BRTA online tax collection hits snag
Saturday, 12 December 2009

The progress in introduction of online collection of vehicular tax, an initiative taken about one and a half years ago, is painfully slow.

Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) officials said the tender proposals submitted by firms seeking to provide the online system is still being evaluated.

But documents obtained by bdnews24.com, however, suggest that evaluation committee head and BRTA director Rafiqul Islam had already submitted final evaluation report to chairman Md Ehsanul Hoque on October 28 this year.

The authority, which decided to make payment online after finding out a fraud in tax collection worth at least Tk100 crores, invited proposals in this regard in June last year.

Objectives of the move are to relieve people of hassle in tax payment besides making it transparent, says former BRTA director Humayun Rashid Khalifa, who initiated the process.

If the proposed online payment system is introduced, the tax payers will need to pay the taxes in some designated banks, which will transfer the money to the public exchequer in a day.

The customers will easily check online whether their paid money credited to the BRTA's fund and the central bank account.

Currently, the vehicle owners must stand in long queues for hours at the post office counters and deposit the registration fees and taxes manually.

Nearly a month ago, BRTA chairman Md Ehsanul Hoque told bdnews24.com that the evaluation process was yet to be complete.

"The evaluation will be complete in a day or two," he then said.

While contacted the chairman on Thursday last, he declined to talk.

"We are still evaluating the proposals," Rafiqul Islam told bdnews24.com Saturday.

"At present, I cannot say anything more than this," he said.

Islam's predecessor Humayun Rashid Khalifa told bdnews24.com Thursday, "I initiated the process for making collection system online in June last year."

"But I do not know the cause of the delay".

Khalifa said the BRTA management decided to make the tax and registration collection process online after detecting a "massive" fraud of public money by some officials and employees of the postal department.

Some postal department officials and employees lost jobs for their involvement in the swindle that took place between 2001 to 2004, he said.

The former director also clarified that the postal employees collected the fees from the vehicle owners and gave them receipts of acknowledgment.

But, they misappropriated the money by not registering in the ledger book, he said.

One BRTA official told bdnews24.com that the BRTA's tender evaluation committee on Oct 28 this year finalised its report on selection of one company from two "qualified" firms.

The evaluation report is now at the chairman's table for approval, he said preferring anonymity.

The report will go to communications ministry after chairman's approval and then to the government's purchase committee for final nod.

Source: bdnews24.com

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