Bangladesh as an emerging developing country is committed to augmenting revenue and achieving fiscal discipline with a view to increasing self- reliance. The Government has recently taken some administrative policy reform in the tax administration but it is not sufficient for pro-poor and sound tax policy system. A tax system must be economically efficient, inflicting as little damage as possible on the economy. But there are huge challenges in regard to achieve progressive tax system and ensure tax justice.
Considering these perspective SUPRO showed interest to work on a sound tax system to minimize minimum losses of the country and logically economic improvement of Pro-poor and Progressive Tax System in Bangladesh with their campaign network partners so that the agenda can bring positive changes for poor people and redressing regressive pressure of VAT. SUPROs Tax Justice campaign also very much adhere to achieve the relevant target of government Fifth Five Year Plan and SDGs agendas.
To ensure constitutional rights of the citizen’s specially on Education, Health and Social Protection along with fulfill the targets and goals of MDGs and SDGs SUPRO has been working since its inception. With the support of Oxfam SUPRO has started the advocacy campaign with the policy makers from grassroots to national level for earmarking a developed, justified and progressive Tax System. September to November 2017 SUPRO has organized 24 Districts and 8 Divisional meetings across the country. Based on grassroots voices and recommendations SUPRO has organized the National Dialogue on 13 December 2017 at VIP Lounge National Press Club, Dhaka to disseminate people’s opinion.
State Minister for Finance and Planning M.A. Mannan, MP was the Chief Guest. Nazmul Haque Prodhan, MP, Quazi Rosy, MP and former MP Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal were also presented as the Special Guest. Dr. Muhammad Abdul Mazid, former Chairman, NBR, VAT Commissioner Matiur Rahman was the expert panel discussants. President of Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry Selima Ahmad, Dr. M. Abu Eusuf, Dept. of Development Studies, Dhaka University, Monjur Ahmed, former advisor FBCCI and Principal Quazi Faruk Ahmed was the panel discussants. Dr. Khalid Hossain, Programme Manager, Oxfam Bangladesh was presented as guest speaker. S. M. Harun Or Rashid Lal, Chairperson of SUPRO was chaired the session.
General Secretary of SUPRO, M A Quader has given his welcome speech. KGM Faruque, NC Member of SUPRO has read out the keynote paper presentation. Dr. Khalid Hossain of Oxfam said, “Inequality has been increasing in our country. To prevent inequality we have to stop evading taxes.” “Law has to be enforced directly to get results. Social awareness and lobby has to be enhanced to popularize tax paying attitudes” said, Dr. Muhammad Abdul Mazid, former Chairman, NBR. Commissioner of VAT (LTU) Motiur Rahman said, Tax dodging due to loopholes of tax system. It must be controlled. In our country, creative peoples are used to get hinder when he or she wants to do some innovative job. Political commitment is very important. We have to enroll efficient people in Tax administration “Principal Kazi Faruque Ahmed said,” Accountability is absent in tax administration”. Former Advisor FBCCI said, “Tax paying money should be utilized very honestly and effectively. We must keep emphasize national development goals for actual development in our country”. Professor Dr. M. Abu Eusuf said, “Financial Year needs to be re-arranging to see real development and proper implementation of ADP otherwise tax payers money will go in wastage regularly”. Selima Ahmad, President, Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry said, “Economic Development, Social Inclusion and Natural inclusion is must for effective tax reform”. Tax Evasion is creating anarchy”. Former MP Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal said, Political Commitment is very essential. Wealth statement by the law makers have to be visualized, otherwise rule of law could not be ensured”.
During open discussion SUPROs Vice President Manju Rani Pramanik said, we need structural reform of tax system and it has to be pro-poor”. Zillur Rahman, SURPOs Campaigner from Gaibandha said, we have to be incorporated Tax paying fear in RTI laws”. SUPROs treasurer Mahbub Morshed said, we need to keep emphasize health and education sector and the regressive pressure on VAT has to be reduced or totally removed”.
Among the Special Guests, Quazi Rosy MP said, we have to create a sound and healthy tax system so that people can have get more motivation to pay taxes”. Nazmul Haque Prodhan MP said, rich peoples are evading taxes by any means, we need to find out them and keep pressure on the rich people so that they could not evade taxes at all”.
Chief Guest, M A Mannan, MP, Hon’ble State Minister for Ministry of Finance and Planning said, “We have to prevent wastage of money. Civil society members will have to pay more attention how to spend tax payer’s money simultaneously”. Tax justice has to be established at all spheres of our society through strict monitoring”. The major recommendations which are came from SUPROs districts and divisional level meetings: Tax Net will be increased and the regressive pressure on VAT of the mass people has to be reduced. Basic Citizen’s services e.g. health, education and food security issues have to be ensured by proper using tax payer’s money. Direct tax needs to be widening to redress the VAT pressure on mass people. NBR has to be very strict and vigilant against tax dodging. Corporate Tax evasion by the Multinational companies has to be stopped and the royalty system has to be discarded.
Civil society members, journalist from print and electronic media, businessmen, academicians, SUPROs national council members, SUPROs district campaign committee members were also present at the occasion. 8 vernacular national daily newspaper, 4 English daily newspapers, 5 online news and 5 Television channels have widely covered the programs news.
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