Survey report: Bribery, corruption in NBR major obstacles in doing business

Among the respondents, 57% found it as a severe obstacle, while 22% rated it moderate, 13% as minor and 8% consider it not an obstacle

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The country’s informal business sector has categorically identified “bribery and corruption” in the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and its officials as major obstacles in doing business in Bangladesh, according to a recent survey.

Among the respondents, 57% found it as a severe obstacle, while 22% rated it moderate, 13% as minor and 8% consider it not an obstacle.

The survey, which was conducted among 1000 formal and 800 informal business in Dhaka and Chittagong, has also found public’s poor perception and belief about the NBR officials.

The survey titled ‘Tax perception and Compliance Cost of the Formal sector and Perception of Taxation by the Informal Sector’ was conducted by International Finance Corporation (IFC) from April 2012 to June 2012 and was released in last month.

The survey has defined informal firms as who is not yet registered with NBR and formal firms as those who had taxpayer identification number (TIN) and filed tax returns at least once in the last three years.

According to the survey, respondents were asked to give their opinion on 12 selected aspects of business operations and taxation matters on 5-point agreement – disagreement scale where they have showed strong negative attitudes towards NBR and its officials as they have rated 3.9% ‘NBR officials as corrupt point, the highest point in the five-point agreements.

Like the informal sector, businesses from the formal sector have also showed negative perception about the taxmen and opined that the taxmen were ranked the lowest in terms of honesty.

Under another rating in 6-selected options including competency and expertise, helpfulness, honesty, and fairness in assessment of NBR officials on 0-100 scale, only 39% of the respondents have rated the NBR officials as honest.

In another segment of resolving disputes, respondents from formal firms have noted that NBR took 339 days on an average to resolve a dispute.

They have also rated 79.4% for over imposition of tax, 51.5% for bribe, 67.7% for harassment by tax officials, and 42.7% for repeated visit required for the same job due to non-cooperation etc faced while in resolving disputes.

There are widespread allegations that the corruption among NBR officials is largely hindering the revenue collection growth as they are demanding bribes for providing their services, even it is happening in case of obtaining a certificate.

To remove such hindrances, the board has taken up different initiatives, including prioritising automation of the country’s tax system, said an NBR official.

“The NBR is hinges on automation to bring accountability and transparency in tax collection by the government officials to curb corruption,” he said.

The NBR is now putting emphasis on developing a hassle-free and tax-friendly atmosphere, so the taxpayers will be encouraged to pay more taxes in the coming days, the official added.

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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