Ashraf’s Column

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Let’s call it “Haram Money”

I am neither a student of economics, nor of politics. As a layman I understand that any money which I do not earn or inherit by legal means is not my money. It is public money and belongs to the state. If the state does not or cannot take possession of such public money from me for any reason it does not become my personal money. Our FBCCI leaders are now trying, as they do every year immediately before the annual national budget is drafted, to convince the nation and the government to make all their illegal money legal by giving it an innocent name. They call it “Black Money”. Black is the name of a color. It is no more a repugnant word. Many black persons like Nelson Mandela have attained world wide fame. There are many black things we like. Even our poets have composed beautiful poems and songs on black eyes, hairs, body complexion, etc. Notwithstanding what our business leaders mean by the term “Black Money”, the fact remains that it means illegitimate money. The money which should have been legally in the Bangladesh Bank is illegally in their pockets. Morally speaking the money which the FBCCI leaders are calling “Black Money” is actually swindler’s money.

In the past for many years our government had allowed our high profile businessmen to “whiten” (legalize) their “Black Money” by saying that such an action would be beneficial to our state economy. But from what our leading economists, Dr. Akbar Ali Khan and et al, are saying we know that the outcome of all such actions proved futile. Rather the “Black Money” holders were further emboldened to earn more “Black Money” in the successive years. Thus they have been causing greater loss to the public exchequer.

Our honorable finance minister is personally known to be an honest man and an economist per excellence. Initially, as we saw in TV reports, he expressed his strong unwillingness to “whiten” the “Black Money”on moral grounds. But now it appears that he has to swallow the bitter pill and succumb to the pressure of the FBCCI leaders for reasons best known to him. In the coming budget, as it is being hinted now, he is going to allow our businessmen “whiten” their “Black Money”, of course, under some conditions to create a smoke screen to hoodwink the people.

Only a very strong disapproval by the people at large could restrain the government from taking such an anti people action. For that people must be made aware of the true characteristic of “Black Money”. To do so let us now call the money in question as “Haram (illegitimate) Money” instead of “Black Money)”.

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