Tax burden to ease once economy improves – Ravi

Ravi Karunanayake

Tax will be reduced to give relief to the people in the near future once the economy gains momentum through the current strategies, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.

The minister pointed out that the plan to build the economy of the country has already been in place under the guidance of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Minister Karunanayake expressed these views at the ceremony held to declare open a fully-fledged grain storehouse complex at Murunkan in the Mannar District on 26 January. To symbolize the opening of the storehouse, the minister received stocks of paddy from several farmers at the complex.

Minister Karunanayake who addressed the gathering after the opening of the storehouse said that the current government has been taking all possible measures to uplift the living condition of the farming community.
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake further expressed his views in this manner:

“We have already set up storehouses similar to this in Anuradhapura and Moneragala Districts. The income of farmers in the area has increased by 35% to 40% after the two storehouses were set up. We want this money to swell the pockets of farmers. There was waste in the past but today, there is a conducive environment created to put them on the correct path. Rs 264 million was spent to build this storehouse.

It has a capacity to store 10,000 metric tons of harvest at a stretch. Farmers can store their bumper stocks in this depot during the harvesting season and fetch a better price for them during the off season. Although agriculture contributes only 10% to the Gross Domestic Product, 35% to 40% of our labour force still depends on agricultural sector. Therefore, there is a dire need to improve the agricultural sector. One of the prime goals of this government is to strengthen the agricultural sector under the guidance of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister, thereby assuring a better tomorrow for the farming community in the island. We will set up six pioneer storehouses of this kind throughout the country. We will assess the progress of them and, on their performance, will take further action to build more depots accordingly. Simultaneously, we will take action to build four cool houses throughout the country.

British rulers asked Prime Minister late D.S. Senanayake whether he had competence to give leadership to the country and ability to continue harmony before they gave independence to Sri Lanka in 1948. Today, we have been able to achieve many things as a result of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe forming a unity government by combing the two major political parties in the country. Therefore many are of the opinion that it is apt to introduce a new Constitution to correct the existing shortcomings while preserving the unitary status of the country to enable all communities to live in harmony under one Sri Lankan identity.

It is necessary to strengthen the economy of the country to sustain such social status. We have been implementing a part of that endeavor through these projects. At the time we formed this government, certain factions accused us asking where development was. We were compelled to start with a tumbled economy. If the daily expense was projected as Rs 1000, cash in hand was Rs 100 at that time. There is a challenge to change this poor situation. We cannot put this burden on the people.

Foreign loans had been borrowed excessively during the previous regime. However, a suitable environment has been created today for everybody to lead a better life than they did in the past. We do not expect to leave the present tax burden on the people for a long time. We hope to pass on the benefits to the people again soon after the economy reaches its imminent goals. Therefore, we request all the people to rally round this government to push this country towards the path of victory”, the minister said.

Minster of Industries and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, Mannar District Secretary M.Y.S. Deshapriya, Director General of Development Finance Department of the Finance Ministry A.M.P.M.B. Athapaththu, public servants of the area and a large number of farmers participated.

(Source: Ceylon Today)