Cabinet this week approved to impose a fixed CESS rate of Rs. 10 per kg of tea exported, Cabinet co-spokesperson Gayantha Karunathilaka told the Cabinet yesterday.
At present, tea exporters pay either Rs. 20 per kg, considered highest in the market, Plantation Minister Navin Dissanayake told the Cabinet, proposing the revision. Pointing out a number of reasons which makes the current system of collecting CESS, which is done on a monthly basis, problematic, the Minister informed the Cabinet that the high rate charged now is making Sri Lankan tea less competitive in the world market.
Further, the Minister also pointed out that significant delays occur in Customs due to the current calculation method, which causes delays in shipment and inconvenience to the exporters.
Further, the Minister highlighted that tea exporters also incur losses in calculating CESS to quote advance prices for buyers.
The Minister also proposed to amend the National Institute of Plantation Management Act to assist the State-private cooperation program implemented by the National Agency for Public Private Partnerships.