TAX, FISCAL POLICIES: Not inclusive enough

Tax and fiscal policies framed and applied by the government are not progressive enough to reduce inequality in the society, said analysts.

Various exemptions and rebates, tax privileges given to different influential quarters, high dependence on indirect taxes and inadequate public investment in health, education as well as other social sectors never help the government achieve inclusive economic growth, five noted economists told this newspaper.

The observation came when inequality has hit all-time high, raising questions about the quality of the country’s much-lauded stellar economic growth, which is estimated to be 8.13 percent by this fiscal year.

Official data show that Bangladesh recorded more than 6.5 percent GDP growth in the past decade. Yet inequality, in Gini coefficient or Gini index, rose to .482 in 2016, up from 0.458 in 2010, in a worrying development.

The Gini coefficient is measured on a scale of 0 to 1; the closer it is to 1 the higher the inequality is in the society.

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