Parliament Insight: Intellectual Property Amendment Bill for Visually Impaired or Print disabled persons to be tabled in Parliament today
The Intellectual Property Amendment Bill aimed to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled (those who are unable to use the print media due to any physical disability) was considered by the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Trade held under the patronage of Minister of Trade Hon (Dr.) Bandula Gunawardena on Wednesday (06).
The Hon. Minister of Trade presented the Bill in Parliament on the 26th of November 2020. The amendment to this bill is due to be tabled in Parliament for the second reading today (07).
Accordingly, the Committee was informed that the Intellectual Property Act No. 36 of 2003 will be amended. Thus, an audio recording of any book can be issued for those who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled (those who are unable to use the print media due to any physical disability). It was pointed out to the Committee that a software is used for this purpose and that such audio recordings can be used for the convenience of the persons with special needs without paying royalty.
However, regulations will be added in the future so that no one can misuse it for commercial purposes, the Minister said. The Committee was further informed that more than one million people who are currently disabled will benefit immensely from this.
State Minister Hon. Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Members of Parliament Hon. Nalin Fernando, Hon. Marjan Faleel, Secretary to the Ministry of Trade and government officials were present at the meeting.
COPA Decided to Publicize through Media, a list of all the institutions which fail to pay the due levy – Committee on Public Accounts
The Committee on Public Accounts came to a decision during its meeting held on Wednesday (06) to publicize all the institutions which have failed to pay the due levy by submitting a list of such institutions to the Media.
Chairman of the Committee Prof. Tissa Vitarana instructed the Inland Revenue Department to submit to the Committee a list of institutions who have failed to pay the due levy within two months.
The Auditor General W.P.C. Wickramaratne addressing the Committee stated that steps should be taken to recover the levy which is due as soon as possible, thereby increasing the government revenue.
The Committee on Public Accounts also took into the discussion the need for the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Finance to work together in order to expedite the settlement of a number of Inland Revenue cases pending in the courts.
Commissioner General of Inland Revenue Mr. H.M.W.C. Bandara raised the need to amend the law pertaining to tax deficit expeditiously. Accordingly, COPA Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitarana directed the Department of Inland Revenue to submit the relevant proposals with immediate effect.
Special audit report on the taxes and penalties in default to be recovered from the tax payers was taken into discussion at the Committee on Public Accounts yesterday.
State Minister Hon. Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Members of Parliament Tissa Attanayake, Niroshan Perera, Ashok Abeysinghe, Kader Masthan, (Dr.) Upul Galappaththi, B.Y.G. Ratnasekera, Weerasumana Weerasinghe, Dr. Harini Amarasuriya along with other officials were present at this occasion.
Committee on Public Finance Call for an Impartial and Investigative report on the sugar tax revision
Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance Hon. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, instructed the Ministry of Finance officials to submit an impartial and investigative report to the Parliament on whether consumers will benefit from the sugar tax revision.
The Chairman of the Finance Committee emphasized that although the tax on the price of imported sugar was revised to 25 cents from Rs. 50.00 per kilogram through the Gazette Notification No. 2197/12 issued by the Ministry of Finance on 13th October 2020, it did not benefit the consumers at all.
Meanwhile, the Chairman further instructed the Ministry of Finance officials to submit a report to the Committee on whether the revision of the tax on steel towers imported for construction will also benefit the general consumers.
The Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance stated that the general public should really benefit from the government’s tax reforms.
He said so while considering several special gazette notifications pertaining to the Ministry of Finance issued since last October at the Committee on Public Finance on 5th January.
Attention was also drawn to the steps to be taken to encourage the production of canned local seawater and freshwater fish, the revision of taxes on health test kits and the code revision of safety masks. However, the Chairman stressed that the state mechanism should make all the positive changes necessary for the people to live a better life.