Keeping windows to whiten black money in the proposed national budget for the 2019-20 fiscal has received negative reactions. Transparency International Bangladesh said that the black money holders would dominate and make more money in these sectors in legal ways. This would ultimately destroy honest means of earning legally in these sectors as well as expand and deepen corruption.
We are against all options of earning illegally and do not support the scope to legalise money earned illegally. Our stand is firstly ethical and secondly in keeping with constitutional norms.
Article 20 (2) of the constitution stipulates, “The state shall endeavour to create conditions in which, as a general principle, persons shall not be able to enjoy unearned incomes.”
Following this, we can say the scope to whiten black money is unconstitutional which can never be acceptable.
However, black money which means unrecorded money can be legalised by a scope of paying taxes. But, the tendency of keeping money unrecorded and not paying any taxes should be discouraged. In this context, one of the steps could be disclosing the unrecorded money by imposing taxes further as fine.
The government justified the scope of legalising black money saying that it would stop money laundering. But we can say from our previous experience that money laundering cannot be stopped in this way.
All the previous governments gave chances to whiten black money. The current Awami League government is no exception. But this opportunity could not stop money laundering. Unrecorded capital flow from Bangladesh stood $61.86 billion between 2004 and 2015, according to a report of Washington-based research and advisory organisation Global Financial Integrity (GFI).
So, it is clear that the scope of whitening black money did not work. It cannot be supportable for another reason. This will frustrate the people and companies that earn money legally and pay taxes regularly on time.
The black money holders will be able to invest in economic zones and high-tech parks by paying a flat 10 per cent tax in which tax authority will not go for the source of the money whereas those who earn legally and pay taxes regularly will have to pay 30 per cent taxes in some sectors. This discrimination is unacceptable.
Adopting honest means in businesses and economic tasks and growing a culture of paying taxes should be given the highest priority. The state should take steps to punish those who earn illegally and do not pay taxes so that this tendency is discouraged.
The announcement of keeping windows for whitening black money is also contradictory to the prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s zero-tolerance policy against corruption. If this chance is given, the corrupt will be encouraged. We want the government to eradicate the scope of whitening black money before approving the national budget.