BANGLADESH: Rights groups accuse govt of favouring MNCs on tax

Saturday 10 May 2014

Date: 4 May 2014

Type: News

Source: The Independent

Keywords: Taxing MNCs

Fifteen rights groups yesterday accused the government of favouring multinational companies (MNCs) by giving concession on tax and value added tax (VAT), ignoring the interest of the country’s poor.

They also urged the government not to extend VAT in the budget for 2014-15. It will be repressive for the poor people if VAT is extended, they said at a “human chain” programme in front of the Jatiya Press Club.

Activists and leaders of the 15 rights groups—EquityBD, Arpon, Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Coastal Development Partnership, Kishani Shova, Nature Campaign Bangladesh, NCCB, Online Knowledge Society, Prantajon, SDO, Songsoptok, Udayan Bangla-desh, Unnayan Dhara Trust and the United People’s Trust—formed the human chain.

Among others, Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, Dr Mejbah Uddin of the Jatiya Sramik Jote, Badrul Alam of the Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Subol Das of the Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Syed Amiul Haque and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD spoke on the occasion.

The speakers said 70 per cent of the national revenue is collected through VAT (indirect tax) from the poor, while the remaining 30 per cent comes from the rich and MNCs as direct tax.

The average VAT rate in Bangladesh is 15 per cent which is the highest in the world, they said.

If Quasem Dry Cell is the highest VAT paying company in Bangladesh, what about large companies like Grameen Phone, British American Tobacco Company and Unilever? Do they dodge tax? Around 22,000 bank account holders have more than Tk. 10 million each in their accounts in the country, but do they pay their taxes fairly, they asked.

They demanded that the government publish income and expenditure details of the MNCs. It would make clear the amount of tax they are paying.

The government should not impose any VAT on essential goods, like rice, pulses, sugar, edible oil and onion, they added.###

See online : The Independent

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