The Maoist-Madhesi coalition, which is planning Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPA) with many countries after it signed one with India in an attempt to lure more foreign investment, is ironically threatening the Nepalese businessmen and industrialists.
Finance minister Barsha Man Pun, who was involved in a number of extortions and bank robbery crimes as a Maoist commander in the past, is warning businessmen of stern action for evading tax and using fake bills.
Pun on Friday warned that the businessmen and entrepreneurs involved in evading taxes by making fake Value Added Tax (VAT) bills could be sent to jail. He added the government was serious on the matter after the people’s representatives floated the suggestion.
Although the report on tax evaders was leaked months ago, many suspect the timing chosen to take the action was wrong. “When the government is defending foreign investment, it is strange that ministers are talking about confiscating Nepalese investment,” said an analyst.
“The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), along with other related institutions, have been calling for jail sentence to those involved in tax evasion as it was similar to fake currency transaction,” said Pun, while speaking at a program at the Reporters Club in the capital. “Hence the government is serious on the issue.”
Saying that the ministry has been internally investigating the involvement of revenue administration in the VAT scam, Pun said that the offence of the staffers and the industrialists should be investigated simultaneously. However, he said that no staff has been found guilty yet.
“We encourage those who work properly and punish the guilty. The government will not tolerate any riff-raff. No one, even relatives or aides, would be spared,” said Pun.
Saying that the tax-payers’ identity has to be kept secret, Minister Pun said that the ministry publicized only as much as it could.
“Secrecy of the tax-payers and the people’s right to information has to be balanced. However, the tax details cannot be publicized unless the entire structure is improved,” said Minister Pun.