Dhaka, Jan 24 (UNB) - The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is going to form a taskforce to identify the foreign nationals working in Bangladesh to bring them under the tax net.
There will be representatives of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida), National Security Intelligence (NSI) and police in the taskforce apart from the NBR.
"This taskforce will mainly work at the field level and conduct drives to identify the foreigners working here," a senior NBR official told UNB.
The taskforce will take the help of technology to find out the entry and of exit of foreign nationals, their places of stay and number of their entries to Bangladesh, he said.
The senior NBR official at its income tax wing said currently, there is no well-managed specific data in the country about the foreign nationals staying in the country.
In 2016, the revenue collecting authority took a move to this end but to no avail.
At that time, it found some 30 companies that engaged foreign nationals in various types of jobs. Besides, tax officials established booths at airports and land ports, but the initiatives did not bring any positive result.
NBR Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan at a recent programme said they wanted to bring the foreign nationals under the tax net. "Some foreign nationals work in Bangladesh after arriving here on tourist visas. This should be stopped," he had said.
According to statistics placed by Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan in the 10th Parliament on February 8, 2018, some 85,486 foreign nationals of 44 countries are involved in various types of jobs here legally.
Of them, 35,386 Indians are engaged in jobs here which is the highest from a single country. Foreigners from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, South Korea and some European and African countries are also working in Bangladesh.
Of the total numbers, 67,853 are businessmen, 8,300 experts, 3,682 officials, 2,105 players and sports organisers, 922 capital investors, 804 personal staff, 727 technical professionals, 561 NGO workers, 400 research or training staff and 132 are house assistants.
According to the Bida, the number of work-permit takers in Bangladesh is 7,034 while the number of electronic tax identification number (e-TIN) holders is 12,041.
But the NBR thinks the actual number of foreign nationals engaged in jobs in Bangladesh will be 4-5 times higher.
The decision to form the taskforce was taken at an NBR board meeting held recently at its conference room with its chairman in the chair.
“The NBR has the information that a good number of foreign nationals are staying in the country without valid documents and engaged in service in various trades. However, local business entities don’t give information about their foreign employees to the NBR. As a result, the country is depriving of taxes,” the NBR official said.
To stop the evasion of tax by the foreigners, a new section has also been added to the Income Tax Ordinance in 2015-16 under which one will be jailed for three months to three years and panelised Tk 5 lakh or both if he/she appoints any foreigners without prior permission of the authorities concerned. The companies will also lose tax holiday or exemption benefits.
All the foreigners are bound to pay 30 percent tax on their income if they stay and work in the country for 90 days a year.
Dhaka, Jan 23 (UNB) - Mungunzul was born in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. She studied at Music and Dance College, where her talent began to bloom. She graduated from the Culture and Art University of Mongolia.
Mungunzul specialized in acting. She won the top prize in a competition named after Shakespeare, for playing the role of Juliet.
She established the independent ‘DOZ Entertainment’ production. Mungunzul has acted in TV shows, movies and dramas. She also opened a comedy TV channel and worked in many TV programmes that were well received by the audience.
She has also acted in several foreign movies and was the protagonist in ‘People with blue spots’. The opening ceremony of the movie was held in the Government Palace of Mongolia. It was awarded with the prize ‘Precious heritage of France’. The movie was premiered in Paris and then successfully played in Inner Mongolia, People’s Republic of China.
She was also involved with many movies as an artist and producer, including ‘Blue shadow of mountain’ (drama, in supporting role), ‘It is pretty hard when my child becomes grown up’ (comedy, in supporting role), ‘The day after I fell in love’ (comedy, in main role), ‘Ticket for life’ (film against drug /drama, protagonist), ‘People with blue spots’ (drama, protagonist), ‘Fly away' (drama, shot in Korea, protagonist) and ‘Life like a movie’ (comedy, in supporting role).
This year, she will be seen in three international films. Mungunzul was given the ‘Northern Star’ prize for her contribution to the art of cinema.
She was also the winner of the TV show ‘Mongolian Dancing with Stars’ in 2012. UNB’s Shafik Russell finally got to go for treasure hunts on her private boat.
You won the Best Actress (global). Tell us something about your journey and experience?
Mungunzul: My family is involved with filmmaking. My husband is an actor and director. I have a film production company. I won the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ award in 2012 and the ‘Best Actress’ award in 2013. Apart from them, I also won the global award best actress from Delhi Noida film festival 2016.
I have been involved with the film industry for 10 years and have acted in many films and a variety of comedy shows. But I want to work with many experienced artists because I want to learn more. I want to learn from others every day. I am waiting for the right moment to come up with my dreams. That’s why I really want to know and study more.
You are working as a programmer at DIFF. Tell us something about this experience and the response of the audience you are getting from this event?
Mungunzul: This is my first visit to Dhaka and participation in the Dhaka International Film Festival. I had a different perception about Bangladesh before coming here. My eight-day stay has changed my views. I would like to thank Ahmed Muztaba Zamal who has organized DIFF. We first met in Pusan and he invited me to join DIFF as one of the juries. He has big connections around the world.
This festival is very well-organised and the people are very friendly. As a guest, I am leaving Bangladesh with a good experience.
What is the main objective of this film festival?
Mungunzul: An international film festival carries a big value. If this festival was not organised, then people in many countries would not have known about your country. I think the festival will promote your own culture. It is very valuable for any country.
The international film festival is a big event to share your country's film art, cinematic art, and experiences with other countries.
Have you seen any Bangla movie? How did you like it? What do you like the most about Bangladeshi film?
Mungunzul: I was a jury for the Spiritual Films Section at this festival and I saw 24 films. We selected one documentary, one feature film, and one short film. I saw only short two Bangladeshi films.
In fact, I have not seen many Bangladeshi films. It is very difficult to talk about Bangladeshi film industry and art. But I will watch when I go back. Your (Bangladeshi) culture has amazed me a lot.
How are you feeling visiting Bangladesh?
Mungunzul: As I said, my idea about the country was different. The people were really kind. One of the things I found very interesting is people praying five times a day. It gave a good impression. I have seen big potential in your country.
But Bangladesh needs to improve one thing – its traffic system.
I came here for the first time but suddenly I met the Honorary Consul of Mongolia to Bangladesh. I’d like to thank Nasreen Fatema, the honorary consul of Mongolia to Bangladesh, for supporting me during my stay in Dhaka.
I’d like to thank DIFF’s festival hospitality team, and Rainbow Film Society and the jury.
I wish to come again to this country.
Dhaka, Jan 23 (UNB) - A move is underway to install pre-paid metres for electricity consumers in Cumilla and Mymensigh regions as part of the government’s plan to gradually replace all the post-paid electricity metres.
According to official sources at the Power Division, state-owned Power Development Board (PDB), which is responsible for power distribution system in Cumilla and Mymensingh regions, will implement the pre-paid meter project.
They said the PDB has already selected Chinese firm Shenzhen Star Instrument Co., Ltd (Sh.Star) through a tender process to supply, install and provide post-installation services to the consumers.
A top official at the PDB said the Chinese firm will supply a total of 150,575 pre-paid meters by December 2019 under the project which received approval of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) in November 2013 with a total cost of Tk 132.49 crore.
German donor agency-KfW will finance Tk 104.04 crore while the government will provide Tk 18.26 crore and PDB itself will finance Tk 10.19 crore to implement the project.
Of the total pre-paid metres, 70,250 will be installed in Cumilla region while 80,325 in Mymensigh region.
A senior official of the Power Division said the tender proposal was sent to the Cabinet Division for placing it to the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase.
“Once the proposal is approved by the Cabinet body, the PDB will sign an agreement with the Chinese contractor to award the contract for the project,” he said.
He also noted the Chinese contractor will set up vending stations for re-charging the pre-paid cards and provide IT-related services for the next five years after the metre installation.
Power Division officials said the government is moving with a plan to replace all the post-paid electricity metres with pre-payment metres in order to digitalise the bill payment system.
The pre-payment system will substantially reduce the system loss and bring the bill default rate to a zero level, he said adding that the distribution companies like DESCO, DPDC, WZPDC and Nesco have already installed pre-paid metres in major parts of their distribution areas.
Faridpur, Jan 22 (UNB) –Bumper production of bean and its fair price have delighted the farmers of Sadarpur upazila in the district this year.
Six unions of the upazila- Krisnapur, Sadarpur, Charbisnupur, Charnachipur, Bhasanchar and Akoterchar- saw bumper production of the winter vegetable.
The growers have been successful in cultivating two new varieties of bean -- BARI-4 and IPSA-1-- in the upazila which brought good luck for them.
Visiting Shoilodubi area of Krishnapur union in sadarpur upazila the UNB correspondent found huge beans hanging from each plant and farmers are busy to pluck those for selling.
Farmer Alam Bapary of Shouldubi village said he cultivated bean on 20 decimals of land spending Tk 6,000 and got Tk 20000-30000 profit last year.
“This year, I cultivated bean on 65 decimals of land spending Tk 18000-20000. I am optimistic to get better price than last year,” he said.
Local bean farmers said these beans are regularly sent to different parts of the country including Karwan Bazar, Shyambazar, Madaripur.
Another farmer Abdul Malek Morol of Karirhat village said he cultivated bean on 33 decimals of land this year spending Tk 9,000.
“I have already got back my capital. Beans are still being sold at good rate,” he said.
Farmer Shukkur Ali of Shouldubi village said he has already sold bean of Tk 40,000 this year. Favorable weather and fewer insects are the main cause of good production, he mentioned.
Jonayat Ali of Charbishnopur village said he cultivated bean on 33 decimals of land this year and sold the vegetable at Tk 15 to Tk 20 per kilogram and Tk 520 to Tk 550 per maund.
Upazila Agriculture Officer Bidhan Roy said about 90 hectares of land have been brought under bean cultivation in the area this year.
Bean traders from different areas come to the upazila to buy bean every day, he said.
Dhaka, Jan 22 (UNB) - Although vegetable production increased by 35.24 percent over the last five years (from2013-14 to 2017-18 FY) in the country, the consumption rate is still poor for various reasons, including its high price at the consumer level, said agriculture experts.
According to officials at the Department of Agricultural Extension (DoAE), some 26,230,927 metric tonnes of vegetables were produced in 2017-18 fiscal year from 1,169,326 hectares of land, while 19,396,755 metric tonnes in 2013-2014 fiscal year from 9,68827 hectares.
“Additional 26,47,786 metric tonnes of vegetables were produced in 2017-18 fiscal year compared to 2016-17 FY. 19,984,334 metric tonnes produced in 2015-2016 fiscal year, while it was 21,041,406 metric tonnes in 2014-15FY,” according to annual data of the department.
Besides, 7,30,991 metric tonnes root-crops/vegetables (excluding potatoes) were produced in 2017-2018 fiscal year against 5,72,946 metric tonnes in the previous year, the data revealed.
Talking to UNB, agro experts said many people in the country cannot take required amount of vegetables every day despite huge production due to exorbitant prices of vegetables thanks to the presence of middlemen at different levels and the widening gap between production cost and the prices the consumers pay.
They also suggested boosting organic vegetable production across the country.
Chief scientific officer and head of Vegetable Departmental of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) Dr Golam Morshed Abdul Halim told UNB that a healthy individual should take 300 grams of vegetable every day but the people of Bangladesh take just one-third of it.
Besides, 35-40 percent of total vegetables are wasted from production to consumption levels due to the absence of storage facility and better transportation system, he said.
“Around 150 varieties of vegetables are cultivated in our country. Of them, 35 types are commercially cultivated. Many farmers use pesticides to make more profit but it’s harmful to our health,” he said.
Although Bangladesh ranked 3rd in vegetable production in the world but the production is not sufficient to meet the demand of its growing population. “We should increase vegetable production by three times more than the current figure,” he also said.
Dr Md Ashraful Islam, a professor of Horticulture at Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) said, “Many farmers use harmful chemicals while producing vegetables not knowing its bad impacts on human health. Awareness should be developed among farmers about chemical-free vegetable production.”
“Around 30 or 40 percent children of the country suffer from vitamin deficiency for not taking enough vegetables,” he added.
Dr. Sumon Chowdhury, a physician at Dr MR Khan Shishu Hospital and Institute of ChildHealth, said,“Now farmers use pesticides in vegetable increasing the health risk of people. The intake of poisonous food for a long time can cause various diseases, including stomach cancer. We must take huge pure vegetabledaily.”
Sabina Yesmin, an assistant horticulturist at the Department of Agricultural Extension, said, “We’re trying to increase vegetable production in our country. The areas which remain inundated for nearly six months have also been brought under vegetable cultivation through floating farm. So, the volume will further increase in the future.”
As per the DoAE data, 37,00914 metric tonnes of vegetables were produced in Dhaka, Gazipur, Manikganj, Munshiganj, Narsingdi, Tangail and Kishoriganj in 2017-18 fiscal year while 34,07740 metric tonnes in Bogura, Joypurhat and Pabna while some 273,237 metric tons (lowest) in Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban.