Finance Minister says internet charges hike is “a minor increase”

Finance Minister says internet charges hike is “a minor increase”

Written by Staff Writer

24 Nov, 2016 | 9:29 pm

Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake convened a media briefing at the Ministry premises on Thursday, November 24 where attention was drawn towards the budget proposals.

Question: “… There are traffic fines in the 20 rupee limits. Has a decision been made to increase that as well …”

Minister of Finance: “… Should it be increased? The Ministry of Transport and the Police will make the other amendments – be it to increase or reduce the fines …”

Question : “… Is it fair to impose a fine of Rs. 25,000 for overtaking from the left …”

Minister of Finance: “… I have no issue on that. It was presented by the Minister of Transport. He said that 07 to 08 accidents occur daily resulting in deaths. He added that over 48,000 accidents take place each year and it needs to be prevented. If eight deaths are reported daily, we need to enforce the law to put a stop to that …”

Question: “… How much revenue do you hope to generate through fines ? …”

“… Minister of Finance:We do not require the fines. We do not include it in to the revenue calculations …”

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake elaborating on the provisions for the provincial councils said that compared to 2016, for 2017 they have made several reductions.

” There were unnecessary expenses like going to Russia and China.The Central Government has taken the measures to put a stop to those expenses. The president called for suggestions. Following discussions with the Prime Minister he will prioritize certain allocations …” added Minister Ravi Karunanayake.

The Minister responding to allegations made against the alleged privatisation of the payment platform commented as follows,

“… The former president appears as he is not aware of what he did. ICTA was an institute that was created during his government and 100 percent owned by the Finance Ministry. He is saying that it’s being privatised.

Responding to another question posed” by a journalist regarding the hike on internet charges the Minister said that during discussion with Telecom, it was noted that a majority have shifted from voice lines to data lines and when this shift takes place, the revenue drops drastically.

Question: “… For a 100 rupees data bundle a user is subject to a tax of 50 rupees …”

Finance Minister: “… How much was it earlier? 48 rupees was increased to 50. Did anyone say anything when it was 48 rupees. This is a minor increase …”

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