Less eating and paying taxes

Md Rezaul Karim By Md Rezaul Karim, 26th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2td23-tc/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

Bangladesh Commerce Minister advises people to eat less, and
Be the number one on the rating of tax!

A cruel joke!


The advice of the commerce minister of Bangladesh Government, people should eat less in order to avoid problems like adulteration and price spiral of food, could very well have been an impertinent attempt at inane humor over two issues of serious public concern gone inevitably wrong. Or, it could have been merely an articulation of the minister’s deep-seated indifference to the misery of the people at large, who have been reeling under the twin menaces of food adulteration and food insecurity for long. Worse still, as reported in a daily, the minister’s conclusion at a discussion on food adulteration on Thursday—i.e. people did not die taking less food; rather, they ran less risk of consuming adulterated food—seems to suggest that he may be completely estranged from real life and real people. The most innocuous interpretation of the minister’s assertion could be that he was trying to make light of his and his government’s abject failure to rein in the prices of food and other essential commodities, and put an end to adulteration of food items. On every count, though, his remarks are irresponsible and thus unacceptable.
The commerce minister seems to have chosen to conveniently ignore certain cruel facts of life for the vast multitude. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, food inflation in general hit a record 14.36 per cent in April while in rural areas, where most of the poor and marginalized people live, it hit 15.38 per cent—an increase of 5.02 per cent in just one year. In the wake of sustained surge in food prices, people at large have had to spend almost 60 per cent of their income on food, so indicates a host of surveys, including one by the Asian Development Bank. Also, a study by the Consumers’ Association of Bangladesh conducted late last year pointed out that low-income people have had to cut down on their food intake, risking nutrition deficiency, to cope with the price spiral. In other words, a sizeable section of the population has been forced to do what the minister suggested i.e. eat less. Unfortunately, given rampant adulteration of food items and the government apparent failure to prevent it, it cannot be said with certainty that less intake for them has meant less risk of consumption of adulterated food.
Just the other day, the parliamentary standing committee on the commerce ministry came down hard on the minister and his ministry for their apparent failure to keep the prices of essentials on check. Earlier, the High Court ordered the government to deploy as many mobile courts as possible to make sure unscrupulous traders do not jack up the prices of certain food items to make a windfall during the month of Ramadan. Overall, thus far, since the Awami League-Jatiya Party government assumed office in January 2009, the commerce minister and his ministry have done precious little to deliver on the ruling party’s electoral pledge of keeping the prices within the reach of the common people.
Yet, the commerce minister, instead of showing remorse, could manage to come up with a suggestion that amounts to a cruel joke about the misery of the people at large. The minister and, for that matter, the government need to realize that if they cannot effectively address the price spiral, the least they can do is stop trivializing the people’s misery.

Tax friendly environment – Bangladesh on top


Among the south Asian countries Bangladesh lead the top ranking table, if consider the tax friendly environment and tax collection rate. This scale conforms of tax collection system and administrative transparency. A recently published report from Singapore- ‘Good governance for international business: Asia Pacific 2011- reported the information. Vriens & Partners Pte Ltd., did the research work on six indicators, among which tax was one. The other indicators were- rule of laws, opportunities for international trade and businesses, political stability, corruptions, fiscal and monetary policy. When the total indicators are consolidated – Bangladesh ranked 18th among 19 countries, in total it gained 37.03 points, and Singapore stood on top with 90.02 points.
In the context of Taxation, Bangladesh is leading the table but in the whole spectrum its position is 12th (in the Asia –Pacific region) or in south Asian context – number one. India’s position is 17th and Sri Lanka 18th.
Well, not to mention except taxation, Bangladesh done very poorly and it was depicting correctly. While considering rule of laws, corruptions, and political stability these three elements – Bangladesh hit the 18th position. Again when we check out the other three indicators- viz., international trade, fiscal and monetary management – Bangladesh got the 16th position.
Knowing this National Board of Revenue (NBR), politically commented that mainly in these last few years, NBR took many reforming steps with regard to taxes, to make people more conscious to pay taxes, and by extending tax-nets both vertically and horizontally. Hence tax collection increased dramatically, although critics say, by this success- NBR has been making people’s live more difficult and making middle classes more down. It would have been better if you do worst in tax sector, and do excellent in others. If anybody with common sense just think for a minute the implications of what the indicators implied, would understand that most, all but one (Tax) indicators are positively correlated. For example, the more points you get on the business, definitely your economy is running well, new jobs and good economy people will get. Like that every other indicators indicate the similar story, in which Bangladesh did bad to worse. This rightly depicts the Bangladesh scenario indeed.

In the total Asia pacific table- number one spot occupied by Singapore, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Tags

Bangladesh, Governance, Ministers, Mockery, Politics, Tax

Meet the author

author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
I am a teacher engaged with the Southern University Bangladesh. I Like to use my spare time by writing and reading. I take it as a fun and source of inspiration in pursuing knowledge.

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
26th Aug 2013 (#)

enlightening again as you do so well Md...thank you..

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
27th Aug 2013 (#)

Thank you dear friend cnwriter.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
26th Aug 2013 (#)

Happy to see you again dear Karim and firing on all cylinders as usual highlighting how removed are our leaders to the predicament of common citizens. They forget their promise when they politic on every issue. I may add this regarding minister's remark - it is better to keep the mouth shut and taken to be a fool than open it and remove all doubt! siva

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
27th Aug 2013 (#)

I always love to see you around Sivaji..Thank you.

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author avatar M G Singh
26th Aug 2013 (#)

Politicians are the same everywhere, more so in the sub-continent.

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
27th Aug 2013 (#)

We don't feel ours are politicians, rather something else...
Thanks anyway my friend.

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author avatar Trillionaire
26th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks.

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
27th Aug 2013 (#)

Anytime, I appreciate your time.

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author avatar Carol
27th Aug 2013 (#)

Interesting info, many thanks

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
29th Aug 2013 (#)

Welcome Carol..

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author avatar madugundurukmini
2nd Sep 2013 (#)

interesting this article

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
2nd Sep 2013 (#)

Thank you maduji..

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