bangladesh may 30 2012Dhaka, Bangladesh – Rights group at a rally here on Tuesday urged the government to expand the tax net in the next budget and reconsider the VAT expansion plan, reports UNB.

They said people want to pay more taxes, but there must be steps to rein in luxury and stop corruption reducing dependence on foreign aid.

Seventeen civil society rights group networks and organsations organised the rally and a human chain in front of the National Press Club in the city.

Moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, the rally was addressed, among others, by Joyanta Achariya of Shurakkah Foundation, Prodip K Roy of OK Society, Subal Sarker of Bhumihin Samity, Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Hena Chowdhury and Mesbah Uddin Ahmed of Jatiya Sramik Jote and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD.

Mesbah Uddin said the government, in compliance with IMF conditions, is going to formulate a new law for the expansion of VAT, which will go against the interest of the poor.

"It's (VAT) already the source of 70 percent of revenue as indirect tax, while in developed and neighbouring countries, direct tax, personal and corporate taxes are the major sources of government revenue," he said.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said the country's 40 percent resources belong to only 5 percent people who live in capital Dhaka. "Of them, 0.5 percent only gives taxes. The country has more than 22,000 people who have bank accounts with more than Tk 1 crore each. Of them, only around 1,000 people give taxes. So, there is an ample scope of enhancing direct tax," he said.

A set of demands was put forward at the rally and human chain.

The demands include declaring a roadmap to stop black money whitening scope, introducing 'punishment tax' on undisclosed money, declaring austerity measure, taking effective steps to cut corruption in revenue department and making all audit reports of government offices public.

Published in The News Today.