New inland revenue act satisfies needs of IMF

The proposed Inland Revenue Act has been compiled by the IMF and presented to parliament for approval says the Leader of the JVP Comrade Anura Dissanayaka.
He said this at a press conference held at the head office of the JVP yesterday (20th). Members of the Central Committee of the JVP, Northern Provincial Councilor Comrade Wasantha Samarasinghe and Western Provincial Councilor Comrade Sunil Watawala too were present.
Comrade Dissanayaka addressing the media said, “The new proposed Inland Revenue Act has been compiled by the IMF and presented to parliament for approval. Earlier, the Governor of the Central Bank stated the act has to be approved to get a second instalment of the line of credit by the IMF. An announcement issued by the Central Bank on the 8th states, “Following the Executive Board’s discussions of the review, the IMF has commended the stable macroeconomic and financial condition of Sri Lanka despite severe weather events and global market volatility. The IMF has also welcomed the fiscal consolidation measures implemented by the Government, particularly the submission of the new Inland Revenue Act to the Parliament.” This indicates the act has been compiled by the IMF. Officials of the Department of Inland Revenue, trade unions, tax paying citizens or audit institutions in our country have not mediated in compiling this act. The pact is the same pact compiled by the IMF to Ghana with a few changes. It is not one that has been compiled taking the interests of officials of the Department of Inland Revenue, tax payers and those interested in taxes. The act presents legal amendments that tally with the plundering economic policy followed by the IMF throughout the world.
The act has been introduced as one that the government promised to introduce to the Department of Inland Revenue as well as to other financial sectors. The clauses in the act go beyond tax amendments introduced in the budget. The act introduces a large number of tax amendments that have adverse effects on the country and the people. The 10% tax that is levied when investing from the EPF has been increased to 14%. As a result funds of more than 2.5 million members of IMF would be slashed.
Also, tax reliefs that had been given for the development of various sectors have been completely removed. Despite, the tax levied on the income from stage plays had been given a tax relief of 50%, the new act has removed the relief. Also, writers and publishing institutions had been given a 50% tax relief for the income from their first publications, the proposed act has removed it. The musicians had their income from the creations exempted from any tax. However, the proposed act removes this concession. The new proposals remove the tax relief given to new inventions.
The aid to university students, presents awarded by the President, the benefits the insured senior citizens get once the insurance is matured had been exempted from tax. However, all of them are taxed by the proposed Act. Accordingly, everything in the cultural, inventive and educational sectors has been brought under tax schemes.
The10% tax levied for agricultural implements has been raised to 14%. The 12% tax levied for small and medium scale industries has been raised to 14% and the 10% tax levied from lottery wins has been raised to 14%. The tax amendment act has presented more tax amendments that what is included in budget proposals.
The Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Tax from those who are employed has been raised. In the earlier budget professionals who earn 1.2 million per annum had been given a tax relief. The amendment was not presented to parliament or approved. However, the proposed act has brought down the annual nontaxable income to Rs.500,000. As such, all professionals who earn more than rs.500,000 would be taxed. Also, the tax rates for the taxable income were 4%, 8%, 12%, 16% etc. However, the new act increases the 16% ratio to 24%. Also, professional institutions such as the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Banks’ Association, Universities, Medical Council, Sri Lanka Institute of Printing, the Energy Conservation Fund have been brought under the tax scheme.
Also, the income earned by Sri Lankans supplying services to foreign institutions or income obtained supplying services abroad were exempted from tax. For, the foreign exchange earned and the experiences and know how the professionals get is very important for our economy. However, all these sectors have been made taxable. However, income received by a foreigner serving in Sri Lanka has been exempted. The government, instead of encouraging Sri Lankans supplying services to foreign institutions, encourages foreigners to take the place of Sri Lankan professionals. This move has been proposed to encourage foreigners who would come to Sri Lanka through EYCA agreement the government is waiting to sign with India. As such, we have a doubt whether the government in Sri Lanka is that of Sri Lankans or westerners.
The Department of Inland Revenue has to explain the reasons when it rejects any reports of income submitted by tax payers. It would confirm the rights of the tax payers. However, the new Act has given the authority to reject reports by tax payers without submitting any reasons. This is very unjustifiable. The Taxpayers’ Association of Sri Lanka has filed a case against this. Also, the Department of Inland Revenue consists of a commissioner general and officials below him. However, according to clauses in 2006 Act, other officials too have been given certain authority. This would make administration efficient. However, the new Act nullifies the authority of other officials and the whole authority is centred on the commissioner general. The commissioner general has been given unlimited authority and all other officials have been made submissive to him. It is a hindrance to the efficiency of collection of taxes. The commissioner is also given powers to appoint outsiders for the process. This would also allow the commissioner to appoint a private company for the process of collecting taxes. This is a move to give the authority the government had to collect taxes to private companies. This is the need of the IMF. The functions of the Department of Inland Revenue could be handed over to private companies through this Act.
Also, any official committing a tax fraud could be investigated only by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption. However, the proposed Act contains a clause that states any official committing such a fraud could be fined Rs.1 million or one-year prison sentence or both. Also, the Commissioner has been given powers to settle the matter without going to a trial. This has made all officials under the commissioner submissive to him. As such, the proposed Act obstructs administration and hinders efficiency. It is difficult to understand the Act as certain words that do not occur in our glossary of terms have been included in it as it is a translation of the English version of the Act prepared to Ghana. It is very clear that the Act has not been compiled targeting Sri Lanka.
The records received by the Department of Inland Revenue are very confidential. They would be available only to the Bribery Commission, Attorney General or the Minister under special provisions. The tax payers are given this protection to prevent their confidential information from being made available to wrong persons. Information of income of any establishment is confidential. However, the Act presented by the government states exchange of tax information or come to an agreement with foreign companies is possible with the recommendation of the Minister. This deprives the protection for the tax payer. It is a threat to businessmen.
At present, the Department of Inland Revenue carries out its tax collecting process using a special software. This software was created by a company in Singapore. The Department of Inland Revenue has spent Rs. 5000 million for this. This process carried out tax collecting very efficiently. In creating this software the legal regulations of the Act in 2006 were followed. However, due to the bringing in of a new Act in place of the earlier one, it would not be possible to use the software created spending Rs.5000 million. A new software would have to be created. Of course, IMF has agreed to make available a loan for this. When considering all these facts it is very clear that the new Act is a need of the IMF. As such, this Act should not be passed in Parliament.
The 2006 Act should be made more efficient by adding amendments. However, there is no need to bring in a completely new Act. The only necessity of bringing in a new act is to prepare legal background to manipulate the economy of our country according to the needs of the IMF. This is why IMF releases the loan instalment when the Act is presented to Parliament. When the government wanted to present the Act in Parliament we asked the government to have a discussion with relevant sectors. However, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was adamant that the act should be put to Parliament.
It was because of IMF pressure. Ranil – Maithri government should be responsible not to the IMF but to the people in our country. Hence, this act should be defeated. The JVP is prepared to defeat the Act. This Act goes beyond the budget. Hence, we would take all the measures to create a dialogue in the country and nullify it.”

press

JVP addresses Sri Lankans in UK & Japan

Several leaders of the JVP are in overseas at present to take part in political programmes including meetings, seminars and friendly gatherings organized by the foreign department of the JVP.
The Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP Comrade Sunil Handunneththi MP participated in a seminar held today (16th) under the theme ‘A New Path on behalf of the Country’ at Birmingham in the UK.
The Member of the Central Committee of the JVP and convener of ‘Voice Against Corruption’ (VAC) Comrade Wasantha Samarasinghe addressed Sri Lankans in Japan in a seminar yesterday (15th) under the theme ‘Current political situation and the future of the country’.
A protest was also held in Japan demanding the government of Sri Lanka to abolish SAITM, the medical degree selling institute at Malabe.

Seminar at Birmingham:

sem1 sem2 sem3 sem4 sem5

JVP asks for debate on closure of ACCS

The JVP Leader Comrade Anura Dissanayaka has requested the Speaker to allow a day’s debate on the closing down of the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat.
Comrade Dissanayaka said it is expected to talk about the move to close down the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat and the attempts to hinder the struggle against fraud and corruption. He said he has requested the Speaker in writing to allow a day in the second week of the month for the debate.
The JVP Leader has warned the government that stern action would be taken as a political party if the government attempts to sabotage investigations being carried out on frauds and corruption by weakening institutions that implement law and order in the country.

JVP confident Cuba will never betray its principles & policies for economic gains

The JVP issuing a Statement on recent developments of USA and Cuba relations expresses its confidence that Cuban government and the people will not betray these long held noble principles and policies for want of short term economic gains in dealing with the USA. In its statement, the JVP expresses its solidarity with Cuba and its people and wishes that the relationship with the USA will mature based on mutual collaboration with due respect to sovereignty and independence of each nation.

The statement in full:

Statement on recent developments of USA-Cuba relations

Since 1960, the USA is maintaining a commercial, economic and financial embargo on Revolutionary Cuba with a number of legislations and various other interventions. Over these nearly six decades the embargo process had been extremely complicated and complex, inflicting huge embarrassment to citizens, government officials, academics and those who engage in trade in both countries. The adverse effects have not been limited to the two relevant parties only but to other countries and multinational corporations as well because the involvement of certain sanctions extends beyond the territories of the USA and Cuba.

Though this has gone on for decades, neither country has benefited, proving the futility of the embargo.

Over the years, the multifaceted embargo has been highly criticised and objected by almost all the countries except the USA and Israel at the UN General Assembly and at various other international platforms. Despite the embargo, Cuba could nurture greater solidarity and corporation worldwide in trade, international politics, science and culture.

In December 2014, taking a progressive step forward, former USA President Barak Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro commenced the process of re-establishing diplomatic relationships and lifting some travel and economic restrictions.

But, the present President of USA Donald Trump reversed some crucial policies of former President on 16th of last month in Miami, in front of a gathering of veterans of the failed Bay of Pig invasion. Apparently, President Trump’s government is unilaterally trying to apply certain conditions on Cuba which could adversely affect Cuba’s sovereignty, independence and threaten economic and political principles which helped Cuban people and the Government to stand against all sorts of oppressions including that of imperialism. Cuba’s revolutionary principles defined its unique place in the international arena.

We are sure that, as already expressed by the Foreign Minister of Cuba, the Cuban government and the people will not betray these long held noble principles and policies for want of short term economic gains in dealing with the USA. We extend our solidarity as ever before to Cuba and hope that the relationship with the USA will mature based on mutual collaboration with due respect to sovereignty and independence of each nation.

Peoples’ Liberation Front (JVP) – Sri Lanka

09th July 2017

Govt. closed down Ant- Corruption Secretariat to protect old & new thieves

The present Ranil – Maithri ‘yahapalana’ government protects new thieves as well was old thieves and the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat was closed down in a bid to stop investigations being carried out in connection with frauds and corruption committed by ministers of the previous regime as well as the present regime says the Information Secretary of the JVP Comrade Vijitha Herath.
He said this at a press conference held at the head office of the JVP today (12th).
Speaking further Comrade Vijitha Herath said, “People who defeated the corrupt Mahinda Rajapaksa regime expected the new government that boasted of ‘good governance’ would develop the country. The main reason for driving away the Rajapaksa regime was the rallying of masses against the fraudulent corrupt family rule that existed. This is why Mr. Maithripala Sirisena who contested as the ‘common’ candidate had to promise the masses at the presidential election that frauds, corruption and waste would be eradicated and an administration with good governance would be established. He had to present a manifesto including these promises at the election. He boasted on election stages that legal action would be taken against all fraudsters, not allow them to flee the country but would punish all of them. During the 100 day rule a programme called ‘A new country in 100 days’ was presented. According to this programme a special judiciary council was to be established by 5th February, 2015 to investigate large scale frauds and corruption. It was said that special courts would be established. However, after 2 ½ years these promises have become empty words. The so-called ‘yahapalana’ government too continues with frauds, corruption and waste.
On 27th February, 2015 the biggest Central Bank bond scam was committed. Despite stating corruption would be stopped this government has beaten the previous regime in carrying out corruption. Due to the request from the people the government had to establish the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat and the FCID. The main function of the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat was to accept complaints regarding large scale frauds and corruption and carry out initial investigations. It got the authority from a cabinet paper. It functioned under the Prime Minister’s office. It received a large number of complaints. It carried out an initial classification and directed the complaints to Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, FCID, the CID and other institutions. The institution for which the complaints should be sent was decided after they were classified under a deputy Solicitor General from the Auditor General’s Department. During the two year five month period initial investigations on 481 complaints on serious financial crimes, 547 complaints on frauds and irregularities and 120 other complaints were carried out. 258 complaints were referred to the FCID, 43 to the CID, 148 complaints were referred to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption and 32 complaints were directly sent to the IGP for further investigation.
Lately, the President and cabinet ministers made various comments on the expenses of the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat. Media has reported so. Rajitha had said more than Rs. 400 million was spent but nothing had happened. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena said only people from his faction are being investigated and nothing was done about others. He said the Secretariat investigated on against Fouzie and Priyankara Jayaratne’s daughter. It is an erroneous statement. We made inquiries about the expenses of the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat. The total expense for two years and 5 months was Rs.31 million. However, media reported that Rs. 12 million a month was spent for the Secretariat. It was an opinion the government needed. The government took steps to create fabrications regarding the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat when investigations against ministers of the government were launched.
The Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat investigated the complaints it received and took measures to take legal action. It took measures to get back the money that was defrauded. It took measures to take back Rs. 159 million to the government from CSN. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa spent public funds for the construction of D.A. Rajapaksa museum. Rs. 25 million had to be paid to the government after investigations began in connection with this fraud. The mansion and the land at Malwana built and bought by Basil Rajapaksa worth Rs. 300 million was taken over by the government. The Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat for which Rs. 32 million was spent was able to take back money that was defrauded. Rajitha Senaratna should tell the country whether money spent for the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat is more than the money obtained after investigations. People like Basil, Namal and Wimal Weerawansa used political power for flights. As a result of investigations launched Rs.16 million had to be paid to the government. The government has gained more than Rs.500 million from the investigations carried out on a few complaints of fraud and corruption. There are many more investigations due. They money the government would get after these investigations could be billions.
The government that stated a special court would be established for investigation of frauds and corruption is carrying out a deception. The investigations regarding Fowzie and Priyankara Jaayaratna’s daughter that the President mentioned were carried out by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption. They were not done by the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat. The likes of Rajitha Senaratna wanted to close down the Secretariat before investigations against them could be started. Officials know about telephone calls given to delay investigations. There are many complaints against ministers of the present government as well. Among them are ministers who were in the previous government and now are with Mr. Maithripala Sirisena. Why did the President took thieves of the previous regime on to his lap? There are ministers who have used Rs.30 million from Lanka Transform Ltd. that is accused of re-exporting areca for election campaigns. Mrs. Wickremesinghe of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption was intimidated by Rajitha Senaratna. After she was removed there isn’t any talk about the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption. Rajitha Senaratna, who was the Minister of Fisheries in the previous government, gave Modara Fisheries Harbour for 25 years at the rate of Rs.125,000 a month when the 1 acre and 30 perch harbor could be leased out for Rs. 1.7 million a month. The loss incurred by the government was Rs. 470 million. When investigations are to be carried out in connection with such frauds the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat is closed down.
Also, President Maithripala Sirisena made a special statement in Galle regarding the Nilwala project fraud. He said Rs. 4011 million has been paid when the estimate for the Nilwala project was only Rs. 1037.5 million. This accusation was against Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva who was the minister in charge of the subject in Rajapaksa administration. Also, Minister Harrison’s transactions in Paddy Marketing Board have incurred a loss of Rs. 4000 million to the government. All in the SLFP and the UNP have been accused of frauds and corruption. Even Rohitha Bogollagama, who has been appointed as a governor has accusations of a hotel bill of Rs. 1.1 million and millions spent for his daughter’s birthday bash. A case is currently being heard regarding the matter. This government not only protects thieves but also gives positions to thieves. It is not the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat that is at fault.
Minister Ravi Karunanayaka has an accusation of incurring a loss of Rs. 2262 million to the government by illegally releasing 211 luxury vehicles. Mr. S.B. Dissanayaka who was the Minister of Higher education in Rajapaksa administration is accused of taking away very valuable furniture from a mansion gifted to Colombo University. Minister Akila Viraj is accused of recruiting labourers to schools without adhering to financial regulations. There is complaint filed by Mr. Range Bandara against Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa regarding a financial fraud.
As initial investigations have commenced regarding these complaints the cabinet decides to close down the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat. Also, the officials of the Secretariat are targeted with baseless accusations. These officials took part in the investigations despite there were threats to their lives. The government is attempting to put the blame on the officials to conceal its crimes.
Once the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat is closed down there wouldn’t be any place to file complaints against fraudsters of the government. Then the FCID would not be of any use. For, FCID has no authority to accept complaints. Complaints to be investigated by the FCID were referred to the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat to be sorted out and directed to the FCID. The government attempts to abolish FCID by closing down Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat. The government breaks all the promises it made to protect old and new thieves. Previously, the family stole. Today, the partnership steals. The machinery to investigate frauds and corruption is made inactive by the government for it to spend billions to buy luxury vehicles and rent out buildings. The government has no money to get dustbins to schools. The garbage and dengue issues have intensified. The government has no answers for such issues. Fraud, corruption and waste have infested the society. The JVP would take every move to work against this situation. We call upon all citizens to rally with us.”