Sri Lanka revenues on track to grow 30-pct: Finance Minister
COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s state revenues are on track to increase to 30 percent, with increased with steep increases already seen in excise, customs but additional expenditure commitments were being discovered, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.
Excise Department revenues have gone up 250 percent, Custom Department revenue have gone up 32 percent and from Inland Revenue Department revenues were up 14 percent he said.
Karunanayake has been cracking down on tax-unpaid alcohol made with smuggled ethanol in at least three distilleries connected to politicians of the last regime.
He said revenue leakages were estimated to be about 110 billion rupees a year.
Government revenues were up 21 percent to 496 billion rupees, Deputy Economic Policy Minister Harsha de Silva told parliament last week, which was 32 percent of total estimated revenue.
Karunanayake said the efforts to collected taxes started from February 2015, following the election of the new administration in January, and the average revenue growth from February onwards was about 29 percent.
"When you look at the revenue we believe revenue would go up at least about 30 percent (this year)," Karunanayake said.
The new administration was projecting revenues including non-tax revenues, of 1,592 billion rupees from 2015, up 33 percent from 1,195 billion rupees in 2014.
However some expenses estimates given have been found to be under-estimated, he said.
Large volumes of capital expenditure commitments were being found in roads and water supply which was outside the budget, Karunanayake said.
A pensions anomaly cost which was originally estimated at 5.5 billion rupees was now found to be 24,000 billion he said.
Somebody must take responsibility for giving wrong information, he said.
Analysts however say in the recent past it was a common practice to project high revenues, which was also useful in getting provisional advances or printed money from the central bank and show lower recurrent spending.