Despite opportunities, only Tk47000cr black money was whitened in 50 yrs


AB Siddique :
Another opportunity is being given to turn black money into white. It is known that in the upcoming budget, an opportunity to whiten black money is being kept with 15 percent tax.

In the past 50 years of independence, a total of 21 times have been given opportunities to whiten black money in various ways. Generally, black money earned within the country is given an opportunity to be white.

However, in the financial year 2022-23, money smuggled out of the country is given an opportunity to bring home. But no one has taken the opportunity yet.

By repeatedly laundering black money, society sends a message that ‘you corrupt, I will legalize’. Therefore, the opportunity to whiten black money is conducive to corruption.

The government did not get much response even after giving this opportunity for years.

That is, opportunities to whiten black money have been found virtually ineffective. Again no action was taken against the owners of black money.

Apart from Bangladesh, about 50 countries of the world have given the opportunity to whiten black money.

However, no country has provided ‘permanent settlement’ like Bangladesh. All those countries have offered the opportunity for short periods of time.

Their citizens also seized the opportunity. Because those countries had threatened to punish if they did not take the opportunity.

But in Bangladesh, even if opportunities are given in abundance and almost all the time, the benefits are not matched.

Because, the owners of black money think that this opportunity will be more in the future, or it doesn’t matter if it is not white.

During the tenure of various governments in the country, black money was given an opportunity to be whiten without question by paying 5 to 20 percent tax.

Apart from this, the opportunity was also matched against the purchase of houses, flats and land and investments in the stock market and industrial sector.

Black money is allowed by compromising ethics. But the tax is not collected. Allowing black money to become white is in no way acceptable.


Honest tax payers are wronged by this opportunity. By repeatedly giving the opportunity to launder black money, the society sends a message that “You do corruption, I will legalize it.” Therefore, the opportunity to launder black money helps corruption. Again, even if this opportunity is given to the powerful, there is no response.

In April 1975, the government of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took initiative against the owners of black money for the first time. At that time one hundred taka notes were canceled. Then in 1976, Ziaur Rahman during his military regime gave an opportunity to whiten black money.

Later, the opportunity was given in the three terms of the Ershad government, the Awami League-led government (1996-2001), the BNP-led government (2001-2006), the incumbent government (2007-08) and the current ruling Awami League.

Only during the BNP government of 1991-96 Black money is not allowed to whiten. The then finance minister M Saifur Rahman announced in his first budget speech that such an opportunity would not be given. But in the next term (2001-06) he could not keep up.

According to the sources of NBR, so far undisclosed about 47 thousand crore taka have come in the declaration, which means it has become white. Ziaur Rahman and Ershad lost only Tk 95 crore in 15 years. In the last three terms of Awami League (2009-2023), about 33 thousand crores of taka has been whiten.

Usually the plain declaration gives a special opportunity to launder black money, but does not say what the punishment will be if the opportunity is not taken. Although punitive measures were mentioned in 1976 during Ziaur Rahman’s tenure, there was no response.

After that, the caretaker government of 2006-07 formed an anti-corruption task force, along with providing opportunities for laundering black money. Published the list of suspected corrupt persons.

That year, about 32,000 taxpayers laundered 11,107 crore taka. A lot of people took the opportunity out of fear. Recently, it was reported that there is a ‘mountain of hidden wealth in Dubai’.

And there are about four hundred names of Bangladeshis. However, it is impossible to bring back the smuggled money. Because money is not interested in making it black and white. And not to bring back the smuggled money.

In the financial year 2020-21, the maximum Tk 20 thousand 600 crore is spent in one year so far. 11 thousand 859 persons have laundered cash by buying service land-flat and investing in the stock market. As international communication is limited due to covid, many have taken the opportunity to launder black money.

Past governments have allowed black money to become white. In June 2023, the current government allowed money laundered abroad to be legalised. Laundered money is allowed to be repatriated by paying only 7 percent tax.

Former Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said, “If no one takes the opportunity, the government has nothing to do.” We have not prepared the budget taking this proposal into consideration. We have put this opportunity in the budget’.

The amount of black money and money laundering in Bangladesh in 50 years from 1972-73 financial year to 2022-23 financial year is 144 lakh 46 thousand 315 crore.. Out of this, the amount of black money accumulated is 132 lakh 53 thousand 500 crore and the amount of money laundering abroad is 11 lakh 92 thousand 815 crore. Will this money come back?

The author is a Journalist.