Written by Zulfick Farzan
23 Mar, 2021 | 6:45 pm
Colombo (News 1st); “A Sugar Scam did not take place,” said State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal in Parliament on Tuesday (23) adding the former government too on one occasion reduced the import tax on sugar to 25 cents and two months later increased it to rs. 15/-.
During the two months in question, one could have imported sugar to the country with a reduced tax and then make a profit in sales, said the State Minister.
He said the government followed the same sugar tax reduction process for Big Onion, Dhal & Canned Fish imports.
“The Government did not charge Rs. 15.9 Billion following the reduction of the Special Commodity Levy and it was done on purpose to provide relief to the people,” said the State Minister adding such measures cannot be termed as scams.
Responding to allegations that the relief was not passed to the consumer, State Minister Cabraal said “It is a normal economic theory”, adding when you reduce prices it does not get transmitted immediately.
He stressed as time passed the relief was passed on to the consumers, reiterating that no flaw was committed.
The State Minister said the revenue due to the state was reduced to provide benefits to the people.
Opposition MP Dr. Harsha De Silva said the government cannot say a scam did not take place, without calling for a forensic audit on the issue.
” Pyramid Wilmar (Pvt) Ltd had a large consignment of sugar in their bonded warehouse and when the tax was reduced he paid that tax of 25 cents and released his stocks,” said the MP adding thereafter within 12 weeks 125,000 MT of sugar was imported by the said company using the reduced tax provision.
Dr. Harsha De Silva pointed, therefore, a scam had taken place, adding while the state lost revenue in tax, Sathosa was compelled to buy sugar at higher prices and sell for less than Rs. 100/- per kilogram.
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