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Sri Lanka customs code white paper soon; new income tax law in 2017: FinMin

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will release a white paper on a new customs code this year, and a new income tax law will go into effect from 2017, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.

"I want to release a white paper on customs for public discussion," Karunanayake told reporters on Sunday.

"We want the customs code to go into effect before the budget."

The budget usually comes in November in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka already has a customs code, which has its origins in the British colonial period.

Customs officers are fairly independent, and individual customs officers have wide discretion and can resist pressure from above and survive, unlike in other government departments.

However, there are concerns over corruption.

Karunanayake said a new income tax law would also be drawn up. The new law would become effective from April 2017 onwards.

Sri Lanka is revamping customs and income tax laws to boost revenue under an overall economic plan backed by the International Monetary Fund. Analysts say enacting the laws could be structural benchmarks of the deal. (Colombo/May02/2016)

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