Treasury bench members in parliament on Monday came down heavily on finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith for imposing excise duty on bank accounts and unified 15 percent VAT in the proposed national budget, reports UNB.
"Your [finance minister's] responsibility is just to place the budget... it's the 350 MPs who determine what will be there in the budget and what will go from it considering the wellbeing of the people. You please don't decide it. So, stop your stubbornness and talk less," said AL presidium member Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim joining the general discussion on the proposed budget in parliament.
He demanded withdrawal of the additional excise duty imposed on bank deposits saying that it creates confusion in public mind. "We don't want the whole nation to carry a bad impression about Awami League for collecting more revenue from the excise duty."
Criticising Muhith for his remark that those who have Tk one lakh are rich persons, the AL leader said, "Have you forgotten what you said about Hallmark scam. You said Tk 4,000 crore is no money."
Saying that the government faces embarrassment for some remarks of the finance minister, Selim said, "In this parliament, I earlier told you to speak less. You don't have the sense when to speak and what to speak."
About the imposition of 15 percent unified VAT for all products, he said, "You (Muhith) have imposed unified VAT on all products. You should rather extend the VAT net and provide ECR machines to all business units so that they will be bound to pay VAT."
Noting that foreign diplomats started becoming active about the next national election, he said, "Please don't break diplomatic norms. And the election will be held as per the will of the country's people. If you break the norms, we'll be forced to take action against you," he said.
Joining the general discussion, AL joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif that he cannot understand for what reasons and whose interests the finance minister imposed the excise duty on the bank deposits.
"The amount of revenue from the excise duty on bank accounts is Tk 11,99 crore in 2016-17 fiscal year, but the amount will go up to Tk 1,599 crore in 2017-18 fiscal year due to the imposition of additional excise duty. Only Tk 400 crore will come as additional revenue from it," he said.
Opposing the imposition of the unified 15 VAT on all products, Hanif said there is no instance in the world that it could be possible to increase the revenue from a single sector by 30 percent within just one year. But it is targeted to increase revenue by 30 percent from the VAT this year, he added.
Mentioning that banks are in bad shape, he said some Tk 1,000 crore was provided to Basic Bank for overcoming its capital deficit. "But, the nation wants to know why and whose money the finance minister is giving when the bank suffers capital deficit due to inefficiency, corruption and looting."
Hanif demanded investigation into the anomalies of the bank and bring the culprit to justice. "It should not be allowed to loot the public money in such a way."
He also demanded a rise in the monthly remuneration of UP chairmen and members to Tk 15,000 and Tk 10,000 for the sake of strengthening the local government.
Lambasting Muhith for not preparing pro-election budget this year the AL leader said, "The finance minister said it is not a pro-election budget. If it is not pro-election budget, when will you do it? It'll take till July 2018 to pass the next national budget... But the schedule for next election is supposed to be declared in November 2018. So, the next budget will play no supportive role for us in the election."
Former information minister Abul Kalam Azad also demanded withdrawal of the excise duty on bank deposits and questioned the implementation capacity of the budget in some areas.