Scrap EST? No way, says Baburam

Kathmandu, March 17:

Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai today warned that he would rather step down than bow to the pressure of private schools to scrap the five per cent Education Service Tax (EST) imposed by the government on the schools.

Addressing an election campaign of Unified CPN Maoist’s student wing -- ANNISU- R -- at Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus today, Dr Bhattarai said, “The government has allowed the private schools to openly loot 95 per cent of the total sum of tuition fee and other charges in different titles from the parents, and called on them to pay only five per cent EST so that the government could make investment in education sector”.

He said the government, by hook or crook, will enforce the EST for the overall betterment of education sector. “I will rather quit the cabinet than give in to the demand of the private schools. We will enforce the EST at any cost,” Dr Bhattarai said.

At a time when the Finance Minister is reiterating his commitment to forcefully implement the EST, Minister for Education Renu Kumari Yadav, according to Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS), has said that the government was in no mood to impose five per cent additional tax on private schools.

She said needful preparations were underway to scrap the ‘controversial’ decision.

Talking to mediapersons in Biratnagar today, she further added that no student of any private school would be barred from appearing SLC examination just because the school defied the government’s tax decision.

“Public debate is vital to reach a conclusion whether to push ahead with the EST policy.

The only way to resolve the crisis is all-side talks,”

Yadav said.