LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales announced on Tuesday the elimination of the article of a proposed tax law that would increase the monitoring of bank accounts in response to a complaint by the Private Business Owners Confederation (CEPB).
Last month the government introduced a bill providing for a tax amnesty to recoup some of the $4.32 billion in unpaid taxes owed to the treasury.
The bill included an article that would have given the tax and customs services access to account information that until now has only been available to authorities based on warrants.
Business leaders considered the provision such a violation of private businesses’ right to confidentiality that it would turn away investors.
Morales told reporters that he withdrew the article when he realized that business owners “are completely right to protect their sector, but also to think about Bolivia.”
He also praised the fact that “after such a long time” the dialogue with private business owners has been renewed following a series of disagreements.
The president was taking part in a meeting of members of his administration with the CEPB in the central Bolivian city of Cochabamba.
For his part, the head of the business group, Ronald Nostas, thanked the president for the chance to restart a dialogue that provides the necessary balance between the country’s public and private sectors, because “the only way to make progress is by working together.”
“The private sector without the support of the state cannot progress in the same way,” Nostas said.
The amnesty bill forgives up to 95 percent of tax debts and fines in order to encourage taxpayers to voluntarily regularize their debts with the Treasury by Jan. 31, 2019.
Morales’ leftist MAS party has the majority in Congress.