Dhaka, Aug 16 (UNB) - The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has taken an initiative to introduce a mobile application and a software, aiming to check the cases of tax evasion and increase the number of taxpayers.
The revenue collecting authority thinks launching of the app and software will bring dynamism into the revenue administration and help bring a large number of eligible taxpayers under the tax net, an NBR senior official told UNB.
According to the existing income tax law, any business entity and service-providing persons must hang the taxpayer identification number (TIN) in their offices or business organisations.
But it is not practised properly which causes confusion whether all the business entities or service-providing persons have their TINs or not.
"That’s why the NBR is planning to make it mandatory to hang the tax payment certificate," said the official.
He said using the software, all 649 tax circles will be linked to the mobile app.
Through this app, anyone will be able to check whether the tax payment certificate is genuine or effective, or an expired one.
"Even with the app, it’ll be possible to lodge complaint with the respective tax circle," he said.
The NBR official hoped when the businessmen see the customers are checking whether they have paid taxes or not, they will feel encouraged to pay their taxes.
“As a result, the revenue collection will be increased and the tax evasion cases will come down," he said.
Through the app, it would be possible to check the status of tax payment and the certificate will automatically be cancelled in absence of regular payment.
Ineffective certificate means the particular person or organisation does not pay tax. "There’s no need to provide extra information in this regard," the NBR official said.
He also mentioned that the NBR is trying hard to increase the number of taxpayers to 1 crore within the next two years. As part of the initiative, a tax survey has started.
"Enhancing capability in technology will help us bring more dynamism into tax administration," the official said.
Currently, the number of TIN holders in the country is around 40 lakh where only 20 lakh submit their income tax return, which is very much lower comparing to other countries of the world.
For the running fiscal year, the revenue target has been fixed at Tk 325,600 crore. Of the grand amount, Tk 113,912 crore will come from income, profit and capital tax, Tk 123,067 crore will be contributed in the form of VAT, supplementary tax will provide Tk 48,153 crore, Tk 36,498 crore will come from import duty, Tk 54 crore from export duty, Tk 2,239 crore from the excise duty and Tk 1,677 crore will be fetched as other taxes.
Kurigram, Aug 15 (UNB) – Commuters continue to face immense suffering as several important bridges and culverts in the district are yet to be repaired or reconstructed, even two years on from being damaged in the 2017 floods.
“People somehow managed to get by reinforcing some broken bits with bamboo through some local initiatives, but passenger and cargo transport faced deadlock,” said locals, adding that “We’re frustrated at lack of reconstruction of bridges and culverts despite assurances by local LGED office.”
In 2017, scores of little bridges and culverts were damaged in severe floods witnessed in some upazilas including Kurigram Sadar, causing collapse of rural communication network.
Despite 25 bridges and culverts being reconstructed by LGED over last two years, some important bridges still remain damaged and unusable. As a result, school- and college-going students plus those going to markets are facing severe communication problems.
The people of several villages have become disconnected from the physical communication network, while a stalemate persists in transportation of emergency ambulances and goods, the locals complain, apprehending an even greater increase in public sufferings for at least another six months as the bridges were not reconstructed before the advent of monsoon.
One of the bridges that suffered extensive damage in the devastating flood in 2017 is the Sanerghat bridge in Kathalbari union under Kurigram sadar upazila.
As there is no barricade on either side, the bridge is proving particularly risky and deadly for motorcyclists – many riders met accidents while trying to cross the bridge, or what’s left of it.
“No initiative has been taken yet to reconstruct the bridge even after lobbying with the authority over two years,” locals said, alleging that “no effective measures were taken despite the LGED’s repeated assurances to construct the bridge”.
Mojnur Rahman, headmaster of Nefardorga High School, said, “We’ve only one road for our communication. We’re crossing over a bamboo-reinforced bridge risking lives.”
Ahmad Hossain, a nearby resident, said, “Thousands of people used to cross the bridge everyday but now people are frustrated as the bridge is yet to be reconstructed even in two years.”
The same situation prevails in a culvert adjacent to ‘Boro Pul Par’ on Kurigram-Rajarhat road. Visiting the area UNB correspondent found that the culvert was severely damaged due to flood.
Locals complained that the LGED staff came to the spot to take measurements but did not take any effective measures for actual reconstruction.
Some of the other bridges that lie equally in disrepair include the Shokuntari bridge on Kedar-Kochakata road, Dhonitari bridge on Nageshwari-Bamondanga road and Naodanga bridge on Sontoshpur-Taleberhat road, which have already been damaged causing extreme sufferings to the thousands of inhabitants of the locality.
Kurigram LGED office sources said that 62 kilometres area of 77-km road of LGED were severely affected in the 2017 flood. Some 37 bridges and culverts were damaged and as a result, many areas became disconnected with the district and upazila sadar.
Official sources said the roads and bridges affected by flood are being reconstructed through various projects. In the last two years, 13 bridges and 12 culverts were reconstructed while about seven bridges of 300-metre breadth are being designed.
Syed Abdul Azaiz, District Executive Engineer of Kurigram LGED, said: “Approach roads to the highways of Kurigram were also damaged by flood but they were repaired immediately. So far, construction work on 13 bridge-culverts has been completed while 12 others are going on.”
“It’d be possible to construct the affected bridges and culverts within the shortest possible time,” he said.
Dhaka, Aug 14 (UNB) – Fast-tracked 162MW Manikganj HFO-based power plant failed to commence commercial operation as per the schedule.
Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) sources said the plant was scheduled to go into operation in January 1 this year. “But it only made 70 percent progress until July 14,” said a top BPDB official.
Sources said China’s Consortium of Changzhou Hutang Coal Power Co Ltd, and Bangladesh’s Icon Enterprise Ltd, and Chase Power Ltd obtained the project as unsolicited offer which the government awarded as a priority project.
The progress of the project was discussed at a review meeting at the Power Division in July. According to a report placed at the meeting, the letter of intent was issued on April 2 last year with implementation of the project within nine months. This set the date for starting commercial operation by January this year.
A review meeting on November 11 last year noted that the engine of the power plant reached the project site in October and the commercial operation could start in March 2019.
But the sponsors of the project failed to keep commitment about commercial operation, said the PDB official. They said the project was getting delayed due to complications over the land ownership.
However, it was informed at the July meeting that the financial closing of the project has been completed and the progress in this regard was achieved 100 percent.
Kurigram, Aug 14 (UNB) - The Teesta River in the district has turned turbulent amid recession of its water level, devouring over 50 houses in just one week.
Locals said some 9.58 lakh flood-affected people in the vicinities of 16 rivers, including Brahmaputra, Teesta, Dhorla and Dudhkumar of Kurigram, are facing immense sufferings due to floods and the subsequent recession of water over the last three weeks.
Officials at the Water Development Board (WDB) said the erosion by the river has worsened following the recession of floodwater.
Bidyananda union in Rajarhat upazila, 20 kilometres off the district town, was said to be the worst-affected one as its two-third area have gone into the gorge of the river in the last three-four years.
The erosion could not be stopped even though the WDB dumped GO bags for the past one and a half months.
Locals said many erosion-affected people are passing their days in inhuman condition under the open sky.
Allegations are there that the day-loburers hired by the WDB were filling GO bags by cutting the river-protection embankment, disrupting the movement of all modes of vehicle.
After visiting the erosion-affected Chotura and Kalirhat areas, the UNB correspondent found more houses stand threatened, leaving their residents in utter frustration.
Sohagi, an 85-year-old woman of Kalirhat area, said, “Teesta snatched all my happiness and it all happened after the death of my husband.”
Her daughter in-law Purnima Chandra Roy, said, “The river has taken away all their belongings, including the homestead.”
“We’re now living under the open sky as we’ve nowhere to go,” she said adding, “I’m in extreme sufferings with my son and daughter. My son is an HSC student while the daughter is studying in class six. I really don’t know what to do now.”
Narayan Chandra Barman, 63, said, “We’ve now turned paupers as our houses have been devoured for 20 times by the river. We urge the government to provide us with a shelter.”
Ahmad Ali, now living on Chotural Hongshodhor embankment, said he was forced to spend sleepless nights for many days as river water poured into their house. “The house may vanish into the river anytime,” a worried Ali said.
“About three and a half kilometre areas, including Bidyananda Bazar, Tayub Kha, Dangra, Daburhalan, Daria, Hongshodhor and Kalirbhita, are now under the onslaught of the river,” Ali added.
Meanwhile, the houses of many, including Montaj Ali, Amjad Ali, Hafizur Rahman, Ali Mondol, Momtaj, Aijul and Jamir Hossain went into the river in last one week.
Jayanti Rani, a woman living in the area, said, “A homestead can be saved even when fire breaks out, but nothing can be saved when a river erodes it away.”
Taijul Islam, chairman of Bidyananda Union, said, “The labourers engaged by the WDB are filling GO bags by damaging the embankment.”
He said, “In last one decade, one-fourth area of my locality was devoured by the river. The river erosion here couldn’t be checked even after dumping GO bags.”
Contacted, deputy sub-divisional engineer of Kurigram WDB Rafiqul Islam said, “Our people are dumping GO bags to check the erosion in Kalirhat area. We’re working after bringing sand from char areas by boats.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of the district Sultana Parveen said, “The government is working for the rehabilitation of the erosion-hit people. We’ll take a sustainable project after conducting a feasibility study.”
Dhaka, Aug 13 (UNB) – There was an uncommon scene at Malibagh Rail Crossing on the Eid day on Monday with people buying the meat of sacrificed cattle.
People, mostly from low-income families, gathered there to buy beef from those collected it walking from door to door as Muslims keep aside a portion of the meat of sacrificed animals for the poor.
Besides, some seasonal traders were also found selling beef after buying it from the poor at a low price.
Md Hedayetullah came to the market from Banasree to buy beef as he could not sacrifice any cattle. “I’ve bought 5 kgs of beef for my family for only Tk 2,000,” he said.
Saleha Begum of Badda said, “I haven’t gone for collecting beef from house to house. That’s why I’m here and bought 5 kgs of beef for only Tk 1,500.”
Majid Miah, hailing from Bogura, had brought 10 goats to a cattle market in the capital for sale but he could not make expected profits. Finally, he decided to work as an assistant to process meat of the sacrificed cattle at different houses in the capital, and thus collected 10 kgs of beef.
“I’m selling beef for Tk 200 per kg as buyers are offering low prices due to the availability of huge beef here,” he told UNB.
Md Humayun who also hails from Bogura said, “I come here every year during Eid-ul-Azha to make some extra money after collecting beef and selling it in the temporary market.”
“I’ve collected 8-10 kgs of beef this year although their quality is not so good and I’m selling it at Tk 300 per kg,” he said.
A seller, Hanif, told UNB that he got 5 kg of beef from his employer and earned Tk 2,400 after selling those.
Amena Begum living in a city slum told UNB that she procured 10-12 kg beef and sold out the entire amount for Tk 500 per kg.
Three young men were found selling huge beef on a mat at the rail crossing.
Asked about that pile of beef, one of them, Md Imran, said, “I and my two friends invested Tk 50,000 and bought minimum 170 kgs of beef from poor people and we’re now selling it at the temporary market.”
He said they gathered beef at Tk 200-300 per kg from Gulshan and Siddheswari areas. “We’re now selling beef at Tk 500 per kg.”
Like Malibagh, makeshift beef market was set up in other areas of the capital, including Rampura, Badda, Mirpur, Natun Bazar and Moghbazar.
There were more than enough locally-reared cattle in the country to meet the demand for sacrificial animals during the Eid-ul-Azha this year.
The Department of Livestock Services (DLS) said 577,416 commercial farms and farmers had around 11,788,563 sacrificial animals against a demand for 11,000,000.