Sri Lanka weak state revenue raises queries on taxless growth: legislator

Nov 20, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s weak revenue collections in the first half of the year raised questions about the accuracy of gross domestic product estimates, an opposition legislator who is also an economist has said. Sri Lanka is recovering from a balance of payments crisis largely driven by credit taken by state enterprises to subsidize energy which was indirectly accommodated by the Central Bank through sterilized foreign exchange sales, leading to currency depreciation.

De Silva said tax collections for the second half would have to be sharply higher to reach a targeted 1,131 billion rupees in annual tax collections.

This year’s tax revenue target which was 33 percent higher than last year was too ambitious in an economic downturn and weak imports, analysts say.

Sri Lanka also did not release monthly fiscal data as in previous years in 2013. De Silva said the reason for the lack of information was “now clear”.

Harsha de Silva, from the opposition United National Party said revenue collections of 435 billion rupees for the first half was 6.5 percent below a target of 463.8 billion rupees.

Tax revenues were also below last year at an absolute level.

“But if one considers last year itâ€