COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka has a slammed a billion rupee tax on sports television channel while steps have also been announced to take back monopoly sports broadcasting rights given a channel connected to ousted President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The Carlton Sports Network, named after the family home of the Rajapaksa’s and where one of his sons was reportedly involved was given a money-spinning monopoly on sports broadcasting rights by the last regime.
At one time the cricket broadcast rights were competitively obtained by all TV stations run by citizens’ but the elected ruling class then made it a monopoly of the state media run by them.
The Rajapaksa regime then effectively transferred the privilege to the newly set up CSN network by a cabinet decision with no open tender or any known competitive method of allocation.
Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said Thursday, CSN did not provide commentaries in three languages and a cabinet sub-committee will be appointed to look into it.
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said a levy of 1,000 million rupees would be charged on sports channels operating island-wide with more than 5 transmitting locations, which analysts believe is targeted at CSN.
Sri Lanka has slammed a series of one-off taxes on many companies, which analysts say set a bad precedent to be followed by future members of elected ruling class and undermines tax predictability.
Sri Lanka has a system where rulers secretly hatch taxes and spring them on the ruled through a midnight gazette literally while they are sleeping.