Hayat Saif is considered as one of the most powerful personalities of the sixties and a serious literary critic. Not only is he renowned for his poetry, he is also known as a prolific prose-writer, who with an unusually rich vocabulary, can express subtle topics in lucid language. His article In Search of Roots: The Situation in the Poetry of Bangladesh1 has been highly acclaimed for radical analysis of modern trends in Bengali poetry. Currently, he is working on Herbert Read and translating his The Meaning of Art into Bengali, part of which has already been published.

Apart from literary activities, Hayat Saif, is a widely published author on technical subjects. Before becoming the Chairman of NBR, he served as the Member in charge of Value Added Tax (VAT) and played a major role in establishing the VAT system in the country, replacing the old excises and sales taxes. He has widely travelled around the world, to deliver papers on tax policy and administration at conferences in different countries.

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