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Bangladesh's VAT rollout confuses consumers and businesses

Government hopes new tax will raise one-third of $38.5bn revenue goal for 2020

Rickshaws ply a street in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The new VAT has caught the country largely unprepared as regards compliance. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

DHAKA -- Raihan Khan, owner of a small diner selling rice and paratha flatbread dishes in Dhaka, has no idea how to deal with Bangladesh's rollout of a new value added tax on July 1.

"We don't have a machine," the bearded restaurateur said, referring to electronic cash registers. "If I hike prices, I have to wrangle with customers."

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