Trade Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena says that in order to increase salaries as demanded by the trade unions including teachers, the money spent on it will have to be exploited by imposing a heavy tax burden on the entire country.
"Sri Lanka, like other countries in the world, is facing three major crises, one is the fiscal crisis, the other is the balance of payments or foreign exchange crisis, and the third is the crisis of economic collapse.
The basic principle that all the people of this country should understand now is that this government is your government. The fact that the government is spending means that it is not done by Basil Rajapaksa as the Minister of Finance, or Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister or the President. This cost is borne by the people of this country.
There are two ways a government gets revenue. One is taxable and the other is non-taxable revenues. 86% of the total revenue is obtained by imposing taxes on the public. The total revenue we get from taxes levied on the entire Sri Lankan population is 1216 billion rupees. We have spent Rs. 1,052 billion in 2020 on senior citizens to pay salaries and pensions to public servants.
Anyone can increase their salary by ten thousand or twenty thousand per month. But every rupee that is increased should be taxed and snatched away from the people of this country. There is another option, please tell me what it is. Revenue from VAT is 233 billion. If VAT is quadrupled and increased by 400% only Rs. 932 billion could be obtained. 980 billion has to be paid as interest on public loans taken. Even if the VAT is quadrupled then the interest on public loans cannot be paid, ”he said.
Bandula Gunawardena stated this addressing a media conference held at the Government Information Department yesterday (21).