The Sri Lankan government will aim to consolidate large taxpayers, as 80% of tax revenue is generated by 20% of taxpayers, Secretary to the President, Dr. P.B. Jayasudnera said in Colombo recently.
Speaking at the Colombo Development Symposium (CDS) which was held at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo on November 15, Dr. Jayasundara said that taxation should focus on the banking sector rather than the real economy.
He added that steps would also be taken to acquire non-collected tax revenue amounting to 1.5% of GDP.
Dr. Jayasundera said that the macro-fiscal direction of the budget would aim to make the country's finances more sustainable and reduce the fiscal deficit to zero in five to six years. This would be done by gaining control over expenditure, enhancing revenue, and improving asset utilization of state-owned entities.
Dr. Jayasundera further said that the negative external balances of the government reflect the negative external account of private businesses that are import-dependent.
“We must have our own reserves, not borrowed reserves,” Dr. Jayasundera said, adding that reserves had to be built through export earnings, tourism, ports, and remittances. He said that the shift to organic agriculture and renewable energy would reduce expenditure on imported intermediate goods.
Commenting on the real economy, Dr. Jayasundera said that national production has to be transformed and that economic activity has to develop domestic interlinkages.
The Colombo Development Symposium was organized by Biznomics, Sri Lanka's leading magazine on business, economics and lifestyle.
The event was sponsored by Access Engineering PLC, Capital Alliance Limited, N-able (Pvt.) Ltd. and Enterprise Connectivity Partner is Dialog Enterprise. The official media partner for the event was Daily Mirror.
The event was a post-budget discussion on the topic “The Future of the Sri Lankan Economy”, with a thematic focus on the core concepts of “production-based economy”, “digitalization”, and “agro-industrialization”.
The keynote speech was made by Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera. This was followed by an expert panel featuring Secretary to the Treasury S.R. Attygalla, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Country Director for Sri Lanka Chen Chen, World Bank (WB) Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives Chiyo Kanda, Information Communication and Technology Agency (ICTA) Chairman Oshada Senanayake, and Sri Lanka Apparel Brands Association (SLABA) Chairman Lalantha Watudura.