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Another tax imposed on rice

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Some traders who are close associates of politicians are hoarding another 200,000 metric tons of rice imported from India, President of the United Rice Growers’ Association Muditha Perera said.


He said rice is being imported when there is a rice surplus in Sri Lanka.

He said that the production of rice in the previous 2020/21 Maha Season was 5 million metric tons. Despite this record harvest, Mr. Perera said rice was imported not due to a lack of harvest resulted in from organic farming but because of lack of commissions.

Meanwhile, he said that a social security tax of 2.5% would be imposed per kilo of rice from October 1, and this tax amount would also be added to a kilo of rice.

In order not to collect the tax amount from consumers, he said the new tax amount will have to be reduced when purchasing paddy from the farmer.

Mr. Perera said that the price of rice has gone up due to stubborn actions of one large-scale rice mill owner, and that this situation has arisen due to the lack of straightforwardness and decision making of the agricultural officials.

“The officials of the Agriculture Ministry kept mum while waiting for imported rice. Therefore, rice was imported on loan unnecessarily. It is a crime to try to use the country’s rice production for chicken feed when people don’t have anything to eat. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has been misled,” he said.

He said that more than 700 small and medium scale rice mills and more than half of the large scale rice mills have been closed. However, he said the paddy harvest will increase in great quantity next year.

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SDB CEO announces resignation

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Sanasa Development Bank CEO Priyantha Talwatte has announced his resignation with effect from Feb. 20.

In a filing to the Colombo Stock Exchange, the SDB has said the Board accepted his resignation.

Talwatte joined SDB bank in November 2022 after resigning from Nations Trust Bank in April 2022 having served the institution for two decades.

Commanding over 30 years’ experience in banking Talwatte is an alumnus of Harvard Business School (AMP) Boston, USA.

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Special commodity levy on several items, upped

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A government notification has been issued, increasing the special commodity levy imposed on several items including black grams, green grams and cowpeas.

As such, the special commodity levy on black grams (skinned, either split or not) has been increased to Rs. 300 per kilogram. 

Meanwhile, the tax on green grams, cowpeas, Kurakkan (seeds), Kurakkan (other), millet (seeds) and millet (other) has been raised from Rs. 70 to Rs. 300.

In addition, a special commodity levy of Rs. 25 is in place on maize.

The communiqué, issued by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Finance Minister, says the order is valid from February 20, 2024 through December 31, 2024.

It also notes that importation of maize, black grams, green grams, and Kurakkan is allowed on the recommendation of the Agriculture Ministry.

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CBSL imposes penalties on BoC and People’s Bank

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The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has collected penalties amounting to Rs. 14 million in total from three financial institutions.

According to a CBSL press release, the FIU collected these penalties from Sep. 27 – Dec. 31 2023 from MMBL Money Transfer (Pvt) Ltd as well as from state owned banks – Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank.

The CBSL said by the powers vested under Section 19 (1) read together with Section 19 (2) of the Financial Transactions Reporting Act, No. 6 of 2006 (FTRA), financial penalties are imposed on Institutions for non-compliance with the provisions of the FTRA.  The penalty may be prescribed taking into consideration the nature and gravity of the relevant non-compliance, it added.

Accordingly, as Sri Lanka’s regulator for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), the FIU collected the penalties has credited it to the Consolidated Fund.

The complete press release is as follows : 

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