- Northern, Eastern and Uva provinces have highest poverty rates
Infrastructure developmentover the last 18 years has reduced the poverty headcount index from 22.7% in 2002 to 4.1% in 2016, showcasing a significant improvement within the country.
The Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, responding to a question for an oral answer raised by UPFA Joint Opposition MP Bandula Gunawardane, on Thursday confirmed that strengthening the rural economy and initiating special projects for developing infrastructure facilities including the construction of highways and irrigation, provision of facilities such as electricity and drinking water, improving education and health facilities, urban development and expanding communication have been carried out, while special projects were implemented to develop market facilities and provide loan facilities under concessionary rates and expandthe banking network to rural areas that were the driving force behind the improvement in the poverty headcount index. According to the Unity Government, it has not been successful in giving the promised tax amnesty granted for the enterprises to be commenced in regressive areas that make an investment of $ 10 million or generate 500 new jobs as recommended by proposal No. 202 of the 2016 Budget due to the fact that the Inland Revenue Act had to be amended to give effect to this proposal.
“Since the New Inland Revenue Act has been prepared on a long-term policy for simplifying and justifying the tax policy by the Government, amendments have not been introduced to the existing Act. Accordingly, a new Inland Revenue Act was drafted to provide prevailing tax concessions and anticipated tax concessions including the Budget Proposals 2016 and it was implemented from the date of 1 April 2018,” the Government confirmed, having identified the Northern, Eastern and Uva provinces as regressive areas with low economic growth, low per capita income, higher rates of poverty and unemployment, a lack of education and health facilities. (AH)