Social Security Bill enactment adjourned

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The enactment of the Social Security Contribution Levy Bill had to be postponed due to a heated verbal confrontation between Government and Opposition MPs yesterday (6).

The Bill was supposed to be passed without a debate in Parliament yesterday (6) as decided by the Parliamentary Business Committee and at the Party Leaders’ Meeting.

Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake objected to passing the Bill holding a debate.

“I did not attend the Party Leaders’ Meeting that decided to pass this Bill without holding a debate. I have a different opinion on this. This Bill will add more burdens to the people who are already suffering heavily. No one has been held accountable for this crisis. People cannot even fulfil their basic needs. The Government has no plan to overcome the crisis. What they only know is increasing taxes and introducing more taxes. We are against this Bill,” he said,

Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Dr. Harsha de Silva also backed Dissanayake’s concerns.

He said the COPF has not reviewed the Bill so far. “The COPF does not approve the Bills without reviewing them. It is not proper to enact a Bill without presenting a review of it. However, we had to approve the Social Security Contribution Bill as we were informed that it was urgent Also, this Bill requires certain amendments. This should not be approved without considering these amendments,” he pointed out.

Leader of the House Susil Premajayantha then proposed the Bill to be debated on Thursday (8).

Accordingly, the adjournment debate on the Mid-year fiscal position report for the year 2022, which was scheduled to be held next Thursday, will be held on a later day.

Budget 2022 introduced the Social Security Contribution Levy Bill as a measure to raise government revenue and rebuild the economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. This tax is levied at the rate of 2.5 percent upon the annual turnover is Rs 120 million on taxable turnover of importers, manufacturers, service providers and wholesalers and retailers.

BY Methmalie Dissanayake