Skip to comments.Sri Lanka Charges Oxfam L500,000 To Allow In Jeeps (Tsunami Relief)
Posted on 06/16/2005 6:20:31 PM PDT by blam
Sri Lanka charges Oxfam £500,000 to allow in jeeps
Oxfam has had to pay £550,000 in customs duty to the Sri Lankan government for importing 25 four-wheel-drive vehicles to help victims of the tsunami, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
The sum was levied by customs in Colombo which have refused to grant tax exemptions to non-governmental organisations working to repair damage caused by the giant Boxing Day wave.
The Indian-made Mahindra vehicles, essential to negotiate damaged roads and rough tracks, remained stuck in port at Colombo for almost a month as officials completed the small mountain of paperwork required to release them. Customs charged £2,750 "demurrage" for every day they stood idle.
Oxfam said it had "no choice" but to pay the exorbitant 300 per cent import tax or face further delays to its relief operation.
Sources said that when Oxfam officials tried to reason with the government, the ministry of finance offered three options: pay the duty, re-export the vehicles or hand them over to a ministry of their choice.
Oxfam was one of the major charities to benefit from the generosity of the British public, which donated £300 million for tsunami relief under the umbrella of the Disasters Relief Committee.
It refused to comment on whether the customs payment was a fair use of donations. It said only that it "abides by the law" of the countries in which it operates, "including the tax laws".
Anger is growing in Sri Lanka among aid workers and residents who say that reconstruction is being slowed to a crawl by bureaucracy, corruption, greed and inefficiency.
An aid worker who asked to remain anonymous said yesterday: "When people watched those scenes of destruction and suffering on television they were moved to help the victims - not fill the government's coffers."
Perhaps Oxfam should give them a hearty GFY and be on their way.
I didn't give money, i don't have money to give and if i did, i wouldn't. All that help is sitting idle, wasted.
I suggest everyone remember this the next time some natural disaster strikes this cesspit.
They should have pushed them off the wharf and into the Ocean. There are hundreds of containers sitting with what is in them rotting while these people get fat off corruption.
Let them starve. The fewer of that ilk, the better.
They should have gone on Fox News that day and exposed it to the world. Those tarriffs would have disappeared in a hurry if the world's spotlight were turned on them.
Oh, but Fox news is such a horrible right wing leaning news organization ;)
That is £22,000 EACH in plain, simple extortion money.
I feel sorry for the people that lost everything, and in some cases everyone; but I have no milk of human kindness for damned thieving bureaucrats of any country.
If God didn't want one* hanging from every power pole, he would not have created rope.
*Non-damned &/or non-thieving bureaucrats have nothing to fear.
Sri Laqnka also made a point of publicly refusing Israeli aid following the disaster...if you can pick and choose your emergency aid provider maybe you don't need the help.
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