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DateLine Sunday, 19 August 2007

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Tax withdrawn on 15 essential commodities

The Treasury has taken steps to do away with taxes imposed on 15 essential commodities and a single method of taxation has been introduced to provide direct tax benefits to consumers, Treasury sources told the Sunday Observer.

Taxes enforced on milk food, Maldive fish, dryfish, B onions, red onions, dried chilies, dhal and green gram have been completely withdrawn and the import tax of Rs. 20 on potatoes reduced to Rs. 15 a kilo, sugar from Rs. 10 to Rs. 5 and a kilo of wheat flour from Rs. 12.50 to Rs. 7.50, he said. In the past the government reduced taxes on essential items to provide relief to consumers but it had not been passed on to the consumers due to lapses in the existing taxation methods, sources said.

The enforcement of a single band tax will do away with Vat, Port and Aviation Tax, Import Tax and Cess tax. The new tax regulations will be enforced on 15 commodities initially and this will be extended to other items as well in the future, the sources said.

The government has taken steps to bring down the prices of essential commodities by withdrawing taxes enforced on them and Cooperative Societies have been entrusted with direct imports of essential commodities and to distribute them through Cooperative outlets islandwide.

This was decided on by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a discussion held with officials of Cooperative Societies in the Western Province at Temple Trees yesterday.

The President said that the government has taken the decision to withdraw taxes on essential commodities and this will result in a loss of over Rs. 9 billion annually to State coffers. The aim of this move is to provide a better price to local producers and provide a reasonable price to the consumers.

President Rajapaksa stressed the need to modernise Cooperative Societies to attract more consumers.

AM

 

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