An opposition lawmaker yesterday bitterly criticised the government in parliament for increasing the holding tax in different city corporations ahead of the upcoming general election.
Taking the floor on a point of order, Jatiya Party lawmaker Kazi Firoz Rashid told the House that the ruling party would have to pay dearly for raising the tax.
“We are yet to realise what kind of mistake has been made by increasing the holding tax ahead of the general election,” he said. “The government will see the adverse impact... when people would not vote for the ruling party in the election."
The lawmaker also said many people shared their grievances with him and said they would give a befitting reply in the upcoming 11th parliamentary polls.
In late last month, the Bangladesh House and Flat Owners Association lodged its protest against the increase of holding tax which, it claimed, would impose an excessive burden on Dhaka residents as the government raised the tax by 700-900 percent.
Questioning the move, Kazi Firoz said, “Why didn't you raise the holding tax in the past? Why did you do this when the election comes closer? Who are the people inside the government that took such a suicidal decision? I think they did it to destroy the popularity of the incumbent government.”
Though the JP is the main opposition in parliament, it shares three ministries in the Sheikh Hasina-led cabinet.
Describing the "sorry state" of services in Dhaka, the JP lawmaker said the government did not increase civic amenities but raise holding and other taxes.
Citing an example of the impact of the tax rise, Rashid said, “A house owner in Old Dhaka used to pay Tk 9 lakh but now the owner will have to give Tk 65 lakh due to the increase of holding tax.”
The city goes under knee-deep water during the rainy season, compelling the educational institutions authorities to shut down their institutions, he said. “But the government didn't take any measures to address the problem.”
The lawmaker also criticised the authorities of the two Dhaka city corporations for their "failure" in addressing the mosquito menace and garbage management problem.
He advised the government to increase the holding tax in posh areas, including Baridhara and Gulshan.
“The residents of those areas use a huge amount of water for washing their vehicles and tending to their gardens. Tax can be increased in those areas because they get Tk 1 lakh by renting each flat,” he said.