World Bank to be asked to redefine IT projects scope of funding
ISLAMABAD (August 14 2007): The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will ask the World Bank (WB) to redefine the scope of funding for information technology (IT) projects being completed under the Tax Administration Reforms Project (TARP). Sources told Business Recorder on Monday that WB has allocated around $80-90 million for IT projects under the TARP.
However, most of the IT-related functions have been completed without utilisation of WB loan. Despite the fact that the WB wanted utilisation of funds, the priority is to complete projects with minimum donor’s funding through domestic resources.
Sources admitted that out of the allocated amount, a meagre amount has been spent on IT projects. They said that the major projects like One Customs,; Customs Administrative Reforms Project; e-filing; Tax Management System (TMS); banking automation system etc are being finalised utilising board’s own resources.
So far an amount of US $8-10 million has been spend out of WB funding for the procurement of computers and other IT related equipment during the last few years. In the next phase, more procurement would be done for the reformed units like Regional Tax Offices (RTOs).
An amount of $40 million has been allocated for the integrated tax management System (ITMS). Many important features of ITMS like e-filing etc have already been implemented by the board. If the board achieves all objectives of ITMS with domestic resources, the FBR may utilise much less amount against the actual allocation for this project. Taking into account huge amount of US $40 million for ITMS, it is important to analyse all aspects. Sources said that the customs projects like Pakistan Customs Computerised System (PACCS) are no more part of the TARP.
During the upcoming midterm review by World Bank, the board will request the WB to redefine the scope of funding. It could be seen that the IT project in terms of deliverables are ahead against what is conceived in the actual plan. As the board has indigenously enhanced its IT systems, the board may request the WB to readjust the amount for some other project etc.
Source: Buisines Recorder