The National Board of Revenue (NBR) posted 16.09% year-on-year growth in revenue collection which amounted to Tk1.53 lakh crore in the first seven months of the fiscal 2021-22, thanks to a surge in imports with pandemic easing slowly.
Of the three types of revenues, the growth in customs was the highest 22.45% in the July 2021- January 2022 period, while value-added tax saw a 12.68% and income tax 14.20% increase compared to those of the previous fiscal (FY2020-21).
NBR officials said a rapid surge in imports keeping pace with sharply growing local demand amid the easing of the Covid-19 situation played a crucial role in generating higher customs revenue, as well as the overall revenue.
Also, global hikes in prices of several commercial items such as fuel oil and essential commodities also contributed to the revenue growth.
"Besides, another reason behind the growth in customs revenue was strict law enforcement against imports under misdeclaration," a senior NBR official, seeking anonymity, told The Business Standard. Misdeclaration was a strategy to evade duties, he explained.
The customs houses of Chattogram and Benapole collected the highest amount of customs revenue, he added.
The NBR collected Tk46,767 crore in income tax from individuals and companies, Tk57,942 crore in value-added tax on production and distribution of goods, and Tk48,727 crore in customs duties on imports.
However, the overall revenue growth of 16.09% in the first seven months was far lower than the government's target of 27% for the ongoing fiscal. The government set a target of collecting some Tk3.3 lakh crores in FY22.
"If we consider our other economic situations including exports, the revenue collection growth is not at expected-level," said Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of the Policy Research Institute.
The government needed much more revenue to continue its ongoing developments, he added.
The economist believes that the NBR would be able to collect as high as Tk3 lakh crore revenue by the end of the fiscal, and there would be a shortfall of Tk30,000 crore. "The government might have to cut its budgets for different projects."
Ahsan H Mansur suggested the government modernise NBR as early as possible to realise the proper amount of revenues.