Unscrupulous motorcycle dealers are taking advantage of the soaring demand for motorcycles in Dhaka by under-invoicing their imports and paying artificially-lowered taxes to the government.
A motorcycle shop in Moghbazar recently imported 24 motorcycles of two different models from Dolphin Motors in India, selling them for an average of Tk150,000.
Depending on the chosen model, the motorcycles cost either Tk87,000 ($1,060) or Tk94,000 ($1,150) to import, but the motorcycle shop hiked their own profit margin by invoicing them for only Tk70,000 ($855) and Tk79,000 ($965).
The total amount of taxed revenue lost by the government due to this single transaction was about Tk98,000 ($12,000).
Head of Operations of TVS Auto Bangladesh, Biplob Kumar Saha, suggested increasing tax monitoring and border patrols to curb this illegal activity.
“We import motorcycles by paying 150% import tax, while these unscrupulous importers are under-invoicing, costing the government hundreds of thousands in revenue,” he said.
Market insiders said such unscrupulous importers are bringing unpopular motorcycles into Bangladesh and arbitrarily deciding on the price, costing both the consumer and the government large sums of money.
Law enforcement agencies, meanwhile, think these businessmen have been importing the motorcycles faster than they can keep track of.
“Every year around 40,000 to 50,000 motorcycles enter the country illegally. We are trying to stop this,” a high ranking police official, asking to remain unnamed, said.
More and more people are buying the two-wheelers as Dhaka’s narrow streets and congested traffic make them an ideal form of transport. From 2009-2011, around 250,000 motorcycles were sold in Bangladesh but in the fiscal year 2016-2017 alone this figure rose to 400,000, according to data from the National Board of Revenue.
Data from Bangladesh Motorcycle Assemblers and Manufacturers Association (BMAM) shows that 84% of motorcycle demand in the last fiscal year was met through imports from India, while the remaining 16% was supplied by locally-made Walton and Runner motorcycles.
AKM Hafiz, additional deputy inspector general (transport) of Bangladesh police, said: “The number of [imported] motorcycles has increased in recent years, and they are mostly used for illegal activities. We are trying to address this illegal operation.”