Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando said that he had suggested to Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake to remove VAT and other taxes imposed on smartphones in the next budget proposal.
This measure is taken aiming to bend people towards digital technology and make more room for them to access the digitalised services easily,he said.
“While forwarding proposals for the next budget, I requested the Finance Minister to exempt VAT and other levies imposed on smartphones aiming to bring the price of smartphone down,” he said.
The smartphone usage in the country is around 30 per cent by now and it has been planned to increase the usage rapidly. There is a trend in the world to digitalise many of services provided to the people and therefore the usage of smartphone should be increased. In this context the smartphone has become a vital gadget to access those services easily.
Meanwhile the Telecommunication and Digital InfrastructureMinistry is conducting a study to increase the usage of data communication instead of voice communication. In many developed countries data communication is higher than voice communication, the minister said.
When he was asked if call charges in Sri Lanka will go up with the court decision on VAT, Minister Fernando said the call charges of the country is still low compared to many other countries.
MR, an expert in splitting parties- Harin
Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is an expert in splitting political parties and his political career is filled with such incidents.
“It is a pathetic situation that Rajapaksa has sought the assistance of Wimal Weerawansa and Gammanpila to split his own political party – the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP),” he said.
Minister Fernando was addressing the media at Sirikotha yesterday.
“When considering Rajapaksa’s political career, he has split and tried to ruin many political parties such as the United National Party (UNP), Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), with the aim of strengthening his political power and for his political survival.But, now he is trying to split the SLFP along with Weerawansa and Gammanpila,” he said.
He said that Chief Incumbent of the Malwatte Chapter Most. Venerable Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddartha Sumangala Thera advised Weerawansa not to level baseless allegations on the new Constitution, which has not been finalised yet, when he(Weerawansa) was trying to create a wrong picture about the new Constitution,which is still at the discussion stage.
Speaking on the political transformation with the advent of the new government, Fernando said there are many fruitful outcomes. There are no vehicle rallies unlike during the previous government. But, he admitted that there are certain defects with this government also.
Minister Fernando said that certain former Ministers including Bandula Gunawardena are shedding crocodile tears for the Security Forces personnel. But,they did not utter a single word when the former Army Commander was sent to prison
“Gunawardena and a few other former Ministers are collecting money for an Army Major, who was convicted by courts. That Major was ordered to pay Rs 2 million and now these former Ministers who are accused of misusing millions of rupees are collecting money for his well-being while shedding crocodile tears for Army personnel. This Major was taken into custody in 2000 in connection with a crime alleged to have been committed by him in 1998. The case was heard since 2000 and a court verdict was announced recently,” he said.