Wednesday September 26, 2018

Sri Lanka to present 'fishing rod' budget: Finance Minister

Nov 09, 2017 08:24 AM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)


ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka is presenting a budget which will give long term opportunities to invest and generate income targeted at young people, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

"The Chinese philosopher Confucius once said it was better to give a man a fishing rod than a piece of meat," Samaraweera told reporters at the Finance Ministry the day before the budget.

"But we will also give some benefits to the people as they had suffered from the drought, and other events as well as rising prices of some goods."

Samaraweera cut import duties of several foods including potatoes, onions, dhal and vegetable oils. A drought had sharply pushed up prices of coconut.

Samaraweera said he is presenting a budget which is expected to improve the environment for business and investment, giving more jobs and boosting growth. A lower budget deficit can reduce interest rates and also give space for the central bank to keep inflation down.

Key revenue measures including a hike and reform of the value added tax system took place last year. A new Inland Revenue Law which is taking effect from April has also raised taxes including capital gains.

The elected ruling class has been exempted from paying capital gains tax on their tax free cars in a reversal to a feudal style privilege.

Such tax injustices have been a hallmark of native rulers who gained control of the tax system from the British, liberty advocates say.

Sri Lanka may exceed this year's budget target of 4.6 percent by 0.3 to 0.4 percent due to the effect of the drought, State Minister for Finance Eran Wickramaratne said. (Colombo/Nov09/2017)


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