People bear the brunt of multi-layer taxations

23 November 2022

Staff Reporter  :
Country's overwhelming population are bearing the brunt of multi-layer of taxations on various items and this overcharging Value-Added Tax (VAT) and levies have made their lives miserable amid the ongoing economic crunch.
The ubiquitous taxations on essential items likes foodstuffs, pharmaceutical products, costumes, educational items, and different services have made people fragile to bear the soaring expenses.
The inflation rate is around 9 per cent in October and it might be just a figure in economic terms, but it meant a decline in purchasing power for a middle-income earner.
To prevent the situation from worsening further, experts urged the government to include the middle class in social safety net programmes, and prepare credible lists of the people in need.
Md Abdul Hye, a senior officer at a private bank, runs a family of six with his monthly income of around Tk 60,000. He said he was finding it hard to meet his family's basic needs with his earnings and some contribution from two of his three children.
"Whenever I see reports of price hikes in newspaper, I panic. I cannot bear the thought of failing to provide for my children's education," he said.
"The government provides cash incentives and other support to ultra-poor families but we don't get any help front any quarter. We cannot even stand in queues behind Open Market Sales (OMS) trucks," he added.
Economists said that the government should immediately make arrangements like rationing system for the poor and the middle income groups of people to prop them to get relieve of this dire situation.
Hossain Zillur Rahman, Executive Chairman of the Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC), said, "Inflationary pressure, particularly on poorer households, is more severe than what the official figure suggests."
This is clearly hurting the poor and even segments of the middle class because incomes have not increased in keeping with such price hikes, he noted.
Dr Abdur Razzaque, Chairman of Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID), told The New Nation, "The government should make credible lists of the needy families in a transparent way and include the middle-income groups,  who are struggling to cope with the rising prices of basic goods and service in the social safety net programmes."
"Rationalization of Tax and VAT will not bring any fruits at the moment. Rather, the government should help the countrymen through different programmes like Social Protection Support (SPS) and Food-Friendly Programme," he added.
Besides, sales of basic items from Open Market Sale (OMS) can be increased across the country, he said.
According to Prof Bazlul Haque Khondker, teacher of economics at Dhaka University, around 70 percent of the population, who don't have any financial resilience, are not covered by the government's safety net programmes.
"The Open Market Sales programmes will not be of much help to these people without preparing a proper database," he said.

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