Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has asked the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to refrain from harassing taxpayers during tax collection.
"Collect the tax. But the taxpayers should not suffer," he said on Tuesday during the inauguration of a nationwide Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) system to expedite VAT collection from retail traders.
During the event, representatives from the business community also raised the harassment issue.
Md Mahbubul Alam, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI), said, "Traders can only work properly if activities are carried out in a well-planned way under the EFD system."
"We want to pay VAT-tax, but do not want to be harassed," he added.
The FBCCI president also underscored the importance of automating the entire tax collection system.
NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, who presided over the programme, admitted the lack of automation at the traders' level.
EFD for 25 types of businesses
The Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) system is set to be deployed across 25 categories of business establishments in the country. In its initial phase, Genex Infosys Limited, a private company, will take charge of installing and overseeing EFD machines within three zones of Dhaka and Chattogram on behalf of the National Board of Revenue (NBR).
The covered business categories include hotels, restaurants and fast food shops, decorators, caterers, motor garages, workshops, dockyards, advertising firms, printing presses, community centres, sweet shops, jewellery stores, furniture outlets, courier and express mail services, beauty parlours, health clubs, fitness centres, coaching centres, clubs, ready-made garment shops, electric and electronic appliance stores, home appliance shops, shopping centres, markets, departmental stores, general stores, super shops, other small and medium-sized stores, laundries, cinema halls, and security services.
In these establishments, when goods are sold, the EFD machine will facilitate the process by generating automatic vouchers upon inputting the sold items. These vouchers will accurately account for sales and associated VAT.
The EFD machine will maintain a connection with the NBR's server, ensuring that any generated information is promptly calculated and stored in the NBR's server. Furthermore, it will establish a connection with the IVAS software system of the Ministry of Finance.
Genex Infosys will receive Tk0.52 for each transaction conducted through the system.
While presenting the keynote speech NBR member Moinul Khan said, "We want to create an ideal situation where there customers will go to stores that have EFD machines. Organisations that do not have EFD will want to come under it."
He said that three lakh EFD machines will be installed within five years.
Shah Jalal Uddin, acting managing director of the company, said, "Through this system, information regarding transactions will remain protected. There will be no scope for harassment."
NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, said, "If the programme is successful, we will recruit more vendors across the country."
The programme was launched in 2019 on a pilot basis. But it has not gained momentum.
According to NBR, only 8,000 businesses have installed EFD machines, so far