As Bangladesh progresses on the path of economic development, it faces a vital challenge that threatens to derail its progress, the widening gap in wealth and income among its people. A progressive taxation system is essential to create a society where everyone can benefit from development.

This system can act as a powerful tool to create economic equity, ensure fair access to public services, address the budget/revenue gap, and alleviate the pressure on the public coffer caused by mounting debt obligations.

In this write up, we shed light on the pervasive issues of wealth and income inequality, the implications of privatizing public services, the widening budgetary disparities, and the financial burdens associated with debt servicing.

Bangladesh's growing economy has witnessed significant growth, but unfortunately, the prosperity has not been equally shared among all segments of society. The gap between the rich and the poor has widened, with a small fraction of the population controlling a disproportionate amount of wealth.

Privatization of government services in Bangladesh has resulted in the lack of access to basic services, with state firms concentrating more on urban areas and not taking care of outlying regions. This imbalance is worsening the existing inequalities and prolonging poverty.

To address this issue directly, government investments in underserved regions could help to achieve a fair distribution of services. Privatization of essential services such as education and healthcare often leads to higher fees, making them inaccessible to the underprivileged sections of society. This further exacerbates the gap between the haves and have-nots, hindering social mobility and perpetuating inequality.

Bangladesh faces a significant budgetary challenge as it endeavors to meet the demands of a growing population and invest in crucial development projects. Insufficient revenue generation poses a significant obstacle to implementing poverty alleviation and adequate public services to all citizens.

Bangladesh's progress towards social justice and economic equity is contingent upon addressing the issues of wealth and income inequality, limited access to public services, the budget/revenue gap, and the burden of debt service obligations.

By prioritizing social welfare and equitable distribution of resources, Bangladesh can truly harness its economic potential and create a society where all citizens have an opportunity to thrive and contribute to the nation's progress.

Despite impressive economic growth over the years, Bangladesh continues to grapple with a stark disparity between the wealthy few and the impoverished majority. The wealthiest in the country own a significant portion of the total wealth, leaving a vast majority with limited access to resources.

This imbalance in wealth distribution perpetuates a cycle of poverty, limiting social mobility and hindering efforts to uplift the marginalized communities. The wages and salaries earned by the working class, especially those in low-skilled jobs and the informal sector, often fall below the poverty line.

On the other hand, high-earners, including top managers, entrepreneurs, and professionals, enjoy high incomes, which worsens income inequality. Children from less-developed areas often lack access to high-quality education, which reduces their chances of getting better-paying jobs in future.

High-paying jobs tend to be concentrated in certain sectors and in urban areas, which leads to regional disparities and restricted access to well-paid jobs for people living in remote areas. It is essential to address wealth and income inequality for Bangladesh's long-term development and the prosperity of its people.

Progressive taxation, well-targeted social policies, improved access to education and job opportunities, and steps to empower marginalized communities can help Bangladesh build a more equitable and just society where everyone has a fair chance to thrive and contribute to the growth of the nation.

As the gap between wealth and income narrows, the government has more money to spend on social programs and services that benefit the least well-off. Reducing tax evasion and avoidance allows the government to capture a more accurate picture of taxable wealth.

This means that the government can invest more in human capital and strengthen the social safety net, promoting economic mobility and overall social welfare. This means that the government will not need to borrow as much and will have less pressure on the public finances due to debt service commitments.

This will result in higher consumer spending and investment. A balanced approach to wealth taxation and progressive taxation is essential. Excessive taxation of wealth and investment may discourage entrepreneurship and capital formation and impede economic growth.

Therefore, it is important to carefully design wealth taxation policies that take into account economic incentives and avoid unintended negative impacts. By capturing wealth and non-earned income, governments will have more revenue to spend on vital public services and to invest in the welfare of their citizens.

The writer is poet and journalist.

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