United National Party (UNP) member Palitha Range Bandara yesterday urged the Government to investigate the Rs. 16 billion tax loss due to the reduction of the Special Commodity Levy and reveal to the public who profited from the racket.
The former Parliamentarian made the comments at a press conference held at Sirikotha.
“The Government’s decision to suddenly reduce the tax on sugar from Rs. 50 per Kg to Rs.0.25 was not reflected in market prices. No relief was felt by the consumer. We now learn that it has cost the Government Rs. 15.9 billion in losses. So, who profited from this scam?” Bandara questioned, pointing that the loss to the Treasury was more than what was lost during the 2015 bond scam.
“This move was to let one trading company make profits. Other importers could not import sugar under the tax reduction. So, they did not sell sugar at the designated price. The price of sugar did not fall in the market. As a result, the public suffered and the Government lost valuable income. What happened was that a company made unethical profits and it is clear that someone in the Government also profited from this scam,” he charged.
Bandara said that the UNP believed that the sudden reduction in the sugar tax was done intentionally to give one importer the opportunity to make unfair profits due to political connections.
“We call on the Government to be transparent in this matter. The Government must investigate this scam and expose those who benefited from it.”