Sri Lanka to introduce new Inland Revenue Act to attract investment

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – The Sri Lankan government will introduce a new Inland Revenue Act next month to strengthen the island’s business climate and lure more investors into the country.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, quoted in the report, said the Act will create a level playing field for everyone to do business, moving away from the culture of preferential treatment.

“We are setting the platform and working continuously on promoting the business climate by enhancing tax payers’ protection and providing greater certainty on tax affairs. Through last year’s budget titled ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’, our government showed steadfast commitment towards creating an investment friendly environment,” Samaraweera said.

“Our aim is to create an environment of transparency, fairness and equity for every citizen and entrepreneur in the future,” the minister added.

Samaraweera further made a fervent plea to all citizens to pay their taxes as the current number of individuals and firms registered for paying taxes remained at a surprisingly low level.

He said the government was in talks with the World Bank to widen the Social Safety Net to shield the poor and vulnerable from getting affected from the liberalization of the economy.

He said this new legislation carved a clear strategic direction about taxation in the country and the government is expected to increase the share of direct income tax against indirect taxes.

International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama last month said his department plans to attract 2.5 billion U.S. dollars of foreign direct investments in 2018 through foreign investment projects, especially to bring in new investors in sectors such as export-oriented manufacturing and services.

Samarawickrama said forex earnings will be increased by investing heavily on sectors such as IT, tourism, processed food and component manufacturing as recommended by the national export strategy.

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