NBR directs banks to freeze GMG accounts

Dhaka, Jan 7 (bangladeshinside.com)—The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has directed all banks to freeze accounts of the country’s oldest private carrier GMG Airlines for not paying travel taxes worth BDT 210 million (approx. EUR 2.0 million) since 2005, reports The Financial Express in Bangladesh.

GM Quader, civil aviation and tourism minister, and Salman F Rahman, vice-chairman of Beximco Group, launch the second Boeing 767 aircraft in GMG Airlines’ fleet at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka on January 25 2011. Shayan F Rahman, chairman of GMG, and Shahab Sattar, managing director, were also present.

The tax authority recently sent letters to 12 commercial banks urging them to suspend all sorts of transactions in the accounts of the airline, tax officials said.

“We have instructed the banks which have accounts of the GMG to freeze any kind of transaction. Already most of the banks have furnished information on deposits of the airline,” said a senior tax official.

According to the information furnished by the banks, the airline has only BDT  0.7 million (approx. EUR 7.0 thousand) in the accounts opened with the banks including Sonali, Standard Chartered Bank and Trust Bank.

Officials said the airline had collected travel taxes from passengers on sale of air tickets but had not deposited the money with the national exchequer.

“The tax authorities held a series of meetings with the airline to realise the money,” a tax official said.

The taxmen also gave the GMG authority an option to clear the dues in installments, but all the efforts failed as the company did not respond to the offer, he added.

Mr. Asif Ahmed, GMG Airlines director for marketing communication, HR and customer experiences, said the company was recently restructuring its strategic plan to address all the issues.

“We are in the middle of the restructuring plan. The company will resolve the matter soon by paying the travel taxes in installments,” he added.

The GMG Airlines earlier had suspended its operation in the country on March 30, 2012. It had planned to be back in operation with a new business strategy by December last.

The lion’s share of the GMG Airlines is owned by Beximco Group. The private airline plans to use narrow body aircraft for the domestic market instead of its existing wide body aircraft.

In March last the GMG Airlines said it was planning to adopt a new business strategy in view of the rising fuel prices and the changing competitive international environment through a 360-degree restructure of its strategy, organisation, fleet and business model.

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