COLOMBO: The government decided to reduce tax on imported rice in order to bring relief to the people who are affected by the current soaring rice prices due to drought.
This decision was taken by the Cabinet sub Committee on cost of living which met today (January 6) at the Ministry of Finance. The Committee was patronage by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Special Task Force Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Mahinda Amaraweera and Industry and Commerce Minister Rishard Badi udin. The soaring prices of rice in the current market were widely discussed during the meeting.
According to sources, Customs duty of Rs.50, 15% VAT, 7.5% Port and Airport Levy and 2% Nation Building Tax per kilogram of rice have been removed. However a special commodity levy of Rs.15 per kilogram of imported rice will be imposed instead. This move will be effective from January 10, 2017.
Taxes have been reduced for rice varieties such as Samba, Nadu and Brown raw rice. However, tax reduction is not applicable to imported Basmati.
The Cabinet sub Committee on cost of living has taken this decision as a measure to bring relief to the people. Rice prices have been increased due to the prevailing dry weather in the country. This will simultaneously prevent the unscrupulous traders, who hoarded rice stocks and created an artificial shortage in the market to exploit the consumers.