In the national budget for the next financial year, it has been proposed to levy tax at the rate of 15 percent on the income of private universities. And to avoid the burden of this tax, the concerned people think that the universities will increase the tuition fees. In that case, the tax burden will be on the students. With this in mind, the students have started a movement against this tax proposal.
Students of a private university staged a human chain at Shahbagh in the capital on Tuesday and announced a human chain and assembly program at Shankar in Dhanmondi on Thursday and Rampura on Friday.
It is learned that in the draft budget for the financial year 2015-16, it was proposed to introduce 10 percent value added tax (VAT) on private universities. After that the universities increased the tuition fees. In this situation, the students took to the streets demanding the withdrawal of VAT. In the face of their movement, they proposed to reduce VAT from 10 percent to 7.5 percent, but the movement did not stop. In this situation, the government was forced to withdraw VAT. Earlier in 2010, a 15 per cent tax was imposed on the income of private universities. However, it was not realized due to the case.
Presenting the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 in Parliament, the finance minister said, Taxes were assessed. In this great parliament, I am proposing to increase this tax rate to 15 percent through law. ‘
Sheikh Kabir Hossain, president of the Bangladesh Private University Association, said in his post-budget response that the proposal to impose a 15 per cent tax on the university’s income had caused great concern among university authorities, teachers, students and parents. This will put universities in financial crisis and hinder students from pursuing higher education due to rising education costs. Due to Corona, most of the students are not able to pay tuition fees at present. Imposing taxes at this time will create huge inequalities in higher education.
It is learned that there are currently 108 private universities in the country. Most of them are middle class children. Many of them pay their tuition fees by doing tuition or part time job. Students are struggling to pay tuition fees at the current rate. After that, if the tuition fee increases again, many students will stop studying.
Rasheda K, former caretaker government adviser and executive director of the mass literacy campaign. Chowdhury told Kaler Kantha, ‘Now middle class children go to private universities. As a result, the burden of taxes fell on the middle class. This will have a negative effect on girls. Because parents still spend more money on boys than on girls. As a result, many parents will not send their daughters to private universities and colleges.
Concerned parties say that despite the provision to move to a permanent campus within seven years, most universities have not yet been able to move to a permanent campus financially. Apart from a few big universities, there are no students at this time of the Corona epidemic. In addition, if the tax is imposed at this time, many small universities will close. As a result, in order to survive, they can sell the certificate again or carry out activities like giving certificate by filling any kind.
World University of Bangladesh Vice-Chancellor Prof. Abdul Mannan Chowdhury told Kaler Kantha, ‘First of all, I would say that the imposition of such tax is illegal. Non-profit organizations cannot be taxed. In addition, the law states that money cannot be spent on anything other than the needs of the university. Even then, if taxes are imposed, universities will want to increase their earnings. This will definitely have an effect on the students.