The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is going to introduce e-Payment system for Value Added Tax (VAT) from July 16, aiming to reduce the hassles in payment by VAT payers.
Official sources said NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem will open the VAT e-payment system.
According to the existing law, eligible VAT payers have to submit their VAT returns every month along with the VAT payment for their previous month.
As per the official information, the NBR has formulated the e-Payment module under the VAT online project and has tested this at the consumer level through three local and foreign banks --Prime Bank, Midland Bank and HSBC.
No problem was found for paying VAT through using this system. Now all commercial banks will be brought under this system.
After the payment of VAT under the system, the copy of that Chalan will be sent to Bangladesh, CGA and respective VAT office automatically. One copy will also be sent to the organisation that submitted it.
NBR officials said transparency will come with this process as it plug the scopes of VAT evasion.
By using this system the enlisted person will be able to quickly pay his/her VAT and supplementary duty directly from his or her bank account easily, without risk to the national exchequer.
NBR officials said there will be no hassle for the taxpayers in this system.
Currently, 100 top VAT payers, who pay 30 percent of the total VAT, will be able to avail of the opportunity. Later, all other business entities will be brought under this system.
With the assistance from the World Bank, the NBR is implementing the VAT Online Project which was taken to implement the new VAT Law.
In September last, the NBR started taking the VAT return through online, but there was a scope to submit the VAT payment through online.
An NBR senior official said this system will encourage business entities to pay their VAT timely and accurately.
"Some of our VAT payers often show reluctance about paying accurate VAT blaming hassles and others problems in the VAT offices. These people will get hassle-free a quick process for paying their VAT," he said.
To improve the tax-GDP ratio in the country, which is the lowest among the South Asian countries, the VAT collection has to be increased, he added.
The total revenue collection for the 2020-21 fiscal was estimated at Tk 378,000 crore where the NBR will contribute Tk 3,30,000 crore. The revenue from non-NBR sources was estimated at Tk 15,000 crore, while non-tax revenue at Tk. 33,000 crore.
Of the grand amount for the NBR, Tk 103,945 crore will come from income, profit and capital tax, while Tk 125,162 crore will be contributed by VAT, supplementary duty will provide Tk 57,815 crore, Tk 37,807 crore will come from import duty, Tk 55 crore from export duty, Tk 3,686 crore from the excise duty and Tk 1,530 crore as other taxes.
For effective enforcement of Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act 2012, the government has automated VAT registration process and Return submission activities under the VAT Online Project.
As per the available data, some 170,000 people have already got VAT registration using the online platform. Besides, taxpayers are submitting returns through the online system which is getting popular every day. Almost 35,000 taxpayers submit return through online system regularly.
"Digitised VAT management system developed by the VAT Online Project will reduce the cost of doing business remarkably, and bring dynamism, transparency, and accountability in the VAT administration," Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said in his budget speech on June 11.
Although six months have elapsed after coronavirus struck in China, still Chinese engineers and workers could not return to Bangladesh from their homeland causing excessive delay in a top priority project of Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd (DPDC).
According to official sources, the DPDC undertook a Power Distribution System upgrading project to improve its network and system in its command area in Dhaka city.
The DPDC signed the contract with the Chinese contractor TBEA in September last year to implement the China-funded Tk 20,500 crore mega project under which 40 substations will be set up in the city while overhead cables of Hatirjheel Lake and Dhanmondi residential areas will be laid underground over the next five years.
Taking overhead cables underground from Jahangir gate in Cantonment to Motijheel is also included in the project.
Under the project, DPDC officials said, about 105 km of all kinds of overhead electric cables will go underground and there will be no cable visible in a certain part of Dhanmondi area that includes Satmasjid Road, Mirpur Road, City College and Greenherald School area.
Officials said all kinds of materials, equipment and system were brought to the country for the Dhanmondi pilot project and everything was ready to start the work.
“But, the coronavirus outbreak has forced us to suspend the programme as the Chinese engineers and workers of the project went back home and are stuck up there for the disease,” said one of the DPDC officials, adding that the project’s work was supposed to start in the first week of January.
Most the Chinese nationals went back home in December last year to spend vacation.
Contacted DPDC Managing Director Bikash Dewan informed they have communicated the matter with the concerned authorities through Power Division to facilitate the return of the Chinese engineers and workers to join the project’s work.
“But until now the concerned Chinese nationals were not able to manage Visa to come back to Bangladesh,” he told UNB.
The DPDC top executive noted that his organisation has been making all out efforts to facilitate the Chinese nationals’ return to Bangladesh as early as possible.
“We’re holding meeting through videoconference with the Chinese contractors and their concerned officials to advance the project’s works, specially, the non-field level works so that after their return, the field works could be promptly started,” he said.
Bikash Dewan said once the project will be implemented, it will play a vital role to improve the power distribution systems and substantially check the unexpected interruption in power supply.
There are widespread allegations from the consumers that interruptions take place frequently in many areas in the city.
DPDC officials admitted that it happens due to weakness in distribution system despite the fact that there is no shortage in electricity supply.
They said under the power distribution system upgrading project, the capacity of a number of substations will also be improved.
Bikash Dewan said that once the project is implemented, the capacity of 132kV level will go up to 5,330 MVA and 33 kV level to 4680 MVA.
A total of 38 tigers died in the last 20 years in Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans.
Within a gap of five months, the Forest Department found two dead tigers one in the Sundarbans West Andharmanki Forest Camp area and the other in Sundarban West Division area.
The Forest Department sources said both the Royal Bengal Tigers died of old age reasons.
However, earlier in May last year, the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin said the number of Royal Bengal Tiger in Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans increased to 114 from 106.
He made the announcement while unveiling a report on ‘Second Phase Status of Tiger in Bangladesh Sundarbans 2018’.
According to the information from Forest Department in between 2001 and July 2020, altogether 38 tigers died, 22 in East Division and 16 in West Division of the Sundarbans.
Sources at the Forest Department said that some of the tigers died by poachers, some died in lynching, some passed away by storm and tidal surge while some died of old age.
According to the latest Tiger Survey that was conducted in 2018, there were 114 tigers in the Sundarbans.
However, the Forest Department could not ensure if the number remained the same or saw a decrease in 2020.
Earlier on May 14, last year, a study by scientists of Bangladesh and Australia, warned that the Sundarbans’ famed ‘Royal Bengal Tigers’ could be gone within 50 years, especially from the Bangladeshi part, because of constant rise in sea levels and climate change.
The study was published in the journal Science of The Total Environment.
About the recovery of the dead tiger on Friday last, Bashirul Al Mamun, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), West Sundarban, said the tiger was seen roaming around Andharmanik Forest Camp for the last few days.
Later on Friday noon, it was found dead a few yards from the Forest Camp. It was a seven-feet long and three feet high 14-year old tigress, he added.
DFO Bashirul Al Mamun, the tigress sustained injuries on her left leg and an autopsy was done by a veterinary doctor.
He also informed that the skin and teeth of the tigress were reserved while the sample from the tigress was sent to Dhaka Forest Office for the true reason of the death. “It’ll be clear after a forensic study.”
Earlier on February 3, this year, some body parts of a tiger were recovered from Kaborkhali Canal in East Divisional Sundarbans, said DFO Muhammad Belayet Hossain adding that according to the forensic report, the tiger died of old age.
DFO Hossain also informed that the government has taken different steps to protect tigers in the Sundarban.
The sanctuary of the Sundarbans has been increased from 139,700 hectares to 317,900 hectares among the total of 601,700 hectares forest area, he informed.
He also informed that the expansion of sanctuary in the Sundarbans, was launched in 2017 and a patrol team has been conducting smart patrolling regularly to ensure tigers’ safety.
Also Read - Tiger population in Sundarbans rises to 114
According to the Forest Department of Sundarbans East Division, 22 tigers died in between 2001 and February 3, 2020 in that part of the forest.
Among those, 10 were killed by miscreants, five were lynched, six died normally, and one tiger died during Cyclone Sidr in 2007.
Skins of 16 tigers could be recovered among those 22, the sources said.
Meanwhile, Sundarbans West Division sources said that between 2001 and 2020, 16 tigers died in this forest region.
Among those, nine were lynched, and seven died from sickness and old age complications, the sources said.
According to experts, each tiger occupies and identifies a total of 14 to 16 kilometers from its living station as its own territory but roams all over the forest.
According to a census, Bangladesh Forest Department jointly with Wildteam and the Smithsonian Conservation Institute, USA, found that the number of Royal Bengal Tiger in Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans has increased to 114 from 106.
The second phase census began on December 1, 2016 under the USAID (Bengal Tiger Conservation Activity (BAGH) project through camera trapping methods.
The survey was conducted till 24th April, 2018 in 1656-sq km area of the Sundarbans in four phases.
The total area was divided into three blocks -- Satkhira, Khulna and Sharankhola ranges.
The cameras captured a total of 2,466 images during the 249-day census.
The first-phase survey of the USAID BAGH project recorded 106 tigers in 2015.
Although restaurants in Dhaka city have been reopened amid the growing coronavirus cases, most of them, even the famous ones, hardly follow the health guidelines set by the government, putting the diners at the risk of the virus infections.
The government issued a set of guidelines to be strictly followed by hotels and restaurants following their reopening after one month of closure to prevent the transmission of Covid-19.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) issued the guidelines on health safety measures on May 2 for offices, institutions, establishments, including restaurants, to prevent the further spread of the deadly virus.
According to the health guidelines, a thermal scanner at the entrances of each restaurant is mandatory to measure the temperature of customers while dining tables need to be disinfected every time after use.
Visiting several popular restaurants in the city’s Mirpur, Gulshan, Moghbazar and Khilgaon areas, the UNB correspondents found no thermal scanner at the entrance points of those.
Besides, no one was available to sanitize diners’ hands and even there was no arrangement of disinfectants at the entrances.
However, dining tables were seen placed with a safe distance so that diners could follow social distancing.
Kacchi Bhai is a restaurant which has five branches and one of them is situated at Mirpur-10.
When his attention was drawn to the absence of disinfectant, sanitiser and thermal scanner at the entrance of the restaurant, Rafiqul Islam Koyel, manager of Mirpur Branch of Kacchi Bhai, said, “We’ve everything to maintain hygiene but now that arrangements are not available as we’ve just opened the restaurant.”
When his attention was drawn to the scenes people were taking lunch already, he did not make any comment.
Sayed Alam, a private farm official who was taking lunch with his family members at the restaurant, said, “Though I always carry hand sanitiser for my safety, it’s the responsibility of restaurant authorities to ensure everything to maintain government announced health guidelines.”
“We’ve been here with my family members to take lunch for the first time today since the countrywide shutdown was imposed on March 26. I preferred visiting a well-known restaurant with an idea that popular restaurants are following health guidelines properly,” he added.
Visiting Rabbani Hotel and Restaurant at Mirpur-10 Jote Patti Road, the UNB correspondent saw the same scenario.
“No sanitiser, no thermal scanner, no disinfectant was available at the entrance of the restaurant. The restaurant manager, Abu Saleh, said the number of customers is very thin. Sanitiser is available at the cash counter. Handwashing facility is also there,” he claimed.
Premium Sweets, a very popular restaurant at Gulshan-2 circle, also had no arrangement of disinfectant, thermal scanner and sanitisers at the entrance.
Contacted, Head of Corporate Affairs of the Canadian restaurant Mahbubur Rahman Bakul admitted that though they had all the facilities as per the health guidelines, those were not available at the entrance at that moment.
Regretting it, he said even though they have given instructions to strictly follow the health guidelines, the people concerned are not following that.
Visiting Bharta Bhat, a renowned restaurant at Moghbazar crossing, and Dhaka Hotel restaurant at Khilgaon Tilpapara, the correspondent found no arrangement there for the health safety of diners.
On March 8, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) announced for the first time the detection of three Covid-19 patients in Bangladesh. Later, the IEDCR reported the first death case due to the deadly virus infection on March 18.
Against the backdrop of increasing the number of COVID-19 patients and death cases, the government announced countrywide general holidays from March 26 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection. Later, it was extended several times and finally the countrywide general holidays were withdrawn from June 1.
The government started allowing some restaurants to reopen conditionally from April 27. Considering the pandemic, many restaurants are yet to reopen in the capital.
There are around 30,000 small and big restaurants in the country, including 8,000 in Dhaka, according to Bangladesh Restaurant Owners' Association (BROA).
While the human beings are grappling with novel coronavirus, domestic cattle in Sherpur and some other districts of the region are battling against the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), a highly contagious disease.
The virus has already infected a good number of cows of the district and claimed the lives of some of them.. In most of the cases, the infected animals are either dying within a few days after developing symptoms, or waiting to embrace death.
Cattle farmers affected by the crisis over coronavirus now got unnerved due to the LSD outbreak as no effective vaccine is available for the virus.
The LSD virus was first reported in Zambia in 1929 and never seen in Bangladesh earlier. When an animal contracts the LSD virus, numerous round lumps become visible on its skin with high fever.
Later, the lumps turn into open sores and spread rapidly to other parts of the skin. At one stage, the sores start to discharge malodorous liquid.
Besides, the cattle got disinclined in taking food and water due to the wounds developed inside the mouth and stomach. At one stage, they have no way but to embrace death.
The Sherpur district has witnessed a massive outbreak of the disease like an epidemic in the last three months.
The farmers in Sherpur as well as other parts of the country are going through severe financial hardship amid the coronavirus fallout. In such a situation, the LSD virus made the situation far worse.
According to local veterinarians, 30 to 40 percent cows in the district are now infected with LSD virus.
District livestock officials said any vaccine for the viral disease is yet to be discovered. That is why; there is no option to treat the infected cattle but to follow local conventional medications.
According to the District Livestock Office, the total number of cows in Sherpur is around 4 lakh. Twelve cows have already died being infected with LSD disease. Aside from these, over 3,000 cows are currently infected with the viral disease in the district. As precaution, around 1.5 lakh cows were vaccinated with Goat Pox Vaccine.
Krishna Ratna, a cattle grower in Nokla upazila, said one of her cows got infected with the LSD virus in recent days.
While visiting her place, the infected cow was seen to develop wounds all over the body. It was struggling to stand due to edematous swelling and was facing breathing complications.
Disclosing her agony, Ratna said she and her rickshaw puller husband are largely dependent on cow-milk selling. Now they are worried about their future.
“I’ve already spent Tk 10,000 for treating the cow in vain,” she said.
Her neighbour Rezia Begum rears five cows. Recently, one of them has developed wounds on skin, the evident symptom of the LSD virus. She also treated the cow but failed to see any improvement.
Another cattle farmer Moktar Hossain, 35, said one of his four cows died last week from the LSD virus.
“What kind of disease is this! No medicine is working,” he expressed sorrow.
Dr Abul Khayer, upazila livestock officer of Nokla, said it is a disease caused by pox virus or Lumpy Skin Disease virus. Mosquitoes and flies are thought to be the main carriers of the virus.
It can be transmitted from one animal to another through saliva, food or clothes of farm caretakers.
Even, there is risk for the calves to be infected through milk of mother cows. Syringes used by local veterinarians can also be responsible for spreading the virus, he added.
Contacted, District Livestock Officer Dr Abdul Hai said only cows have contracted Lumpy Skin Disease in Sherpur.
“The situation is under control. We’re vaccinating the cows with GPV and carrying out awareness campaigns,” he said.
He revealed that eleven medical teams are working in the field to control the disease.