Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said the government is obliged by a law that those who will bring back their laundered money home will not be questioned any more.
Defending his move, announced in the national budget for FY2022-23, he said most of such money is undeclared and smuggled out due to the faulty system.
He made this remark while addressing a post-budget press conference at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city on Friday.
Fielding a volley of questions on the issue, he said many countries in Asia, America and Europe have declared amnesty for the money launderers.
According to a provision declared in the newly placed national budget, no authority, including the income tax collectors, shall raise any question as to the source of any asset located abroad if a taxpayer pays extra taxes on such assets.
The proposed rate is 15 per cent for immovable property not repatriated to Bangladesh, 10 per cent for movable property not repatriated to Bangladesh and 7 per cent for cash and cash equivalents repatriated to Bangladesh. This will take effect from July 1.
A question was asked by a reporter that in the past the government had declared a "Truth Commission" and provided scope for legalising illegal money through paying tax, but later the names of the persons who took the opportunity were disclosed.
So, how could people trust the new assurance and take the opportunity?
Answering the question, Kamal said the government will use some tools so that people will be encouraged to bring the smuggled illegal money back.
"But this will not discourage or undermine those people who regularly pay taxes", he added.
Supporting his view Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzak, who present on the occasion, supported the government move in this regard and said that the Truth Commission was formed during the caretaker government which was a non-constitutional government.
"But Awami League is a constitutional government and the relevant law is passed by the government to give the guarantee to the people not to raise any question in future", he added.
The finance minister claimed that the newly unveiled national budget will bring benefits for all the segments of the society, specially, for the poor.
"I was born in a poor family and raised up from poverty. So, I do feel the pain of the poor", he said, adding that so many measures including allocation for social safety-net programmes were increased in the new budget.
The press conference was also addressed by Health Minister Zahid Maleque, Education Minister Dipu Moni, State Minister for Planning ASM Shamsul Alam, Bangladesh Bank Government Fazle Kabir, Finance Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder and National Board of Revenue Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem.
The finance minister said that some of the smuggled money might be generated illegally through corruption and bribing, but most of such money will come back after the new provision.
He said the national budget's core goal is to pursue a contractionary policy to check the demand in the market.
Responding to a question on inflation, he said the government has controlled prices of the locally produced goods.
"But there is no control on prices of the goods and commodities being imported from the international market. That's why it's a big challenge to contain inflation".
He said prices have increased by 30 per cent on the global market which has an impact on the local market.
"This is a challenging time and the government will face the challenge from its past experience", he said.
He said the foreign remittance will go up to $48 billion and cross the benchmark of $50 billion due to the government's incentives declared for the remittance senders.
He, however, refrained from answering a question on what amount of remittances is being out-flowed by the foreign workers employed in Bangladesh.
Finance secretary Abdu Rouf Talukder rejected an idea that the government's planned borrowing of over Tk 109,000 crore from the banking system will create any crowding for the private sector credits.
"The government's borrowing will ultimately help banks to utilise their idle money in a proper way", he said.
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