DHAKA - Bangladesh's electricals retailers on Sunday asked the government to withdraw an additional duty on imported electronic goods such as refrigerators and air conditioners.

Amir Hossain Khan, chairman of Bangladesh Electronics Merchants Association (BEMA), told reporters that the government should reduce the gap in duty between imported goods and locally produced items to less than 25 percent.

"The government also should lift additional duty on these products imposed recently," Khan said. He said that National Board of Revenue (NBR) last month imposed an additional 20 percent duty on refrigerators and air conditioners identifying those as "luxury items."

"Refrigerator is not a luxury item at all rather it is an essential item for the middle and lower income people," the BEMA chief said. He said that the retailers association had already raised the issue with NBR and the finance ministry to consider the issue for next budget. He said difference in duty between imported and locally produced refrigerator was 122 percent.

"This is quite illogical and the duty gap should not be more than 20 percent for ensuring a sustainable competition in the market," he said.