(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Value Added Tax (VAT) charged from private sector hospitals will be removed from next week, Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.
“The VAT charged on consultancy fees and other private hospital bills would be exempt from VAT from next week” the Minister said.
Minister Samaraweera was speaking at the Matara Divisional Secretariat on Saturday to hand over the final installment of compensation to those who suffered loss due to the May 2017 floods.
He also handed over deeds to alternate lands provided to persons displaced by the 2004 tsunami.
The Minister said this is a part of the ongoing programmes of the Good Governance government to provide relief to the people and ensure their welfare.
Minister Samaraweera said despite the huge debt inherited from the previous regime, this government did not neglect the welfare of the people and our main goal is to provide relief without playing party politics.
“In addition to providing free health services and medication at government hospitals, the government reduced the prices of essential drugs, provides stents free of charge to heart patients and lenses to eye patients. We intend to provide further relief by exempting private hospitals from VAT from next week,” the Minister reiterated.
The minister said that every person resident in the Matara district who suffered loss due to the floods of May/June 2017 has been compensated by the government irrespective of their caste, ethnicity, religion or political affiliation.
“Over 200,000 persons in the Matara district were displaced due to floods in May last year. The National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF) assessed the damage and loss incurred by 5,137 persons at Rs.1,598 million. Of the 5,137 affected people, the houses of 101 persons were completely destroyed by the floods,” he said.
“Each claim was carefully assessed before compensation was paid. In earlier years, every person affected by natural disasters were paid Rs.25,000 each and those whose homes were totally destroyed were paid only Rs.100,000. Furthermore, Government servants did not qualify to receive compensation under the above schemes. I have been told that some of you have received as much as Rs.1.7 million,” Minister Samaraweera said.
Provincial Minister for Education, Land and Highways and SLFP’s organiser for the Matara District Chandima Rasaputhra said that the people of Matara should not miss out on this golden opportunity at a time when a Member of Parliament representing the Matara district holds the portfolio of Finance.
“We should make best use of this golden opportunity and forget about our political affiliations by working together to bring as much development to Matara,” he said.
District Secretary Pradeep Rathnayaka and Divisional Secretary Darshana Wickremarachchi also spoke at the event.