NBR is blaming small businesses for their incompetence, says the Bangladesh Shop Owners Association
The Bangladesh Shop Owners Association on Tuesday decried the revenue collection crackdown of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) on small businesses at a time when incomes have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Shop owners also appealed to the prime minister to collect 5% VAT at the retail level, so that small traders can survive during the pandemic.
Helal Uddin, president of the association made the remarks and on behalf of the trade body at the National Press Club, saying: “Amid the pandemic, when the business and income of the people have almost come to nil, people in black jackets from the NBR's intelligence branch confiscated documents kept in shops in the name of searching various markets and businesses.
“Often, the person in charge of the shop or business is also taken away. Due to this, small traders all over the country, including Dhaka, are in panic. This is tarnishing the reputation of the business-friendly government,” he added.
As long as the NBR is not able to bring 80-90% of shops or traders in all sectors under the coverage of Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) machines, VAT collection at the source level will have to be arranged as an alternative, Uddin further said.
The association noted that the NBR has already registered 350,000 shops and establishments. Of these, 300,000 establishments are not aware that they have been brought under NBR registration.
But hundreds of thousands of shops have been fined Tk10,000, some for six months, some for eight months, some for 10 months, and some for longer, the association said.
As per the new VAT law, NBR would install EFD machines as soon as shops and establishments came under registration but that has not happened either.
“At present 3,000 EFD machines have been installed in an unplanned manner by the NBR. I am proposing to use these 3,000 machines as a pilot project for any one sector — gold shops, tile shops, or hotels and restaurants across the country,” said the association’s president.
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In the last two years, the NBR should have installed at least 80-90% of EFD machines in retail stores and establishments, the trade body said.
Jahirul Haque Bhuiyan, general secretary of the Bangladeshi Shop Owners Association, said small traders decided to collect VAT at the retail level and deposit it in the government treasury.
“That development has been achieved in all areas across the country. It is being praised not only in the country but all over the world. But at the retail level, NBR has created complications in collecting VAT,” he said.
“If we could install EFD machines in 80-90% of the shops in the last two years, we would have been able to collect VAT from the consumers in one go. Basically, the NBR is blaming small businesses for its incompetence.”