Vol. 5 Num 382 Fri. June 24, 2005  
Front Page

Naser against scope for money whitening
Also criticises tax on SIM card

A treasury bench lawmaker yesterday in parliament criticised the budgetary provision for whitening black money at 7.5 percent interest rate and the tax on mobile SIM card.

"I am against any such provision for whitening the black money," said Naser Rahman, a BNP lawmaker and also son of Finance Minister M Saifur Rahman.

"When the minimum tax for genuine taxpayers is 10 percent why the black money holders will get the opportunity to pay only 7.5 percent interest against their illegal income?" he asked while taking part in the discussion on the proposed budget.

Naser however proposed fixing 15 percent interest rate for whitening black money in the next fiscal year.

In this regard, the BNP lawmaker referred to the provision for 12 percent interest rate charged for whitening the black money during the Ershad regime and 10 percent during the Awami League rule.

Naser was also critical of the Opposition Leader Sheikh Hasina's remarks that "the finance minister has proposed to continue the provision for whitening black money for Tarique Rahman and Naser Rahman."

"I will request the leader of the opposition to check my income tax papers at the end of the coming fiscal," he said.

Naser also criticised the system of providing agriculture subsidy, saying the subsidy hardly benefits the real farmers. He said the middlemen get the maximum benefit from the government's farm subsidy.

Referring to the increase in subsidy amount to Tk 1,200 crore for the next fiscal year from existing Tk 600 crore, Naser said, "Even Tk 12,000 crore subsidy will not change the fate of farmers."

"Huge allocation will not bring any good to the farmers if the government does not improve the existing system of providing agricultural subsidy," he said.

The BNP lawmaker opposed the imposition of Tk 1,200 tax on every SIM (subscriber identity module) card of mobile phone and proposed reduction of the tax to Tk 600.

He said there is no such tax on SIM cards in the neighbouring countries.

Naser however said the mobile phone companies have to pay millions of dollars as licence fees in India and Pakistan while in Bangladesh the private operators got the licence at nominal fees.