Society for Participatory Education and Development (SPED)

 

EMPOWERING PEOPLE’S ORGANIZATIONS (LOKOKENDRAS) ON TAX JUSTICE AND BUDGET GOVERNANCE

 

The tax provides a long-term source of revenue which is within the control of the government, encourages governments to be accountable to their citizens and enables the government to use the money where it is most needed. Tax should be spent to reduce inequality in society, and to fund effective public services and it should be raised and spent transparently, and with real democratic oversight and control.

 

Bangladesh being a country which has vast agricultural lands, fish and garments industries, it  continues to be a country dependent on aid and loans while its products are undervalued in the international markets. The effects of loans trickle down to the people who have to pay taxes. Some of the conditions of the loans, especially from IMF are a reduction in import tax and a new addition to the VAT. When a new rate of VAT is introduced, it worsens the livelihoods for poor people and increases inequality. Increases in VAT are being proposed for essential items such as rice, lentils and cooking oil. This only increases malnutrition and inequality. One-quarter of Bangladeshis is undernourished. IMF advice to Bangladesh to collect revenue through expanding VAT is very regressive for poor people as they have to spend a large amount of income on essential goods and services.

 

In Bangladesh, most of the incentives are given to men while the women who are also farmers do not enjoy these incentives. And at the same time, both men and women pay taxes either through income or VAT. Bangladesh raised its VAT which does not take into consideration the poor people as the traders include the tax within the products which are normally purchased. The government should take on a different measure of expanding direct taxes, such as a progressive income tax, fighting corruption to make more revenue available, focusing VAT on more luxury goods rather than basic products. On this project, SPED is focusing on addressing the just tax system issue in a holistic approach by engaging different stakeholders in their different capabilities to finally hold the government accountable for a proper tax system in the country and at the same time making the local communities aware of the Bangladesh tax system.

 

Goal: To support and strengthen the capacity of grassroots level people’s organizations to effectively advocate for fair & Participatory Budget and pro-poor tax systems in order for the Government to increase tax revenues fairly and provide proper services to the marginalized communities.

 

Main Objectives:

Ø  To create awareness on grassroots peoples especially women and youth on Taxation and budget governance

Ø  To create accountability of public services institutions at grassroots level

Ø  To create influence from Local & National level to critically engage people to raise their voices in favor of pro-poor Tax policy and administration and decentralization of budgetary framework

 

General Objectives:

  • Ø  To enable people’s organizations to understand what National Budget and Tax justice are
  • Ø  To provide basic insights on how taxation works
  • Ø  To enable people’s organizations analyze the Budget and Tax system and take action in proposing changes.
  • Ø  To enhance skills on creation of awareness and advocacy on tax justice issues and Budget Governance
  • Ø  To ensure people’s organizations have sufficient advocacy and campaigning capacity to demand accountable, fair and pro-poor Tax and Participatory Budget systems
  • Ø  To bring together CBO and other lobby groups to promote tax justice agenda

 

Activities:

Ø Capacity Building

Ø Campaign/Mobilization

Ø Advocacy

Ø Awareness raising