- Says Budget 2021 focuses on boosting economic growth
- Expects timely implementation and private sector consultation
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) yesterday welcomed the proposals put forward by the Prime Minister in the National Budget 2021, which are business-friendly, production-oriented and demonstrative of policy continuity.
“The budget has focused on boosting economic growth by enhancing exports, providing investment relief for key thrust sectors supplemented by public investment proposals, promoting capital markets and supporting the growth of start-ups and SMEs,” the CCC statement said.
The chamber added that the emphasis on tax policy continuity and measures announced to strengthen the tax administration, demonstrate a strong commitment to policy consistency while strengthening and broad basing revenues.
The CCC in its pre-budget proposals highlighted the importance of the government maintaining the current tax laws and rates at least for the next five years or so, thereby providing the necessary consistency in tax policy.
“The adoption of a consistent tax policy under the National Budget 2021 would not only provide a platform for proper planning for business but would also help the government in long-term cash flow planning and strengthening fiscal consolidation,” the statement noted.
The chamber also welcomed the tax relief for investment in machinery and equipment for domestic manufacturing and exports and the relaxing of import restrictions on certain sectors, in line with its past recommendations.
“Proposals on enhancing digital governance, investments in technology and infrastructure, including rural connectivity to facilitate digital inclusion are also notable.
We trust the commendable proposals in the budget will see timely implementation and will continue to involve private sector consultation,” the statement said.
The chamber said it is looking forward to the facilitation of further stakeholder engagement with respect to holistic labour reform and the placement of the proposals related to the extension of the retirement age and the contribution of 0.25 percent on turnover towards an insurance fund, within the context of the said broader reform agenda.
“With respect to wage reform, the chamber recommends that reliance continues to be placed on the time-tested mechanism of collective bargaining, which has so far been adopted consistently across industry sectors and encompasses factors related to productivity and worker welfare and as such that the government reconsiders the budget-based wage intervention for the plantation sector. The incorporation of productivity linkages within the proposal to increase wages of plantation sector workers is also a subject, which merits further consultation,” the statement said.