It is the entire culture of taxation that needs to change in the country
As the budget gets puts forward before parliament, Bangladesh must address a familiar issue, one that has always held back its full potential: Revenue collection.
Indeed, after getting hit by the Covid-19 pandemic which has understandably caused great losses across the economy, businesses have rightfully called for revisions to the tax collection system to ease the tax burden on enterprises. Furthermore, economists and other experts have also expressed concern over providing funding to meet the budget deficit.
Ultimately, it all boils down to Bangladesh simply being unable to address the issue of tax-paying, where every year, there are a fixed number of tax-payers.
This failure to widen the tax net, in addition to the massive losses that have arisen as a result of defaulted loans from unscrupulous businesses and individuals, continues to put pressure on the financial institutions, the tax-payers who are model citizens and pay their taxes, and the business enterprises and industries who adhere to the rules.
It is the entire culture of taxation that needs to change in the country. Those who pay taxes are constantly harassed, while those who evade them are allowed to carry on as usual. This cannot be allowed to continue, particularly for a country that harbours such ambitious economic benchmarks and goals.
The issue of taxation and revenue collection cannot be fixed overnight. Yet, it is one that will be fundamental to Bangladesh. No country can truly prosper with such a limited tax-paying population, and until the culture of taxation is changed, and better systems are put in place to encourage tax-paying, Bangladesh will continue to suffer.