Smoke Screen

Sri Lanka was considering bringing back heavy taxes to discourage foreign ownership of land amid a surge in the sale of beach property to non-nationals, a senior government minister said Friday.
The cabinet on Wednesday decided to reconsider imposing a 100 percent tax on foreigners buying land, cabinet spokesman Mangala Samaraweera said adding that a committee was appointed to take a fresh look at the issue.rn

rn “A committee was appointed to go into this and report back in eight weeks,” Samaraweera told AFP. “Lot of organisations have complained about this land grab by foreigners.”rn

Sri Lankas former administration in 2002 revoked a 100 percent tax imposed on foreigners buy property in the island. The move saw a surge in foreigners snapping up beach-front locations in the islands southern tourist resorts.rn

Officials said that even if the government brought back the heavy tax there was no provision to impose it with retrospective effect. Any fresh tax will apply to future land transctio