The Financial Express

BB governor deplores lax governance in financial sector

| Updated: September 20, 2021 11:20:43

BB Governor Fazle Kabir addressing an award-giving ceremony on Tuesday — FE photo BB Governor Fazle Kabir addressing an award-giving ceremony on Tuesday — FE photo

Bangladesh Bank (BB) governor Fazle Kabir on Tuesday termed the state of governance in the financial sector lax and underscored its improvement for the sake of sound economic health of the country.

He felt that the tax-revenue collection from the financial sector could be increased by improving governance.

Speaking at a function, attended by leading taxpayers and high tax officials, in Dhaka, he said the banks and financial institutions occupy 78 per cent of the financial sector, and it is they who could contribute to raising the country's tax-GDP ratio.

The governor was speaking at an award-giving ceremony where some large corporate taxpayers were awarded for their fair tax records.

The Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) under income-tax wing of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) hosted the ceremony to honour the top taxpayers for their contribution to the public exchequer in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-21.

A total of 33 large taxpayers, including 13 private commercial banks, two non-banking financial institutions, two insurance companies, one telecoms operator, 10 manufacturing units, and an international oil and gas company received the tax award.

The NBR chairman, Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, told the audience at the function that transparency in the book of accounts of the corporate taxpayers could help the government ease the tax load on existing taxpayers.

He expressed the hope that the Document Verification System (DVS) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Bangladesh (ICAB) would help in crosschecking multiple financial audit reports of corporate taxpayers.

He feels that the country should utilise its 'demographic dividend (younger segment of the population)' immediately as it usually does not last long.

The revenue-board chief pointed out how that could be done by using the able working hands in productive ventures.

"Growing domestic market is a great opportunity for industrialization. Local consumer market should be targeted for this," he said.

LTU commissioner Md Iqbal Hossain said the tax authority would try to resolve disputes with the taxpayers under the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system which is an out-of-the-court settlement.

NBR members Md Alamgir Hossain and Md Golam Nabi, among others, also spoke on the occasion.

Mohammed Monirul Moula, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Islami Bank, and Yasir Azman, CEO of Grameenphone Limited, expressed their gratitude for the honour on behalf of large taxpayers.

Mr Moula assured the NBR of extending all-out cooperation in its task of mobilising higher revenues.

Mr Azman suggested addressing the surging digital services and its use by the consumers as potential tax-collection sources.

The award-winning banks are: Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited, Standard Chartered Bank Bangladesh, The Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation, Dutch Bangla Bank Limited, United Commercial Bank Ltd, National Bank Ltd, Eastern Bank Ltd, Al-Arafah Islami Bank Ltd, Export Import Bank of Bangladesh, Trust Bank Ltd, The Premier Bank Ltd, BRAC Bank Ltd, and Prime Bank Ltd.

From service sector, Grameenphone, Chevron Bangladesh Block 13 and 14 Ltd, MJL Bangladesh Ltd received the award.

Two NBFIs--IDLC Finance Ltd and Infrastructure Development Company Ltd--also received the laurels.

American Life Insurance and Shadharan Bima Corporation also were awarded.

Recipients of the honour from the manufacturing-sector corporate taxpayers include British American Tobacco Bangladesh Limited, Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Sheikh Akijuddin Ltd, Uttara Motors Ltd, Uttara Automobiles Ltd, Perfect Tobacco Company Ltd, Nestle Bangladesh ltd, Healthcare Pharmaceuticals ltd, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd, and Olympic Industries Ltd.

BB, Titas Gas and Grameenphone received awards as withholding tax-deducting authorities.

The country's tax-GDP ratio is poor even by regional standards, below 9.0 per cent.

Recently, the NBR chairman said the tax-GDP ratio could be raised to 17 per cent if the government refrained from offering tax exemptions to spur economic growth.

The NBR faced Tk 411 billion shortfall in tax-revenue collection against the revised target for last FY as, according to tax officials, the target was ambitious in the current economic context.

However, the NBR achieved 20 per cent growth in tax-revenue collection last year, collecting Tk 2.59 trillion, over the previous year.

The government has set Tk 3.30 trillion as revenue target for the NBR in the current fiscal year, keeping the original target of last year unchanged for the first time.

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