Manusha calls for probe into ‘sugar tax’ information leak

Manusha calls for probe into ‘sugar tax’ information leak

November 7, 2023   04:17 pm

Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara has called for an investigation to determine whether any party has leaked the information to outsiders regarding the increase in the import tax on sugar before it was even presented to the Cabinet of Ministers.

The minister questioned how businessmen received information regarding the increase in the import tax on sugar before it was presented to the Cabinet, emphasizing that only Sri Lanka Customs officials were aware of the tax revision.

Speaking to the media, Nanayakkara expressed that “we raised our voice regarding the sugar fraud back then, and we will continue to raise our voice if there is a fraud even today. We will not keep our mouths shut where there is a fraud or a mistake. We need to find out what has happened here”.

“The real issue here is how the information of the decision to increase tax was delivered to the businessmen. To be honest, even the Cabinet Members were not aware of the decision to increase tax”, he added. 

“As soon as the government decides to impose a tax, some businessmen import those items. When the government decides to reduce tax, this same group hides those specific items. The question we have to find the answer for is ‘how that information reached those businessmen?’”

“I am sure that information does not leak from the Cabinet”, he claimed.
 
Furthermore, Minister Nanayakkara alleged that there is a group that always gains profit from changes in taxes. “That is why the President set a maximum retail price for sugar. With that decision, it will not be possible to gain profits from this tax increase.”
 
He also said that the government has taken some unpopular decisions as they are working towards debt restructuring. 

“If we do not restructure the debt, we will continue to be a bankrupt country.  After the restructuring period of the country, investors will start to come to Sri Lanka and businesses will develop. Then, everyone’s income will be increased”, he added.
 
“We will not allow any government institution to run at a loss. All institutions should become profit-making institutions”, Nanayakkara said, adding that “as of today, the interest rate has decreased. The small businessman has benefited from it”. 

“What we need to do is increase the income of the people. I can say that the situation will improve a lot by February-March next year”.

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