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11 September, 2015 00:00 00 AM
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The government may consider withdrawing the imposed 7.5 per cent VAT. The decision would be genuinely taken by the students, their guardians and people in general as a sure sign that the government really cares about the welfare of the country’s students

VAT on private universities

VAT on private universities

For the last two days the private university students have been violently protesting imposition of VAT on their tuition fees. The roadblocks they created yesterday brought the traffic of the whole city to a grinding halt. They have called on coming Sunday countrywide strike in all the universities. Their only one demand is withdrawal of newly imposed 7.5% VAT. If the government thinks that the agitating students do not have points, it will make a mistake.
Since the Finance Minister first proposed VAT on his budget speech, very few supported the proposal. We in this column also questioned justification of VAT on several occasions. In the budget speech the Finance Minister actually proposed 10% VAT like the English medium schools. But at the request of the prime minister finally the VAT was fixed at 7.5 per cent.
There are several reasons for which VAT on private university cannot be supported. When the students of the public universities get education with the minimum of cost, whether it would be morally right to collect VAT from their private university counterparts? In our country students who do not get opportunity to enrol in a public university normally turns to private universities for a bachelor’s degree with higher cost. But many of the students of private universities come from middle class families or not so affluent backgrounds. So how it can be fair to make their tuition fees more expensive as the operators of private universities are sure to pass on the burden of paying VAT  to them by charging them yet higher tuition fees ?
We also earlier pointed out that the decision would reflect government’s double standard towards the country’s student community.
It is also true that imposition of VAT also does not go with the government’s policy of private university. According to the Private University Act 2010, these tertiary educational institutions at the private level are regarded as non-profit organisations. This means that private university education is not a commercial thing. Now if the government starts taking VAT from these universities, the illegal commercialisation of education will be given a legal cover.
Therefore, the government now with its good grace may consider withdrawing the imposed 7.5 per cent VAT and avoid a serious turmoil. The withdrawal would never be regarded as a defeat to the student community. Far from it, the decision would be genuinely taken by the students, their guardians and people in general as a sure sign that the government really cares about the welfare of country’s students.

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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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