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Budget helps curtail imports

Sri Lanka can be self sufficient in milk production in three years and with the newly introduced budget proposal this mark could be even closer, stakeholders said.

The country’s first milk powder manufacturer Ariyaseela Wickramanayake told Daily News Business that the new budget proposal encourages local milk powder production.


Ariyaseela Wickramanayake

“The budget proposal will help to curtail imports of five items: milk powder, steel, pharmaceuticals, fabric and cement, as it has also proposed incentives and concessions for new enterprises as well as expansion of an existing enterprise,” he said. The country should have five factories with a sufficient number of cows to be self sufficient in milk within three years. The government should look at curtailing the import of milk powder to gain this benefit to the country,” he said.

He disclosed that while promoting entrepreneurship of the country most importantly would pave the way to save US $ 300 million annually.

Wickramanayake said he started manufacturing milk powder, under the brand name, Palwatte Milk that is already in the market, without any of these concessions paying a huge amount as taxes. “I can start another factory with this type of concession,” he said.

Similarly, the country has the potential to 100 percent manufacture the other four items spelled out in the budget in Sri Lanka.

This also help to create employment to a large number of people.

“This is some thing that has to be done to build our nation and be less dependent on imports,” he said.

Meanwhile a pioneer gauze manufacturer in the country Lucky Heendeniya said presently there are 270 members in this market.

“The new concessions will help the industry to improve further and even enter the export market provided the government do not allow importation of this product in the future,” he added.

Under the new proposals new enterprises will get a five-year tax holiday and concessionary tax rate of 12 percent after the tax holiday period. The new enterprises will qualify for a payment relief of 25 percent of the investment each year of assessment apart from the 12 percent concession.

Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundara addressing two post budget seminar said it is time Sri Lanka woo more investors to start milk powder, steel, pharmaceutical, fabric and cement factories.

“We have provided concessions to these sectors and it is up to the local industries to look at joint ventures in this regard,” he added.

 

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