The administrative chiefs of districts and divisions (Deputy Commissioners) have proposed to form separate bodies to boost the country's tax collection on the second day of a five-day conference. There is no doubt that the notably slow and inadequate tax collection record has become a major cause of concern and hence the DCS have come up with an idea which we welcome. The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has already received this proposal for consideration.
We know that there is no alternative to increasing tax revenue collection in expediting the economic development of the country. The current tax-to-GDP ratio, which is one of the lowest in the region, cannot be enough to forward the economy along a higher growth trajectory. Realising this fact, the district chiefs have proposed to form separate bodies at district and upazila levels under them and Upazila Nirbahi Officers to expand the tax net.In an immediate reaction to the proposal, the Prime Minister's economic affairs advisor backed them saying those deserves detailed discussion before implementation as it will require adjustment and coordination between the district administration and NBR for optimum benefits. As the district and upazila authorities maintain close relations with people, we believe there are ample opportunities to gear up the government's endeavour for boosting revenue collection as suggested by the DCs.
We must go through our tax system thoroughly for working out the whats and hows to implement the idea. According to an official data, around 62 per cent of income tax, one of the major components of tax revenue, comes from tax at source; companies make payments on behalf of the salaried employees. This is an obvious indication that the majority are not motivated to pay taxes as their responsibility as citizens. Unfortunately, not only employees but also others, including businessmen and industrialists like to flout tax payment.
Bangladesh is going through a massive transformation under the current regime empowered by peoples' mandate in favour of economic emancipation and prosperity. Above all, awareness has to be created at all levels that revenue is the most sustainable means of financing the development activities; hence they should pay taxes. The people must be told that developing the country with our own resources is a matter of great pride.