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Diplomatic - World wide - July 24, 2022

6 officials going to Malaysia-Singapore to see scanner machines

They have to visit factory-offices

Golam Mostafa Jibon: Despite the government austerity policies, six officials including a Joint Secretary of Internal Resources Department and 5 officers of National Board of Revenue (NBR) are going to Malaysia and Singapore to visit the factory-office of Scanner machine. Firstly, they will visit the Scanner factory and then they are also scheduled to visit the company’s head office in Singapore. They will leave Dhaka on a Malaysian Airlines flight today. This information is known from the sources of National Board of Revenue and Department of Internal Resources.
Though, the government has taken strict stance on frequent and unnecessary foreign tour to avoid economic risks and all the officials have been asked not to travel abroad without decision of high-ups, grand festival of foreign tour in the name of different visit and training program is going on in different government offices showing thumb to the directive of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Sources said, NBR invited tenders to buy 10 baggage scanners and one body scanner for Airports and Land Ports. In this tender, a company named Navana Interlinks got the work permit of supplying the scanner machines. But, it is the matter of surprising that the officials are going to visit the head office of Navana Interlinks, also an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in Singapore. Later, six officials will visit the factory of the same company in Malaysia. The officials, who have been selected for the foreign tour are: Kazi Mostafizur Rahman, Commissioner of Risk Management Commissionerate, another unit of Customs, Suraiya Parvin Shelly, Joint Secretary of Internal Resources Department, Eidtazul Islam, First Secretary of Customs and VAT Administration of NBR and Joint Secretary of the Government Md. Abdul Hakim, who was recently promoted to the post of Commissioner at Benapole, Moshiur Rahman and Badruzzaman Munshi, Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Custom House.
Meanwhile, they have been obtained the Government Order (GO) for the foreign travel. Earlier, the names of four Customs officials were proposed as technical persons from NBR.
But, after the proposal sending to the Department of Internal Resources, an official order was issued adding the names of two more Joint Secretaries for this visit. When asked about the foreign travel of officials in critical economic conditions, the executive director of Transparency International, Bangladesh (TIB) Dr. Iftekharuzzaman told that, “Despite the government restrictions, it is contradictory for high-ranking officials to travel abroad in this economic crisis. And such contradictory behavior of the government officials is not new. The government officials went foreign tours earlier that were other matter as the economic condition of the country as well as whole world was well then. But now, the country almost entire world is now facing economic turmoil due to current Ukraine war. Consequently, they should have avoided such trip from their moral position in this particular economic situation. The biggest thing is that there is no need to go abroad a team to verify mere screener.”
Sources also said that, they are scheduled to leave Dhaka through Malaysian Airlines flight today at 12:20 pm. Five officers of NBR are scheduled to go on this flight, while the Joint Secretary of Internal Resources Department is scheduled to leave Dhaka by another flights tomorrow.
There is a question on who will bear the cost of the tour, the government or the supplier?
Though, it was claimed that, the entire cost of this tour will be borne by the supplier Navana Interlinks, there is mystery of some hidden matters. Apart from the air fare and hotel expenses of the officials, each member is also supposed to pay $200 per day. Though, the cost will be deducted from the product supplied, the officials of the company are unhappy with the foreign travel of six people instead of four due to the current dollar crisis. But, they do not want to open their mouths in fear of cancellation of the supply order.
Prashant Kumar Saha, a senior officer of Navana Interlinks told that, “An inspection team of NBR is going to visit their head office. However, instead of four, six people are going there ignoring the present crises situation that terms as extra burden.”
Economists said that, the government has imposed restrictions on foreign travel to achieve austerity. Apart from this, the high level of the government is repeatedly calling for cost-effectiveness. They also raised questions about how logical it is to travel abroad in this situation.
They also said that, maybe the supplier will bear the cost of overseas travel; But, this cost will be deducted from the product supplied. Or there may be a risk of low quality product supply.
The former chief economist of the World Bank Zahid Hossain said, “Despite the government ban, foreign tours are continuing. Those who are issuing these orders, they know why they are doing it. In the case of this high-level team, the supplier may be expected to bear the cost. But this company will cover this cost by providing the products. In that case, the prices of the products will be high or the fear of supplying low-quality products cannot be ruled out.”

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