Parliament yesterday (11) passed the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill at a vote following its second reading.

State finance minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said the amendments aim for an Rs. 378 billion revenue.

At the vote, 98 members voted in favour, while 41 opposed.

Following amendments at the committee stage debate, the vote on the third reading saw 100 supporting and 55 opposing it.

MPs of the SLPP, UNP and SJB's Harin Fernando and Manusha Nanayakkara supported the bill, while the SJB, NPP, FPA and TNA opposed.

Anura Yapa, W.D.J. Seneviratne, Vadivel Suresh, Nimal Lanza and Priyankara Jayaratne supported it.

Roshan Ranasinghe and Maithripala Sirisena opposed the amendments.

Namal Rajapaksa was a notable absentee at the vote.

Namal accuses opposition

At a media briefing, he accused the opposition of having double-standards.

It wants Mahinda Rajapaksa to be stripped of his civic rights for having reduced taxes, but opposes it when taxes are raised, he claimed.

Rajapaksa called for a scientifically-prepared tax policy, adding that he disagreed with the considerable increase in the VAT.

Instead of burdening the people, the tax net should be expanded, he said.


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