Agitating private university students on the streets of Dhaka have started celebrating after media reports indicated the government has decided to withdraw VAT on their tuition fees.
They say that the government had to 'climb down' after their agitation.
Students of several private universities occupied streets at different parts of Dhaka on Monday—as they had done on Thursday and Sunday—to press their demand for removal of the 7.5 percent VAT imposed in the current budget.
Around 12pm, several media outlets reported that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during the regular Cabinet meeting, has instructed to withdraw the VAT.
As the news spread, demonstrating students at the capital’s Rampura, Uttara and Gulshan removed the blockade on streets and returned to their campus in a festive mood.
“We have proved that students of private universities can also deliver. The government had to bow to the students demands,” UITS student ‘Rifaat’ told bdnews24.com.
“The year 2015 marks the victory of private university students. Our movement proved that VAT on education is unacceptable,” said UITS student ‘Asif’.
Demonstrators’ platform, Bangladesh Private University Students’ Welfare Foundation thanked the prime minister.
“We thank the prime minister. The students were confused over the VAT which has ended now,” said its President Md Asaduzzaman Rono.
But any official announcement over withdrawing the VAT is yet to come.
According to sources, if a decision is taken, then it will be announced at an NBR press conference, scheduled to observe the Income Tax Day, later on Monday.
The government imposed a 7.5 percent VAT on tuition fees of private universities, and medical and engineering colleges in the budget for 2015-16 fiscal.
Students took to the streets opposing the decision because they fear this would add to their financial burden.
Protests on Thursday and Sunday blocking major roads, effectively crippled Dhaka traffic.
The government clarified on Thursday that the universities would have to pay the VAT as it was already included in the tuitions fees they charge from their students. It said the VAT amount should not be separately realised from the students.
But the clarification failed to satisfy the students and they continued to agitate.