- Tax on sugar was reduced even when there were sufficient stocks
- Government should not attempt to sweep the sugar scam under the carpet
By Ajith Siriwardana
While claiming that import tax on sugar was reduced not to benefit the people but to commit fraud, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday urged the government to initiate a special investigation and implement the law against all those involved in making such a decision.
JVP MP Vijitha Herath told a news conference that the government should not attempt to sweep the sugar scam under the carpet by creating various topics to deviate people’s attention.
He said there has been a fraud in the sugar import similar to the Central Bank Bond scam and added that tax on sugar was reduced by the Finance Ministry even when there were sufficient sugar stocks.
“The previous government looted the Central Bank. This government looted from sugar imports. Both are the same,” he said. MP Herath said the media reported that the Finance Ministry Secretary has issued a circular stating that even though the Ministry Secretaries could take decisions on government projects, the Treasury Secretary would be the final decision-maker.
He said according to the normal procedure, the ministry secretary should take decisions on a particular project, and it should be approved by the Cabinet and added that the new procedure would allow the Treasury Secretary to take decisions bypassing the Ministers and the Cabinet. “What is expected from this move is to get the projects done according to the needs of some interested parties. We were able to witness certain occasions where the decisions were made using the president’s powers bypassing the Cabinet. This is an attempt to get it done officially. Even now, things are happening without the knowledge of the Ministers or the Cabinet. This is a serious matter, which will yield grave consequences,” he said. MP Herath said if this circular issued by the Finance Ministry Secretary was put into practice, frauds even worse than the sugar scam could happen.