SDGs Taxation Framework (STF) for Sri Lanka

UNDP provides recommendations to GoSL on realigning and leveraging taxes to achieve the SDGs in Sri Lanka

August 27, 2023
UNDP RR hands over report to State Minister of Finance

Ms. Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative, UNDP in Sri Lanka hands over SDGs Taxation Framework (STF) Diagnostic Evaluation Mission Report to Hon. Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Finance

UNDP Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka, 25 August 2023: Taxation is intricately linked to gender equality and is a fundamental foundation to address intersectional inequality challenges. Accordingly, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is supporting governments to establish gender-responsive tax systems, which involves carrying out national level diagnostic assessment on tax and gender; through research and capacity building; adapting the Gender Equality Seal for Tax Administrations; and strengthening gender equality perspectives and analyses in tax policy decision-making at national and international levels.

In Sri Lanka, the Country Engagement Plan (CEP) agreed by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and UNDP seeks to bring together the national priorities on financing for development and the Sustinable Development Goals (SDGs) with a specific focus on taxation. Under this, UNDP will also support research and capacity development in the country on the use of tax policies to achieve SDGs on Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7) and Gender Equality (SDG 5). CEP is demand-driven and focuses on the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the revenue authority which are the central points for articulating national requirements vis-à-vis taxation and development.

In this vein, an in-country UNDP SDGs Taxation Framework (STF) Diagnostic Evaluation mission took place from 21st-25th August, with the mission evaluation report and findings being handed over today. The report was handed over to Hon. Min. Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Finance by Ms. Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative, UNDP in Sri Lanka. Also present was Mr. Ranjith Hapuarachchi, Commissioner General, Inland Revenue Department (IRD); Ms. Rukdevi Fernando, Deputy Commissioner General, Tax Policy, Legislation, International Affairs & Legal, Inland Revenue Department (IRD); and UNDP mission members including Dr Amna Khalifa, Technical and Outreach Specialist SDG Taxation Framework; Caroline Othim, Technical Specialist, Taxation and Gender Equality; and Sudarshan Kasthurirangan Regional Programme Tax Specialist for UNDP Asia Pacific.  

The purpose of the mission was to promote a shared understanding of Tax and SDGs issues at the national level, while supporting the carrying out a self-evaluation using an SDG taxation framework, to evaluate the coherence of tax systems with respect to specific targets for SDG 17 (related to Domestic Resource Mobilization) and SDG 5 (related to Gender Equality). This diagnostic framework will help assist Sri Lanka in setting tax reform priorities and sequencing efforts in areas where greater support is needed to realign and leverage taxes to achieve the SDGs.