The Financial Express

Minister annoyed with poor tax-GDP ratio as NBR awards top taxpayers

| Updated: February 16, 2021 10:13:30

State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain speaking at a ceremony organised to honour the taxpayers with tax cards at the conference room of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) in the city on Thursday — FE Photo State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain speaking at a ceremony organised to honour the taxpayers with tax cards at the conference room of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) in the city on Thursday — FE Photo

Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday asked the taxmen to refrain from physical inspection as it may cause harassment to the taxpayers.

He also instructed them to automate the tax administration so that the information could be made available in the National Board of Revenue (NBR).

Find out the leakages of revenue generation process instead of spot visits, the minister told the taxmen, being connected virtually, at a programme arranged to honour the country's top taxpayers with tax cards.

Some 141 people won the tax cards at the national level for paying highest amount of taxes in fiscal year 2019-20. Moreover, 525 taxpayers received the honour for their highest and long-term payment of taxes in city corporation and district levels across the country.

The NBR awarded top five corporate and individual taxpayers with tax cards, crests and certificates of honour at its premises.

The finance minister expected that the programme would encourage millions of people in paying tax.

He expressed his frustration over the country's tax-GDP ratio of 10 per cent, which he termed poor, but pointed out that a large area of public procurement is exempted from paying taxes. The taxmen should keep a record of revenue losses due to such exemptions, he added.

He also expressed disappointment over the delays in automation of the tax collection system as the digitization project was taken much earlier.

The automation project could not be materialised despite several efforts due to the delays by a section of officials of the NBR, the tax regulatory body and implementing agency of the automation system.

"There is almost no progress in automation of the tax collection system although I promised to the Prime Minister on this," he said.

Mr. Kamal suggested installation of scanners in all ports to check import-export goods and prevent evasion at the ports those having no such machines.

He said the process of tax collection should be simplified along with expediting automation. He, however, said that sometimes the board might have to take hard decisions to check evasion.

"It is not acceptable that our tax-GDP ratio remains at 10 per cent level although the volume of tax collection has increased significantly," he said.

The NBR should conduct an analysis to assess how the tax collection could be raised, if possible by reducing the rates, that would also be acceptable for businesses, he said.

The finance minister suggested removing the fear-factors to encourage tax payment. The NBR should honour more taxpayers by raising the number of awards by two-fold, he added.

State minister for public administration Forhad Hossain said the tax services should be simplified to expand the tax net and stressed the need for imparting advanced trainings to build tax officials' capacities, providing apps-based services, e-payment etc.

The taxmen will have to work on collecting taxes from online and digital economic activities.

NBR chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem said the NBR is working on identifying the roadblocks to remove those and improve the tax-GDP ratio. He said the board is trying to collect information from secondary sources to increase the number of taxpayers.

NBR members Alamgir Hossain, Golam Kibria and Hafiz Ahmed Murshed also spoke on the occasion.

Deputy commissioners of taxes Monalisa Shahreen Sushmita, Asma Surovi and Golam Kibria moderated the programme.

The top five corporate taxpayers are: Grameenphone, Sheikh Akijuddin Limited, British American Tobacco Bangladesh, Standard Chartered Bank and Unilever.

Five top individual taxpayers are: former minister Abul Hossain, Rubayiat Farzana Hossain, Hosne Ara Hossain, Laila Hossain and Kau Mia.

Yasir Azman of GP, Basir Uddin of Sheikh Akijuddin Ltd, Shehzad Munim of BATB, Abdul Kader Joaddar of Stranded Chartered Ltd and Kedar Lele of Unilever received the tax cards on behalf of their respective companies.

Earlier, the Internal Resources Division (IRD) issued a gazette notification with the names of the tax card winners.

Of the winners, 76 are individuals while 53 corporate entities and 12 other categories.

From leather industries category, Apex footwear limited, Bata Shoe Company (Bangladesh) and Lalmai Footwear limited won the tax cards.

From the banking category, Standard Chartered Bank, Islami Bank, HSBC and National Bank Limited are the tax card winners.

From non-banking financial institutions category, Infrastructure Development Company Limited, IDLC Finance, Bangladesh Infrastructure Finance Fund Ltd., Uttara Finance and Investment Limited received the tax cards.

Grameenphone Limited won the tax card under telecommunication category.

Coats Bangladesh Limited, Sanjana Fabrics Limited, Badsha Textile Mills Limited, Apex Textile Printing Mills Limited, Fakhruddin Textile Mills Limited, Noman Terry Towel Mills Limited and Envoy Textile Limited received the tax cards.

Spectra Engineers Limited, BSRM Steels, ACT Motors Limited are the tax card winners.

From food and beverage industries, Nestle Bangladesh, Olympic Industries Limited and Square Food and Beverages won the tax cards.

Titas Gas Company Limited, Meghna Petroleum Limited and Padma Oil Company Limited also received tax cards for their contribution to the public exchequer.

Under jute sector category, Akij Jute Mills Limited, IR Khan Jute Mills Limited and Ayan Jute Mills Limited have been selected as the tax card winners. The winners from pharmaceuticals and chemical industries are: Unilever, Square, Incepta and Renata.

Under print and electronic media category, Media Star Limited, East West Media Group Limited, Transcraft Limited and Media World Limited won the tax cards.

Golam Dastagir Gazi, Latifur Rahman, Matiur Rahman, Alihussain Akber Ali and Dr Mustafizur Rahman are selected for the award as the highest taxpayers from senior citizens.

Hazi Md Kaus Mia, Syed Abul Hossain, Nazrul Islam Mazumder, Nuruzzaman Khan and Mohammad Kamal received the award under the business people category.

Under the journalist category, Mahfuz Anam, Md Abdul Malek, Motiur Rahman, Shiekh Siraj and Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul won the tax cards.

Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, Rezaul Karim and Foyez Ullah have been selected as the highest taxpayers from lawyers, engineers and architect categories.

Masuk Ahmed from accountants, Seuli Akhter Nipa from new taxpayers, Shakib Al Hasan from athletes, Shakib Khan Rana from actors and actresses, Tahsan Rahman Khan from singers and Kazi Iqbal Harun from other category won the tax card.

SN Corporation, Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Police Welfare Trust and Asha have been selected as top taxpayers from farm, local government, and association of persons and from other category respectively.

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