Black money whitening can’t continue for unlimited period: CPD

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a civil society think tank, on Friday said the black money-whitening scope cannot be there always because it is economically unjustifiable and discouraging for the honest taxpayers.

“It can’t be continued for an unlimited period. It’s our clear stance,” CPD distinguished fellow Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya said at a media briefing at BRAC Centre Inn in the city.

He said the Finance Minister felt discomfort to bring the black money whitening issue in his budget speech and kept it in the finance bill.

Debapriya said they proposed two options in its pre-budget proposals – putting an end to black money whitening scope or imposing penalty in addition to normal tax.  “Our first proposal hasn’t been accepted while the second one is seemed to have got the nod. But such scope can’t be given for an unlimited period.”

Those who want to whiten their undisclosed money can do it by paying a 10-percent fine in addition to the applicable tax, according to the Finance Bill, 2012.

Though Muhith in his budget speech did not say anything about the new proposal but an article (19E) has been added to the Money Bill, 2012 to continue this scope.

CPD executive director Prof Mustafizur Rahman who was also present at the function said it could have been better had the Finance Minister informed about how much revenue the government has earned through black money whitening scope so far.

“After the Liberation War, the government has so far given such scope for the 16th time. We don’t know how much the government got revenue through providing the scope again and again,” he said.

The economist said there should be a research on the economic benefit out of the black money whitening scope.

Research head Dr Fahmida Khatun, senior research fellow Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, director, dialogue and communication division Anisatul Fatema Yousuf and other CPD team members were present at the media briefing where Debapriya presented CPD’s analysis on the proposed budget.

Earlier, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) strongly criticised the provision of whitening black money in the proposed budget for fiscal 2012-13 and termed it unconstitutional and immoral. The watchdog body demanded immediate withdrawal of the provision.

“Allowing the illegal money holders to whiten their black, the tax dodgers have been rewarded instead of punishing them. It also discourages the legal earners and honest taxpayers,” TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman, said.

“This is an example of political bankruptcy and the helpless surrender of the government to the immoral pressure of the black money holders,” he said.

Dr Iftekharuzzaman said the Article 20 (2) of the country’s constitution strongly stands against the illegal income. The government in its election manifesto in 2008 also said against the illegal income and black money.

He said this unconstitutional decision goes against the government’s anti-graft stance and commitment for establishing good governance, and it is suicidal for the government just ahead of the coming general election.

Source: UNB Connect

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