Government increases the tax burden on the poor and working people on the IMF conditions but postponed taxing the capitalists by two years unacceptable by Eran Wickramaratne

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Mr. Eran Wikramaratne MP who alleged that there is a bizarre situation in the implementation of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund, as the tax burden on the poor and working people was imposed even before the implementation of the IMF conditions.  According to the report, the taxation of capitalists has been delayed until January 2025. The report states that the implementation of property, wealth and wealth transfer tax will be implemented from January 2025.

The main point of this agreement is to increase the state revenue. It should be decided from whom the income would be taken. This government takes the increased revenue from the poor and working people by crushing them. The tax free threshold has been reduced to the limit of Rs one hundred thousand. It is not a big salary. The government should understand that today there are strikes in the country because the poor and working people are being taxed beyond their limit.

Mr. Eran Wickramaratne, Member of Parliament of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, who addressed the press conference held at the office of the opposition leader in Colombo Wednesday on the report submitted by the President to the Parliament on Wednesday regarding the IMF loan also said as following.

The MP said that when looking at the conditions followed by the International Monetary Fund in lending to Sri Lanka, questions arise not only about the government of Sri Lanka but also about the integrity and transparent policies of the IMF.  The first page of the report, which provides extended financial credit facilities to Sri Lanka, states that “The IMF’s transparency policy allows for the deletion of market-sensitive information and premature disclosure of the authorities’ policy intentions in published staff reports and other documents” “I can understand as a former banker, that nobody should reveal market information. But I do not agree with this clause which says they must not disclose the authorities’ policy intention. I think the IMF needs to look at its own Transparency policy. Some of these global institutions talks to countries like Sri Lanka about transparency why not your policy intention what was the secrecy about your policy intention” retorted back Eran Wickramaratne  He further emphasized that the SJB does not agree with the non-transparent method of not disclosing the policies that should be promised to and followed with  IMF. There should be policy disclosure.  What has really happened through this agreement is that Sri Lanka, which is burdened with debt and bankrupted without ability to repay them, has just taken another loan. The rulers and disciples have reached to the level of celebrating by lighting crackers when they took a loan from for survival. It was shown in the media that crackers were being lit at the United National Party headquarters. Some people are also eating milk rice. If the government does not properly understand the reality that the government which was unable to solve the country’s problems, has taken this loan just to prolong the problem, the situation may worsen further. According to these conditions, we are pressurized to somehow reduce our expenses. The MP pointed out that an economics Professor analyzed this as follows. A member of a family is an alcoholic. He continues to drink alcohol without curtailing the habit or the cost. However, as the cost has to be reduced, the family’s three meals are reduced to two while allowing him to drink unabated. Such is a work that has happened in the country today. The statistics shown by the government on the rationalization of expenditure also show such a thing.  Mr. Wickramaratne warned that the poor and low income earners will be affected the most by the agreement with the IMF. Therefore, the government should be careful in implementing this loan proposal. He said. The same people who created economic and political instability in the country are coming forward ostensibly to solve this problem. Therefore, people should be careful about this.This is like asking the thief’s mother for soothsaying. The MP quoting clauses from the IMF report to cite the reasons as to how country was devastated after 2019 showed that  “Despite progress made under the 2016-19 EFF program, Sri Lanka’s vulnerabilities were aggravated by substantial shocks during the period, including the 2017 drought, the 2018 political crisis, and the 2019 terrorist attacks. income tax and value-added tax (VAT) were drastically cut in late 2019, with estimated revenue losses exceeding 2 percent of GDP. The automatic fuel pricing mechanism was discontinued, and legislative reforms to enhance central bank autonomy and fiscal rules were suspended. The EFF-supported arrangement expired in June 2020 after the 6th program review was completed in November 2019” We are happy about those in the government want to change in a positive direction.but those who have stolen and engaged in corruption of public resources must be apprehended and punished. When the President spoke in Parliament today, he said to forget the past and look to the future. Then, when I intervened and brought in to his attention on the anti-corruption laws, the President responded positively to bring laws in such a way as to deal with past activities as well. The government, which is quick to tax the common people and the working people, is not yet ready to provide social safety networks to the poor. But govt has given an assurance to IMF saying that taxing the capitalist class was delayed by two years. Mr. Eran Wickramaratne stated that it is easy to understand that the priority of this government is to protect the wealthy and their properties who protect the government.

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