Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday called upon the countrymen to pay their taxes, stressing the need for increasing revenue income and expanding the tax net in view of the ongoing global economic crisis.
“Those who are able to pay taxes not only in the capital or in cities, but also across the country, please pay your taxes. The government will use your money in your service and welfare,” she said.
While inaugurating the country’s first-ever two-day Revenue Conference-2023 aimed at developing the revenue management system, she said the entire world is now going through an economic recession and high inflation rate which also fell upon Bangladesh.
“So, we have to step ahead after facing those (economic recession and high inflation rate). The more we collect taxes, the more it will be easy and possible to overcome it,” she said.
The Prime Minister asked the concerned authorities to work with sincerity and professionalism to extend the tax net instead of increasing the rates of taxes and wage a massive awareness movement across the country to inspire the people to pay taxes.
Referring to her government’s policy of making huge development from the grassroots in the last 14 years since 2009, she said there are people having ability to pay taxes are at the union and upazila levels.
She added: “We don’t want to increase the rate of taxes as the inflation rate is high now. We want to increase the number of taxpayers and you should pay attention to it.”
The Prime Minister thanked the revenue collection authority for introducing e-tax filing system cashing in on the advantages of being ‘Digital Bangladesh’. The people will be inspired to pay their taxes through online as many considered paying taxes manually as hassle, she said and asked all authorities concerned to popularise the system through massive publicity.
She once again vowed to build a developed, prosperous and Smart Bangladesh by 2041, saying, “We will make our economy smart and we will build Smart Bangladesh through it.”
She opened the conference at a function held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city.
Internal Resources Division Senior Secretary and National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem and its Member Dr Abdul Mannan Shikder spoke at the function.
A video-documentary on the activities of the NBR was screened on the occasion.
The Prime Minister earlier inaugurated the newly constructed 12-storey Revenue Building of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) at Agargaon in the capital city.
She inaugurated the new Revenue Building, built at a cost of Tk Taka 412 crore, by unveiling its plaque this morning.
After opening the building, the Prime Minister went round its different sections.
Sheikh Hasina said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had established the NBR in 1972 for collecting revenue for the country’s advancement and it is now collecting 86 percent of the total revenue.
The Prime Minister said that the NBR has been working to implement the Vision-2041 by helping the government in formulating time-worthy policies to increase revenue collection and number of taxpayers, stop smuggling, strengthen intelligence vigilance, increase the country’s export alongside help flourishing local industries and attract foreign investment.
She asked all concerned to go ahead with the slogan, “Made in Bangladesh”, saying that Bangladesh never falls behind and the country will be self-reliant and move around the globe with glory.
The Prime Minister asked the NBR personnel to stop taxes dodging to increase the country’s economic ability and opined that turning everything into digital will stop the trend of evading taxes.
She asked the officials to inspire the taxpayers to pay taxes by making the tax-paying process easy and friendly without creating panic among them.
She said that the country will march ahead at an indomitable pace as long as the country’s overall development will be ensured and economic ability of the masses will be increase.
“So, I ask you all (businessmen) to run their business in a proper manner by stopping taxes evading and thus we march the country ahead,” she said.
Mentioning that the revenue collection is not satisfactory, the premier asked all concerned to increase revenue collection further by working with sincerity and the mentality of extending services.
The Prime Minister said her government had given stimulus packages to the businessmen for running their business and every section of the people to overcome the bad time steamed from the Covid-19 pandemic.
As the country is reeling from the pandemic, it is again struck by the global economic meltdown due to the Russia-Ukraine war, sanctions and counter sanctions which increased the inflation rate abnormally across the globe.
Prices of all commodities, including gas, fuel oil, edible oil, sugar and maize, have been skyrocketing alongside the transportation costs, she said, adding that the transportation costs are now 3800 USD which was only 800 USD prior to the pandemic.
The premier said her government has purchased required commodities spending huge amounts of money and giving those to countrymen at subsidised prices which are much lower than that of the actual price.
She said her government has given one crore TCB cards to the poor people so that they can buy rice at Taka 30 per kilogram, adding that every section of society is getting government assistance.
“Everyone should pay attention so that the government can run the state smoothly and work for the people (amid the global crisis). How much can we give subsidy? We have to look into the matter so that the development work is not hampered and its benefit goes to the people,” she added.