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6 June, 2021 11:32:18 PM

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Tax on universities will shrink education opportunity and scope

During the Covid-19 crisis period, instead of increasing the tax burden on private citizens, the government may strongly curb the corruption in the public sector and in the political economy.
Dr Mohammad Rafiqul Islam Talukdar
Tax on universities will shrink education opportunity and scope

An economist would talk scholarly about the budget. But stakeholders and citizens also have the right to give feedback.

Education is one of the most affected sectors during the Covid-19 pandemic period. It is a sector with which the interests and potential of the new generation are involved. It would not be right to judge it by the question of growth. The 15 per cent tax proposal on private educational institutions will further curtail availing education opportunity and scope. The existing reality is that it is not possible for government educational institutions alone to ensure quality and higher education for all.

The government education sector does not even have the capacity to deal with crisis and contingency situations. So a significant number of people are ready to work hard, but to send their children to private educational institutions.

The economic crisis, stress and embarrassment of the parents of private educational institutions have increased in the Covid-19 pandemic situation. Why would the state impose this additional tax burden on the guardians? The state must gradually reduce public-private divide and inequalities. Of course, the strategic management of the state must learn from globalization and its changes. During the Covid-19 crisis period, instead of increasing the tax burden on private citizens, the government may strongly curb the corruption in the public sector and in the political economy.

If it is not possible for a government led by Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina to pull this reins, it may never be possible here or may become increasingly harder to handle the issue. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina worked steadily with the morals and vision of her father and has taken the country to a new height. Her strategic lens and determination in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic situation in Bangladesh are commendable and appreciated globally.

Also, seemingly it is true that throughout the last decade, the development of Bangladesh has rapidly been accelerated by the outstanding influence of far-sighted leadership of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. But sector-based strong strategic approach building upon ownership and corruption-free competent and vision-driven leadership with appropriate contingency plans as well as resource and human capital back-up for facing adversity, and their efficient implementation frameworks have not been shaped to a great extent yet.

One such burning example is the vulnerability of the public health sector, particularly given the coronavirus pandemic management instances of the sector that is being acknowledged to a certain extent by the government and by every corner of the stakeholders in the country. The funding does not seem to be the main issue for this sector to grow. For more than a decade, given the wisdom of a visionary prime minister of the country, the health budget gets preferential consideration during Bangladesh's budget proposal and its final allocation stage. Same appears in the country’s budget proposal 2020-21. The mainstay of the corruption is the mainstream challenge for this sector of the country to be vision-driven and to reach to an acceptable level of height considering the global standard parameters for the sector.

The main problems of the concerned ministry are system loss, bureaucratic interests related to procurement, material constraints, and negligence of official duties, poor public health services, and political and administrative failure to create a robust accountability framework and to build a sturdy contingency plan to resolve catastrophe and emergency situations. Unfortunately the budget proposal 2021-22 did not address how to streamline the policy for combatting the corrupt practices of this sector. One might argue the fact that the national budget is just a financial statement of the state with the projected revenues and expenditures of the coming year. But strategic management experts strongly differ it. National budget is in fact a policy document and strategy paper.

The writer is an Associate Professor of Leadership, Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship Development at. Email: [email protected]

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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