The government is set to lose tax revenue amounting to US$ 3 billion due to the three new Gazette notifications, which allow for the operating of three new casinos in the country, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) charged yesterday.
Addressing the media, JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha herath said the Gazette notifications were issued by the Minister of Investment Promotion, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane, in accordance with the Strategic Development Project Act, No 14 of 2008.
“Through these gazette notifications, approval was given to three new hotels with casinos. Accordingly, Waterfront Properties Ltd., Queensbury Leisure Ltd., and Lake Leisure Holdings are permitted to set up hotels with casinos,” he pointed out.
Herath also noted that only major development project comes under the Strategic Development… …Project Act and the government had categorized casinos as major development project. He said these casinos are exempted from major taxes for 10 years.
Herath further noted, the government is to have a debate and a vote on these gazette notifications on 24 and 25 April.
“Last year too, the government tried to bring in regulations strengthening the arm of casinos. However, they had to withdraw their attempts due to the strong lobby of the opposition,” he said.
Herath claimed that these gazette notifications were approved by the Cabinet of Ministers and the so-called patriots had also voted for these gazette notifications which strengthen casinos. He challenged patriots in the government to vote against the casino friendly gazette notifications once they are presented in Parliament.
JVP also demanded that the government amend the gazette notifications immediately.
“This is a casino friendly move of the government. People should rise up against this anti-social move of the government,” he further stated.