Dhaka, Bangladesh
NBR urges mobile operators to pay arrears

NBR urges mobile operators to pay arrears

Tk 403.16cr collected as tax arrears during Halkhata

National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Md Mosharrraf Hossain Bhuiyan on Monday urged mobile phone operators to clear revenue arrears. “Clear the revenue arrears. You have some proposals including withdrawal of VAT on Internet. Let’s sit with us separately ... rational proposal will be considered positively,” said the NBR chairman during a pre-budget discussion with members of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) here. According to the NBR, the NBR will get Tk 1000 crore arrears from the mobile telephone operators. For settlement of cases relating to revenue arrears, the NBR chairman suggested them to go for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for quick settlement of cases. “We’re suggesting everybody to go for ADR for settlement of cases. As we’re deprived of revenue, you’re also facing problem in running business due to the pending cases,” he said. AMTOB members demanded withdrawal of Value Added Tax (VAT) on internet completely in the next budget, saying that if VAT is withdrawn, it will have an important impact on the socioeconomic development of the country. AMTOB also proposed to cut corporate tax and withdraw double tax system. Earlier, the NBR also held pre-budget meeting separately with Bangladesh Ceramic Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BCMEA) and Bangladesh Beverage Manufacturers Association. BCMEA leaders demanded withdrawal of 15 percent VAT at production level to protect the local ceramics producers. They also demanded reduction of duty on raw materials for ceramic industry. Meanwhile, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) collected a total of Tk 403.16 crore as income tax arrears during celebration of ‘Halkhata’ that marks the beginning of the Bangla calendar year. The revenue authorities celebrated the centuries-old tradition of ‘Halkhata’ for the second time to encourage taxpayers to clear their dues. “We got huge response from taxpayers during ‘Halkhata’. The total amount of tax collected this year was Tk 403.16 crore,” said senior information officer of NBR Syed A Mumen. Different tax zones and VAT offices organized ‘Halkhata’ separately across the country on Sunday. The Sylhet tax zone of NBR realized Tk 8, 26,48,733 as arrears tax during ‘Halkhata’ observed on April 15 as part of the celebration of the first day Bangla calendar year 1425. “We have realized the arrears tax from four establishments and 742 individuals during the daylong ‘Halkhata’ programme,” said Kazal Singha Roy, deputy commissioner of taxes of Sylhet. NBR member SM Ashfaque Hussain inaugurated the Halkhata programme on the tax zone office premises. Taxpayers were entertained with sweets and cakes. A cultural function was also organized as part of the programme. Tax commissioner of Sylhet tax zone Abu Hannan Delwar Hossain said NBR organized ‘Halkhata’ to realize tax from people amid festive atmosphere. The taxpayers were given five books-Unfinished Memoirs of Bangabandhu, Karagarer Rojnamcha, Markin Muluke Manobhraman, Desh-Bidesh Bhraman Katha and Ajab o Jabar-Ajab Arthaniti, he added. Last year, Sylhet tax zone realized Tk 5.0 crore as arrears tax. Last week the NBR boss sought the supports of the business community to increase the tax and gross national production (GDP) ratio for sustaining the country’s development. “Growing GDP is mostly attributable to the flourishing of investment and business. As we need more investment, we have to increase tax base and make our people tax compliance,” said NBR Chairman M Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan. The NBR chairman said this while speaking as the chief guest at the ‘Quarterly Luncheon Meeting’ of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) in the city. Mosharraf Hossain, also senior secretary of the Internal Resources Division, called upon the business community to work together for accelerating the country’s investment, trade and export to maintain the steady economic growth. To maintain the existing economic growth, he said, the government will have to increase revenue collection. He said the government is likely to reduce the corporate tax in the upcoming national budget as per the demand of business community. “We are thinking about corporate tax and multilayer divided issues that have come up in the discussions with Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), MCCI and others trade bodies,” he added. Though the new VAT law has been postponed for next two years, Mosharraf Hossain said, collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) is going on. “We are trying to make it convenient to the business persons. Instead of one rate, we will experiment several rates,” he added. Responding to the demand of the business community, he said, the government will give bond facilities for export oriented new products. Among others, MCCI President Nihad Kabir also spoke on the occasion. Nihad Kabir said the aspects of revenue collection in Bangladesh still remain dependent on indirect taxes, import duties, excise duties and other supplementary duties. In this budget, she said, MCCI would like to see necessary steps to boost the economy. “We would opt for an improvement of physical infrastructure, including electricity and fuel allocation. We would also prefer to have a reflection of the necessary education and skills development, including electricity and fuel allocation,” she added. She said there should be a focus on building specialized economic zones, including projects that benefit industries such as high-tech IT park, leather village with active central effluent treatment plant, pharmaceutical industry, the API parks and low-cost broadband connections. “In order to aid all these projects to come to fruition, we will need to work together

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