President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appeared to have contradicting views on the increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT), with Sirisena declaring that any economic advisor who suggest a tax increase which will burden the public will be ‘sent home.’
His statement came just days after the Finance Ministry, on the instruction of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced an increase in the VAT from the 11% to 15% which will come into effect from May 2, 2016.
Speaking at an event held in Polonnaruwa this morning, Sirisena said that taxes will not be imposed with the intention of burdening the public, and any economic advisor who suggest such will be immediately sent home.
Meanwhile speaking in Kurunegala over the weekend, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa lamented the increase in the taxes, pointing out that even essential items such as medication, which were exempted from VAT will be imposed with the tax with effect from next month. “It is the people who have to suffer by bearing this burden, which will affect ever sector from goods to telecommunication and even electricity,” Rajapaksa added.