Bangladesh students call three-day strike against VAT on tution-fee

Dhaka, Sep 11 (IANS) Bangladeshi students have announced a three-day strike from Saturday at all private institutions, dubbing the government’s assurance regarding value added tax (VAT) on tuition fee “a cunning move”.

Jotirmoy Chakrabarty, the coordinator of the agitating students’ platform “No VAT on Education”, announced the protest programme earlier in the day, bdnews24 reported.

“We will go on strike, demanding an immediate withdrawal of VAT on tuition fee and the formulation of a policy to fix the tuition fee at private universities through the University Grants Commission (UGC),” he said.

Chakrabarty added that all private universities and medical and engineering colleges would be on strike until Monday.

The students have been protesting since the government imposed a 7.5 percent VAT on tuition fee at private universities and medical and engineering colleges in the budget for 2015-16 fiscal.

After Wednesday’s clash between East West University students and police during demonstrations at Rampura, agitated students of the private universities brought Dhaka to its knees on Thursday by taking it to the streets and crippling traffic.

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) issued a clarification where it said the universities would pay the government this tax at the set rate from the tuitions fees they charge their students.
VAT would not be separately realised from the students, it added.

The statement also clarified that there was no scope to hike the tuition fees.

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