Local News from Sri Lanka: Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said yesterday that the government would remove the carbon tax at the end of this month. Speaking at a special ministry press conference, he said the proposal would be submitted for approval to the parliament on November 23 in this regard.
At the last budget, the carbon tax was introduced, but the minister said that payments made to it already could not be returned.
Asked to explain why the rate of economic growth is going to fall nearly in par with Afghanistan, he said this only happened in the last quarter of the year. Before the November last year’s political coup, the rate of economic growth was about 3.5% and after 52 days it dropped to below 2%.
The Easter Sunday blasts also pointed to the slowing down of economic growth.”However things are now falling in place and we will be able to post strong economic growth in the next quarter.
Samaraweera explained that Sri Lanka’s economy was in the ICU when they took over the government nearly five years ago and today the economy has moved up from the ICU to almost ‘discharge state’ from the hospital due to timely economic policies adopted by the government. He said, however, that the government continues to pay debts taken by the previous government at a high interest rate, and by 2020 the total amount payable would be Rs. 1.1 trillion. Minister also said Sri Lanka would soon create a debt management agency that would give the Central Bank more autonomy.
State Finance Minister Eran Wickramaratne said Sri Lanka would be reporting a’ main balance’ this year for the first time after several decades. While 25% of Sri Lankan’s workforce in the agricultural sector contributes only 8% to the economy. The explanation for this is lack of technology, and by providing duty-free imports of machinery we have addressed this problem, he added.