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President urges more exports, tax revenue increased to tackle economic downturn

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Top 10 “CNCI Achiever” Gold winners with President Ranil Wickremesinghe. Picture by Sulochana Gamage
Top 10 “CNCI Achiever” Gold winners with President Ranil Wickremesinghe. Picture by Sulochana Gamage

Sri Lanka is facing its biggest economic downturn and urgently needed funds and this was one reason to increase tax revenue, said President Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing the 21st annual Ceylon National Chamber of Industries awards ceremony held yesterday.

He said that the government’s aim is to increase the tax to GDP rate to around 13% to 14 % and then to around 18% later. The President also said that the government wanted to extend their tax base and this is currently being done.

“We must also decide to forget the past, not to repeat past mistakes and look forward to a better future. We see some issues like fuel, gas settling and see the economy falling into place sooner than expected.”

The President also said that the government cannot keep on providing handouts to State owned enterprises and other such bodies since the government must also look at the wellbeing of the banking system which has to be safeguarded. He also said that each year the Treasury provides many finances to aligning SOEs and government institutions and he felt that it would have been better if they were given to industrialists who would have given better returns to the economy. President Wickremesinghe also encouraged industries to export more and also advised to try to branch out to Africa where he identified there would be growth from 2050 onwards.

The President added that Sri Lanka had never faced a crisis of this nature and he was confident that Sri Lanka would recover again.

Meanwhile, Chairman CNCI Canisius Fernando said SME industries are facing tremendous hardships and the new proposed tax would aggravate their issues.

“In addition we also face issues when importing as we have to pay around over 60% import taxes at various stages. Due to these issues exporters have lost competitiveness resulting in high prices for consumers.”

He said that these issues have resulted in some SME industries closing down and the loss of employment. Fernando said that this can be overcome by lowering some taxes and mainly by opening a separate bank to offer low lending rates for borrowings.

Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (Lake House) is once again the Print Media partner of the event.


Wednesday, December 21, 2022 – 01:00

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