The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has taken move to enhance the capacity of its VAT wing as it would take over the VAT Online Project (VOP) from the Vietnamese company FPT in December.
Some 2,814 officials have so far been trained up in 78 programmes on the online VAT system under the initiative of VOP.
It is also imparting training to the IT officials of NBR on business process of the VOP to develop skills on the automated VAT system after expiry of the Tk 6.90 billion project on December 31, 2020.
The VAT officials shared this development of VOP take over process in a recent meeting with the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).
However, some VAT officials are sceptical about the existing capacity of VAT officials in dealing with the VAT online system developed by the FPT.
Currently, a 41-day training programme is being held for the IT officials of NBR on SAP-ERP module to take over the IVAS technology.
Talking to the FE, a senior official of NBR said initially they would try to deal with the online VAT system with the existing manpower of NBR.
He said the project would not be extended further although most of the modules remained unimplemented so far.
The VOP has so far developed only four modules out of 16 under the project.
Officials expressed the hope that few more modules will be implemented by this month.
Currently, the NBR has automated VAT registration, online VAT return submission and e-payment under the project.
According to a document on the meeting with the FBCCI, the VOP has provided some 203,918 VAT registrations through online while some 116,203 businesses submitted VAT returns through online.
The VOP has completed integration with the Bangladesh Bank to facilitate e-payment. Currently, depositors of three banks — Midland, Prime and HSBC — are enjoying the facility.
Officials said the integration with nine more banks on e-payment facility is under process.
In the meeting, the FBCCI leaders also discussed some issues including expediting refund of the Advance Tax (AT) of vegetable oil refiners and bospati manufacturers.
They urged the VAT officials not to take any harsh measure against the businesses in this Covid-19 situation.
In the meeting, the FBCCI leaders said the Prime Minister has declared tax-free benefit for the investors of economic zones, but in some cases 15 per cent VAT has been imposed on them.
The FBCCI leaders proposed the NBR to form a committee on resolving problems regarding income tax and customs issues like that of the Joint Working Group on VAT.
Officials said the VOP project may not be able to complete its all the modules during its tenure in the next two months. They also expressed fear over the existing capacity of the NBR team to handle the project.
Currently, the Vietnamese contactor FPT is handling the technical aspects of the online VAT system.
Due to poor capacity of the firm, the NBR already stopped providing payment to the company.
A VAT official of NBR said recently the NBR asked the firm to hire an expert from Vietnam to complete the remaining task.
He said the NBR will take stern action if the firm does not comply with the directives as per the contract.