Sri Lanka to increase state revenues to Rs1,850bn in 2017: Ravi
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is hoping to boost state revenues to 1,850 billion rupees in 2017 or around 14.2 percent of gross domestic product, in a ‘development oriented’ budget that will also bring down the deficit, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.
"We have to make sure that we have a development oriented budget despite many constraints, and global conditions," Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.
The 2016 revenue target was 1,546 billion rupees or around 13 percent of gross domestic product, with a deficit of 659 billion rupees or 5.4 percent of gross domestic product.
Karunanayake said he was confident of meeting the 2016 target and may even do slightly better.
Though revenue growth slowed after floods in 2016, from September there has been a pick up, he said.
Sri Lanka is expecting to boost revenues to 1850 billion rupees in 2017 with a revamped Inland Revenue act and changes in value added tax expected to be done this year, Karunanayake said.
The deficit will be brought down to 4.7 percent of GDP in 2017, he said.
Sri Lanka will revamp the Inland Revenue law, and also open 30 new branch offices of the revenue office to decentralise activities, he said.
The total number of taxes will also be brought down and the net will be broadbased.
"We do not want to put new taxes people who are already taxed," he said, but people who try to avoid paying taxes will face stiffer penalties.
Sri Lanka now had about 650,000 tax files of companies and individuals paying different types of taxes, but the country had there should be about 2.0 files, Karunanayake said.
Sri Lanka is also planning to start selling down stakes in listed companies held by the state, perhaps later this month, he said.
The government had said it did not want to own non-strategic firms and some hotels and a fee-levying hospital will be sold down.
A Colombo International Financial Centre will also bring in foreign investment to the country in the future Karunanayake said. (Colombo/Oct04/2016)