BY Ruwan Laknath Jayakody
The Democratic Left Front (DLF) charged yesterday that R. Paskaralingam, former Finance Ministry Secretary in the Premadasa government was masquerading as the incumbent Finance Minister.
The DLF also said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe must vacate office until the serious charges levelled against Central Bank Governor Arjun Mahendran over the issue of Treasury bonds (of divulging information to his son-in-law, Arjun Aloysius and Perpetual Treasuries prior to the auction concluding, thus allowing the company bonds at exorbitant interest rates), are cleared.
DLF Leader, Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that Paskaralingam had proposed that laws in place restricting foreigners and foreign companies from purchasing land should be removed.
Although, a ban cannot be imposed according to international law on foreigners buying land, the previous government had imposed a very high near impossible to pay tax, to discourage any moves to make such purchases, which the present government of the United National Party is attempting to reverse by arbitrarily doling out tax breaks, he explained.
Tax breaks are being given to mixed development projects without Parliament approval, he observed.
Sources of income for the government are dwindling, Nanayakkara added.
"Small scale distillers have gone to Court against taxes imposed. The telecommunications sector too plans to go to Court. The Mansion Tax is not being collected and the Super Gain Tax is now being changed bowing to pressure from the capitalist classes. Fitch Ratings have predicted a budgetary crisis as the expected income is not coming in," he outlined.
Mahendran was the advisor to Raj Rajaratnam, who has been imprisoned for insider trading, conspiracy and securities fraud, he said.
"In 2005, in an interview to a national newspaper, Mahendran had stated that Sri Lanka was unsuitable for big business as liquidity was less. He was handpicked for the job by Wickremesinghe. Thus, Wickremesinghe is responsible," Nanayakkara remarked.