They think that such provision of illegal money whitening only encourages the unscrupulous people to continue doing their misdeeds. They also proposed to review the existing tax exemption criteria.
Equitybd, a network of right-based organisations, hosted the seminar styled 'Political economy of black money: undisclosed economy, national budget and resources mobilisation' at the National Press Club.
Member of Parliament (MP) Dr MA Mannan, prominent economist and also Professor of Economics Department of Dhaka University Abu Ahmed, Programme Director of ActionAid (policy and campaign) Asgar Ali Sabri, President of Economic Reporters' Forum (ERF) Khwaza Moin Uddin and Zakir Hossain Khan of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) addressed the discussion, among others.
Equitybd researcher Ahsanul Karim presented a keynote paper while the chief moderator of the organisation Rezaul Karim Chowdhury moderated it.
Mr Mannan urged the election commission to withdraw the budgetary limitation on spending during elections for the aspiring parliament members.
Prof Ahmed said black money legalisation just promotes the country's corruption and irregularities that help generate more black money.
"Regrettably, the so-called whitening system allows dishonest people to legalise their illicit money by paying only seven to ten per cent tax, while the regular taxpayers need to pay around 20 per cent, which is frustrating for them", he added.
He also criticised the government's unhealthy attitude towards increasing the common value added tax (VAT) that directly affects the underprivileged group of people.
"The government only mobilises 30 per cent of the state capital through direct taxing system while the remaining 70 per cent comes from indirect sources", he added.
He also said that the parliament must pass the Financial Reporting Act, which is fundamental to develop reliable audit reporting.
Prof Ahmed said multinational companies must be transparent in disclosing how much profit they are repatriating.
He also opposed the proposed 15 per cent VAT on all products and services in general saying that imposition of uniform VAT in general at the consumption level is frustrating.
The keynote presenter said the current annual capital flight is around $ 1.8 billion, which is much greater than the total annual foreign aid and loan of $ 1.2 billion.
Mr Karim said in South Asia, Bangladesh has the highest percentage of black money which is around 38 per cent of the total economy while in India it is around 23 per cent.
He suggested the government to review the existing tax exemption facilities that allowed its neighbouring India for 10 years' tax exemption of coal-fired power plant under Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (Pvt) Limited (BIFPCL).
Besides, tax exemption of parliament members that allows benefit of importing tax-free vehicles for which the country is deprived of around Tk 10 billion in taxes.
Published in The Financial Express
A network of several Civil Society Organizations has called for democratization of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) at a press conference in the city on the eve of its 46th annual conference which started in the Indian capital Delhi yesterday.
They presented a nine-point demands and urged the Bangladesh delegation to pursue their action based on these conditions. Hasan Mehedi of Humanity Watch, Syed Aminul Hoque of EquityBD, Rahela Rabbani of Karmajibi Nari, Shamim Arfin of AOSED, Javed Khalid Pasha Joy of Initiative for Right View (IRV), Mahfuzur Rahman Mukul of BELA and Kazi Hafizur Rahman of Swabalambi spoke on the occasion. Mustaga Kamal Akanda of EquityBD moderated it.
The nine-point demands are: one vote for one member in the 67 members organization instead of vote based on investment size, ensuring people's participation in approving Bank funded projects, open access to information to ADB funded projects, stopping indiscriminate denationalization, stop commercialization of natural resource, bring pressure on raising prices of utility services, protest commercialization of climate issues; and stop imposing PPP to big projects at all levels and cancellation of the immunity given to ADB in 1973.
They said seven big countries control 51 percent shares of ADB and they impose decisions on other countries specially on small countries like Bangladesh to make them their victims.
This is not democracy and rather bear out unethical attitude. Zaved Khalid Pasha said, Bangladesh is implementing 263 projects financed by ADB and most of them have caused or are causing long term damages to the livelihood of the local communities.
Even according to the ADB's own evaluation, the Sundarbans Bio-diversity Conservation Project (SBCP) and Khulna-Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project (KJDRP) are the examples of their failed projects although they cost hundreds of millions of Taka in local currency.
Syed Aminul Hoque of EquityBD said, ADB's pressure to increase prices of gas, electricity and fuel is bringing miseries to the poor and the farmers in particular. Its prescription for blanket privatization of the state-owned industries, privatizing the electricity and power sector, squeezing the public service sectors and promoting the shrimp culture are destroying the ecosystem.
Published in The New Nation.
Bangladeshi climate network Monday expressed its frustration over the outcome of the recently held global climate change conference (COP-18) terming it 'more inactive and injustice for combating climate change.'
The platform of the country's seven organisations involved in climate activism highly emphasised on appropriating climate negotiation as a part of the country's foreign diplomacy.
Their comments were made at a press conference held at the National Press Club in the capital titled "Doha Gateway: In Between Life and Death" dedicated to the COP-18 that was held between November 26 and December 09 last in Doha, Qatar.
The network includes Bangladesh Poribesh Andoloan (BAPA), Climate Finance Governance Network (CFGN) under the Transparency International Bangladesh, Bangladesh Indigenous People's Network for Climate Change and Bio-Diversity (BIPNetCCBD), Climate Change Development Forum (CCDF), Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL), Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD) and Network on Climate Change Bangladesh (NCCB).
The activists and experts of the network termed the Doha Climate Conference outcome as 'climate injustice for climate vulnerable countries like Bangladesh'. "It has also given developed countries opportunity to remain inactive considering finance transfer and carbon emission issues," they said.
NCCB coordinator Mizanur Rahman Bijoy presented the keynote which mentioned several fundamental weaknesses in Doha outcome.
The paper criticised the commitment by the developed countries to reduce carbon emission only by 18 per cent and termed it as unscientific as earlier commitment was to reduce carbon emission by 40-45 per cent from the 1990 level.
"It means the planet is, in fact, reaching an increase in temperature by 4 degree Celsius by the end of this century, which will bring a catastrophe beyond our imagination".
Climate specialist and executive director of Centre for Global Change (CGC) Dr Ahsan Uddin Ahmed mentioned the COP-18 as a tiger without nails and teeth.
Dr Ahsan emphasised on appropriation of proper climate adaptation programmes by Bangladesh with her own funds to avoid unnecessary interferences.
Published in The Financial Express.
Seven Bangladesh civil society climate networks said at a joint meeting yesterday that they were frustrated at the slow pace of actions at the Doha climate change talks.
Representatives of the networks criticised the developed countries, particularly the US, for their failure to listen to the "genuine climate related grievances" of the people from the least developed countries (LDC).
While urging the global leaders to reach an agreement based on scientific solutions and research, they told them to consider due compensation as repaying of climate debt. The representatives also feared that in the absence of any concrete deal in Doha it could possibly result in what they termed as a "climate genocide" in poor countries, including in Bangladesh.
Slamming what he called as the "selfish attitude" of the developed world, Rezaul Karim Chowdhary, who moderated the panel discussions, said there should not be any ad hoc approach for financing the activities in developing countries between 2013 and 2020.
The groups also urged for a decision on drastic cut in emission levels following science-based forecast and with the principles of equity and justice, common but differentiate responsibilities and capabilities not only applicable to the developed countries but should also be made accountable to all others, in particular to the emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries.
While speaking on the " loss and damage" discourse in the negotiation process, Dr Ahsan Uddin Ahmed condemned the approach of the developed world, especially the US, which he said was refusing to accept the proposals of International Compensatory Mechanism (ICM).
Representatives of BAPA, BIPNetCCBD, CCDF, CSRL, CFGN, EquityBD and NCCB were among others who aired their views on a host of climate-related issues that Bangladesh and other countries of South Asia are facing.
Besides Chowdhary and Dr Ahmed, Golam Rabbani and Mohamed Abdul Maitin explained the sufferings of the LDCs owing to threats arising from climate change.
Published in Gulf Times.
DHAKA, DEC 4: Leaders of different Bangladeshi civil society organisations have urged the developed countries to take historical responsibilities of climate change and high level f carbon emission, says a press release issued by EquityBD from Doha, Qatar. Addressing a press conference on Monday at Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC), whereUNFCC CoP-18 Climate Conference is taking place, the speakers also called upon the developed countries to shun the differences among them and adopt a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) to be implemented from the 1st January next year.