The Bangladeshi government has approved a proposal to impose a 1% surcharge on cellphone use to support a ‘Rural Education Fund’, following a cabinet meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday, it was announced to journalists by the Cabinet Secretary. The Dhaka Tribune writes that the tax would be additional to the existing 15% VAT on mobile phone service usage including voice, data or other value added services (which would effectively rise to 16% upon implementing the latest surcharge), while noting that the finance ministry had previously proposed a 2% surcharge on mobile phone use in a budget proposal for 2012-13, but the idea was eventually shelved following widespread opposition. An earlier government announcement had said that a 1% surcharge on imported and locally manufactured mobile handsets would be imposed to support an ‘Information and Communication Technology Development Fund’.
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