Criticizing Ravi on VAT is baseless – Rishad

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Sri Lanka’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen came on strong to defend his embattled Cabinet colleague, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake.

“Many times Minister Karunanayake is criticized more than the government regarding VAT. I would like to ask this August House on what logical basis that Hon Minister Karunanayake could be criticized?” asked Minister Bathiudeen while addressing the House on the afternoon of on 9 June.

“Many people criticize the government on VAT Tax. Many times Hon Minister Karunanayake is criticized more than the government regarding VAT. I would like to ask this August House as to on what logical basis that Hon Minister Karunanayake could be criticized on VAT! I believe that such criticisms against him are mostly politically motivated and like say that the reality about VAT is different” said Minister Bathiudeen in a lengthy speech.

“Do you know that VAT is only 16% of the government’s total tax revenue in 2016? Even income tax stood at 19% of total tax revenues of this year. In fact I like to enlighten the House on the correct picture on VAT today. The VAT tax income collected by the government has been actually declining since 2005. In Y2005, 41% of government’s tax revenue was VAT. Today only 16% of government’s tax revenue is VAT! In this background, I would like to ask this August House on what correct or logical basis that Hon Minister Karunanayake is criticized regarding VAT?”

“Thanks to him, the Unity government is working on repayment of the huge debt collected by the previous government. The annual growth of government debt in 2009 was 18% but today we reduced it to 15%. In this background I commend Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake for his work towards the successful IMF agreement for a $1.5 billion three-year Extended Fund Facility program for Sri Lanka agreed in early May.”

“We should specially praise Minister Karunanayake for getting IMF to agree to give this loan facility without any conditions. This shows Sri Lanka has regained the lost confidence of international community as well.” (Media Release)