Sri Lanka’s key tax collectors of the Excise Department, Sri Lanka Customs and the Department of Inland Revenue have joined hands to launch a massive protest opposite the Finance Ministry premises in Colombo today (Tuesday January 18) demanding the withdrawal of the proposed Special GST collection unit
Leading members of the trade union joint front of the Department of Excise and other revenue collection departments told a media conference on Monday that they vehemently opposed the ‘unfair’ Special Goods and Services Tax Act, which was gazetted on January 07th and the move to set up a separate revenue collection unit.
The Excise Department trade union will join with the trade unions of the Department of Inland Revenue, Sri Lanka Customs, Department of Motor Traffic, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), and Sri Lanka Export Development Board to launch this protest.
Co-Secretary Unity of Excise Trade Unions Nirosh Jayakody said by introducing the Special GST Act the government is planning to set up a single small unit to collect all the tax revenue being collected by the stipulated revenue collection authorities.
The Cabinet of ministers has already endorsed to draft a new Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, which is aimed at simplifying taxes on alcohol, cigarettes, vehicles, telecommunications and betting.
The government’s move to establish a revenue collection authority has come to light with the decision to set up a separate unit to handle this tax amidst protests of Inland Revenue Department executives and other staff officials in April last year .
This was reported in the Business Times on April 11, 2021 in an article under the heading “Treasury’s move to handle special GST sparks protest”.
The takeover by the Treasury of some of the functions of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) along with the introduction of an online managed single Special Goods and Service Tax (GST) in place of the various goods and service taxes and levies, has sparked protests from IRD staff at that time.
This trade union action announced eight months ago has now been renewed following the Finance Ministry’s firm action to set up this separate revenue collection unit, a senior IRD official told the Times online. (Bandula)