Almost 43 per cent or Tk 3 billion worth of funds of the much-discussed VAT Online Project (VOP)) has remained untouched even after the conclusion of its tenure on June 30.
Project officials had underspent the allocation as some of the planned initiatives were dropped because of the extended coronavirus pandemic.
In line with the Economic Relations Divison’s project-closing and verification report commissioned by Deloitte, nearly 90 per cent of the project task was done until June 30.
Senior officials of the VOP stated that 13 modules have so far been developed to automate VAT administration while the remaining 3 would be completed by July 2021.
The project was launched by the National Board on May 9, 2014, with the support of the fund from the World Bank and the government of Bangladesh.
$60 million was provided by the Washington-based multilateral lender for the project under a ‘programme for result’ initiative.
Previously, the government gave an extension to the project’s tenure as some major modules remained incomplete.
Three modules-audit, litigation, and risk management will be completed by the NBR’s IT (information technology) team with support from Vietnamese firm FPT that has developed the VAT online system.
The contract signed with the firm involving Tk 2.20 billion was until December 31, 2020.
The FPT will receive Tk 1.70 billion for its work under the project.
Based on the officials of VOP, a post-warrantee contract has been signed with the Vietnamese contractor to aid the system until March 2022.
They stated that the VOP work has geared up in recent times as the incumbent project director himself developed 23 business processes of the modules instead of appointing a project management consultant.
Nearly Tk 1.40 billion was allocated for the purpose of consultancy. The project spent only Tk 450 million by appointing a consultant on a part-time basis.
Training programmes for officials, campaigns, advertisements, software development for human resources, refurbishment of VAT offices, and appointment of a management consultant was dropped by the VOP.
Administrative units and IT have been created to incorporate changes in fiscal measures for the 2021-22 fiscal year as passed through the Finance Act-2021.
The major success of the project is to automate the VAT registration and return submission process.
In May, some 121,000 businesses or 67 per cent out of a total 241,000 BIN (business identification number) holders submitted their VAT returns online.
The modules completed under the project are tax types, registration, returns processing, revenue accounting, revenue management, taxpayer current accounting, refund and credit/adjustment, non-filing, debt management, taxpayer enquiry, document certification, and document management.