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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sri Lanka to return $1M tax to aid agency

LankaPage: 23/06/2005"

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, June 22 (UPI) -- The Sri Lankan government has agreed to return $1 million to Oxfam, paid as duty on vehicles imported by the British aid agency for use in tsunami relief work.

After a meeting Tuesday with the Sri Lankan minister of finance, David Crawford, the head of Oxfam in Sri Lanka, said he is "confident" that Sri Lanka will return the taxes paid.

The British aid agency imported 25 off-road vehicles for tsunami aid work. The aid agency works with community groups to deliver clean water, decent sanitation and better quality housing, and needed the vehicles for their work.

The Sri Lankan government had waived taxes on all tsunami-related items the first four months after the disaster. The tax was later re-imposed, which led to the misunderstanding.

The government has said it was worried that the exemption was being abused to bring in non-essential items.

Crawford said the move to return the tax would allow the agency to reinvest the money for the people, and showed that the government valued the work of international aid groups.

Nearly 31,000 people died in Sri Lanka when the tsunami struck on Dec. 26. Half a million were made homeless.
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