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* Sri Lankan government accused of trying to pass bills not in the budget
Wed, Mar 20, 2013, 09:40 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 20, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) says the government is trying get approval for some bills that were not in this year's budget along with 21 bills that are being hurriedly taken up in parliament in connection with the 2013 budget.

JVP parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetti said the government is trying to debate and adopt 21 tax amendment bills within three days.

However, he noted that the government was also trying to get approval for two bills - Tax Appeal Commission Bill and Customs Amendment Bill - that were not in this year's budget.

He explained that the government is trying to kill two birds with one stone through these two bills.

Explaining further, Handunnetti said that under the proposed amendments, the Finance Minister will have the right to decide the ratio of cash rewards for the officers who carry out successful raids and all cash rewards will be taken over by the Minister to quell the financial crisis of the government.

"Most of the rackets are carried out with the participation of politicians. How could one expect Customs officers to carry out raids boldly when such bills come into effect? Rewards for Customs officers who risk their lives to raid dirty rackets of politicians are decided by a politician - the Finance Minister and it is held by the President. What is the assurance Customs officers have regarding their duties? Can they be given an assurance that there wouldn't be any political influence?" he queried.

According to Handunnetti, the government through such a move is trying take control of the officers who carry out raids to follow their dictates and allow various illegal rackets to continue in the country.

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