New Proposals

July 21 (LBO) – The government is planning to amend a controversial levy on imported television programs and commercials, with concessions for English programming, a senior official said.

There will be concessionary amendments to the new levy. The proposed amendments have to be approved by President Mahinda Rajapakse, R T L Weerasinghe, Senior Tax Advisor at the Treasury, told LBO on Friday.

Proposed amendments include a 10,000 rupee charge on every half-hour broadcast of foreign movies or serials, down from 75,000 rupees earlier.

There is to be no change in rates for dubbed programs, which are taxed at the rate of 90,000 for every half hour, with effect from July 16.

A one million rupee tax on foreign commercials is also to be brought down. Sri Lanka™s advertising fraternity had warned that most international brands would reduce spending on television because of this levy.

A formal announcement of the finalized new tax rates and other amendments to the levy is expected on Saturday.

The amendments follow a meeting between local broadcasters and Sri Lanka™s treasury secretary late on Thursday to appeal for exemptions or lower the tax to acceptable le