Private university owners urge PM to cancel 15% income tax
Owners of private universities today urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to cancel the 15 percent income tax on the universities, terming it "unacceptable".
Association of Private Universities of Bangladesh (APUB), in a statement, said 15 percent income tax on private universities, which are non-profit organisations and operate as a trust in line with the Private University Act 2010, is also "contradictory" to the act.
The statement, issued by its Chairman Sheikh Kabir Hossain, said imposition of the same amount of income tax on non-profitable private universities as well as the profitable private medical and engineering colleges is against the private university act.
It said private universities are helping the expansion of higher education in Bangladesh. They have a remarkable contribution to reducing the number of students going abroad for study thus saving foreign currency as well as the deduction of brain drain, the statement said.
Rather, many students from abroad are coming to Bangladesh for higher studies and Bangladesh is earning foreign currency, it said.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many private universities are facing financial crisis. Paying salaries of teachers, employees and rent of university buildings has become uncertain.
In this situation, all stakeholders, including students and their guardians are concerned over the imposition of the 15 percent income tax on private universities.
The tax will badly impact private universities and increase education cost of students, Kabir said.
While placing the budget for 2021-22 fiscal at the parliament, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal proposed 15 tax on private universities, and private medical, dental and engineering colleges, including the ones offering IT education.
There are 107 approved private universities in Bangladesh with about 5 lakh students.
The government in 2015 also imposed a 7.5 percent value added tax on tuition fees of private universities, medical and engineering colleges.
It, however, had to backtrack from its decision following several days of students' protest which almost brought the capital to a standstill.