The Association of Private Universities of Bangladesh (APUB) has thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her statement that the government has no plan to impose value-added tax (VAT) on private universities.
The announcement came a day after Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Monday said private university owners would have to pay VAT from the next fiscal year.
During a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday, the prime minister made it clear that no such step would be taken at the moment.
She also asked Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal to clarify the government's stance in this regard to the media.
Expressing gratitude to the prime minister for clarifying the government's stance, the APUB in a statement issued on Tuesday said the association expected that the government would always stand by the students of private universities, most of whom are from lower and middle-income families.
“The finance minister’s statement that the government is mulling imposing VAT on private universities raised concerns among students of these universities and their guardians. We thank the prime minister for taking stock of the matter and clarifying it,” the APUB statement reads.
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The organization also hailed the government’s assurance of finding a solution to quota reform demonstrators' concerns by May 7.
Students of various universities and job seekers have long been demanding reforms to the existing quota system in government recruitment tests.
As they reinforced their movement on Sunday to further push the government to meet their demands, over 100 people were injured in the last three days in violent clashes between police and demonstrators at different places, including Shahbagh and Dhaka University.
An unknown number of demonstrators were also detained by police during the sporadic clashes and running battles.
On Monday, during a meeting with a 19-member delegation of the demonstrators, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said the government was looking positively at the reasonable arguments of the demonstrating students and job seekers.
“We have reached a conclusion that a solution to the students’ concerns will be produced by May 7,” he added.
Obaidul, also general secretary of the ruling Awami League, said: “We are not in a rigid position about this issue. Sheikh Hasina’s government does not ignore rational demands of the people.”
Sections of this article were first published on banglatribune.com