The Financial Express
Swasti Lankabangla Swasti Lankabangla

Online VAT system hits rough patch

| Updated: August 13, 2020 09:55:04

Illustrative photo Illustrative photo

The takeover of the VAT online system from the Vietnamese company FPT may create complexities after the expiry of the project by December this year, officials fear.

The officials said unless the process of control over the highly-technical system gets started now, the online operations may hit bump next year.

With less than five months away, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has yet to make any significant step to take over the system from the company.

Such a dependence on the Vietnamese company may ruin the year-long effort of the VAT authority, sources said.

Officials of the VAT Online Project (VOP) said they have recently made a list of 27 IT officials of the NBR to impart training to them.

"We have contacted several foreign and local firms to support our IT team to take over the VAT online system from FPT and provide necessary training," said VOP project director Kazi Mustafizur Rahman.

Several foreign firms, including from Switzerland and the USA and some local companies have showed their interest to train up the IT officials on SAP, he said.

"We need to engage the IT officials on a full time basis to train them in the language of SAP under which the VAT online system has been developed," he added.

The IT team would need at least two months of intensive training on the VAT online system, he noted.

He expressed the hope that VOP would be able to arrange the training programme shortly.

Earlier, the VOP had sent several letters to the NBR requesting it to expedite the move to take over the VAT online system.

Unless the NBR successfully takes over the system from the company, it may have to depend on it to run or operate the system even after expiry of the contract.

Official said this dependence might force the NBR to extend the contract with the company, though there are allegations against it for the poor performance.

The income tax wing also faced difficulties in decoding the ITMS system for large taxpayers after the expiry of a project.

The online system is based on IVAS or Integrated VAT Administration system in the SAP platform. It is developed by FPT, the Vietnamese company that got the contract in 2015.

The contract with the company is scheduled to expire along with the project deadline, which is December 31, 2020.

The VOP chief said the FPT might be engaged on a part time basis even after expiry of the project to solve any technical problem occasionally.

Under the IVAS system, all areas of a business including financial accounting, asset management, sales, distribution, client management, VAT and other information would be integrated with the NBR IVAS server.

Last year, the NBR formed a technical committee to take over the system from the firm, maintain and operate it after expiry of contract.

However, the committee members could not work properly to get involved in the activities of the FPT.

The NBR is implementing the VAT Online Project at a cost of Tk 6.90 billion to automate the VAT system.

Of the amount, the World Bank pledged to provide $60 million or more than Tk 4.80 billion in interest-free loans.

The VOP has developed four modules so far, including online VAT registration, VAT return, and e-payment.


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