Govt. explores higher levy on imported canned fish

Thursday, 16 November 2017 00:40 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent

Protecting the local canned fish industry, the Government is exploring the possibility of increasing the tax on imported canned fish, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development and State Minister of Mahaweli Development Mahinda Amaraweera told Parliament on Tuesday.

 “There are six local factories engaged in canned industry but they have limitations in terms of the production. Their operations are based on imported fish. However, with the tax on imported canned fish coming down there is a threat to these local factories, and we will consider increasing the tax on imported canned fish, but after speaking with all stakeholders, not forgetting the consumer,” Minister Amaraweera said while explaining the reasons for a possible tax increase on imported canned fish.

Responding to a supplementary question on the possibility to increase the tax on fish imports, Minister Amaraweera stated that he was able to increase the tax on fish imports considerably. “When I took over, the tax on fish import was Rs. 25 per kg. Then I increased it to Rs. 75. During the recent past the tax was further increased to cope with the high yield of fish,” he said.

According to the Minister, the contribution made to government revenue from the increase of the special commodity levy on fish and fish products to Rs. 50, as per proposal number 147 of the 2016 Budget, had collected Rs. 152.3 million and Rs. 1,268.5 million in 2015 and 2016 respectively.