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Can government, which failed to reach the expected tax revenue last year, save the country from bankruptcy?

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Eran Wickramaratne M.P

SJB Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne addressing the media Sunday in Colombo said that although the government entered into an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to increase the state revenue and cover up the budget deficit to save the country from the bankruptcy, the failure of the government to achieve the expected revenue targets in 2023 is a defeat for the government.

The expected tax revenue in 2023 was 3104 billion rupees, but the government has received only 20695 billion rupees, 1667 billion rupees were expected from the Inland Revenue Department, but actual received was 1550 billion rupees.The revenue expected from Sri Lanka Customs was 1220 billion rupees, the amount received was 974 billion rupees. Although the Excise Department expected 217 billion rupees, the total revenue received was 171 billion rupees in 2023.   The MP said that a government report issued this week stated that the government’s revenue has not reached the desired level in the year 2023.

The revenue expected by the government in the year 2024 is 3789 billion rupees. In order to reach this, an amount of 1093 billion rupees has to be increased compared to the previous year. This goal is just a number in a context where there is no progress in the measures taken by the government to increase the government’s revenue.

Mr Wickramaratne further said that it is not an example to say that there are no queues for essential goods like in previous years, to portray that things are turning better economically in the country because that would not prevent country being further dragged into bankruptcy

We had already warned that there will be an economic crisis in the country due to the government’s wrong economic policies and wrong decisions. The President, the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister did not heed to this warning, and in the end, all three of them combined to mislead the Parliament and bankrupted the country.

“If it is said that the economy has improved because there are no queues, I would like to express a red light warning on it” Said Eran Wickramaratne.

The member who disclossed the current situation in the country further said that:

In 2019, the price of rice, sugar, dhal and flour was less than Rs 90 per kg. By 2024, the price of these goods have increased by more than 300 %. Also, on that period, a liter of petrol was Rs 117/, diesel was Rs 115/litre and gas price was Rs 1700/litre. The MP mentioned that their prices have gone up unimaginably today.

As it is the election year, the government promises to increase salaries and allowances of various public service groups despite not being able to get the estimated revenue. It is also said that social welfare facilities will also be increased. Mr. Eran Wickramaratne said that people should understand that this government, which cannot manage income and expenditure, makes promises after promises, pushing the country further in to bankruptcy.

British Prime Minister Vincent Churchill won the World War II in their country. But after that, in the general election held in Britain, the British people elected a Labor Party candidate named Cleman Attlee as the Prime Minister instead of him. Churchill was widely recognized as a war hero. But instead of a war hero, the intelligent people made a leader who could wage an economic war as the prime minister of the country. The lesson here is that while war can be won by a courage leader, but people recognize that other skills are needed to win the economic war of a country Mr. Eran Wickramaratne stated that unfortunately, the Sri Lankan voters thought that the winner of the war could also win the economy, and after putting him in power, the country fell into the abyss and the benefits of peace after the war were lost to the people of this country.

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