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Lawmakers slam proposal to impose tax on private universities

  • Published at 03:42 pm June 14th, 2021
North south private university
File photo of entrance of North South University in Dhaka Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The proposed 15% tax on private universities will ultimately fall on students, says Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon

Members of parliament have come down heavily on the proposed 15% income tax on the total income of private universities and medical institutions.

“The proposed 15% tax on private universities will ultimately fall on students,” said Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon, while participating in the discussion on the proposed budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year in the House on Monday.

Criticizing the budget allocation, he said of the total allocation in the education sector, 4% accounted for the technology sector. "The proposed budget is businessman-friendly." 

While the closure of the educational institutions continued, no initiatives had been taken to go for alternative education systems, Menon added.

Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal General Secretary Shirin Akhter said her party was opposed to the tax proposal on private education

She termed the proposed budget’s tax dependence as an anti-poor, reactionary and discriminatory revenue collection process.

Stating that private education was the most neglected in the budget, Jatiya Party's Shamim Haider Patwari slammed the proposed 15% tax on private education as a disgrace.

“A student has said that while governments in other countries subsidize the education sector, we impose tax,” he added.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, in his budget speech in parliament on June 3, proposed imposing a 15% tax on the total income of private educational institutions.

Since then, private education stakeholders have been protesting the move. 

The Bangladesh Private University Association said in a statement that as the universities were non-profit organizations operating as trusts under existing laws, tax or VAT was not applicable for them.

The government had earlier imposed a 7.5% VAT on private universities, medical colleges and engineering colleges in 2015, but withdrew it later in the wake of student protests running into several days.

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