the local pharmaceutical sector as the country hardly manufactures human vaccines,” he said.

Currently Bangladesh government provides nine vaccines to its citizens, mostly to children, as part of the national immunization programme supported by the World Health Organization, Unicef, the World Bank, Japanese government and Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative or GAVI.

NBR sources said the Directorate General of Health Services requested the NBR to withdraw the AIT on the import of Covid-19 vaccine only. However, the NBR authorities in addition offered the waiver on all types of human vaccines considering their importance in prevention of various diseases.

“It will also play a role in boosting the overall immunity of the citizens amid the coronavirus outbreak,” said the NBR official.

“The health ministry, meanwhile, has taken steps to allow private companies to import and distribute Covid-19 vaccines,” said health minister Zahid Maleque following a meeting with the high-level committee led by the Cabinet Secretary recently.

He said that the ministry has already taken steps to store more than two lakh vaccines in each upazilla.

The government has trained around 42,000 healthcare workers and volunteers across the country to start vaccination which already (Covid-19) started since February 7.

A total of 1, 82, 896 people were administered COVID-19 vaccines across the country on February 23.

Among the vaccine receivers, 1,15,318 were male and 67, 578 female, according to the data of Management Information System of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

As of February 23, the number of vaccine receivers is 24,91,053 as the countrywide vaccination campaign was launched on February 7. Of them, 16, 34,033 are males and 8,57, 020 females.