Sri Lanka slapped a tax on road accidents in a drastic austerity budget unveiled Friday as the country faces a major foreign exchange crisis. Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa said vehicle accidents will be taxed under new revenue proposals to keep the budget deficit at 8.8%of GDP in 2022, down from 11.1% this year. “It is proposed to impose a fee on vehicles meeting with accidents,” Rajapaksa told parliament. “Through this initiative, it is expected to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents.” He did not give details of the crash tax. Sri Lanka’s roads are among the most dangerous in the world with over 3,000 traffic fatalities and some 25,000 seriously injured every year. Rajapaksa admitted that the country was facing a serious crisis with foreign reserves at $2.3 billion, down from $7.5 billion when his brother Gotabaya took over as president two years ago.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2021.