In an effort to reduce unemployment among the trans community, the government in Bangladesh will be offering tax cuts to companies that hire trans employees. According to the South Asian Wire, Bangladesh is home to an estimated 1.5 million trans people, many of whom face unemployment and homelessness due to discrimination. When announcing the country’s annual national budget recently, finance minister Mustafa Kamal revealed the new tax plans.
He said: “I propose to enact special tax incentives with a view to providing employment and ensuring a rise in living standards and social and economic integration of the members of the third gender”, and explained that firms will be given either a 5% tax cut or will be reimbursed with 75% of the salaries of trans employees. This is conditional on companies hiring at least 100 trans people or the equivalent of 10% of their company workforce.
Anonnya Banik, president of local trans rights group Sadakalo Hijra Unnayan Sangha, said the plan is “absolutely good news”, but added: “We don’t want it to be political propaganda.” In 2013, the Bangladesh government passed a policy that legally recognised the country’s trans community as a ‘third gender’, allowing them the right to vote and stand for election. The first trans-inclusive school in the country was then opened in late 2020.