Tax Department plan to shift vital sections fails
The modernisation plan of the Inland Revenue Department aimed at making it to a service-oriented and a customer-friendly institution in Sri Lanka has collapsed after spending over Rs 300 million, owing to bureaucratic bungling, union officials told a media conference this week.
Expressing concern on the initiative taken by the Commissioner General of Inland Revenue to set up branches of the department in Colombo suburbs, senior Inland Revenue officials told The Sunday Times FT that this action has made matters worse for the tax payers as they have to go to several places to obtain services. Earlier all these services for tax payers were handled under one roof at the Inland Revenue Department head quarters in Colombo.
A vital section of the department is now functioning at Jawatte CWE super market building located on a 2-acre land. All metro branches which are considered to be very important arms of the department such as branch offices in Colombo South, Colombo city, Central and North are located in the new Jawatte complex. The department has spent Rs. 200 million to acquire the land and a further sum of Rs. 36 million was spent to renovate an old building. But the employees serving at this vital section say it has become very difficult for them to perform their duties as the repairs of the building were carried out without following proper standards.
Meanwhile a spokesman of the Joint Committee of Trade Unions of the Sri Lanka Inland Revenue Service told reporters that repair work of the building used by the State Trading Corporation at Navam Mawatha had been carried out in an improper manner and also without following proper tender procedures. He said that a sum of Rs. 68 million has been spent for the repair work exceeding the approved amount of Rs. 19 million under the tender given to the contractor.
The renovation of the building has been stopped midway and the contractor had removed the air conditioners fixed in the building due to delay of his payment. Inland Revenue trade unions have accused the top management including the Commissioner General of Inland Revenue A.A. Wijepala of mismanaging state resources.