Opposition makes false promises to mislead public- Minister Harsha | Daily News


Opposition makes false promises to mislead public- Minister Harsha

The country’s inland revenue would see a drastic decline if the VAT rate is reduced to 8 percent, Economic Reforms and Public Distribution Non Cabinet Minister Harsha de Silva said.

He said that the opposition makes impossible pledges to mislead the public. Even this government is willing to reduce the VAT rate but it does not give false promises to the public. He made these observations yesterday joining the debate on the Vote on Account presented to the House by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday.

He further said that the economy could be developed by bringing in Dollars and not by reducing VAT. He added that SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that he would reduce the VAT rate from 20 percent to 8 percent. “But who increased it to 20 percent,” Harsha de Silva queried. “It was former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who increased it to 20 percent during his regime. They have forgotten it.”

He also said that Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had promised to remove the tax on apartments as an election pledge. “But already Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has removed it,” Harsha de Silva said.

He also said that this government has been able to maintain the inflation rate at 5 percent. He added that Gotabaya Rajapaksa promised to bring the exchange rate of USD in the face of Rs.1 to Rs.150. “We like to do so,” Minister Harsha de Silva said. “But this is not a political decision. It is not Parliament that depreciated the rupee. So tell us what is your mechanism to appreciate the Rupee. We have our plans to increase exports and bring in foreign exchange.”

He also said that it was during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime that the country lost the GSP Plus facility and during the reign of this government, the country obtained it again.

He also said that a six and half acre store to store the farmers’ crops is being constructed at Dambulla. The same will be opened soon this month or the next.

When queried by JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake on the connection of high heels with the economic development rate, Minister Harsha de Silva said that earlier the people spent the largest proportion of their income on food but in Colombo, the people spent less than 30 percent of their income on food while the rest is spent for other purposes including education. He asserted further that it was an acceptable criteria.


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