Around half a million students study in 107 private universities across the country
The private university owners have condemned the proposed 15% income tax on the institutions in the next fiscal year, terming the move unacceptable.
Also dubbing it as conflicting with the Private University Act, 2010, the Association of Private Universities of Bangladesh (APUB) on Friday said that the proposal to impose the tax left all stakeholders, including students and their guardians, concerned.
The universities are non-profit organizations operating as Trust as per the existing law, the statement says.
APUB Chairman Sheikh Kabir Hossain said that the tax on non-profitable private universities at the same rate as that imposed on the profitable private medical, and engineering colleges, was unacceptable and contrary to the law.
In his budget speech for the 2021-22 fiscal year on Thursday, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal proposed that the tax be imposed on private universities, and medical, dental and engineering colleges, including the ones offering IT education, from July 1.
The Covid-19 pandemic pushed many private universities towards financial crisis. Providing salaries for teachers and staff, and house rent remained uncertain. Amid this situation, taxing the income might end up in closure of some newly-approved universities, the statement reads.
"We hope that the government will not impose income tax, rather it should extend assistance by declaring stimulus packages," Kabir Hossain said.
Private universities are helping the expansion of higher education in Bangladesh and remarkably contributes in reducing students going abroad for study, thus saving foreign currency as well as brain drain, the statement says.
According to the APUB, around half a million students study in the 107 private universities across the country.