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Lankan Red Cross unable to pay local taxes

[Express Buzz, Monday, 28 September 2009 14:32 No Comment]

The relief material sent by Mercy Mission of the UK is yet to be distributed to Tamil war refugees as the Sri Lankan Red Cross (SLRC) is unable to pay taxes amounting to $17,400.

The 27 containers sent by the Mission have been stuck at the Colombo harbour since July 9.

Deputy Director General of the SLRC Suren Peiris told Express that the organisation was unable to pay Value Added Tax (VAT) and Nation Building Tax (NBT) amounting to $17,400.

The SLRC chairman had written to the government treasury seeking wavier of VAT and NBT and had warned that the Red Cross would have to wash its hands off and hand over the cargo to the government, if no help was forthcoming.

UN REFUSES AID: The visiting UN special envoy for refugees, Walter Kalin, told the Sri Lankan government that the world organisation would not fund any new camps or transit camps for the internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Sri Lankan Minister for Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Rishad Bathiyudeen, had asked Kalin if the UN could fund the building of transit camps in Jaffna because the refugees in transit had no places to stay and were being put up in schools.

Most of the refugees released from Vavuniya were in fact in transit camps in Jaffna and other places without proper facilities, Bathiyudeen explained.

[Full Coverage]

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