May 23, 2019
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    February 07, 2019

    Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that a committee would be appointed chaired by a retired judge to probe into the leakages in the Customs that prevents a massive custom revenue collection. He added that although the Customs Tax collection in 2018 had increased to Rs. 921 billion in the face of the previous year’s tax collection of Rs. 831 billion it could not reach the 2018 target of Rs.1,068 billion. He made these observations yesterday during a press conference held at the Finance Ministry auditorium

    .He pointed out that the Sri Lankan rupee devalued by 15 percent during the last six months of last year and in turn, Custom’s revenue collection should increase since tax is collected in US dollars. However, Customs had not been able garner this benefit at collection points.

    Minister Samaraweera said imports in 2018 had increased by 8.3 percent whereas the custom tax collection had not increased comparatively. He added that the custom tax revenue had only increased by 1.4 percent.He said further that the when the narcotics arrest is concerned, the Customs has been able to seize only 5 percent of them and the rest has been done by the Police, STF and other institutions.

    He added that when the pepper and arecanut re-export involves a massive corruption which was initiated during Mahinda Rajapaksa regime.He added that the same is continued with the involvement of the Sri Lanka Customs officials.The government is taking measures to prevent it.He added that Charles who could face even the Prabhakaran while he was alive is seemed a bit impossible to face the mafia behind this arecanut and pepper re-export racket. “That is why I decided to appoint a retired Navy Officer after Charles is taken in the Ministry to appoint as the head of the Administration to be set up to probe into the leakages in the customs that prevents a massive customs revenue collection,” Minister Samaraweera said. “But some trade unions and Podujana Peramuna MPs and the Opposition Leader attempted to create a political issue with the same decision.”

    He added that though they shed crocodile tears for Charles, it was the government that stood for her. “Those who shed crocodile tears actually stand for corruption,” Minister Samaraweera said. “They really had to shed tears when Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake was removed unceremoniously from her position, but they kept quiet.”Customs Director General P. S. M.Charles also spoke. Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. R. H. S. Samarathunga, Treasury Senior Deputy Secretary A. R. Deshapriya also were present at the occasion.

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