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  • No further scope to whiten black money: Muhith
    No further scope to whiten black money: Muhith Frontier
    Frontier on Friday, June 6, 2014
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    Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Friday affirmed that there will be no further opportunity to whiten black money in the coming budget though he carefully skipped the issue in his budget speech. “It (offer for legalising black money) has been cancelled from now. You can think that it has become effective from today. We’ll incorporate it (in budget),” he told reporters at a post-budget press conference at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city. Muhith mentioned that the government had offered the opportunity to legalise black money for investing in the stock market and housing sector in the past years. “Only Tk 34 crore has been received in tax through whitening black money in the last two years. That means, only around Tk 340 crore was whitened. So, there’s no reason to continue this provision,” he explained when he was asked to clear the air about it. Considering the outcomes of the last two years and the amount whitened, Muhith said, it seems there is no black money in the country. “From that point of view, there’s no black money in the country. But it exists in other way.” The Finance Minister said the black money is generated hugely through land selling and there is a need for further discussion on how it can be removed. In his budget speech, Muhith carefully did not touch the controversial provision of whitening black money opposed by most economists and civil society organisations as they think continuation of such provision will breed more black money. The Finance Minister stood against the continuation of the scope for whitening black on many occasions, especially in pre-budget discussions. Economists say black money invested in the real estate sector gets blacker as the price of the purchased flats or lands is declared much lower in the papers than the actual one in a bid to evade tax. In between July last year and April this year, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) received only Tk 26 crore through this facility. In between 1972 and 2013, around Tk 13,808 crore was whitened, with the NBR receiving taxes worth Tk 1,455 crore, which is less than 1 percent of the revenue target in the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal. Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu and State Minister for Finance MA Mannan were also present at the press conference.
                               
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