Dhaka, Bangladesh
NBR to intensify drives against revenue evasion

NBR to intensify drives against revenue evasion

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has given its officials a 8-point directive, including beefing up field level surveillance on land-sea ports and airports, to check revenue evasion and siphoning off money from the country, reports BSS. NBR chairman Md Nojibur Rahman held a meeting with the chiefs of Central Intelligence Cell (CIC), Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) and VAT Audit, Intelligence & Investigation Directorate today and gave the directives, said senior information officer of NBR Syed A Mumen. Talking to the news agency, he said NBR expects that proper implementation of the directives will help plug revenue dodging and illicit financial flight from the country and at the same time, it will help boost revenue collection. As part of the directives, the NBR will beef up surveillance at all land ports, sea ports and airports to check smuggling and the movement of smugglers. NBR will take steps to identify those who are involved in illicit financial flight from the country and take punitive measures against them. The NBR officials have been asked to take proper steps so that none can dodge Value Added Tax (VAT). The NBR chief also asked the officials to deposit the revenue collected from the three major areas- income, VAT and customs-to the government exchequer timely. He asked the Central Intelligence Cell (CIC), Department of Customs Intelligence and Investigation and Department of VAT Intelligence to maintain coordination in conducting any operation against revenue dodging at field level. During the meeting the director generals of CIC, CIID and VAT Audit, Intelligence & Investigation Directorate made brief presentations on their activities, especially investigation into revenue dodging and assured the NBR chief of intensifying their operations to check revenue evasion. CIC director general Md Belal Uddin, CIID director general Dr Moinul Khan and director general of VAT Audit, Intelligence & Investigation Directorate Dr Md Al-Amin Pramanik attended the meeting. The board last month, informed the parliamentary standing committee on the finance ministry at a meeting that the government would still be in deficit of more than Tk 50 billion after executing the plan. The parliament has passed the Tk 4.26 trillion budget for this fiscal year, with a revenue target of Tk 2.88 trillion. From value-added tax, the government had planned to earn more than Tk 910 billion, a fourth of the total target. After deferring the implementation of the VAT law, it will face a shortfall of Tk 200 billion. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in her closing speech in the parliament on the budget that the deficit in revenue will have to be taken care of at any rate. In a report submitted to the parliamentary committee, the NBR said it would be possible to collect Tk 56 billion through the measures taken in the revenue budget. The estimated figures include Tk 50 billion from cigarettes and bidis, Tk 5 billion from excise duty on bank accounts and plane fares, and Tk 1 billion from supplementary tax on fast food. The NBR also sees possibilities of collecting another Tk 20 billion from due taxes and increase in tax compliance, and Tk 93.8 billion more from expanded businesses and natural growth of financial activities. Finally, the revenue deficit will stand at Tk 52 billion, according to the NBR report. “In order to meet this deficit, necessary measures have been initiated for settling the big cases through the VAT commissionerates under the NBR and unhindered collection of dues,” the report says. The board also drew the finance ministry’s attention to Tk 20 billion dues from Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation and around Tk 220 billion from Petrobangla. After the meeting, standing committee member Sawkat Chowdhure told bdnews24.com: “The committee has asked the NBR to meet the deficit by implementing the plan. “It also recommended expansion of VAT areas and collection of dues,” he said. In the last fiscal year, the NBR has mobilised nearly Tk 1.86 trillion, which is a little over the revised target of Tk 1.85 trillion. The figure is 19 percent bigger than the collection of FY2015-16 — Tk 1.55 trillion—which had also surpassed the target of that fiscal year. The original target for fiscal 2016-17 was Tk 2.03 trillion. At a press conference at the NBR headquarters in Dhaka’s Segunbagicha on Wednesday, Chairman Nojibur Rahman disclosed the latest data on the revenue collection and celebrated the feat as ‘the biggest success in history’. “We created a record by crossing the revenue collection target for three consecutive years. Our infrastructure is being strengthened to increase revenue collection in the new fiscal year,” he said. Finance Minster AMA Muhith had rolled out a Tk 4.26 trillion budget for FY2017-18 in June with an initial plan for a 15 percent uniform VAT rate under a new law. While it had a revenue target of Tk 2.88 trillion, the minister planned to collect Tk 2.48 trillion of that through NBR, which is about 35 percent greater than the amount collected in the last fiscal year. The minister also initially aimed to earn over Tk 910 billion of this amount from value-added tax or VAT alone. The income tax target had been set near Tk 870 billion, while the customs tax revenue target was Tk 730 billion. But the proposal triggered widespread criticisms that later led the government to suspend the new VAT law for two more years, keeping the existing multiple rates of VAT, and that served a big blow to Muhith’s plan to implement the budget. Economists have said it would force the government to widen the tax net to meet the revenue deficit and pile pressure on the National Board of Revenue.

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