The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) yesterday urged the government to clarify its stance on black money in the next fiscal year.
TIB demanded the government erase any direct or indirect scope for whitening black money.
TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman has appreciated Finance Minister AMA Muhith for not bowing to the “pressure of an influential quarter” for giving amnesty to black money. “But the speech of the NBR chairman at the same press conference has created scope for confusion,” Iftekharuzzaman said. Confusion started as the budget speech by the finance minister did not touch on the issue, he said.
The watchdog called upon the government to scrap the relevant section of the Income Tax Ordinance and the provision of whitening money.
“If the provision is retained in any form, it will be very unfortunate and conflicting with the much-avowed stance of the finance minister and the prime minister against corruption,” said Iftekharuzzaman.
This should be done, he argued, to gain people's confidence because “the state's policy framework is gradually being grabbed by the forces indulgent of corruption while honesty and morality are being trampled”.
The absence of any plan in the proposed budget to implement the National Integrity Strategy also surprised the TIB chief.
"The budget speech termed achievements of the Anti-Corruption Commission as the success of the government, which proves that the government considers the ACC a government institution," Iftekharuzzaman said.
“This attitude is not helpful for checking corruption.”
"It is unfortunate that the government has created impediments in the ACC activities by dithered over transferring the money, which had been smuggled but returned from abroad later, to the ACC," he said.
The TIB also questioned the increase in defence budget, saying it lacks justification.
"The finance minister in the budget booklet admitted that there was no national defence policy. Even then, the defence budget was increased ... People have the right to know why there has been such an increase in the defence budget when the health sector's share has fallen," TIB said.
“It is unfortunate that the fundamental rights of the garment workers, including their security, welfare and incentives, have not received importance in the budget,” Iftekharuzzaman said.