The Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) and the country’s coconut industry will be receiving a number of concessions, including tax holidays and extensions to leases.
“Leases of RPCs that commit to a long term investment for replanting and modernizing will be extended for 50 years, with management fees to be reviewed,” Karunanayake said.
The RPCs had not engaged in wide-scale replanting due to the financial recovery period of such actions taking decades, and the leases of the RPCs ending in 2042.
“In order to incentivize the tea and rubber industries, a two-year tax exemption period will be granted for companies engaged in tea and rubber plantation,” Karunanayake added.
He said that a master plan with Rs.100 million implementation fund will be followed for the rubber industry, while a Rs. 250 million coconut cultivation rehabilitation programme would
also be pursued.
Karunanayake said that with the aim of creating new techniques, the Tea Research Institute, the Rubber Research Institute and the Coconut Research Institute will be allocated a further Rs.200 million within 2 years. He requested RPCs to plant alternative crops such as spices, and said that fertile government land will be leased out to the private sector for such purposes.
“The government will collaborate with the Spice Council to undertake a branding exercise of Sri Lankan spices globally, for which, I propose to allocate Rs.150 million,” Karunanayake added.
He said that Rs.50 million will be allocated to the Cinnamon Research Unit, while a Cinnamon Development Authority with an initial funding of Rs. 60 million will also be created.