Parliament heats up on Taxes, targets and exchange rates

Parliament heats up on Taxes, targets and exchange rates

Written by Staff Writer

22 Jun, 2018 | 1:49 am

COLOMBO (News 1st) – The current economic situation in the country including its debt burden and income, was discussed in the Parliament today. (June 21)The discussion arose during the debate to approve several orders including the reduction in the annual license fee of bottling toddy.

Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera stated that the country earns only 18% in Direct income tax and that it is quite an unfortunate and unacceptable situation. The Minister also stated that there were around 400,000 tax files but that with the introduction of the new Inland Revenue Act, 69,000 new tax files have been opened at the Inland Revenue Department since the 1st of April.

“We are paying a debt of 1.9 trillion rupees this year. It goes without saying that 83% of this debt amount are loans obtained before 2015. In 2019/20 we have to pay over 4 trillion rupees. These are the Rajapaksa’s loans. But without saying this isn’t our loans and evading it, we are paying them as well and continuing to grant concessions to the people” continued the Minister.

UPFA Parliamentarian Tharaka Balasuriya accused the Government of failing to meet it’s targets set during the previous budget. Minister Samaraweera retorted by stating that he would take care of the target and noted that right now his primary goal is to provide concessions to the public because the current administration is sensitive towards the issued faced by the general public.

JVP Parliamentarian Sunil Handunetti joining the debate stated that the prices of vegetables and 250 grams of rice are beyond 60 to 70 rupees and that at a time when the cost of living has risen, the Dollar is at 161 rupees.He further said that the country’s total debt has risen this year because of the depreciation of the Rupee in 2018 adding that it is affecting imported goods as well.

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