JVP holds demonstration in Fort against VAT tax increase

The JVP, which backed President Maithripala Sirisena at the last Presidential election, said that the VAT is a burden on the public. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) staged a demonstration near the Fort railway station today against the recent VAT tax hike implemented by the Government which resulted in the price of most vehicles and other products going up.JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake and several other JVP members took part in the demonstration. The new 15 percent VAT was implemented recently but the Government insists that several items have been exempted. VAT was increased from 11 percent to 15 percent and among the items exempted are petrol and diesel and aviation fuel as well as wheat, rice, milk powder, mobile phones and healthcare services and education.However water, telephone charges and other key items have been included in the new VAT and this has resulted in strong opposition being raised against it. (Colombo Gazette) read more

New UN statistics reveal uneven global economy

The UN Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) Handbook of Statistics 2003 points out that Brazil’s revenue from coffee exports declined by $1 billion between 1999 and 2001 while Slovenia took in $1 billion in tourist expenditures in 2001. “When it comes to magnitude, everything is relative,” UNCTAD says.The same $1 billion is the amount of gross domestic product (GDP) shared by 27,000 Norwegians – and by 10 million Ethiopians, according to the agency. It is the total in tariff revenues on manufactured product imports collected by Indonesia, Algeria or South Africa.A billion dollars is the amount of foreign direct investment inflows to Argentina in 2002, as well as the annual level of trade among the 15 small members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). It is 0.6 per cent of the European Union’s (EU) agriculture value added or 11 per cent of the value of Africa’s total agriculture exports to the EU in 2001, UNCTAD said.One billion dollars also represents 10 per cent of the estimated value of India’s total remittances from abroad, or 10 per cent of that country’s trade deficit, according to the Handbook. read more