The failure of the Board of Investment (BOI) to provide a proper strategic analysis relating to a 12-year tax holiday to be granted to foreign investment has resulted in the Parliamentary Committee on Public Finance putting off the approval of the same and the debate on the matter in Parliament.
The Public Finance Committee, after thorough scrutiny, refused approval of an order under the Strategic Development Act to be debated in Parliament today (04). This decision was taken when the Government Finance Committee met yesterday (03), chaired by Member of Parliament Dr Harsha De Silva.
The order published in the Special Gazette No. 2291/25 under the Strategic Development Act No. 14 of 2008 was to be debated in Parliament today (04) but failed to obtain the approval of the Public Finance Committee.
This order mentioned in this Gazette No. 2291/25 dated August 03, 2022, initiated by the President as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policy, was presented to Parliament on September 20.
The Chairman of the Committee inquired from the Board of Investment regarding the benefits accrued to the Sri Lankan economy by granting a 12-year tax holiday to a company investing in Sri Lanka.
The Public Finance Committee expressed its strong displeasure with the chairman of the investment board, Raja Edirisuriya, and the other officials for failing to provide adequate information and stated that, as a result, he could not give approval for the order to be debated on this occasion.
Dr Harsha De Silva said that the country’s economy has fallen into its current depths mainly due to the ignorance of institutions like the Board of Investment that function without proper understanding of the country’s plight.
He emphasised that the country should not be allowed to get into such a situation, and pointed out that the officials of the agency that brings in foreign investments to the country were acting without properly grasping the government’s policies and tax systems.
Dr. Harsha de Silva said that he and the committee have no problem regarding the tax relief granted to these companies and pointed out that a comprehensive report, including data on the impact of such decisions on the economy, should be submitted to the committee on public finance for proper scrutiny.