authority a waste
The previous regime's proposed revenue authority that was touted
as being the answer to the declining trend in revenue and increasing
the state's collection but was scrapped by the new government, appears
to have been a white elephant.
government had spent over Rs 40 million on setting up and maintaining
the authority since June 2003 although it had not earned one extra
cent, said S.B. Divaratne, deputy secretary to the Treasury.
said it had been a "futile exercise" that had met with
resistance from staff in existing government revenue collecting
departments which now were to be revamped and made more effective.
money spent on the proposed revenue authority, which also consisted
of the tariff commission, had gone for rent, furniture and salaries
of staff and advisors who were paid higher than public servants,
authority was supposed to replace the Customs Department, Excise
Department and Inland Revenue Department but was strongly opposed
by trade unions in these organisations.
new government has said it plans to modernise the Department of
Inland Revenue and other agencies to increase revenue collection
which had been on the decline in recent years. State revenue had
fallen sharply to 14 percent of Gross Domestic Product from 19 percent
scheme to recognise and reward good tax payers is being worked out,
Divaratne also said. It was being discussed by a steering committee
consisting of senior Inland Revenue officials and trade union leaders
and is likely to be included in the next budget.
Udayasiri, secretary of the Inland Revenue Service Union, said one
of the proposals being considered is to give good tax payers a 'gold
card' that would entitle them to preferential treatment in services
such as banking or for businessmen to get imports cleared.
was being done with the aim of creating a "new tax culture"
and to educate tax payers. "We can recognise good tax payers
in our effort to widen the tax base so that the government would
not have to burden the people with new taxes or by raising taxes,"