Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Tuesday wondered why only one crore people pay taxes as the number could easily be four crore.
"About one crore people are paying taxes by various means... we've many types of taxes...this is of course a matter of pride the way we're making progress. We aren't happy to have this one crore taxpayers!" he said.
The Finance Minister was speaking at the inaugural programme of weeklong Income Tax Fair here at Officers' Club, Dhaka and other divisional cities across the country aiming to provide better services to the taxpayers and include more taxpayers in the tax net.
Muhith said the government wants three crore people to have in the tax net in addition to the one crore.
"If four crore people pay taxes then it would be helpful for the government to provide various types of services to the people of the country. The government is already giving various types of services...this can be expanded," he said.
The Finance Minister recalled that once people had showed reluctance about paying taxes as they used to think that they would be in trouble for life if they pay taxes. "Such attitude doesn't exist today, I think," he said.
Muhith mentioned that a large number of youths pay taxes willingly these days. "This is a very significant development for the whole nation,' he said.
In the past, he said, the number of taxpayers was merely 15 lakh, not more than 30 lakhs.
Praising various development programmes of the government, Muhith said a 'single economy' has been created in the country because of those peogrammes, giving a big boost to the economy.
"It helped reduce the economic difference between the rich and the poor. Yes, there's a difference in the country, it's reducing significantly. Currently, the poverty rate in the country is 22 percent," he said.
The Finance Minister said some three crore people are now living under the poverty line and these three crore people have to be pulled out.
"That's the aim of the government and that's the aim of the nation. Our government is working keeping that in mind," he said.
Chaired by NBR chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, the inaugural programme was also addressed, by State Minister for Finance and Planning.
Divisional cities will also hold the similar fair for seven days while the fair will be held for four days in 56 districts, two days in 32 upazila and one day in 70 upazilas. November 30 is the last day for submitting the income tax returns for individual taxpayers.
For the last two years, the fair was held at NBR's own office in the city's Agargaon area. To avoid traffic jam due to the ongoing construction of metro rail, the NBR has shifted the fair venue from Agargaon to the Officers' Club, said the NBR. The new inclusion in the fair is the tax training through audio visual means. New taxpayers can collect e-TINs (electronic tax identification numbers) at the fair while other taxpayers also can collect e-TIN through re-registration. Separate booths have been set up at the fair venues for e-payment and freedom fighters, women, people with disabilities and elderly people. The taxpayers will be able to file tax returns and do other tax-related tasks at the fair.