New budget imposes tax on speech in Bangladesh


In a text message, mobile phone operator Robi asked me, other users as well, to stay with it saying that the government has imposed 15 per cent taxes on talks.

National Democratic Front’ president Dr MA Karim and general secretary Brigadier General (retired)  M Jahangir Hussain in a joint statement rejecting the national budget  for the fiscal year 2020-2021, saying that the government, which used to come up with the slogan of digitalization, has raised the expenditures of mobile phone calls, internet and online shopping.

‘The budget shows no hope for labourers, farmers and general people,’ the statement that sends to other media and me too, reads.

The budget did not put guidelines to fight the pandemic for the sake of people’s lives and livelihoods, the statement added.

The statement is also critical on  raising the area of taxes and value added taxes –which  help hike of prices of essentials  harming the farmers, garment workers, expatriates- who  keep functioning the wheels of the economy.

The Workers Party of Bangladesh (Marxist), in its reaction to the budget, terming it as far from the reality, said it preserves the interest of the looters.

In a statement, the party’ president Nurul Hasan and general secretary Iqbal Kabir Jahid said the agricultural sector is ignored in the budget. `Medical sector is also ignored in it,’ it stated.

‘The tax was imposed on calls of mobile phones and the use of the internet is an act of anti-people,’ the statement further said.

The statement ended with the words,’ we reject it’.

In Bangladesh, the democratic government likes to hear its praising only, not criticism, even if it is constructive. A number of critics had to go to the dungeon very recently for their words.

So, I would like to censor myself in this writing. Here I’m not putting any comment of mine. I just quoted some statements for the readers. But I think the esteemed readers are intelligent enough to sum up the in-depthness of this piece.

Saifur Rahman Saif is a Bangladeshi journalist. He works at New Age, a popular newspaper.




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