ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (Pral) has submitted a report to Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Tariq Bajwa on the working and functioning of the organisation. According to the report, there are two streams of data input i.e. e-filed data and that entered by the Regional Tax Offices (RTOs) through manually received returns.
During the early development of e-Filing systems, large quantity of data was captured from manually maintained files/declarations therefore, the provision of handling for every type of data was made. All the possible constraints have been removed and gradually more constraints are being removed to maintain the system continuity.
There is misconception that the data captured and stored through the systems developed by PRAL is its data. In fact all the e-filed data is taxpayers’ data and that entered from manual declarations by the RTO is the RTO’s data. The data stored in the system as a result of decision of an officer is officer’s data.
Technically, all the possible checks can very easily be implemented in the IT systems but in transitional systems such controls are built intelligently so that the systems may work smoothly instead of sudden hang-ups, the report said. It said that the history of all the essentially required data is maintained in the IT System with track and trace capability.
Responding to an objection on unauthorised data manipulation, Pral said that no organisation anywhere in the world can guarantee that it will never have a security, safety or integrity incident. What all organisations must strive for is that they must have systemic checks and balances in place to minimise the probability of that happening and if and when that happens they will have the capability to identify, trace and rectify the issue, dig the audit trails and dispassionately apply and absorb the findings. Our systems have rock-solid audit trail, the Pral has elaborate segregation and management capability in place. It has been proved over time that whenever an employee or non-employee tries to abuse the system we have demonstrated the ability to investigate and report them to the fullest extent using rock solid audit trails built in to the system design.
To a question on software development, Pral responded that insofar as the effectiveness and efficacy of these systems is concerned these have been evaluated several times by independent evaluators. One-Customs was evaluated by the World Customs Organisation soon after its creation and received a rave review. ITTMS and its various sub-systems were evaluated by an independent international consultant and received a resounding endorsement. HRIS was evaluated by an international HR consultant and he was so impressed that he decided to cancel the procurement under International Competitive Bidding. The World Bank has reviewed FBR automation on at least six occasions in three years and their highly positive findings are available on record. The World Bank, after a detailed assessment, endorsed our proposal to scrap International Competitive Bidding for ITTMS.
A business succeeds on the basis of an effective solution delivery methodology and capability. Creating and exploiting such a capability is the litmus test of the management. Today, Pral’s ability to deliver solutions for FBR is unmatched by any competitor, for the following reasons: Firstly, Pral has very strong tax domain knowledge because of its inherent position and experience accumulated over several years.
Secondly, Pral’s software design and development capability is fully proved and is in high gear. Thirdly, Pral’s Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) approach which relies on proto-typing and Extreme Programming (XP) methodology is highly appropriate for FBR and has been instrumental in the rapid success achieved by it. The competition does not come even close.
Fourthly, Pral’s delivery processes are so tuned up that FBR surged from 6,000 Sales Tax e-filings to over 50,000 e-filings in one month without missing a heartbeat in terms of software performance, server and network performance and call centre performance, which has now reached to above 90,000. Fifthly, its performance has been validated by independent reviews conducted by international experts, including several periodic reviews by the World Bank.
Sixthly, cost Effectiveness and savings brought to FBR While achieving the above performance on the technical front, Pral remains cost effective and price competitive. Due to Pral, the saving to the country in terms of Intellectual Property Right and consulting costs is $50.0 m. The money if invested properly can fund the automation of FBR forever!
Thus while unmistakably Pral has been turned around in terms of delivery performance and employee morale, output, self-esteem and job satisfaction, this has been achieved through prudent and effective management policies and in a cost effective manner. The company has paid its employees market competitive compensation, but without going overboard so that FBR gets the best value for its money.