Gammanpila’s secret may delay Sri Lanka’s VAT hike again


Oct 12, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s joint opposition Parliamentarian Udaya Gammanpila says he is aware of a reason that will require the government to present the much delayed VAT bill to Parliament once again.

Gammanpila told reporters yesterday that he will reveal the secret when the Supreme Court considers his petition filed against the proposed VAT bill which was presented to the Parliament last Tuesday.

The secret he pointed out is a procedural error in bringing the bill to Parliament. If the court accepts his argument the government will have to present the bill again to Parliament.

“This new draft bill has not followed the due procedure which is like the earlier one,” Gammanpila said.

“If our argument is accepted by the court, then there is a risk that the government may have to bring this bill to the Parliament for the forth time.”

Even without his secret, his petition itself has blocked and delayed the Parliament from debating the VAT bill.

A day after the VAT bill was presented to the Parliament; Gammanpila challenged the bill in Supreme Court and said the proposed bill is contrary to the constitution.

The petition filed by Parliamentarian Udaya Gammanpila will be taken up before Supreme Court this Friday.

In the petition, he stated that clauses 17, 4, 13 and 18 of the said bill are in violation of articles 3, 4(d), 12(1), 12(2), and 14(1)(g) of the Constitution.

Gammanpila further states that Clauses 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15 and 16 of the said bill are in violation of Articles 3, 4(d), 12(1), 12(2), and 14(1)(g) of the Constitution.

The petition says the classification of healthcare services has no rational or reasonable objective basis and is illogical and unreasonable, discriminatory and arbitrary.

He also says the bill purports to legalize the unlawful collection of VAT from 01.01.2016 until the date on which the said bill comes into operation with no rational.

Gammanpila says the bill cannot become law unless passed by two-thirds majority of Parliament and approved by the People at a referendum.

Meanwhile, the IMF mission recently visited Sri Lanka said they may have to postpone their review if the proposed VAT legislation will get delayed in Parliament.

“It is important that the government expedites the legislative process of implementing the VAT amendments that are needed to support revenue targets for 2016 and 2017,” IMF mission insisted.