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2nd reading debate of VAT & IR Bills on Dec. 9

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The Secretary General of the Parliament, Mr. Dhammika Dasanayake said that it was decided to hold the debate on the Second Reading of the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill and Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bills on December 09th. This was decided at the Committee on Parliamentary Business held today (25) under the chairmanship of Speaker – Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana.

Accordingly, The Secretary General stated that time is allotted from 9.30 am to 10.30 am for Questions for Oral Answers on the 9th, and from 10.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. the said Bills are scheduled to be taken up for debate. Furthermore, the Motion at the Adjournment Time by the Government is scheduled from 5.00 p.m. – 5.30 p.m on the same day.

The entire day on December 09th was reserved for Questions for Oral Answers previously. However, it was decided to hold it on December 10th.

Furthermore, the Secretary General added that post the committee stage debate on the Appropriation Bill 2023 scheduled on the 30th, the Second Reading of the Appropriation (Amendment) Bill related to the fiscal year 2022 and the Resolution under the Local Treasury Bills Ordinance are to be presented in Parliament for approval.

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New drug network operated from Singapore detected!

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A daily newspaper has revealed information about a new drug network active in major cities including Colombo.

It is said that this network is being operated from Singapore and a large-scale drug trafficker connected to the underworld and released on bail operates the local network.

It was reported that his son had also been sent to Singapore.

The news further says:

“The anti-narcotics units have received information that this underworld leader is also planning to travel to Singapore. These smugglers pay a commission of Rs.50,000 per person for a daily sale of Rs.1 million worth of ice drugs and heroin in Colombo. The smugglers earn a daily income of about Rs.30 million from this drug network and more than Rs.10 million goes to the smugglers as net profit.

The drug deals are taking place at Kalipullawatte in Dematagoda, Maligawatta Alba Flats and Keselwatta.

Large-scale drug traffickers were mostly concentrated in Dubai and India. Majority of them operated the drug trafficking from these countries and two or three other smugglers were operating from the UK and France. This is the first time that this type of trafficking has been detected in Singapore.”

Source – Aruna

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No communal approach in supporting Sri Lanka: India

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Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar justified his government’s support to Sri Lanka, saying India would be shirking its responsibility if it did not step forward to support a crisis-hit neighbour.

According to PTI, the Minister expressed these views in Parliament yesterday (7) in response to MDMK member Vaiko who sought explanation as to why India abstained from voting on a draft resolution of the UN Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka in Geneva.

Mr. Jaishankar said the economic support that India offered to Sri Lanka during its worst post-independence economic crisis was for the entire country and not based on any communal approach.

Replying to clarifications sought by MPs on his suo motu statement on foreign policy in Rajya Sabha, the minister said India absenting from a vote against Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Commission was in accordance with the long-standing position — which was also followed by previous governments — that it “is the most constructive way of addressing, advancing the interest of Tamil community in Sri Lanka.” “That continues to be our approach,” he said.

On the support to Sri Lanka, he said, “We have given support to the entire Sri Lanka which also includes the Tamil community.” “We have not taken the communal approach in giving support,” he said.

“To have a neighbour in this kind of a serious economic situation, we would be shirking our responsibilities if we did not step forward at that moment and that is exactly what we have done.”

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Who’s behind taxing essential items instead of cigarettes?

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The government is not adhering to a correct tax policy when it comes to the tobacco company, and as a result the country is losing revenue in taxes, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam said.

He expressed these views at a joint press conference held in Colombo for the first time with the Samagi Jana Balawegaya.

The MP pointed out that the tobacco company has earned Rs.40 billion in 2021 and Rs.50 billion in 2022.

However, he said the government is taxing the essential items used by the poor instead of taxing the tobacco company.

Officials in tobacco company’s pocket

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa made a disclosure in this regard in Parliament and revealed that former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa cut the tax on Capstan cigarettes by 50%.

As a result, he said the country loses Rs.63 billion per year.

It was also revealed that some politicians and officials are in the pockets of tobacco companies.

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