Government lose Rs. 1,600 Bn revenue due to COVID | Daily News

Government lose Rs. 1,600 Bn revenue due to COVID

* VAT revenue decreased by 75%
* Expenditure remains the same
* Decline in foreign reserves as well

The government has lost Rs. 160,00 billion in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa said in Parliament today (7).

Minister Basil Rajapaksa pointed out that the revenue received from the Sri Lanka Customs, the Excise Department, the Inland Revenue Department and the tourism sector has significantly gone down due to the lockdown imposed.

Minister Rajapaksa made these observations during the debate on the regulations imposed under the Financial Bill and Export Import Control Bill.

Minister Basil Rajapaksa also pointed out that a large portion of the revenue of Sri Lanka Customs had been lost due to the suspension of the importation of vehicles for the past one and a half years. The Minister also pointed out that the importation of vehicles was suspended to sustain the country’s economy.

Minister Rajapaksa observed that the VAT revenue received from the Inland Revenue Department has also decreased by about 75 percent but expenditure had not decreased. The Minister also noted that foreign loans and aid coming into the country have also declined. He noted that about 80 percent of the COVID-19 vaccines have been purchased for cash. The Finance Minister added that the country’s foreign reserves have also declined to someextent. Minister Rajapaksa also pointed out that certain medicines have been manufactured in the country to ensure the economic stability and the saline required for the hospitals has been manufactured locally since the beginning of this month. “The country is going through a very difficult time. The pandemic has affected the country drastically. The forex issue is also another problem that we have to overcome. We need the cooperation of the Opposition to come out of the situation we are in as one nation, keeping aside politics. Sri Lankan’s state expenditure has exceeded the revenue for decades and the pandemic situation made it worse. Public money has also been misused. So we need to make genuine effort to rectify these shortcomings. We have decided to use foreign assistance with utmost diligence. We shall work with institutions such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank only for concessionary loan schemes. Sri Lanka will not agree to political based conditions that any donor would impose when it comes to external borrowings,” Minister Rajapaksa also noted.

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Finance Bill passed without vote

The Third Reading of the amended Finance Bill was passed in Parliament today without a vote. The Bill was passed with 134 votes in favour and 44 against, following the Second Reading.


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