First Cabinet meeting chaired by President:


The Cabinet of Ministers of the new government, which met for the first time under the auspice of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday, announced a wide-ranging economic and financial relief package both to individual citizens and also to the business sector.

Co-Cabinet Spokesman and Information and Communications Technology, Higher Education, Technology and Innovations Minister Bandula Gunawardane told news media at the new Government’s maiden Cabinet briefing that these measures aimed at ensuring a stronger economic revival along with benefits for all the people living in the country.

Addressing the briefing held yesterday at the Government Information Department, Minister Gunawardane said that the Cabinet had agreed to the proposal made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to abolish several taxes with immediate effect. Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is to take immediate measures to issue relevant gazette notifications and amend relevant acts and regulations.

According to the Minister, the Nation Building Tax (NBT) on Good and Services, Economic Services Charge, Debit Tax on Banking on Financial Institutions, Capital Gains Tax on stock market transactions, VAT on Condominium Property, Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Income Tax, Withholding Tax on interest income and other forms of Withholding Taxes and Debt Servicing Tax have been abolished with immediate effect.

He further said that the 15 percent VAT on all goods and services has been reduced to 8 percent with effect from December 1st this year. The company turnover limit for VAT has been raised from Rs 1 million to Rs 25 million with effect from December 1.

The income tax on the construction industry has also been reduced from 28 percent to 14 percent.

The Cabinet approval has also been granted to exempt all religious places from taxes.

The remittances sent by foreign workers to Sri Lanka have been completely exempted from income tax. It has also been decided to abolish VAT on sovereign property and apartments.

The Cabinet further decided to reduce the telecommunications levy by 25 percent.

Also addressing the media, Co-Cabinet Spokesman Ramesh Pathirana said that the Government has already decided on measures to develop the country’s plantation industry.


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