Leaders slam education tax burden

Kathmandu, March 1:

Leaders of different political parties today criticised the government decision to collect five per cent Education Service Tax (EST) from private educational institutions. They also termed the government’s recent statement of barring students from appearing in SLC examination as irresponsible and offensive.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 7th national general assembly of Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation Nepal (PABSON) here today, Nepali Congress spokesperson Arjun Narsingh KC said there was no legal obligation for the private schools to pay the EST. “A government minister recently said that the government won’t let students from private schools to appear in the SLC examination and that it would mobilise its party cadres to collect the EST from schools at any cost. This is really derogatory,” KC said, adding, “The EST has been intentionally imposed to prevent the private education sector from competing in global arena.”

CPN-UML vice-president Ashok Rai said the approval of the EST provision from the Constituent Assembly was unfortunate. He also said his party was not consulted before declaring the EST provision. “The government will be forced to withdraw its decision on EST if the PABSON intensified its protest,” he added.

However, Unified CPN (Maoist) spokesperson Dinanath Sharma warned that anyone who refuses to comply with the government decision would be going against the government. “I am hopeful that the PABSON won’t defy the government decision,” he said, adding, “The government is trying to implement a new education policy in new Nepal. We

are trying to ensure education as a fundamental right of every citizen.” PABSON Bhoj

Bahadur Shah said the issue of EST was contradictory as there was no similar voice amongst the political parties. “The government’s statement of not allowing the students to appear in the SLC examination has triggered terror among the students who have been preparing for the examination,” he added.

Gita Rana, president of National Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation Nepal, said the government should provide more facilities for the education sector if it wanted to levy tax on them.

Around 800 representatives from 58 districts are participating in the general assembly. PABSON is expected to announce its official stance on the EST tomorrow, according to the members.