ECONOMYNEXT – As the Supreme Court has already determined that Sri Lanka’s new Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill can be passed by a simple majority, parliament must see to it that it is done, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
Wickremesinghe told parliament Wednesday September 06 morning that the matter needs to be finalised by the end of the week.
“The courts have already given its determination. This house now has to pass it,” he said.
However, the bill has to go to either the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) or an advisory committee chaired by Wickremesinghe, prior to be taken up in parliament, he said.
“I haven’t sent it to the advisory committee. The COPF chairman wanted to discuss it. I told my secretary to furnish the COPF with necessary information, and advised the COPF to be liable to any leaks of sensitive information,” said Wickremesinghe.
“If this gets out, it will be damaging to the country. We must finish all this by next week. If not, this will collapse. I say this with seriousness,” he said.
State Minister of Finance Shehan Shemasinghe said at a forum on Tuesday September 04 that parliament expects to begin a debate on a tax hike for pension funds to enable domestic debt restructuring within two days.
The amendment to the income tax law will be debated on Wednesday and voted on Thursday, Semasinghe told a forum organized by CAL, a Colombo-based investment banking group.
President Wickremesinghe also told parliament that Sri Lanka’s domestic debt restructuring plan will not damage the employees’ provident fund (EFP) as claimed by some quarters.
“There will be no damage to the EPF here. We have agreed to give 9 percent. This figure wasn’t decided by me. Before I became prime minister [in May 2022], Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MPs in this house decided it. It was decided by the SLPP govt. Those MPs are now in the opposition. They’re on the government side too,” said Wickremesinghe.
“Don’t pin that on me. We have to take this forward,” he said.
“The COPF chair must ask the house or committee what their views are. You do that. I won’t interfere,” Wickremesinghe added. (Colombo/Sep06/2023)