Sri Lanka ups tax on sugar as world prices fall: finance ministry

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s finance ministry said it had upped an import tax on sugar by eight rupees a kilogram, from midnight on August 15, as world prices fell.

The statement said representatives of sugar importers have informed the government that there will be no increase in retail prices, since global prices fell.

The special commodity levy, an import tax devised by former minister Bandula Gunewardene was raised by 8 rupees a kilo, following a meeting by a cabinet sub-committee on the cost of living on 15.08.2015, the finance ministry said.

In Sri Lanka the rulers can raise taxes without going to parliament, undermining a basic principle of representative government, liberally while people are sleeping, In a rare case, the decision was made public before it was implemented.

Critics say the midnight gazette and generally imposing duties without prior notification, leads to insider dealing by those in the know, and creates and uncertain business environment for honest entrepreneurs.

While importers who have stocks can make windfalls when prices go up with import taxes, when taxes are suddenly cut, they can make losses. (Colombo/Aug16/2017)

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