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Monday, August 20, 2007

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The National Board of Revenue (NBR) chairman Badiur Rahman yesterday sharply criticized the conditions development partners placed on loans and grants, describing them as "disgraceful."

"The way the government has to behave in taking any loans and grants from development partners is really disgraceful for a sovereign nation. A gentlemen who has any self-respect cannot continue to serve in the Economic Relation Division, (ERD)," Badiur Rahman said at a meeting held at the National Press Club.

Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA) organised the meeting titled 'Reform in the Tax Management' presided over by Dr Quazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, president of the association.

Badiur Rahman, the meeting's chief guest, said if the NBR became successful in increasing the tax-GDP ratio the country would no longer have to depend on external resources.

The government has set a target to increase the tax to GDP ratio to 10.8 percent this fiscal, form 10.4 percent a year earlier.

Terming it a dependency chain, Badiur Rahman said a child born today has to bear the burden of an average US$ 140 in foreign loans.

He said the country cannot easily break out of this curse, as even if the nation decided to stop taking foreign loans today it would still take another 40 years to clear outstanding debts.

"The nation will now have to decide how long it can continue taking such loans in a shameful manner, or whether people are prepared to pay more tax to the government to maintain its fiscal budget by its own resources."

BEA President Kholiquzzaman said funds from external sources have never been used for the betterment of the general people; rather they had been used for a few people involved in policy making.

"The people who come from outside the country can never understand the indigenous problems, but donors always want to impose conditions on the nation, conditions that in most cases have proven wrong," Kholiquzzaman added.

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