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SCL tax revenue lost to Govt. as importers enjoy huge profits

The Sri Lankan government's tax revenue is experiencing a continual decline due to the inadequacy of adjusting the Special Commodity Levy (SCL) in proportion to the US dollar (USD), leading to excessive profits for traders. This has resulted in consumers bearing high costs for essential imported food items such as big onions, potatoes, dried sprats, maldivian fish, and green gram, particularly in 2022 and 2023, while traders have profited significantly. Despite the appreciation of the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) against the USD in late 2023, consumers did not benefit. Moreover, although the CIF value per kilogram decreased in 2023 compared to 2022, prices for these items increased by threefold or more. For instance, big onion traders saw their total profit rise from Rs. 29 billion in 2022 to Rs. 80 billion in 2023. Importantly, the tax revenue decreased drastically from 2018 to 2023, except for 2022, without corresponding benefits for consumers, as evidenced by the increased market prices of big onions. Traders' profits against investment surged from Rs. 109 per kilo in 2022 to Rs. 273 in 2023, indicating a profit percentage of 105.8% in 2022 and 297.2% in 2023.

SCL tax revenue lost to Govt. as importers enjoy huge profits | The Morning

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