Economic growth accelerated during last three years - Akila

The country’s economic growth rate has accelerated and state revenue source has increased during the last three years due to the pragmatic steps taken by the government in keeping with accepted principles.

This is clearly proved by the World Bank, IMF and the Central Bank reports said UNP Deputy General Secretary Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam in a statement issued yesterday.

Minister Kariyawasam who debunked Opposition allegations that state revenue had decreased under the government’s stewardships said that state revenue had recorded an excess of Rs 22 billion for the first time in 63 years under the government’s stewardship.

“In this light the allegation that state revenue had plummeted, made by the Opposition seems to be politically motivated targeting the forthcoming local government election,” he said.

He also stressed that not a single income generating state venture had been privatised by the government either.

The statement said. “When the present government assumed office the state revenue sector had faced a plethora of challenges. Among them were the increase in interest rates, increased expenditure on obtaining loans increase in recurrent expenditure due to public sector salaries and pension payments, unstable revenue collection and the global economic situation. Inspite of this the government had been able to increase state revenue which was 13.3 percent in 2015 to 14.02 percent in 2016. The non tax revenue which was 0.9 percent of GNP in 2015 increased by 1.9 percent of the GNP in 2016. Profits and earnings from profits paid to the government by state owned enterprises helped to increase non tax revenue.

“State revenue which was Rs 1454.9 billion in 2015 increased to Rs. 1686.1 Billion in 2016 registering a 15.9 percent increase. Revenue from taxes which was Rs. 1355.8 billion in 2015 increased by 8 percent to Rs. 1463.7 billion in 2016.

Non tax revenue which was Rs. 99.01 billion in 2015 increased to Rs. 222.4 Billion in 2016 this was a 124.4 percent increase.

Income earned through the P.A.Y.E. Tax which was Rs. 26.02 billion in 2015 increased by 7.5 percent to Rs. 28.02 billion in 2016. Income from Economic and service charges increased to Rs. 219.7 billion in 2016, registering a significant 232.8 percent increase over 2015.

“Revenue form value added tax which was Rs. 219.7 billion in 2015 increased by 29 percent to Rs. 283.5 billion in 2016. This accounted for 16.2 percent of total tax revenue in 2015 and it increased to 19.4 percent in 2016.

“Value Added Tax on imports which was Rs. 89.2 billion in 2015 increased by 29.3 percent to Rs. 115.3 billion in 2016.

The value added tax revenue on local activities which was Rs. 131.7 billion in 2015 increased to Rs. 168.8 billion in 2016 registering a percentage increase of 28.2. “The Central Bank which incurred a loss of Rs. 24 billion in 2013 increased its losses to Rs. 32 billion in 2014. But by 2016 the Central Bank had registered a profit of Rs. 22 billion, according to its records. An investigation into State Banks also showed an increase in state revenue.

“The government had not privatised any income earning state venture. Results of the steps taken by the government to increase state revenue by following accepted principles will accrue to the country from 2018 onwards.

“The government, while managing the enormous debt trap without causing unbearable burdens on the people had also minimised obtaining of state loans.

“It has also taken several steps towards catering to the welfare of the people. The maintaining of fuel prices, announced in 2015, when the government assumed power, continuously for the past three years, clearly proved this.

“While emphasising the fact that the government had not privatised any income generating state venture, what the government had been able to do was to create an excess of Rs. 22 billion in state revenue.

“In the light of the excess of Rs. 22 billion in state revenue the allegation that the government had denied the state of its revenue seemed to be a political stunt aimed at the forthcoming Local Government election. According to World Bank reports the country had attained an economic growth rate of 5.5 percent by January 2017 due to its Pragmatic economic vision.

“According to the IMF and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the country’s economic growth rate had accelerated despite the natural disasters faced last year. This growth rate recorded despite natural disasters proves that Sri Lanka’s economy had progressed towards acceleration.

“In this background the pessimistic political views expressed about the Sri Lanka economy had been clearly vetoed by approved economic reviews and data”. 

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