Panelist: S.M.D. Suriyakumara, Chairman, Lanka Confectionery Manufacturers Association, N.K. Jayawardana, Chairman, All Ceylon Bakery Owners Association, Kamil Husain, Chairman, Tiles and Sanitaryware Importers Association, Nishan Wasalathanthri, President, Event Management Association Sri Lanka, Yasas Chandrasekera, Vice-President, Mahanuwara Sinhala Welenda Peramuna, Dimuth Chankama Silva, Chairman, Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs, Rasith Wickramasingha, Senior Vice-Chairman, Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs, Keerthi Gunawardana, Vice-President, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka, Sanjeewa Withanaarachchi, Kiribathgoda Welenda Sangamaya, Dammika Lokuge, Galle District Chamber of Commerce and Industries and K.H.R. Chandika,Matara District Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Picture by Saliya Rupasinghe
The Sri Lanka corporate sector is ready to support the government and they have no objection in paying the proposed taxes, a group of professional organizations headed by the Chamber Of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) said on Wednesday at a press conference in Colombo.
“However the government too must utilize these taxes prudently and should not use taxpayer money unnecessary for unplanned, unproductive expenses and for tamashas. Especially the government too must cut down their expenses which we see have increased.”
The Associations opined that they never asked for the reduction of taxes and it was this this government that vulnerary adjusted them resulting in a revenue loss of around Rs. 700 billion to the government coffers in the last two years.
“We also see that the VAT would not have a direct impact for us since it’s the end customer that pays it.”
They also said that taxation would result for higher inflation but this is something that is on the cards. The professionals also suggested that the ‘tax net’ should be broadened and spread to more sector as still only few sectors pay taxes. Sri Lanka is facing the worst socio-economic crisis in its history and this situation has arisen due to mismanagement by successive governments.
“These issues have also been exacerbated by macro-economic factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn.”
The organizations also put forward a 10-point action plan to overcome the current crisis. If these proposed 10 points are implemented immediately and followed, COYLE and the other organizations who put forward this plan are confident that Sri Lanka can recover from the current crisis and be stronger than ever before in the future. “However if these are not implemented they will resort to stronger action.” The first point which was put forward was the need for immediate political and administrative stability. Appointing professionals with relevant expertise and experience to the Cabinet and other key positions too was included in the first point.
The second point is addressing the immediate financial and essential goods crisis faced by the people while also supporting those engaged in activities that bring in foreign currency to the country.
The third point is adopting a “Sri Lanka First” negotiation strategy for long-term debt restructuring by engaging with the sovereign bondholders as well as reaching out to international organizations such as the IMF and friendly countries.
The fourth point is the reduction of government expenditure and making government-owned entities efficient and self-sufficient. This would mean focusing on performance and output. The fifth point is to bring about good governance by making the necessary reforms to the political structure.The sixth point is to enhance industrialization through an accelerated drive towards export-led real GDP growth. This would mean bringing about certain fiscal reforms while also bringing in a structure that encourages foreign direct investments (FDIs).
The seventh point is the redefinition of policies to empower traditional and disruptive industries.
The ninth point is the need for effective communication and transparency with all stakeholders of the nation, including the public to ensure accountability. This would mean adopting a framework that tracks and maintains a record of all activities carried out by the public sector including public office bearers and the 10th point is capitalizing on the Port City and integrating a model for a transformed Sri Lanka. The professional organizations that came forward for the event included; Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Yarlpanam, United Trade and Industry Association, Dehiwala, The Matara District Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Nugegoda Entrepreneurs and Professionals Alliance, Minuwangoda Trade Association, Lanka Business Ring, Nawalapitiya Traders Association, Entrepreneurs Lanka, Mahanuwara Sinhala Welanda Peramuna, Kiribathgoda Sinhala Merchant Association, Galle District Chamber Of Commerce & Industries, Event Management Association-Sri Lanka, Lanka Confectionary Manufactures Association, Kurunagala Sinhala Welada Peramuna, All Ceylon Bakery Owners Association, Association of container transport, Association of clearing and forwarding, and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka.