Association fears government move will discourage parents from ensuring higher education for their children
Association of Private Universities of Bangladesh (APUB) Chairman Sheikh Kabir Hossain has said the government decision to impose a tax on the total income of private universities is unacceptable.
He said the move would place a great financial burden on all stakeholders, including students and their guardians.
The APUB chairman made the remarks in a webinar titled "Taxation in Private Universities: Current Reality," organized by Private University Public Relations Officers' Association (PUPROA) on Monday.
Terming the proposal to impose a 15 % tax on private university income an obstacle to the expansion of higher education in Bangladesh, the APUB chairman said: “Because of this, parents will lose interest in ensuring higher education for their children.”
Prof Sheikh Kabir Hossain dubbed the move contradictory with the Private University Act, 2010.
He said: “Private universities are non-profit organizations, operating as trusts as per the existing law. Taxation is not applicable here, according to the Trust Act 1882.”
South East University Board of Trustees Chairman Rezaul Karim and other vice-chancellors of private universities of the country were also present at the event.
In his budget speech for the 2021-22 fiscal year on June 3, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal proposed that a tax be imposed on private universities as well as medical, dental, and engineering colleges, including the ones offering IT education, from July 1.
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 widespread and long-running student protests.
APUB in a statement earlier this month said the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed many private universities towards a financial crisis.
In this situation, taxing the income of private educational institutes might end in the closure of some newly-approved universities, said private university owners, adding that private universities are helping the expansion of higher education in Bangladesh.
According to APUB, around half a million students study in the 107 private universities established across the country.