Utpal Das : Pressed by green activists, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) is working to introduce Environmental Tax in the upcoming budget with the twin targets of deterring pollution and increasing revenue income. Minimum Tk. 100 crore could be added to the treasury annually by imposing the new tax, activists of different environmental organizations told The New Nation Saturday. Bangladesh Environment Movement, Green Belt Trust, Nirapad Development Foundation along with some other organisations proposed to NBR to impose extra tax on errant companies or individuals for polluting the environment by operating non-compliant factories. The factories, which are using Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) and are not harming the environment in anyway will get exemption from the proposed tax. The proposals have been remaining pending with the NBR for three years, as the government could not decide apparently in view of pressures by influential business groups. The green activists are alleging an indifference of the NBR to the crucial environmental issues, as the board is not keen to impose the tax according to their demand. NBR officials, however, refuted the claim and said that they were examining efficacy of such taxes and it might be introduced in the upcoming budget. Talking to The New Nation, Sayed Aminul Karim, Member for tax policy of NBR said, `It is not true that we are ignoring their demand. We are working on the environmental tax issue and hopefully, NBR can add this new tax area in upcoming 2014-15 budget.” Along with the finance ministry, NBR have already made a survey on environmental tax. A six-member team lead by a joint secretary of Finance Ministry has already visited three countries including India, Pakistan & Nepal to study on environmental taxes, he said. Businessmen are, however, opposing the move to impose such tax. “If NBR imposes such tax especially for RMG sector, it will be a new branch of disturbance only; nothing else,” Senior Vice President of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA) Mohammed Hatem told The New Nation over phone on Saturday “The factory owners are trying to lessen the pollution as much as possible by setting ETPs in every factory,” he said arguing that imposing tax was not necessary to this effect. ‘We are not in favor of pollution, but this is not possible to bring drastic change over night. Garments sector is in under tremendous pressure. So, we are not expecting environmental tax right now. It will hamper this sector seriously, Hatem said. Ibnul Sayed Rana, chairman of Nirapad Development Foundation said, the environmental tax should be at least 50 percent, as maximum factories are not using ETP. They are polluting the environment as much as possible. If NBR is concerned about imposing environmental taxes on those factories, it will be profitable for the country. Even, it will lessen pollution too, Rana added. Meanwhile, In India, the rate of environmental tax is 12 percent. In Pakistan and Nepal, the tax rate is 15 percent and 18 percent respectively. Almost all the European countries have imposed this kind of tax to save environment.