Friday, November 20, 2009

Another chapter in the book of corruption which sucks the life of our country

Having gone to watch the robotgames competition organized by the IESL, we saw a nice robot drive set (which we had earlier seen in the internet) which the OUSL guys had used in their robot.
We got the details from the leader of that group (kasun) , who said that he ordered it online and got it whithin a week.

A month before (october 20th) we ordered that robot drive kit from Devantech Ltd through their online interface. Yasitha paid for it using his debit card whilst sanath and myself paid him SLR22000/=. About a week after we were able to get a sponsorship of SLR25000/= from Mr. Daya Gamage . So we were content enough to wait till we get the motors to start building our robot.

We waited and waited and on 19th november i get a letter from the central mail exchange, saying that the parcel mail has been taken into custody by the customs. It asked me to pay the taxes and free the goods.

Now this robot drive was for our final year research project. Though we should be funded by the university we are not. So we work our asses off to find a sponsor, and after doing that we need to pay tax to the government, when we are using the equipment for research. No way! This is insane!

Now why the hell should we pay the government when we are doing what the government should do by ourself.

AND THEY DONT EXEMPT US FROM PAYING TAX! THIS IS HILARIUOS! seems that we have to get a letter from the treasury to get tax exemption for this motors!
yeah why not from the president himself, rather than the treasury?

And the funnier part is that the custom officers only check parcels randomly because otherwise they get too many parcels to handle.

The even funnier part is that when we told them what our need is they asked for our University IDs and asked us to wait, we told them that we can get letters from the university to prove that the equipment were to be used for research.
After waiting for 10 mts Then they tell us to pay 4000 as tax, without even asking for the invoice of sale.

Now here is the catch:

They didnt ask for any invoice, but randomly put the price as SLR12000 and calculated tax for that.
Whilst doing so they tell us that they are doing a great favour for us! well yeah they did us a favour by reducing the estimated value to 6000, but they did that after wasting our time, ragging us and playing mental games with us! When it was pretty clear that we were using this equipment for the technological development of the country! The catch is this they will tax 27% even if we get a letter from the university (after having brought it the uni. address) according to the value appraisal officer at customs.!!! !@#$%

Then they tell that the tax is 1700. Now we didnt have 1700 and only 500/= and told them so.
Now they say that they have written the bill so that they can't change it. They could have but now cant coz the bill is written!

So we have to leave empty handed and have to waste another day to get the motor drives!


1) Why does the government charge tax for equipment brought for research by the academia?

2) The tax added to 1613/6000 = 27% ??? assuming this is not for research but for noncommercial use, isnt 27% too much of a tax to pay?

3) so for every 100 ruppees we pay minimum 30% tax, so does the government spend that huge tax for the benefit of the people?

4) This must have not been the first time that they have charged taxes from research equipment brought down by the academia, so why doesnt the academia do anything to stop this rape?

5) The custome people said that nothing is exempt from tax, so what about free samples or gifts, they aernt taxed, how can that be?

6) Why do they check foreign parcel mail only randomly, if they tax or check it must be done for every parcel or else for non, why this discrepancy?

7) How can the custom officers just value the equipment according to their will, is their not any procedure to get do it? eg. i had a bill of 111 pounds, but they valued it for 6000/= .

I will be going tommorow (which is incidently my Bday) to pay and retrieve the equipment and will update the blog.

Here are the details of bills and tax documents.


Our invoice
From tax_robotdrive

Tax form: Note how they have valued it to 6000 without considering any factor according to there will!
From tax_robotdrive

From tax_robotdrive
"Local manufacturers are protected by tariffs. Between 20%-50% (and sometimes higher) tariffs are applied on imports competing with national industries (including furniture, concentrated and canned food and fruit juices) and on goods for the Lebanese Army and security forces which are deemed to be locally available."-Lebanon


Chathura Prabuddha Ganegoda said...

owanam monada ban... Simple deval nee...

Lasantha Fernando said...

I see that you have posted this on 20th November. But considering the things that happen in this country, I guess your experience wasn't really surprising.

My elder sister too had a similar experience sometime back. We shipped a printer from abroad that was impounded by the customs. Since it was under my sister's name, she had to go through the customs and also through the CID because they said it was a printer that could be used to forge money.

My sister went with my father. My father was not allowed to go with my sister to the CID office and they harassed my sister by making unnecessary delays and objections. Finally after it was cleared by CID, again the customs officers started harassing her. They harassed her expecting a bribe from her. This was in addition to the tax paid for the device. There was also an extra amount paid to CID because of the so called "security concerns" regarding the printer.

My sister was pregnant at that time and the harassment was so much that she broke down and cried. Finally my father was able to get through and he was left with no choice but to pay a bribe of Rs. 1000/= to get it cleared. So much harassment and injustice just for a paltry thousand rupees!!