The government will be able to achieve the huge revenue collection target if other economic parameters remain sound in the days to come, hoped Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.
“The entire world is being affected by Covid-19 …Bangladesh is also affected. We’re working to offset the impacts and maintain the revenue collection [trend]. We won’t fail in revenue collection if other economic parameters remain sound,” he said.
The Finance Minister made the remarks at a virtual press briefing after a meeting held with top officials of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) through the digital platform.
Referring to the positive trend in remittance inflow and export earnings in July and the first half of August, he said the revenue collection will increase if various economic indicators continue to do better.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.
Talking about the government’s plan to expand the tax net, Mustafa Kamal reiterated that income tax offices will be opened in all upazilas across the country and the NBR has already been asked to formulate a project in this regard. “If such offices are set up at the upazila level, then the common people will feel encouraged to pay taxes.”
Besides, the Finance Minister said, new tax officers will be recruited and their efficiencies will be enhanced through training.
“I think, we’ll be able to achieve the revenue collection target as we’ll bring all the eligible people under the tax net,” he said adding that the government is trying to motivate the eligible people to pay tax.
Mustafa Kamal said the number of taxpayers will increase in the days to come due to various reforms like simplification of the tax return form.
In reply to a question, he, however, said the revenue collection is still not up to the expected level as a huge number of eligible people do not pay tax.
When his attention was drawn to the estimate of various international agencies that some 4 crore people are now in the middle income bracket, but only 22 lakh people submit tax returns in the country, he said the government will have to identify the new taxpayers, motivate them and bring them under the tax net.
Replying to a query over the CPD’s comments on the GDP growth, he said the CPD actually acts on assumption, but the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) deals with data and information.
The 2018-19 fiscal year was a sound year for the country’s economy with a revenue collection of Tk 2.23 lakh crore, but the revenue collection dropped by some Tk 5,000 crore in the last fiscal year due to the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.
NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem said they are working with various reforms. The Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) machines are likely to be launched formally on August 25 which is expected to increase the VAT collection, he added.
The national budget, announced for the current fiscal year (2020-2021), has set the revenue collection target at Tk378,000 crore. Of the amount, NBR has been tasked with realising a revenue collection target of Tk330,000 crore, the non-NBR revenue collection target is Tk15,000 crore, while the non-tax revenue collection goal is Tk33,000 crore.