He made the comment at the commencement of a series of seminars titled ‘taxes are not a responsibility, but a social obligation’ in Matara on November 24.
He said that after being appointed the finance minister in May, he spent the first 10 days discussing with officials about the actual situation of the country’s economy.
Samaraweera also said the open economic system worked properly for two years only, and that the country went backward due to the 30-odd years of war, the impact of which was felt as recently as 2015.
Surprising and upsetting
He said it was surprising and upsetting that the country’s direct and indirect taxes ratio stood at 82-18, whereas India maintained it at 50-50.
The new inland revenue act that will be implemented from April 01 eases that burden on the taxpayers.
The finance minister went onto say that business acumen was inherent in our DNAs, which needed to be awakened, for which the outdated laws should be amended.
Ivan Dissanayake and Ruwan Chandra, the heads of the Inland Revenue and National Budget Departments, also participated.