Sri Lanka slashes food import taxes ahead of budget

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will sharply reduce import taxes on several food products from midnight Wednesday, the day before the government budget for next year is presented to parliament, finance minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

The move is aimed at giving relief to consumers hit by recurring droughts and floods in recent months, he told a news conference.

The import tax on potatoes will be cut to Rs1 a kilo from Rs40, big onions to Rs 1 from Rs40, dhal full to Rs1 from Rs10, processed dhal to Rs3 from Rs 15, dry fish to Rs52 from Rs102, and sprats to Rs1 from Rs11 a kilo.

Import taxes on edible oils will also be reduced, Samaraweera said.
The tax on unrefined palm oil and other edible oils will be cut to Rs95 from Rs110, palmolein to Rs100 from Rs115, refined palm oil to Rs110 from Rs135, refined other vegetable oils to Rs105 from Rs130, unrefined palm kernel oil to Rs105 from Rs130, refined palm kernel oil to Rs110 from Rs145 and coconut oil to Rs105 from Rs130.

The reduced taxes will cost the treasury about Rs1.5 billion a month but the government will made up for the lost revenue with adjustments elsewhere, Samaraweera said.
The measure will be reviewed in 03 months, he added.

Samaraweera also said the budget he will present Thursday will have incentives for young people and will focus on long term investment.
(COLOMBO, November 08, 2017)

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