Taxing Times

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

With total State revenue falling by around 18 percent last year, the Asian Development Bank asked the government to pay closer attention to closing tax loopholes and streamline its tariff policies.
Unveiling its 2004 Asian Development Outlook, the Manila based bank said government revenue fell to around Rs. 248 bn from the projected figure of Rs. 303 bn in 2003.rn

rnThe bank said that though privatisation proceeds met the budgeted Rs. 13.5 bn, though the push came during the last quarter of 2003. rn

rnldblquote But there are still some serious revenue shortfalls, which underlies structural weaknesses. The government should play more attention to closing tax loopholes, streamline tax and tariff policies,
dblquote ADBs Country Director, John Cooney told reporters on Thursday.rn

rnSri Lankas revenue mobilization and capital expenditure are very low, while the deficit and debt burdens are significantly higher than the desired levels. The countrys revenue to GDP ratio has periodically declined from 1