The economic council of the National People’s Power brought to light at a press conference held on 13.10.2022 the government’s recent decisions on increasing the taxes. Prof. Anil Jayantha Fernando, the President of the economic council of the NPP stressed that the groups that have gained power have imposed these taxes only to maintain their power. According to the agreements of the International Monetary Fund, the general public is being put under severe pressure. He went on to point out that the government has imposed taxes not on those who created this crisis but on innocent people. He further said that the recent hike in direct taxes has hit the workforce hard. Before this increase, those who had monthly incomes up to three hundred thousand rupees were exempted from income tax. But according to the new amendments, all those who have a monthly income of more than one hundred thousand rupees will have to pay this tax. According to that, those who have income up to three hundred thousand rupees will have to pay taxes amounting to two hundred thousand rupees. He also added that the taxes are being imposed in this way against the backdrop of food inflation a year ago reaching 95% according to official statistics. With general inflation at over 70% and no wage increases, this levy is highly unfair.
Speaking to the press conference, the economic council member of the NPP Prof. Janak Kumarasinghe stated that until now, the direct tax rates were in the categories of 6%, 12%, and 18%. This time it has been increased to 6%, 12%, 18%, 24%, 30%, and 36%. Earlier, a person who earned a monthly income of three hundred thousand rupees was liable to pay taxes of 36,000 rupees annually, but now, according to these percentages, it has been increased to 420,000 rupees. This shows an attempt to somehow collect all the revenues to the government. This will also increase the burden on those who earn monthly salaries. Simply put, the government has worked to get 36% direct tax revenue from monthly wage earners even in inflation.
Sunil Hadunneththi, an economic council member and executive member of the NPP, emphasized that if people are taxed from the moment their monthly income exceeds one hundred thousand rupees, even the small tea estate owner among the rural people will be taxed. Even though it was in the numbers that the taxable base limit is one hundred thousand rupees, today the real value of this lakh has greatly collapsed, but the tax has to be paid. A new tax burden has been imposed on a majority of people who are wondering how to provide meals to their children. In such a scenario, the government cannot prevent the rise of a movement: “we don’t pay taxes”.
Economic Council Member, Senior Lecturer Shanta Jayaratne, who joined the press conference, explained the facts in English.