Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera stated that the government had witnessed a vast improvement in revenue over the past 18 months, thereby enabling it to achieve a primary surplus in the budget, regain market confidence and stabilise the economy.

He also noted that the country needs to improve its tax collection as it will face external debt repayments of approximately US$ 15 billion from 2019 to 2022.

Samaraweera commented that government tax policies had focussed on key principles and objectives over the last few years including increasing government revenue to better meet debt repayments without compromising government expenditure, health and education.

Furthermore, he added that the new Inland Revenue Act ensures that tax holidays and tax exemptions cannot be provided at the Finance Minister’s discretion due to the creation of a rule based framework for such decisions.