Money siphoned abroad: Not a penny returned

There was a huge outcry among the people when the government granted an amnesty to the money launderers last year while announcing the budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal.

They were given a scope to bring the laundered money back to the country, paying 7 per cent tax. The economists said nobody would take this privilege -- a claim that is proving to be true as nobody has taken the opportunity in the first 10 months of the current fiscal.

The authorities of National Board of Revenue (NBR) have received this confirmation from the central bank.  

According to the current fiscal, this opportunity will remain effective from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023. By paying 7 per cent tax, any undisclosed money will be allowed to show in tax returns after brining it back to the country through banking channels legally. An assurance of no questioning by the NBR and any other organisations was given to them.

Policymakers expected that many would bring back the money to the country, taking advantage of this opportunity. But nobody wanted to enlist their names as money launderers in the first 10 months of the fiscal.   

When asked, distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Mustafizur Rahman, told Prothom Alo that "When the amnesty was granted, I predicted that nobody would take this privilege. Not a single penny will be brought back. And this has been so."

"There is no economic reason to grant such amnesty. It is ethically unacceptable. It was an injustice to the honest taxpayers. It is politically unacceptable too. People think illegally earned money was siphoned abroad. Why will they bring back the money they laundered to a safe place?"  

Mustafizur Rahman said as the scope hasn't worked in reality, money laundering should be prevented, executing legal forces to a greater extent.