The finance bill has passed with significant changes, and this is good news.
Previously, the finance minister had stated plans to revise his own proposal for an increase in excise duties on bank accounts -- which would have resulted in deposits between Tk1 lakh and Tk10 lakh requiring an excise duty of Tk800.
Making good on his promise, the revised plan now requires the much lower excise duty of Tk150 for deposits between Tk1 lakh and Tk5 lakh.
As we have said before, a bank balance of Tk1 lakh does not classify an individual as “rich” anymore in Bangladesh. If anything, the proposed increase would have hit the lower to middle class families in the country hard.
Such an amount barely provides for an individual living by himself or herself, and without any adequate social safety nets, in Bangladesh, the matter would have become especially egregious for that demographic.
Even more heartening is the fact that the uniform 15% VAT has been scrapped for at least two more years.
A tax that has been deemed regressive by most, it would have ultimately resulted in unnecessary price hikes on certain goods.
That the law has been deferred for the time being, and that further revisions are being made before considering its enactment, is a welcome move which shows that the administration is in tune with the pulse of the nation.
Our ultimate goal as a nation, as far as the economy is concerned, should be the inclusion of all people. And with these recent moves, the government has taken a step further towards fulfilling its duty of ensuring a true democratic economy.