Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera, considering the requests made by stakeholders in the fabric industry, has reduced the Value Added Tax (VAT) on imported fabric to 5 percent. Minister Mangala Samaraweera signed the gazette notification in this regard today.Earlier the fabric was subject to Rs 100/kg CESS at the time of imports. The Budget- 2108 had proposed to impose a 15 % VAT on goods. The Value Added Tax Act No 14 of 2002 was amended accordingly and the new VAT scheme came into effect from August 16, 2018. The Enterprise Sri Lanka, the subsidized loan scheme by the ministry of finance and mass media has introduced an interest subsidized loan scheme for medium and small-scale manufacturing industrialists and they can obtain fabric, as raw material at a low cost. As fabric was also subject to this 15 percent VAT, the importers, traders and industrialists engaged in using fabric as raw material for making readymade garments had appealed to the Minister of Finance to provide them some relief as small scale traders and industrialists who are not covered under VAT act have the adverse effect. The minister made this decision to amend the VAT act further to reduce the VAT on imported fabric to 5 percent considering the possibility of giving a helping hand to proposed small scale industrialists under the enterprise Sri Lanka scheme.
“Peace without mine action is incomplete peace,” the Secretary-General said in his message for the Day, which is centred this year on the theme of ‘Needs driven. People centred.’ “I urge all Member States to keep this issue at the top of the international agenda when negotiating peace, when seeking to prevent harm during conflicts and when deploying emergency humanitarian responses in war zones,” he added.Each year, landmines and other explosive hazards kill or maim thousands of people around the world.“Mine action establishes the foundations for lasting recovery and development,” added Mr. Guterres. “No one should have to live in fear of dying even after the fighting stops.” This year marks 20 years since the creation of the UN Mine Action Service, a collaboration of UN departments, agencies, programmes and funds. Known as UNMAS for short, the entity currently works in 18 countries and territories to save lives and rebuilds communities.To promote mine action and raise funds for its work, the UN Global Advocate, actor Daniel Craig – aka James Bond – has lent his likeness to a campaign to give away a customized Skyfall Silver 2016 Aston Martin Vantage car. The winner will also have an opportunity to chat with Mr. Craig in a secret location. In his message for the Day, Mr. Guterres applauded UNMAS for “its leadership, courage and commitment to peace.” He also commended the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action – which brings together representatives from all UN mine-action entities – for its “needs-driven, people centred approach.” So far, UNMAS and its partners – much of the demining and mine-risk education is carried out by non-governmental organizations and commercial contractors – have cleared and returned 72 per cent of known contaminated land to communities, and cleared 31 hospitals and 35 educations sites, as well as markets and water wells. To honour this work and raise awareness about eradicating landmines and unexploded ordinance, the UN General Assembly, in 2005, established 4 April as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. AUDIO: The Ordnance Disposal Office at the AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has been locating and destroying these hazards, as well as educating people about the danger they pose. UNAMID Radio prepared this report on the International Day of Mine Awareness.