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SLRC has not paid VAT for 5 yrs?

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State owned national TV – Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation owes the Department of Inland Revenue (IRD) nearly Rs. 750 million as unpaid Value-added Tax (VAT), reports reveal.

It is said that the SLRC had not paid VAT for nearly 05 years.

In this backdrop, the IRD is reportedly taking measures to collect these unpaid taxes from companies that owe money to the SLRC.

Accordingly, the Acting Commissioner General of the IRD has informed the Development Lotteries Board to pay the IRD nearly Rs. 40 million it owes the SLRC monthly, for telecasting lottery draws.

Meanwhile, Dr. Prasad Samarasinghe, who has been functioning as the Chairman of the SLRC for nearly 05 months now, has also reportedly pulled strings to evade paying this tax.

It is said higher officials and the Acting Commissioner General of the IRD have been pressured over the matter, through Media Minister – Bandula Gunawardena, requesting leniency until the end of this year.

However, if a small scale entrepreneur had chosen to pay salaries and other expenses while leaving the taxes unpaid, the IRD would have sought legal redress.

The cause given by the SLRC Chairman for this tax evasion, is the major income slump being faced by the channel.

However, Trade Union representatives are of the view that the Chairman has been trying to peck into the SLRC’s YouTube channel earnings instead of motivating the staff to come up with productions to elevate the channel.

Meanwhile, it is also reported that the conduct of Mr. Samarasinghe had led to IRD doubting whether he is correctly paying taxes due for his local and offshore properties in Australia.

Busy day
Upon contacting the Acting Commissioner General of the IRD  – Mr. Upul Jayawardena in this regard, ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ was told that he is unable to answer our query today as he is tied up with several discussions related to Budget 2024, throughout the day.

VAT increase due to this?
Meanwhile, Cabinet approval was recently granted to increase VAT from 15% to 18% from Jan. 01, 2024.

Speaking to ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ on condition of anonymity, several company owners that are paying taxes, claimed that non-payment of taxes by state institutions had been a factor behind the decision to increase VAT.

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SC judgement on petitions challenging IGP’s appointment, on July 24

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The Supreme Court is to pronounce judgement on the petitions, challenging the appointment of Inspector General of Police Deshabandu Tennakoon, on July 24.

The petitions were filed by 08 parties including His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

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Lawyers helped Kanjipani Imran & Ganemulle Sanjeeva to escape from SL – Tiran

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Kanjipani Imran and Ganemulle Sanjeeva, who are wanted by the police, were helped by their lawyers to escape from the country, Minister of Public Security – Tiran Alles has said.

He has said this during a media briefing held in Colombo today (July 18). 

The minister also stated that the police has seized drugs amounting to Rs. 19 billion as well as 955 firearms, since the ‘Yukthiya’ operation kicked off on Dec. 17, 2023.

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“Japan ready to resume suspended official development assistance projects”

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Dr. IZUMI Hiroto, the head of the Japanese delegation visiting Sri Lanka, lauded the successful completion of the country’s debt restructuring process, noting that it has paved the way for the resumption of Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects. 

These projects, which include several initiatives that were suspended last period, are now poised to restart, signaling a renewed phase of cooperation and development.

Dr. Hiroto highlighted that the international community’s confidence in President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s leadership is strongly reflected in the expedited success of the debt restructuring agreements. This achievement, accomplished in partnership with the Official Creditors’ Committee and the International Monetary Fund, underscores a remarkable turnaround for Sri Lanka.The high-level Japanese delegation, comprising representatives from the housing, construction, and urban sectors, met with President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat this morning (18).

During the meeting, Dr. IZUMI Hiroto highlighted the successful completion of Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process and announced that projects under Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA), including those previously suspended, are set to resume.

The discussion also focused on new investment opportunities in Sri Lanka, emphasizing the potential for enhanced cooperation between the two nations. The delegation expressed their appreciation for Sri Lanka’s economic progress and the swift achievement of debt restructuring agreements in collaboration with the Official Creditors’ Committee and the International Monetary Fund. They praised President Wickremesinghe’s leadership in navigating the country through its financial challenges, which has restored international confidence and paved the way for renewed development initiatives.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, recalling Japan’s invaluable support during Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process, emphasized Sri Lanka’s commitment to deepening economic cooperation with Japan across various sectors, including education and agricultural modernization. The President stressed the importance of resuming stalled projects under Japanese cooperation to further strengthen bilateral relations.

Additionally, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the critical role of the Colombo Dockyard, underscoring its significance as a key institution in Sri Lankaís maritime and industrial landscape.

The Japanese delegation noted that several projects that are currently suspended, including the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) Development Project, the Colombo Port Eastern Terminal Development Project, the Central Expressway Construction and the Digital Broadcasting Project, can be promptly restarted.

Additionally, the delegation highlighted the potential to resume the Light Railway Transit (LRT), which was halted by the previous government. They are actively assessing locations to re-implement this project, recognizing its significant potential to alleviate traffic congestion in Colombo city.

Both sides emphasized the significance of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in executing housing for low-income earners and other urban development projects. It was also highlighted that the Government of Sri Lanka is committed to promoting environmentally friendly projects and renewable energy in line with its policies and international agreements.

The Japanese delegation expressed their willingness to the President to recruit Sri Lankan graduates in the field of technology for job opportunities in Japan’s private sector. This initiative aims to improve the electricity supply sector in Japan. The delegation also highlighted the Joint Credit Mechanism (JCM), which encompasses projects designed to promote environmental sustainability by utilizing advanced Japanese technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.Chief of Presidential Staff and Senior Advisor to the President on National Security Sagala Ratnayaka, Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka H.E. Mizukoshi Hideaki, Chairman of the Board – Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) Mr. MAEDA Tadashi, Presidential Senior Advisor to the President on Economic Affairs Dr. R. H. S. Samaratunga, and the Managing Director/CEO of the Colombo Dockyard PLC Mr. Thimira S. Godakumbura, along with representatives from several leading businesses in Japan attended the discussion.

President’s Media Division (PMD)
18.07.2024

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