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'Tax immunity for utmost need only'

NBR chief for curbing the proviso

| Updated: January 26, 2018 10:36:02

NBR Chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan NBR Chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) will rein in its tax exemption provision in a bid to extend it only in case of utmost necessity, said its chief.

"We will not provide tax exemption facility on the face basis. It will not be discriminatory for taxpayers," said NBR Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan. 

People will seek tax benefit, referring to such facility given to others, he added.

The new chairman said these while speaking at his first press conference after taking charge of NBR, held on the revenue board premises on Thursday.

NBR organised the press conference on the occasion of International Customs Day that will be observed today (Friday).

In the programme, the NBR chairman vowed to join hands with the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) of Bangladesh Bank to check money laundering and siphoning of money through integrated efforts.

The board will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard within next one or two week, he added.

"NBR will be able to investigate on money laundering or capital flight with the support of BFIU."

Already, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Bangladesh Police and other law-enforcing entities have joined BFIU. Data and information of NBR will be cross checked with the unit, he added.

According to the tax rules, NBR can get access to the information of other wings including commercial banks.

The proposed MoU will be a protocol to determine the process of exchanging data among the wings.

The NBR chief set a target to raise the country's tax-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio to 15 per cent from 11 per cent by 2021.  

NBR will also intensify its surveillance on import-export activities to ensure compliances without affecting trade facilitation, he also said.

"Under trade facilitation agreement, signed in 2016, NBR will introduce National Single Window (NSW) and Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). It has already launched Post Clearance Audit (PCA)."

Responding to a query on revenue collection progress in the first six months of the current fiscal year (FY), he said NBR is lagging behind its target by Tk 100 billion.

"We have collected Tk 920 billion tax revenue in the first six months out of the aggregate target of Tk 2.48 trillion."

NBR has estimated Tk 10 billion additional revenue this year from the mobile phone companies against issuing 4G licence.

Capacity development of tax officials, training and recruitment will also be emphasised, he added.

The NBR chief pledged to launch surveys for finding new taxpayers in businesses and other sectors for expanding tax net.

To achieve the tax revenue collection target, he outlined a plan including reviewing the progress of tax collection every month comparing target and collection as well as gearing up efforts to realise arrear revenue.

Revenue amounting to some Tk 500 billion has been stuck up following filing of cases with the courts. Directives have already been issued to the tax appeal commissionerates to expedite the process for resolving the pending cases, he added.

"The government organisations owe a large amount of revenue to NBR. I will send demy official (DO) letters, and place the issue in the cabinet meeting," Md Mosharraf Hossain said.

The revenue board will request allocation from Ministry of Finance, if those entities are not able to pay the dues, he added.

The state-owned Petrobangla owes Tk 220 billion, followed by Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) Tk 23 billion, and Department of Immigration and Passports Tk 5.0 billion.

"Petrobangla is now capable to pay the dues, as its financial capacity has increased after price adjustment of petroleum products," he said.

On International Customs Day, the NBR chairman said the day will be observed in a festive mood with holding a rally.

The theme of this year's customs day is - 'A secure business environment for economic development'.

A seminar will be held in a city hotel today (Friday) to discuss the theme, with Finance Minister A M A Muhith as the chief guest of the programme.

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