The country has lost an estimated revenue of Rs.1 billion due to several crucial sectors launching a protest today, inconveniencing millions of citizens and leading to roads being blocked in the business hub of Colombo, senior economists said today.
Colombo University Department of Economics Professor Priyanga Dunusinghe told Daily Mirror that more than Rs.1 billion of losses had been faced by the country today due to the massive trade union action staged by doctors and several other professionals over the government’s new income tax policy.
Priyanga said this loss at this critical juncture was a blow to Sri Lanka's development.
Another senior economist who wished to comment off the record said that such protests at a time when Sri Lanka was seeking international assistance for its debt relief sent a wrong signal to its global partners.
He said protests staged by crucial sectors cost the country billions and such losses were not feasible at the moment and also sent wrong signals to its international lenders.
“Opposing taxes is one thing but causing such a loss to the country is another. This sends a wrong message at a time when we are negotiating with our global partners for debt relief,” the economist said.
Over 40 trade unions including the Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA), Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), University Lecturers, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWS&DB), several banks, Sri Lanka Air Traffic Controllers Association (SLATCA) and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) staged an island wide trade union action today to oppose the government’s new income tax policy.
The main business hub of Fort came to a standstill in the early hours of today as large groups gathered near the Fort railway station resulting in the military being called in to maintain calm.
The Trade Union Collective Centre (TUCC) told Daily Mirror that the Trade Union action had been a complete success and gave a direct message to the government on how the people would be affected by the new tax policies.
TUCC Operation Board Member Mahinda Jayasinghe said the sudden implementation of a higher PAYE Tax was unfair to the people who earned a higher salary because they had to adjust to maintain their lifestyle accordingly.
Jayasinghe said most of the professionals including doctors would be forced to migrate because of this. “They have come to a situation where they are unable to survive,”he said. (Chaturanga Pradeep Samrawickrama)
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