November 01, 2016

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Concerted efforts in unison will result in positive motion

In the past, the former kings of Myanmar used to levy land and poll taxes on their subjects. Afterwards, the system of levying a poll tax was substituted by introducing the system of collecting tax from the sale of lottery tickets. Nowadays, most people from all walks of life try their luck at the state lottery every month. They have no alternative but to do so, a small chance to liberate themselves from poverty. Winning the lottery is their dream, as if grasping at straws. We all know that only 60 per cent of the earnings from sales of tickets are disbursed to lucky winners. We wholly agree with collecting 40 percent of sales as revenue. That is, we are paying tax to the government monthly at 80 kyats a piece. So we can be said to be taxpayers, with no intention to evade tax. We can calculate the accurate amount of taxes the government gets monthly from the lottery.
Yet, surprisingly enough, lottery ticket businessmen’s monthly income exceeds the tax amount (40 per cent of the ticket sales) the government receives, with their names unrecorded in the list of the highest taxpayers of the year. Likewise, there are many businesses which fail to follow prescribed laws and regulations, for example restaurants’ failure to give out bills by taking advantage of customers who are above asking for them. People used to think that once they become taxpayers, they have to pay forever. Thus, most money went into the pockets of dishonest staff. Otherwise, if the money would go into the State’s revenue, it could be used in our educational, social and public health sectors.
Had we really managed to recover the tax which dishonest entrepreneurs tried to evade, this money would have been of great benefit to the nation’s educational and social development projects.
Each country has its own laws. In ruling a country, there needs to be rule of law. Should a governing body enforce rule of law, the administrative machinery will be successful. However, many tax assessment cases as to undisclosed sources of income and capital gains go unreported these days, and it is learnt that most got away with paying a meagre amount of taxes, trying to evade the actual tax amount to be paid to the State. Money-hoarders primarily involve themselves in these cases, manipulating inflation and prices. We have to abide by the laws, rules and regulations, under responsibilities conferred upon us. In fact, retrospective investigations and retroactive actions should be made if there are misappropriation of power. However, the NLD leader has shown magnanimity neither to be retrospective nor retroactive. On our way to a democratic nation, we are now facing deteriorating situations. To overcome these, we all are responsible for a concerted effort and we need not blame anyone. All the problems — bribery, corruption, unemployment, galloping inflation, increasing crime rate and national economic decline — can be mainly attributed to the lack of rule of law, which plays a key role in building up a nation. Without it, any country is destined to be a ruined state. “To err is human, to forgive divine”, as the saying goes. We may be wrong in some way or another. But no age is too old to mend our ways, behavior and mind. With our efforts there will surely be positive movement forward, as long as our concerted efforts are in unison.

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