The Financial Express

Online VAT system takeover in slow lane

Contract with Vietnamese firm expires next year

Doulot Akter Mala | Published: September 15, 2019 10:25:43 | Updated: September 16, 2019 13:20:20

Picture used for illustrative purpose only — Collected Picture used for illustrative purpose only — Collected

The National Board of Revenue is moving at slower than expected pace to gain control of the online value added tax system from a foreign company.

The contract for the maintenance and operations of the VAT online system is scheduled to expire next year.

Officials blamed the reluctance of a technical committee, formed on January 31 for developing the expertise of the NBR officials on the online system, for the lack of progress .

During the last seven months, members of the committee neither got involved in the process of module development nor took any initiative to acquire technical knowhow on the automated VAT system.

A senior official of the VAT wing said the contract with the FPT Information System of Vietnam is scheduled to expire in December 2020.

The company has been developing the Integrated VAT Administration System (IVAS) under the contract with the government.

The official said the seven-member technical committee is responsible for acquiring the system from the Vietnamese company as soon as the contract ends.

It is supposed to monitor the progress of the IVAS, database management and networking.

As per the terms of reference (TOR), the committee members will provide opinions on the required modification to make the system business-friendly while ensuring its effective operation by the tax authority.

The official said it is necessary for the NBR committee, comprising its ICT team, to participate in the process of module development by the FPT.

In a recent letter, the VAT online project has drawn the attention of the NBR to the issue.

In the letter, project director Syed Mushfequr Rahman said the automated VAT system might face a blow due to the lack of expertise and technical knowhow of the NBR officials.

He said the IVAS is using the SAP platform, which needs to be adopted by the NBR team in order to avoid complexities after the expiry of the project.

All the major business activities, such as financial accounting, asset management, sales, distribution, client management, VAT and other information will be integrated with the board's IVAS server.

After the expiry of the contract, the FPT will not provide its hitherto managed services to operate the system, the project head indicated.

He has requested the system manager of the NBR to take measures as early as possible to avoid the last-minute rush for the takeover.

In September 2015, the NBR signed the agreement with the FPT Information Systems under the project being implemented at a cost of Tk 6.90 billion.

Officials said the ICT team of the board must have to get involved from now on to reduce the dependence on the foreign company gradually.

It would be difficult for the team to take over the system at the eleventh hour, they said.


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