A group of 23 rights-based organizations have urged the government to reconsider its IMF prescriptions on new value added tax (VAT) law and cancellation of the law that proposes 15 per cent flat rate of VAT for all goods and commodities.
Claiming those as discriminatory, the speakers said that it would increase poverty and create hindrances towards the development of small and medium entrepreneurships in the country.
The call was made from a human chain on Saturday in front of the National Press Club formed by the members of rights organisations viz. COAST Trust, EquityBd, Arpan, Online knowledge society, Udayan, Labour Federation, SDO, Coastal Development Partnership, Kishani Sobha, DOCAP, National Labour Alliance, Nature Campaign, Prantojon, BAFLF, Krishak Federation, Voice, Labour Resource Centre, Sirajgonj Flood Forum, Sangram, Synergy Institute and Humanity Watch.
Mustafa Kamal Akanda and Ahsanul Karim of EquityBD, Badrul Alam of Krishak Federation, Subal Sarkar of Bhumihin Somity, Sanat Bhowmik of COAST Trust and Zayed Iqbal Khan of Krishak Federation spoke there.
Ahsanul Karim said Bangladesh government finalized the VAT law in 2012 according to IMF prescription which is supposed to be effective from 2015-16 fiscal that proposes 15 per cent flat rate which will result prices hikes of various essentials.
"IMF made the prescription to ensure interests of multinational companies, not for the welfare of countries like Bangladesh," he said.
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. Four cell phone operators have evaded about Tk 3,100 crore and British American Tobacco evaded Tk 1,924 crore. These taxes have to be collected," he said.