Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed deep frustration and anger at the finance minister's remark at a post budget press conference, that he would take a 'decision in a month' regarding the opportunity to legalise undisclosed income.
The minister will move away from such a hasty decision and send a strong message to the corrupt after 30 June 2021 by not extending the corrupt friendly, discriminatory and unconstitutional opportunity, the anti-graft watchdog also hopes in a media statement.
TIB executive director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said, "We would like to believe the budget is a financial document of integrated thinking made under the direction of the highest level of government, the finance minister, and the finance ministry."
The finance minister's skepticism and a U-turn on a decision adopted in the proposed budget, the day after it was presented in Parliament, is really surprising, he said.
Earlier in an instant budget reaction, the TIB applauded the government, cautiously citing that "the finance minister's decision not to re-announce the opportunity to legalize black money, can be taken as an understanding of the government."
The opportunity to whiten black money without raising any questions is not only contrary to the government's position of 'zero tolerance of corruption' but also plays a role in creating a corruption friendly environment, Iftekharuzzaman said.
He said, "Now it's high time to scrap other opportunities to whiten black money in the packages of undisclosed income. The authorities should not be unaware that the difference between undisclosed money and black money is too small.
It would not be an exaggeration to consider this opportunity a ploy to institutionalise the culture of defaulters in the tax system by pointing the finger at taxpayers who earn in a legitimate way, said TIB in its reaction.
"Our expectation is that the government will keep its constitutional promises, by coming away from a policy of appeasing the corrupt.
"The TIB reiterates its call to the government, not to allow this unethical benefit to continue in the end, even if they face legal scrutiny or pressure from any vested quarters."
The sooner the good sense of the government emerges, the faster the desired good governance of the country's economy will accelerate, Iftekharuzzaman added.