President expects positive economy in 2024

State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya yesterday said that Sri Lanka’s economic growth stood at -10 per cent during the last financial year.

“The economic growth during last quarter alone stood at -11 during the last quarter of 2022,” he said.He was hopeful that the country’s growth rate could be between -3.5 and-4 per cent during 2023. Speaking at a press conference at the Government Information Department yesterday,  Siyabalapitiya said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe has given a clear message to the people that they can expect a positive economy in 2024.”President Wickremesinghe had assured this to the people at a recent function held in Anuradhapura that the people can expect a positive economy in 2024,” he said.

The State Minister said that falling tax revenue led to the economic crisis in the country.”Sri Lanka had 1,644,327 tax files by 2019. The number of tax files reduced to 419,130 by 2020 which is a 75 per cent reduction. The difference between the revenue and the expenditure widened to 300 percent which is unprecedented,” he said.

He said that money was printed with an objective of covering up this balance.”Food inflation nearly reached the 100 per cent mark and people of all walks of life felt the impact of this unprecedented economic crisis in the country,” he said.

He said that Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and Value Added Tax are not novel taxes. But, the number of tax files will increase by 10 per cent.Siyabalapitiya said that Government statistics on a number of key State enterprises clearly indicate that such enterprises should be restructured in a transparent manner while ensuring the rights of employees and streamlining their services.

Siyabalapitiya said that the total tax revenue for 2022 is Rs.1,800 billion and half of it goes for the maintenance of loss-making Government enterprises.

“The loss of the State enterprises during the last year is Rs.794 billion and the total loss of State enterprises supasses the expenditure incurred by the Government for health and education. The total tax revenue of the country is Rs.1,800 billion and out of it Rs.950 billion is spent for the maintenance of loss making state ventures,” he said.The State Minister added that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation posted a loss of Rs.619 billion while SriLankan Airlines Rs.129 billion and the Ceylon Electricity Board Rs.151 billion.


by Daily News Sri Lanka

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