The Financial Express

NBR to examine ongoing projects' progress Sunday

Major projects to require time extension

DOULOT AKTER MALA | Published: March 20, 2020 11:48:27 | Updated: March 21, 2020 13:42:43

File photo (Collected) File photo (Collected)

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is going to scrutinise progress of some 25 ongoing projects of its customs, VAT and income tax wings to indentify bottlenecks in their implementation.

The NBR Chairman Abu Hena Muhammad Rahmatul Muneem will sit with the project directors (PDs) concerned in this regard on Sunday (March 22).

The NBR's Board Administration Wing recently sent letters to all the PDs to attend the meeting with detailed data on progress of their respective projects. The board also invited the Public Works Department (PWD) chief engineer in the meeting.

Of the NBR projects, progress of three major ones under VAT and customs wings will be reviewed in the meeting. The projects are - VAT Online Project (VOP) involving Tk 6.90 billion, National Single Window Project (NSWP) involving Tk 5.85 billion, and Bond Automation Project (BAP) involving Tk 976.1 million.

Currently, there is no reform project, except some infrastructure development projects, under the Income Tax Wing.

Officials said implementation of the NBR's largest project - VOP - is facing troubles due to lack of required capacity of its Vietnamese contractor. The project, launched in 2014, is scheduled to expire in December 2020, keeping a number of modules pending.

VOP is one of the top prioritised reform projects of the government. Implementation of the new VAT and Supplementary Duty Act 2012 largely depends on success of the project.

The project is funded by both the government and the World Bank. VOP is aimed at automating the VAT administration as well as integrating it with other relevant entities and businesses.

A senior official of the NBR said the board is struggling with VOP due to selection of incompetent contractor following pressure of some influential quarters.

Another large project - NSWP - under the Customs Wing started in April 2019.

The Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund (BICF), implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), is providing technical assistance to the NBR in implementing the project.

A senior official of NSWP said, "The project will integrate some 39 public and private entities to facilitate investors as well as to scale up the country's ranking in the WB's Ease of Doing Business index."

He also said the NBR has already assigned the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for studying the project and preparing specifications for selecting contractor for it. The project is scheduled to expire in 2022.

On the other hand, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved BAP under the Customs Wing in 2017 with Tk 960 million funds from the government. The project is scheduled to expire on June 2021.

Officials said both the projects - NSWP and BAP - will require time extension due to some administrative delays in allocating infrastructure and resources.

They also said the initiative to review all projects of the NBR was taken earlier by its the then Chairman Md Nojibur Rahman.

Most of the NBR's current projects are related to infrastructure development, including construction of revenue building in the city's Agargoan area.

The building construction also faced blow after its contractor G K Shamim faced imprisonment in Casino-related scam.


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