12:00 AM, November 13, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 13, 2012

NBR keeps officials on a tight leash

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Sohel Parvez

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has tightened its grips on its officials, including barring them from making personal trips abroad, in a bid to bring discipline in overall administration.
The directive comes after new Chairman Md Ghulam Hussain took office at the end of last month.
Hussain, a week after taking charge, reshuffled personnel in NBR's top posts and made surprise visits to some field offices in Dhaka.
The chairman also asked for issuing show cause notices to some officials for lack of punctuality.
"Except for Hajj and serious illness, no personal travels by spending foreign currencies will be allowed," said the NBR office order issued to field offices of its Customs and VAT (value-added tax) wings last week.
This is the first time the NBR has imposed such restriction on its officials' personal foreign trips, according to officials.
"In many cases, we see officials seeking permission to go abroad to meet friends and relatives. This instruction is to discourage such trips," said an NBR official, preferring not to be named.
"But if anyone has valid reasons, he will be allowed."
Another official said the decision would help officials concentrate on meeting their collection targets.
In the order, the NBR also asked its officials to maintain punctuality in office time and discharging duties.
No one can leave station without permission, while no field level officials can visit NBR headquarters without permission, it said.
To augment revenue collection, Hussain directed field offices to find out potential sectors for VAT collection and focus on large firms.
The NBR also asked for introducing a strong monitoring system in each field office to boost collection.
"In case of failure to achieve targets, officials and staff will have to explain reasons," said the order, adding that all-out efforts have to be taken to prevent tax evasion.
It further said that creative and constructive initiatives would be evaluated and appreciated.
The revenue authority also urged for greater co-ordination among the revenue officials.
In the order, the NBR chairman also asked for ensuring chain of command, and strict compliance with government's cost-saving measures.

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