Provisions legalizing black money are unconstitutional

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB)

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB)

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has vehemently criticized the provision in the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 that allows individuals to launder black money by paying a mere 15% tax. In a press statement released on Thursday, TIB expressed serious concerns over the implications of this provision on the country's economy, governance, and ethical standards.

Key Points Raised by TIB

Encouragement of Corruption: TIB argues that providing an opportunity to legalize black money at such a low tax rate not only undermines the government's commitment to combat corruption but also incentivizes dishonest practices. By offering impunity to those who have amassed wealth through illegal means, the government risks fostering a culture of corruption and moral decay.

Violation of Constitutional Rights: TIB contends that the provision for whitening black money while imposing a higher tax rate on honest taxpayers is discriminatory and unconstitutional. This discriminatory treatment contradicts Article 20(2) of the Constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law.

Failure of Past Attempts: TIB highlights the ineffectiveness of previous attempts to encourage the disclosure of undisclosed wealth by offering favorable tax rates. Despite similar provisions in the past, there was minimal response, indicating a lack of trust in the system or a reluctance to legitimize illegally acquired assets.

Questionable Intentions: TIB questions the motives behind retaining such a provision in the budget, especially considering the lack of uptake in previous iterations. The organization calls for transparency regarding whose interests are being served by maintaining this opportunity to launder black money.

Call to Action

In light of these concerns, TIB urges the government to revoke the provision allowing the laundering of black money. The organization emphasizes the need for the government to demonstrate a commitment to the rule of law, uphold constitutional rights, and combat corruption effectively.

Furthermore, TIB calls upon individuals holding black money to be held accountable for the sources of their wealth and to refrain from participating in corrupt practices. By addressing the root causes of corruption and promoting transparency, TIB believes that the country can move towards a more ethical and equitable society.

The stance taken by Transparency International Bangladesh reflects a broader concern within civil society regarding the implications of the proposed budget provision on governance and integrity. As discussions surrounding the budget continue, it remains to be seen whether the government will heed TIB's call for accountability and transparency in fiscal policy.

   


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