Tax changes to be gazetted tomorrow
The requests made by the apparel sector are included in the amendments to the Inland Revenue Act expected to be gazetted on Friday, Finance Ministry Secretary to the Treasury S.R. Attygalle said yesterday.
At the annual general meeting of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA), of which he was the chief guest, Attygalle said the country was at a critical junction in its economy, and that the country’s growth has been somewhat arrested. While some initiatives will be shelved due to budgetary limitations, measures are being taken to finalise more Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in the future, he said.
Addressing concerns voiced by SLAEA Chairman Rehan Lakhany on the duplication of processes, especially with regard to documentation, Attygalle said, “I can assure you that we will implement this transformation to a paperless transaction in the near future.”
He added that, “Duplication or replication has become the norm, and it is our stakeholders, including SLAEA, that have been badly affected.”
The Government was also aware of the importance of e-commerce in creating opportunities, and Attygalle said they will address the requirement to have a payment gateway that will facilitate the e-market base.
However, he said that there were certain requests the Government was also making from the apparel industry. “We want more. You are now a $ 5 billion export earner. Your Chairman said it will be $ 8 billion by 2025 but my numbers show its $ 10 billion,” he said, addressing the audience.
Attygalle added that the textile park in Eravur would shorten the value chain, and make garments a more end-to-end solution. “Rest assured that the park will be established as soon as possible,” he added.
However, the Government was also requesting the industry to further spread their presence in the Uva, Northern, North Central, and Eastern Provinces, and Attygalle said the extension of the Southern Expressway to Hambantota in 2023 would facilitate investment in these areas, as it would be logistically viable to do so.