UNF abolishes war levy
[TamilNet, Friday, 22 March 2002, 20:23 GMT]
The United National Front (UNF) government in its maiden budget presented in parliament Friday said the National Security Levy (NSL) and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) would be abolished from 1 June. The defence levy of 6.95 percent on all goods and services that was imposed by President Kumaratunga's government to finance the war on the Liberation Tigers has been blamed for the rapid rise of the cost of living in Sri Lanka.
| Sri Lanka's Finance Minister, Mr.K.N.Choksy opening the budget box in parliament, Friday. |
"The NSL Value Added Tax (VAT) would be introduced instead of GST and NSL," Finance Minister, Mr. K. N.Choksy, said when outlining the main objective and the policies of the UNF government for the current fiscal year.
He said that this year budget has laid foundation for the budgets of the future years.
| Sri Lanka's Finance Minister, Mr.K.N.Choksy outlining the main objective and the policies of the UNF government for the current fiscal year.|
Mr. Choksy further stated that in the sphere of economic development, the country would be divided in to five economic zones. Each region would be entrusted to separate Economic Commission.
He said, "the policy of the government is to ensure the State media to act impartially. In this connection measures would be taken to bring down the price of newsprint."
"The aim of the government is to reduce the budget deficit to 8.5 percent of the Gross National Product (GNP). Earlier the deficit was 10.8 percent of the GNP.
The government also targets to reduce the State's debt to bring down the inflation rate to 9 percent which remains at 14.2 percent," said the Finance Minister Mr.Choksy.
Selected areas in the country would be brought under Tourist Development Centres to develop tourist industry, said Mr.Choksy.
| Prime minister Ranil Wickremasinghe (left) and minister V.J.M.Lokubandera listening to budget speech in parliament Friday. |
When the Finance Minister rose to present his maiden budget Friday afternoon, parliamentarians of the main opposition People's Alliance and the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna staged a protest in the well of the house shouting that the government had won local elections through thuggery and intimidation. Opposition parliamentarians were seen holding placards.