According to President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the current tax policy in Sri Lanka is not a normal tax policy, but rather a rescue operation. He warned that if this process is disrupted, Sri Lanka will not be able to join the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program and may lose the opportunity to do business with foreign countries.
In addition to his comments on the tax policy, President Ranil Wickremesinghe also stated that the budget presented for the year 2023 in Sri Lanka is not an ordinary budget, but rather an operation to rescue the economy. The President highlighted that, apart from the Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce, no other party, person, or institution has submitted any proposals or alternatives to the IMF.
The President made these remarks while delivering the keynote speech at the Tax Forum 2023. The forum, held at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo (21) was organized to discuss the taxation policies introduced by the government in the 2023 budget.
The President also stated that once an agreement with the International Monetary Fund is reached, it will be presented to Parliament and it will have the option to pass or reject it. If the proposal is rejected, the relevant parties should submit alternative proposals to the International Monetary Fund.
Commenting on the debt restructuring process with the main creditors of Sri Lanka, the Paris Club, India and China, the President said that the Paris Club has guaranteed its financial support for Sri Lanka, and India is following its own method, but China has not expressed agreement about its method so far. However, President Ranil Wickremesinghe mentioned that their stand will be announced at the G-20 Finance Ministers' meeting on the 23rd in Bangalore, India.
The Tax Forum 2023 was organized by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) while Chairman of SLIM Prof. Lakshman R. Watawala, Chairman Sri Lanka Chartered Institute of Personnel Management Ken Vijayakumar, Chairman of Sri Lanka Institute of Chartered Accountants (Faculty of Taxation) Tishan Subasingha and Deputy Commissioner General of Tax Policy and International Affairs N M. M. Miffly joined the panel discussion on the tax policy.
President's Senior Adviser on Climate Change Mr. Ruwan Wijewardene also participated in this event.