Several UPFA Chief Ministers Saturday faulted the JVP for resisting the four percent BTT increase on `non essentials`, like liquor and cigarettes, gazetted with effect from April 1.
The President had directed Provincial Councils to put off implementing the increase the BTT from 1% to 5% in view of the opposition to the proposal from within the government - principally the JVP.
Wayamba Chief Minister Athula Wijesinghe said that the BTT increase was on non-essentials like liquor, cigarettes, gems and jewellery and imported goods like ceramicware and electrical equipment.
A leading businessman said they didn?t know where they stood as the higher BTT rates have been gazetted although it has been said that the move has been on hold for the time being.
`It has to be passed on to the consumer. If we don?t, because of the present move, we may suddenly find ourselves facing demands for arrears,` he said.
`The increase will not affect the poor but help us to raise additional funds to help the needy,` Wijesinghe said.
Uva Province Chief Minister Wijithamuni Soysa said that the task assigned to the provincial councils have been expanded and they needed enormous financial resources to properly undertake their work.
`We haven?t increased taxes from the time PCs were set up in 1987 and the decision to increase BTT on certain specified goods was the consensus at a recent meeting of chief ministers chaired by Sabaragamuwa?s Mahipala Herath.
`We don?t know why the JVP is opposing everything proposed by the government,` said one chief minister on condition of anonymity.
Asked about Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva?s comment last week at a book launch that the provincial councils did not contribute anything for maintenance of court buildings, etc. despite repeated requests, despite the fact that 10% of all fines imposed by the courts, running into several millions of rupees, goes into PC coffers.
`They contribute nothing in return towards running the legal system,` the Chief Justice said.
Uva Chief Minister Soysa said that he didn?t know of the Chief Justice?s request and said that they would agree to contribute a fair percentage of their fine revenue towards the maintenance of the legal system if that request is made to the PCs.