Value-added tax (VAT) on utilities is to be waived for export-oriented textile companies in an attempt to help them cope with the global economic slowdown.
 
The decision to make these companies exempt from the 15 per cent VAT on gas, electricity, water, telephone and ports was taken following a meeting between Finance Minister Saifur Rahman and leaders of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

The government is likely to incur annual revenue losses of around one billion taka ($17.27 million) as a result.

Bangladesh's textile exports to the United States are worth more that $2 billion annually. But the country's foreign exchange reserves sank to nearly $1 billion following a sharp decline in exports in the wake of the events in the United States and Afghanistan.