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Friday June 14th, 2024

Gotabaya says will abolish PAYE tax, slash Sri Lanka VAT, boost biz environment

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Presidential candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa promised sweeping tax cuts, employed workers and companies, more subsidies for farmers and investments in universities to boost graduates.

“We have to expect more from local businessmen, and we need to improve the business climate for them,” Rajapaksa told packed audience at Colombo’s Nelum Pokuna threatre Friday releasing his election manifesto.

“Obstacles to business such as archaic laws need to be modernized. There is excessive taxation and it affects people’s productivity and business success.”

The Economic Service Charge and withholding taxes for private companies and levies on religious places will be repealed, if he is elected Rajapaksa said.

“The VAT rate will be reduced to 8 percent.

The pay-as-you-earn tax will be removed for both public and private sector employees,

Both PAYE and ESC are advance collections on income tax.

If elected, income taxes for the manufacturing sector will be reduced.

A simple tax scheme will be imposed on vehicle imports, he said.

He said that technology will be introduced at the Inland Revenue Department, Customs Department and the Excise Department to fill gaps in tax collection.

Rajapaksa said no resource should be exported without value addition.

The manifesto had paid special attention to religion and national security will be a key responsibility of the government, he said.

He said that investments will be made in his first year of office in the education sector to ensure each student passing A Level exams will have the opportunity to earn a degree.

Diploma holders will be given the opportunity to earn globally recognized degrees as well.

“We want to make young Sri Lankan skills in demand in the global economy,” Rajapaksa said.

“We want to create a knowledge-based economy.”

“Creativity will also be cultivated,” Rajapaksa said.

The manifesto outlined investments for local transport infrastructure, ports and airports, with plans to grow the tourism industry to US$ 10 billion dollars.

Rajapaksa promised free fertilizer and the writing off of agriculture loans for farmers and the introduction and better agriculture technologies.

Business support and investments to grow agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries and attract younger generations to these sectors will also be pursued, he said.

Sri Lanka will be made into a world-famous organic agriculture sourcing destination under the manifesto.

He also said that women will be empowered to start businesses and join the workforce, and flexible working conditions will be introduced for new mothers to work from home.

Rajapaksa said that national security will be a main function of the government, and the sovereignty and democracy of Sri Lanka will be protected.

He outlined investments in the judicial service to expand it and introduce processes so that the backlog of delaying court cases will be resolved.

“Political and institutional corruption will be eradicated and laws will be strengthened to prosecute corruption,” he said.

“These are not empty political promises. I want everyone to support me, no matter your political party, race or religion. All that is needed is love for the country.”

“We need to make Sri Lanka a leading country in the world. A country to which people return to, instead of a country which people leave.” (Colombo/Oct25/2019)

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Sri Lanka opposition leader proposes Grama Rajya system in addition to 13A

Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa (r) – File photo

ECONOMYNEXT — Sri Lanka opposition leader Sajith Premadasa has proposed devolving power to the village level through a Grama Rajya system in addition to implementing the 13th amendment to the constitution.

Speaking at an event in Jaffna on on Wednesday June 12, Premadasa said all provinces will benefit from the 13th amendment.

“Whatever one’s ethnicity, religion, status or region, this country has citizens of equal level. They’re all Sri Lankan citizens.

“There is no division or grouping.  As we give you and every other province what you should be given through the 13th amendment, we must implement a Grama Rajya system,” Premadasa said, addressing a crowd of school children and other attendees.

Premadasa’s assurance of implementing the 13th amendment has already drawn some protest in the south.

A collective of civil society organisations held a protest outside the office of the leader of the opposition in Colombo on Thursday June 12.

Calling itself the ‘Coalition Against Partition of Sri Lanka’, the group carrying national flags marched up to the opposition leader’s office Thursday June 13 morning and demonstrated against the full implementation of the 13th amendment.

“We arrived here today to hand over a missive against devolving police powers, land powers and judicial powers. If Mr Premadasa is inside, come outside,” Jamuni Kamantha Thushara, Chairman of the Citizen’s Movement Against Fraud, Corruption, and Waste, was seen declaring at the site.

“First of all, tell us what we stand to achieve by dividing and giving away the north and east,” said another protestor, warning against bringing the 13th amendment “anywhere here (paththa palaathe)”.

A police officer at the scene the protestors that a secretary to the opposition leader was ready to accept their letter.

“In Kilonochchi, he says the 13th amendment will be implemented. The votes in the north are going to be decisive this election. To win those votes, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sajith and Anura Kumara Dissanayake all say they will implement the 13th. We will not allow this country to be divided into nine pieces,” said Thushara.

Ven Balangoda Kassapa Thero, who was arrested on June 06 during a protest against the new Electricity Act, was also seen at Thursday’s protest. The Buddhist monk requested for a debate with Premadasa on the matter of the 13th amendment. (Colombo/Jun12/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes flat at 303.85/95 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed broadly flat at 303.85/95 to the US dollar on Thursday, from 303.80/304.00 to the dollar the previous day, dealers said. Bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.00/30 percent, down from 10.20/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.10.2027 closed at 10.60/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 11.00/15 percent, down from 11.15/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 11.80/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 11.85/12.05 percent, down from 11.90/12.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed stable at 11.95/12.15 percent. (Colombo/Jun13/2024)

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Sri Lanka sells Rs295bn in 2027 to 2031 bonds

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has sold 295 billion rupees in 2027, 2029 and 2031 bonds, data from the state debt office showed.

The debt office sold an offered 60 billion rupees of 15 October 2027 at an average yield of 10.30 percent.

All offered 125 billion rupees of 15 September 2029 bonds were sold at 11.00 percent.

All 110 billion rupees offered of 01 December 2031 bonds were sold at 12.00 percent. (Colombo/May13/2024)

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