'Reality Forced Black Money Legalisation Offer'
Saturday, 13 June 2009

Finance minister A M A Muhith says reality has forced him to keep the provision for legalising black money only to boost the flagging investment.

"Ethics lost out to politics on the question of giving the scope to whiten the black money," he told reporters with a tinge of disappointment at a post-budget press briefing at National Economic Council auditorium in the capital on Friday.

"But I personally believe the provision for whitening the black money is unethical."

"The prime minister also fully agrees with me on the matter but politics is the highest art of compromise," he said, explaining the rationale for the move.

The finance minister, however, was cynical that the move would help increase investment.

"We discussed the issue at the cabinet meeting earlier. The opportunity has been offered on the basis of concerted opinion," Muhith said

"Black money is the breed of corruption."

He said corruption did not abet even in the term of the 2007-08 caretaker government.

"It is not so easy to curb corruption as it is a social malady," the finance minister said.

"But sometimes, the corrupt are to be given chance. Considering all these things, the provision for legalising black money has been proposed," he said

"But we will monitor the issue. The provision will be totally withdrawn after 2012 if any one has not utilised the money for growth of industries and employment generation."

Agriculture minister Motia Chowdhury, planning minister AK Khandaker and information minister Abul Kalam Azad and health minister Ruhul Haq also spoke.

The finance minister placed the Tk 1,14,000 crore maiden budget of the Awami Leauge-led Grand Alliance government on Thursday in parliament amid a boycott by opposition parties over a seating arrangement row.

Muhith proposed "acceptance of undisclosed money without any question" during the period from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2012 provided that a 10 percent tax is paid and it is invested in certain new industries and also in physical infrastructure facilities and shares of companies listed on stock exchange.

The new industries include start-ups in textiles, garments, leather, drugs, IT enabled services and ship building.

The infrastructure facilities include ports and container facilities, fly-over and elevated roads, mono and underground railways, telecoms sector except mobile phone, water and waste treatment plants and solar energy plant.

The finance minister in his budget speech said the facility was being given to boost investment, employment and to create more homeowners.


The finance minister in his budget speech said the facility was being given to boost investment, employment and to create more homeowners.

"We would like to open up opportunities for employment for the common man and attain economic prosperity. There are many
potential sectors of our economy where investments could carry forward our efforts for change," he said in his preamble to the proposed three-year amnesty.

The industries in which black money can be utilised are: agro-processing industry (fruits processing, baby corn packeting, fruit juice producing and rubber industry), textiles spinning, textile machinery, garments, leather goods, toys, furniture, information technology enabled services (ITES), drugs pharmaceuticals, light engineering, melamine, plastic products, ceramics, sanitary ware, steel, MS rod and CI sheet from iron ore, fertilizer, insecticide, pesticide, computer hardware, petrol chemicals ,agricultural machinery, boilers, basic raw materials of drugs, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, compressors, ship-building and diamond-cutting industry, shrimp-processing industry, milk-processing industry, accumulator and battery industry, tour operators, energy-saving bulb producing industry, jute goods-producing industry, recycling industry, herbal medicine, basic chemicals and dyes, cosmetics and toiletries, tourism industry, footwear, MS billet and any other category of industry as the government may by notification in the official gazette specify.

Physical Infrastructure facility: River or sea-port, container terminals, internal container depot, container freight station, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal and transmission line, Compressed Natural Gas(CNG) terminal and transmission line, gas pipe line, flyover, elevated road, mono-rail, underground rail, telecommunication other than mobile phone, large water treatment plant and supply through pipe line, waste treatment plant, solar energy plant and any other category of industry as the government may by notification in the official gazette specify.

Source: bdnews24.com

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