Sri Lanka Parliament session adjourned till Monday due to lack of quorum




COLOMBO: Sri Lanka‘s Parliament session on Sunday was abruptly adjourned till Monday as there was no quorum in the 225-member House. The adjournment came while the debate on the crucial Value Added Tax (VAT) amendment bill was underway. The quorum in the assembly is 20 members.
The increase from 15 to 18 per cent VAT from January 1 was to contribute to the rise in state revenue – a crucial condition for the release of the IMF‘s bailout package of the second tranche of USD 330 million.
Sunday’s debate was expected to approve the VAT increase, with a vote taken in the evening.
The Opposition members walked out protesting that the list of 97 items on which the VAT was to be imposed was not available.
Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella said the debate cannot be held if documents with the relevant information are not available.
Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa’s action to sound the quorum bell was of no avail.
The required number of 20 members was not present even after the quorum bell was rung.
The IMF board would meet on December 12 to approve the second tranche’s release.
Opening the debate, State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that the VAT increase envisaged by the amendment would contribute to a 1.2 per cent or rupees 378 billion increase in state revenue.
As a result of the amendment on Sunday, the targeted total state revenue in 2024 was to increase to 12.5 per cent of GDP from the current 9.1 per cent, Siyambalapitiya said.


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