Tax justice

Dhaka, 19 March 2019. Today a group of 18 Rights Based Civil Society Networks have demanded the tax money to invest for establishing women’s rights through a human chain organized in front of National Press Club Dhaka. Speakers mentioned that “Men are enjoying the benefits of food, health, healthcare, education, entertainment and other facilities more than women around the world. Women are discriminated in order to participate in economic activities, uneven recruitment, promotions, wages etc. But the participation of women in both formal and non-formal areas are increasing. On the other hand, the unpaid care work is not counted in the national economy. Speakers demanded on recognition of women contribution in the economy and also urged to reduce the burden on women and demanded redistribution of tax revenue with justice with more investment to the women.

The human chain is facilitated by EquityBD, moderated by Mr. Mustafa Kamal Akanda and the key note has been presented by Ms. Ferdous Ara Rumee of same organization. Among others, Ms. Rehana Akter of Bangladesh Krishani Shova, Mr. Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Mr. Barkat Ullah Maruf of COAST Trust, Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD spoke at the human chain. They demanded; (a) inclusion of domestic works contribution in national economy and GDP (Gross Domestic Product) , (b) Do not privatization of education, health, water and energy, which create extra burden to the women in families, (c) Abolish wage discrimination between man and women, (d) Invest money in education and women skill, (e) No VAT (Value Added Tax) on women headed family, (f) Recognize care giving work of the women, (g) Make taxes regime work for women and (h) Ensure women friendly workplace and daycare center for children.

In the written statement Ms. Rumee said, Women’s participation and contribution in the economy is increasing day by day. However, women participation in the formal sector is not yet expected. About 80 percent of the working people involved in the informal sector are women. But women get less wage and other benefits than men with similar labor. But, these women also have to buy essential goods and public services at the same price. On the women give more time than men in domestic and care work which are not included in the national income; the monetary value is about 77 percent of GDP.

Ms. Rehana Akter said, there are no day care center in several garment’s factories, government and non-government organizations in the city, except for a few. She urged the government to increase investment in creating a women-friendly environment and day-care center for equality at work.

Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury demands to recognize the women activities by government and must be asses their monetary value in our economy. Thus male domination would be change and women rights along with their dignity should be establish in the family, society and even the state.
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Dhaka, 8th November 2018. Today thirty-two civil society rights group facilitated by Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD) in cooperation with Tax and Financial Justice Asia (TAFJA) and Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ) and as a part of global week of action, have organized a human chain rally in front of national press club Dhaka, where they have demanded party election manifesto with measures to contain illicit flow or capital flight, bank money embezzlement and black money. They urged to stop culture of political patronage to create “Robber Baron” in the country, and they have also urged to make the loan information of MP (Member of Parliament) public in forthcoming election. The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, other speakers of the rally were, Md Shariful Islam Bangladesh Foundation, Mahbub Khokan Jatiya Unnayan Parishad, Feroza Begum Bachete Sheko Nari, Qader Hazari Aorpon, Sayed Aminul Haque, Ahsanul Karim and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD.

Apart from these key demand the group has placed six demands in this regard, (i) To control banking and financial sector central bank should be independent and there should be banking reform commission, (ii) loan defaulters and those who reschedule the loan again and again, they should not be given MP nomination, (iii) Bangladeshi’s whose name came in panama and paradise papers should not be given MP nomination, (iv) There should be white paper on Bangladesh Bank reserve money hacking, share market scam, responsible person should be given punishment, (v) To stop illicit money transfer there should be a cell to compare international price market, and (vi) To eliminate corruption, national integrity strategy should be implemented in all level.
Ahsanul Karim of EquityBD said that during 1870 to 1914 in the history of United State of America’s capitalist growth there was state or political patronage to elite and rich people to accumulate wealth in primitive way, who has been named as Robber Baron in the history. Same culture is happening in our country for last 47 years, but the difference is that those US Robber Barrons have had invested those money in their own country, but in our country such Robber Baron transfer their capital in developed country like Siungapore, Malaysia, Canada and other different tax heavens. According to the GFI (Global Financial Integrity) report 2017 it is more then 9.11 billion dollars, on which we could have two Padma bridge. Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD said that, these Robber Barons now is being occupying our politics. But the parliaments should be filled with honest people who are not greedy and no track record of primitive accumulation.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD and COAST said the country should not be like Zimbawe, Hondurus and Venezuela, that because of mismanagement of financial sector, our families will abandon their children will started mass migration. It is the poor migrant of the country send dollars while rich do illicit transfer of those. In fact there are little of private investment in last five years. He urged Prime Minister and political leaders to take action to contain illicit flow and to create confidence of the private investor and people.
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Today 13 June 2018, twenty right based civil society networking organizations coordinated by EquityBD has organized a human chain in front of national press club and urged government to emphasize Income Tax instead VAT (Value Added Tax) for revenue mobilization and implementing 2018-19 national budget. They also raised voice on inefficiency of bank sector and demanded to strengthen Central Bank to stop loop holes in capital flight and ensure governance in financial Sector.

The human chain is moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akand-Networking Coordinator of EquityBD and key demand is read out by Md. Ahsanul Karim of same organization. Among others Mr. BadrulAlam from Bangladesh agriculture federation, Mr. Jayed Iqbal Khan, Syed Aminul Hoque from COAST Trust and Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from EquityBD spoke in the event.

Md. Ahsanul Karim from the group has drawn the following recommendations these are (1) To increase corporate tax as direct tax rather than VAT as indirect tax and also to increase the minimum tax free income from 2,50,000 to 3,50,000 (2) Strengthen Central Bank to establish governance in Financial Sector (3) Establishing central bank control over the banks and forming a strong bank commission to save people money (4) all transaction which is more than $2000 must be through bank transfer and with TIN, (5) publication of white papers of Bangladeshi’s in Malaysia 2nd Home Program, (6) publication of white papers and report on stock exchange debacle, plundering of money from public banks, and Bangladesh Bank money heist and all above (7) shunning the path of confrontational politics and space to the free growth of democratic institutions, so that people and business man will feel sense of security and they will not try for illicit flow.

Syed Aminul Hoque from EquityBD said that revised VAT slab will increase VAT rate and increase burden for poor because they are enjoy these lower slab of VAT. Government failed collect income tax from trade and big economic activities, that’s why mounting on poor for revenue which injustice.

M Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from Equity BD said that Finance minister did not keep his commitment in respect of establishing a neutral and a strong bank commission which will assist the bank owners to plunder more public money from banks. He also said that due to reduce bank corporate tax of 2.5%, Govt. will lose about Tk.100 crore as extra revenue which will indeed make the bank owners more rich.

Md. Badrul Alam of Krishak Federation said that Government has reimbursed more than 10,000crore of as capital refilling from 2006 to 2017 to the state running banks who are suffering from capital deficits because of corruption mostly done by the different companies (Hallmarks, Mismilla Group, Crescent Leather, etc) and supported by politically appointed directors of those banks. The supported money most collecting from hard earn people as tax.

Kader Hajari of Arpan said that Govt. is heavily relying on VAT collection which is 33.7% excess target than FY 2017-18. He also mentioned that Govt. has emphasis to collect income tax from individuals rather than corporate. It is about 58.4% excess target set out for individual income tax where the corporate ta is 15.9% than the FY 2017-18. The government has not enhanced tax free income level and it will create extra burden for middle income earn people and the poor.
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IMG_0450_IndexDhaka, 7th May 2017. Today  25 rights based civil society organizations along with EquityBD termed the VAT (Value Added Tax) as regressive to poor. Government is embarking on this with IMF (International Monetary Fund) prescriptions, so there should not be emphasize on VAT, which is indirect tax, there should be more emphasize on direct tax, the opined.  They also criticised the government as they found hardly any political will of government to arrest Blank Money and illicit flow which is ever increasing, they urged for an announcement in this regard from the government in next budget session.
The call was from a press conference title “New VAT as Regressive to Poor: We Demand Announcement of Measures against Black Money and Illicit Flow in Next Budget”, held at National Press Club today. The press conference was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from EquityBD, other speakers of the press conference was Monowar Mostafa from Development Synergy Institute, Asgar Ali Sabri from Action Aid Bangladesh, Aminur Rasul Babul from Upkuliya NGO Jote and Badrul Alam from Bangladesh Krishok Federation.
Ahsanul Karim Babor from the group presented the written position paper which elaborated 13 recommendations in this regard, where major demands are in taking examples from India. These are (i) asking annual bank statement from all dual citizens, (ii) initiatives to have tax and bank transparency agreement with different countries, (iii) all transaction which is more than $2000 must be through bank transfer and with TIN, (iv) publication of white papers of Bangladeshi’s in Malaysia 2nd Home Program, (iv) consideration of banning money note and bring them in bank account taking the examples from recent rupee 500 and 1000 note banning in India, (v) publication of white papers and report on stock exchange debacle, plundering of money from public banks, and Bangladesh Bank money heist and all above (vi) shunning the path of confrontational politics and space to the free growth of democratic institutions, so that people and business man will feel sense of security and they will not try for illicit flow.
Monowar Mostafa of Development Synergy Institute said state cannot ignore the principle of ability of payment of its citizen, VAT defeats this principles which is against the sense of social democracy. Asgar Ali Sabri said that government hardly follow a democratic and inclusive process for preparation of budget and setting tax principles. Aminur Rasul Babul of Upokuliya NGO Jote said that due to the new VAT law savings of poor families will be eroded and then the investment toward education and health will be hampered. Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federtation said that, majority of the farmers will be loser due to the new VAT law. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury the moderator of the press conference said, government must stops the loopholes first to do local resource mobilization prior to embark on new law on tax mobilization.
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IMG_8906_IndexDhaka, 23 March 2017. A group of 22 Rights Based Civil Society Network has demanded in the inclusion women activities related with homestead performance in our national economy and GDP (Gross Domestic Product). This demand has been made from an event of human chain titled “Count Women Activities in National Economy” that held at national press club today. They said that the homestead related women activities by women must have contribution to economic development and growth of our GDP. So government should calculate these activities as the research shown these activities are occupy 79% of our GDP.

The human chain was facilitated by COAST Trust, moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akand and the key note has been presented by Ferdous Ara Rumee of the same organization. Among others, Dr. Shamsul Islam and Subal Sarkar of Bangladesh Landless Somiti, Kazi Muniruzzaman of Prochesta Kalayan Somiti, Jayed Iqbal Khan of Krishak Federation, Kader Hazari and Asif Iqbal spoke at the demonstration.

In the written statement Ms. Rumee said that VAT & Tax are meaningless to the poor and low income people. They are happy if the prices of essential goods are in the range of purchasing capacity, but these are not easily affordable for these poor people and price is going up day by day. She also said that women are paid low salary in our informal sector and even our economy does not recognize homestead activities performed by women which occupy 79% of GDP (CPD research 2014). These have been resulted in discriminatory situation for women that should be minimized.

Mr. Jayed Iqbal Khan said that current government’s gender budgeting is questionable because the implementation does not take place appropriately and sometimes isn’t utilized due to reluctance of govt. officials. That’s why women are deprived of the benefit of these projects. Mr. Asif Iqbal said due to insufficient experience on SME operation, women also face problems in accessing financial services.

Mostafa Kamal Akand demanded the recognition of the women activities by government and assessment of their monetary value in our economy. So that male domination can be mitigated and women rights along with their dignity are established in the family, society and even the society. Last edit 2 April, 2017
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IndexDhaka, 7th June 2016. Toady 7th June Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD) a net work of right based civil societies, farmers, labors and NGOs, has organized a press conference at national press club Dhaka title “ Budget 2016-17, Stop capital flight must be a priority rather than increasing taxes, other than strengthening democratic institutions there are hardly any alternative to attract private investment”. During the press conference speakers criticize the proposed national budget 2016-17 as a budget of inequality and injustice, they urge for free and fair growth of democratic intuitions and also demand immediate steps to arrest growing nature of capital flights from the country. The press conference was moderated by Mr.Rezaul Karim Chowdhury the Chief Moderator of EquityBD, while position paper was read out by Mr. Ahsanul Karim Babor of EquityBD, other speakers of the press conference were, Sayed Aminul Haque EquityBD, Mostafa Kamal Akhanda of COAST and Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishok Federation.
As Mr Ahsanul Karim read out from the position paper, there are 26 % increase of interest to bank and other sources in this proposed budget for taking loan compared to last year. Non development expenditure is 55 % including interest it is total 67 % of the budget, rest 33 % is only for development expenditure. The capital flight of 2013 was 12 time higher than the foreign grant and 141 % more of foreign loan of the year 2015-16. Bangladeshi people’s deposit in different banks of Switzerland was increase 43 % during 2014 compare to previous year, while deposit rate of other countries especially of India has reduced drastically. Around 3061 (May 2015) people did capital transfer from Bangladesh in Malaysia through their second home program, which is third highest. Bangladesh is the fifth highest country of origin of remittance in India.
Sayed Aminul said that while India has shown several effective measures to stop capital flight, our government has shown hardly any effective measures in this regard. On the other hand in this proposed budget there are proposal of enhancing VAT and other taxs, which is injustice. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury the moderator of the press conference mentioned that, politicians must shun the confrontational politics and hate speech to promote sense of security to the citizens which is a basic to stop capital flight. He also said that free and fair growth of democratic intuitions is also essential to attract private investment. Government has a declared National Integrity Policy; he demanded effective measures to implement the policy to curb the corruptions are also an essential in this regard.

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indexDhaka 16th April 2016. Today in a roundtable title “Illicit Financial Flow and Our Political Economy” jointly organized by the Daily Bonikbarta and Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD), speakers are urged for a minimum political commitment from all parties to promote sense of security to reduce illicit financial flow. The roundtable was chaired by Mr Tazul Islam Member of Parliament (MP) the Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources, the roundtable was moderated by Mr Dewan Mohammed Hanif, Editor the Daily Bonik barta.
Other speakers of the roundtable was Mr Amir Kashru and Lt Gen (Retd) Mahbubur Rahman from Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Dr. Salehuddin Ahmed ex Governor Bangladesh Bank, Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman Chairman PPRC and ex Advisor to caretaker government, Dr. M A Taslim Chairman Department of Economics Dhaka University, Dr Jamal Uddin Ahmed, Member Governing Board Bangladesh Bank, Dr Rashed Al Titumir Dhaka University, Mr. Farooq Ahmed Executive Editor the New Nation, Rezaul Karim Chowdhury Chief Moderator EquityBD and Executive Director COAST. Mr Ahsanul Karim of EquityBD presented the key note papers.
Ahsanul Karim of EquityBD mentioned that present illicit flow from Bangladesh was 7 % of GDP in 2014; it was 11 % higher than on that time foreign flow. Bangladeshi people’s deposit in Switzerland Bank was 41 % higher compare to the figure of 2013, Bangladeshi s are third in second home program of Malaysia. He recommended, to follow the instances of present Indian govt. steps to contain the situation i.e., submission of income and bank statement of dual citizens, each purchase more than $ 2 thousand must go through bank channel in using of personal identification number, strong punishment in respect of false name asset.
Dr Salahuddin urge for strict compliance of rules and strong role of regulatory bodies. Dr MA Taslim mentioned that there should be study on why people transfer money; it is mostly because of hassles in law and insecurity in business investment. Dr Rashid Al Titumir said that illicit flow happened from the stock of money which is being accumulated out of public fund embezzlement, so corruption related to public fund have to be contained. Dr Hossain Zillur mentioned that illicit flow is multidimensional; even there is political certainty if there are no good governance illicit flow will happen. At the conclusions, Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman, Mr Amir Kahsru of BNP and the Chair of the seminar Mr Tazul Islam MP emphasize the minimum political commitment to promote sense of security to reduce the illicit flow.

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Index_7952As a part of Global Week of Action for Tax Justice, today more than 20 rights based civil society organizations including farmers and labor organizations led by EquityBD has organized a human chain in front of national press club and demand to ensure Tax Transparency of MNCs (Multinational Companies) in Bangladesh. They also demand to publish a white paper on illicit finance flow and with government’s action strategies to recovery from different Tax Heavens countries like Malaysia, Switzerland Canada. The right groups criticize the government for imposing VAT expansion and her foreign resource mobilization planning which created debt burden and peoples plight in their livelihood. Rather stopping illicit finance flow that will be easy to necessary resource mobilization they said.
The human chain is moderated by Mosafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD and there spoke by Md. Ahsanul Karim from same organization. Among the other speakers were Subol Sarkar of Bhumihin Somity, Prodip Kumar Roy of Online Knowledge Society, M Hafizul Islam of PSI (Public Service International), Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust and Syed Aminul Hoque from EquityBD.
Md. Ahsanul Karim said that UK-based research organization-“Tax Justice Network” published a report on Financial Secrecy Index (FSI)-2014 as on 2-November, 2015. The report revealed the role of 92 countries in maintaining financial secrecy and the top ten countries are Switzerland, Hong Kong, USA, Singapore, Cayman Island-UK, Luxemburg, Lebanon, Germany, Bahrain and Dubai. He mentioned that the developed countries are paying $135 billion to poor countries as foreign aid in exchange of $1-$1.6 trillion as illicit financial flow to the developed countries, i.e. against every US$1 of foreign aid, US$10 is siphoned off to the developed countries. He also added, in every year an amount of BDT 200 billion through hundi, BDT 100-160 billion through miss invoicing and about BDT 500 billion through money laundering to other countries. Thus govt. is losing huge amount of revenue in every year.
M Hafizul Islam of PSI said that, a total of US$18.41 billion had been siphoned off Bangladesh in 10 years since 2003 through trade miss-invoicing, corruption, bribery and tax evasion by a report of Washington-based Global Financial Integrity (GFI). That means, government could earn near about BDT 360 billion as additional revenue and would able to invest it in the development program.
Aminul Hoque said that, poor people are crippled due to paying of higher rate VAT, debt burden and debt servicing liabilities during last year’s. Govt. needs to realize this through taking appropriate action and strategies for stopping illicit finance flow to ease the people livelihood along with pro poor resource mobilization technique.
Subal Sarkar stated that a total tax of more than $402 million have been evaded by the four major mobile phone multinational companies in Bangladesh namely Grameen Phone (Telenor), Banglalink (Orascom), Robi (Singtel) and Airtel (India) through SIM card replacement. Other Multi National Company like British American Tobacco Company has also been accused for tax evasion of around $250 million through false declaration of raw material import.
Aminur Rasul Babul mentioned that for Bangladesh, it is not impossible to get the information on money laundering, after an agreement signed on July-2013 with the International Agency “Augment Group” to protect money laundering and terrorist financing where other 147 countries are included. For that, Bangladesh will have to sign with Switzerland for information exchange regarding tax or money laundering. He also added that, the CSO across the world, are urging for a Redistributive Justice for a post 2015 world based on the unsatisfactory achievement of MDG, we can’t afford the MNCs go untaxed since it only creates inequality.
The right groups demand, (1) Any Bangladesh citizen holding duel passport and have transaction with Bangladesh, must submit their bank and assets information. Punishment should be imposed if tax evasion found. 2) Govt. have to prepare a white paper and make it public on how many Bangladeshis have taken Malaysian Second Home and other citizenship advantage through financing transaction from country. 3) Inter-governmental agreement to be signed with different countries e.g. with Switzerland to exchange bank transaction information of Bangladeshi people as well as foreigners those are working in Bangladesh. 4) Develop legal procedure and stop illicit financing through Hundi. 5) Multi National Co. must disclose their investment and their income. MNC must pay their fair share of taxes 6) White Paper has to be disclosed on financial plundering by Bismillah, Hall-Mark group and other state banks and share market. 7) Govt. should replicate Indian initiative and introduce TIN (Tax Identification Number) for any purchasing or transaction above $2,000 with no cash transaction. If any irregularities found, assets should be seized at once.

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Index_0424th may 2015: Today twenty one rights based civil society organizations and networks facilitated by EquityBD organized a press conference in national press club titled “Stop illicit Finance flow to ensure development investment and revenue mobilization” and demanded to take specific measures to stop illicit finance flow. They also said that it is indispensable for our government to enhance development investment and necessary resource mobilization if want to become a middle income country by 2021.
The press conference is moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD while position paper is read out by Ahsanul Karim of same organization. Other speakers of the press conference are Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust, Prodip Kumar Roy of Online Knowledge Society and Md. Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krisak Federation.
On behalf of the group, Md. Ahasanul Karim made eight point demands, those are (i). Any Bangladesh citizen holding duel passport must submit their detail annual information on bank and assets. Punishment should be imposed if tax evasion found. (ii). Govt. have to prepare a white paper and make it public on how many Bangladeshi people have taken “Malaysian Second Home and other citizenship process” through financing transaction from country. (iii). Inter-governmental agreement to be signed with different countries e.g. with Switzerland to exchange bank transaction information of Bangladeshi people as well as foreigners those are working in Bangladesh. (iv). Develop legal procedure and stop illicit finance through “Hundi Process” and dismiss the staff of govt. and non-govt. who are involved in this illegal process. (v). Govt. should replicate Indian initiative and introduce TIN (Tax Identification Number) for any purchasing or transaction above US$ 2000. If any irregularities are found, assets should be seized instantaneously. (vi). Investigation should be done to trace out the money flow and White Paper to be disclosed on financial plundering by “Bismillah, Hall Mark and other state banks and share market”. (vii). Government’s audit to be conducted on national and multinational companies and disclose a report on how much amount have been repatriating through under invoicing & over invoicing process. (Viii). Government should investigate the mobile banking and its financial transactions, because it is assuming to involve with money laundering through human trafficking in other South Asian countries.
Md. Ahsanul Karim mentioned that a total of US$18.41 billion had been siphoned off Bangladesh in 10 years since 2003 through trade miss-invoicing, corruption, bribery and tax evasion by a recent report of Washington-based Global Financial Integrity (GFI). That means, government could earn near about BDT 36,000 core as additional revenue and will able to invest in the development program.
Md. Badrul Alam of Krisak Federation said that enhancing domestic revenue is urgent as we fail to mobilize resource to our national ADP (Annual Development Program) without foreign loan. Mr. Prodip K. Roy said that the Bangladeshi citizen deposited Tk 3,236 core in 2013 that disclosed by Swiss National Bank report which is 62% increased than the year 2012 and demanded to disclose the details for transparency. Mr. Aminur Rasul Babul said that under the “My Second Home” program of Malaysia total about 2370 nos of Bangladeshi citizens have taken this advantage since 2002 to 2013. He mentioned that about BDT10,000 crore has been transferred to Malaysia for flat and plot purchase.
Moderator of the press conference said that, for the sake of our garments worker and migrated labor people, govt. should stop illicit finance flow and ensure investing these amounts for our poor people and their socio-economic development, because they are earning foreign currencies for us.
The twenty one civil society organizations of this allise are Arpan, Online Knowledge Society, EquityBD, Udayan-BD, Bangladesh Sramik Federation, DSO, CDP, Krisani Sava, Jatio Sramik Jote, DOKAP, Nature Campaign-BD, Prantojan, BAFLF, Bangladesh Krisak Federation, Bangladesh Bhumihin Somiti, VOICE, Labor Resource Center, Sirajganj Flood Forum, Synergy Institute and Humanity Watch.

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index_77Dhaka, 25th April 2015. Today from a human chain 23 right based civil society organizations urge the government to reconsider IMF prescriptions on VAT law. They also demanded cancellation of new VAT law which proposes 15% flat rate for all good and commodities. They think, this new law will increase poverty and it will create hindrances towards the development of small and medium entrepreneurships in the country.

The human chain was organized in front of the National Press Club by Arpan, Oline knowledge society, COAST Trust, EquityBd, Udayan Bangladesh, Bangladesh Labour Federation, SDO, Coastal Development Partnership, Kishani Sobha, DOCAP, National Labour Alliance, Nature Campaign Bangladesh, Prantojon, BAFLF, Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Voice, labour Resource Centre, Sirajgonj Flood Forum, Sangram, Synergy Institute and Humanity Watch.

The human chain was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD while Ahsanul Karim from the same organization presented the key note on behalf of the organizers. Among others Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Subal Sarkar of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Sanat K Bhowmik of COAST Trust and Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishak Federation also spoke on the occasion.

Ahsanul Karim said, Bangladesh government finalized the VAT law in 2012 according to IMF prescription which is supposed to be effective from financial year of 2015-2016. This law proposes 15% flat rate which will result prices hikes of various essentials. IMF does not make this type of prescription for the welfare of countries like Bangladesh; rather intention of these prescriptions is to ensure interests of multinational companies.

Badrul Alam said, the new VAT law will create additional burden for the farmers and agriculture of Bangladesh. Direct tax must be collected form multinational companies rather than imposing new tax burden for the poor. Various multinational companies are evading taxes using various techniques. For example, four cell phone operators have evaded about 3100 crore taka, British American Tobacco evaded 1924 crore taka. These taxes have to be collected

Subal Sarkar said, the main intention of IMF is not development, rather to bring Bangladesh in the trap of loan. Their prescriptions in various countries have been failed. 18 Sub-Saharan countries are implementing VAT laws according to IMF prescription, but they have been failed clearly to achieve the goals of making the tax-GDP ratio 18-20%. Research shows, tax-GDP ratio in these countries have been decreased!

Sanat Kumar Bhowmik said, contribution of direct tax in Bangladesh is lower than other developing countries. In India direct tax is 35% of total revenue collection, Sri Lanka 38%, in rich countries it is about 70%. Focus should be given on direct tax rather than to indirect taxes like VAT, because these taxes impose additional burden on poor people.

Some other demands have also been placed from the human chain such as, no expansion of VAT on essentials, separate tax unit formation, Tax ombudsman, reduction of non-development expenditures, string actions against black money.

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Dhaka, 19 March 2019. Today a group of 18 Rights Based Civil Society Networks have demanded the tax money to invest for establishing women's...