Improve public services to boost tax receipts: EquityBD

Improvement should be brought in the quality of essential government services especially related to food, education and health at first to ensure a rise in tax collection, experts said yesterday.

Enhancing tax collection requires political willingness and the culture of accountability in governance, they added.

People will pay taxes willingly if accountability is enhanced among government agencies dealing with essential services, said Ahsanul Karim, a coordinator of EquityBD, a civil society network on rights.

This can be done through establishing complaint response mechanisms, citizen charter and code of conduct, he said while presenting a paper at a press conference at the National Press Club in Dhaka.

EquityBD along with some worker and farmers’ organisations organised the event themed on “expanding tax area cannot ensure tax collection: political willingness on paying taxes must be raised among the public”.  

“The ratio of allocations, especially in education and health, is still low in comparison to Unesco and WHO standards,” added Karim.

It is also important to review different fees and charges in banks while the interest rate should be limited to a single digit, he said.

Bangladesh is a still a leading country when it comes to illicit money flows while India has reduced this in the last few years, he added.

“The proposed budget may be growth-based but not public welfare-based which is a common trend in most of the countries. There is no good news for the farmers in it,” said Badrul Alam, president of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, a platform of farmers.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, the event’s moderator, said one of Bangladesh’s state principles was socialism, a dream of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, where equality, redistributive justice and social welfare are fundamental.

The budget hardly reflects this spirit, he added.


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