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Sunday, June 24, 2018

'Stop capital flight'

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Rights-based civil society groups yesterday formed a human chain to raise their voice on the inefficiency of banking sector and call for strengthening the central bank to stop capital flight.

Speaking at the human chain, they called upon the government to emphasize on income tax instead of VAT (Value Added Tax) for revenue mobilization and implementing fiscal 2018-19 budget.

Twenty right based civil society networking organizations (CSOs) coordinated by EquityBD organized the human chain in front of the National Press Club in the city.

Md Ahsanul Karim of EquityBD read out key demands in the program moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akand, Networking Coordinator of the same organization.

Among others, Badrul Alam from Bangladesh Agriculture Federation, Jayed Iqbal Khan, Syed Aminul Hoque from COAST Trust and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from EquityBD spoke in the event.

Md Ahsanul Karim demanded to increase corporate tax as direct tax rather than VAT as indirect tax and also to increase the minimum tax free income from Tk 2,50,000 to Tk 3,50,000.

He also recommended for strengthening central bank to establish governance in financial sector as well as to establishing central bank control over the banks and forming a strong bank commission to save people money.

He demanded publication of white papers of Bangladeshi's in Malaysia 2nd Home Program as well as publication of white papers and report on stock exchange debacle, plundering of money from public banks, and Bangladesh Bank money heist.

Syed Aminul Hoque said that revised VAT slab will increase VAT rate and increase burden for poor because they enjoy these lower slab of VAT. Failing to collect income tax from trade and big economic activities, government banked on poor for revenue which is an injustice, he added.

M Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said that Finance Minister did not keep his commitment in respect to setting up a neutral and a strong bank commission thereby helping the bank owners to plunder more public money from banks.

He also said that due to reduce bank corporate tax of 2.5%, government will lose about Tk 100 crore as extra revenue which will indeed make the bank owners more rich.

Md. Badrul Alam said that government has reimbursed more than Tk 10,000 crore as capital refilling from 2006 to 2017 to the state-run banks who are suffering from capital deficits because of corruption mostly done by the different companies (Hallmarks, Bismillah Group, Crescent Leather, etc) and supported by politically appointed directors of those banks.

Kader Hajari of Arpan said that government is heavily relying on VAT collection which is 33.7% excess target than FY 2017-18.He also mentioned that government has emphasised on collecting income tax from individuals rather than corporates.

It is about 58.4% excess target set out for individual income tax whereas the corporate tax is set 15.9% higher than that of the FY 2017-18. The government has not enhanced tax free income level and it will create extra burden for middle income earning people and the poor, he added.

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