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Tax revenue surpasses Rs. 3 trillion

A first in Sri Lankan history

by Gayan Abeykoon
November 21, 2023 1:29 am 0 comment

For the first time in the history of Sri Lanka, the country obtained Rs. 3 trillion (Rs. 3,000 billion) in tax revenue for 2023.

Presidential Secretariat Economic Development Stabilization Unit Director W.M.G. Kumaratunge said that until last Friday the Government had collected Rs. 2,394 billion and with nearly 30 more working days of the year left, they will be able to surpass the Rs. 3,000 billion mark which is an all time record.

Speaking at a special post-Budget session organized by the State Ministry of Finance, he said that new IMF guidelines, getting more taxpayers in the net along with streamlining efficiency backed by close Government supervision was the key to achieving this record target.

Kumaratunge said that to date the Inland Revenue Department is the best revenue generator for the government, accounting for the collection of Rs. 1,415 billion which is 84 percent of the total tax revenue. The other two are Sri Lanka Customs which accumulated Rs. 1,667 billion and the Excise Department which collected Rs. 217 billion so far.

He said that in addition to these three key tax collectors of the government, there were other means of revenue generating tools for the government and by the end of the year the state will collect over Rs. 3,063 billion in tax and other revenue.

He said that they hope to better this revenue next year.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Finance Shehan Semasinghe said that though it is compulsory for a person to open a tax file when registering a vehicle, obtaining a revenue licence or buying and transferring land, this does not mean that they will have to keep on paying tax. “The Inland Revenue Department will make an assessment and some will be exempted from paying taxes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Central Bank Economic Research Department Director Dr. P.K.G. Harischandra said that Sri Lanka, after a lapse of several years, will have a positive economic growth rate of around 1.6 percent from the third quarter of 2023. “This is from a negative economic growth rate of around 6.8 percent in the first two quarters of this year,” he said.

Shirajiv Sirimane

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