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Top officials bat for homegrown cyber security system

  • Published at 09:04 pm March 29th, 2016

Bangladesh should reduce its dependency on foreign experts to ensure security for online transactions and other information technology systems, a senior government official has said.

Cyber security of local organisations, including government offices, should be controlled by local IT experts in the long-run to minimise risks, Bank and Financial Institutions Division Secretary Md Eunusur Rahman said yesterday.

The secretaries discussed the issue at the meeting of secretaries held yesterday at the Bangladesh Secretariat, he added.

“We will advise Bangladesh Bank on the matter at the next meeting of its board of directors,” Eunus said at a press briefing after a meeting on the progress of VAT Online Project of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) at the Institution of Diploma Engineers, Bangladesh.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith was present as the chief guest. Finance Division Senior Secretary Mahbub Ahmed, Economic Relations Division Senior Secretary Mohammad Mejbahuddin and NBR Chairman Md Nojibur Rahman were also present at the briefing.

The importance of cyber security comes into forefront after the digital heist of $101 million from Bangladesh Bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Just before this scam, a forgery gang stole crores of taka from clients of several private banks by skimming credit and debit cards.

“In most of the cases, Bangladeshi organisations currently have to depend on foreign experts for ensuring cyber security of their IT systems,” said Eunusur. “We have to take the cyber security issue seriously. Short-, mid- and long-term steps are needed to safeguard the country’s online systems,” he added.

Under the long-term programme, cyber security systems should be brought under the control of local experts, he added.

Senior Secretary Mahbub also suggested the revenue authorities to be more cautious about cyber threats regarding its online VAT payment system which is all set to come into effect with the implementation of new VAT and Supplementary Duty Act 2012.

Mahbub also emphasised on integration and harmonisation among the relevant government offices including the Finance Ministry, Office of the Controller General of Accounts, Bangladesh Bank and other commercial banks for successful implementation of e-payment.

“The finance minister has instructed the revenue board for raising awareness among the taxpayers, particularly the business community, and taking their opinion for proper implementation of the new VAT law,” NBR Chairman Nojibur said at the briefing.

Muhith also instructed the NBR to take steps so that the businesses maintain proper accounts and use the Electronic Cash Registers (ECR) for smooth implementation of the new law, he added.

In his speech, the finance minister said that implementation of the VAT Online Project from July 1 was a political decision and “it will not change.”

Under the project, all the VAT-related procedures including registration, payment, return filing, refund and law enforcement process would be brought under online system.