SJB parliamentarian Mr. Eran wickramaratne stressed the fact the SCL and VAT should be amended forthwith to accommodate the parliament to take the decision on tax increases and decreases.
He tabled the judgment given in this regards from the court and maintained his stance for the call of the amendment to these two bills.
His full speech is appended below.
Today basically two amendments to two bills one is on the special commodity levy and the other is on the value added tax. These two taxes are at the sole discretion of the minister of finance. He does not need even cabinet approval he can just decide to reduce it and the most resent situation was in October 2020 when the tax special commodity levies on sugar was Rs. 50/ for a kilogram in one night he reduced it to .25 cents. One night and the loss according to the secretary to treasury, just three and a half months later when he was called to parliament and questioned in February 2021 he said was 15.9 billion if you take it up to December it is 59 Billion what is this a huge sums of money for an election we are arguing with the government has 4.9 billion spent on election. What type of crap we are we talking about finance?
This is what he has so the government tried in 2022 to introduce a special goods and services tax a GST bill they brought into the parliament and we went to the courts and the court said you can’t do this and I will close by reading very quickly the determination of the court.
‘thus empowering the minister in the manner provided in clause 2 and 3 parliament distinctively and manifestly loses over public finance and unconstitutionally alienate such power to the minister. In the circumstances this court hold that clause 2,3,and 4 individually and collectively amounts to an infringement of article 140 of the constitution read with article 76 by virtue of such infringement violates article 4 read with the article 3 of the constitution. It says it is completely against the constitution and therefore I am saying the SCL and the VAT must be amended, so that parliament decides when to increase and when to reduce taxes, Thank you for the time!