Thursday, 04 February 2021 12:10

Govt turns down its own decision of relaxing tile import restrictions Featured

A gazette notification was issued yesterday (February 02, 2021) relaxing the import restrictions on tiles and ceramic products.

But the Import and Export Control Department today (03) issued new operating instructions for Sri Lanka Customs and all commercial banks on the directions of the Prime Minister and Finance Minister to suspend the implementation of the regulation until further notice official sources said.

The operating instructions has been issued under the power vested in Imports and Exports Control Act No.1 of 1969 and in terms of Regulations No.17 of the Gazette Extraordinary No.2184/21 dated 16, 2020

Due to this shortage apartment construction companies are not in a position to complete their projects and hand over the houses to people who are long awaited, tile importers complained..

At present local manufacturers Rocel,Lanka tiles and Multilac ( producing low quality tiles)
Multilac ( producing low quality tiles) are wielding the monopoly of the tile industry they said. .

The government’s continuation of temporary ban imposed on tile and sanitary ware imports will jeopardize local importers hitting the several other domestic sectors mainly construction industry while depriving the government of much needed tax revenue in billions of rupees.

But to the dismay of tile and sanitary ware importers numbering over 300, the government has not lifted the ban on their imports even after relaxing restriction yesterday in a gazette notification..

The country will be losing Rs. 15 billion as taxes per annum, several local importers said adding that with the present depreciation of the rupee they are faced with bigger issues as they buy in dollars and sell in Sri Lanka rupees.

At present, this industry provides direct and indirect employment to around 50,000 Individuals Island wide with over 2,000 dealers countrywide.

While local manufacturers hold 50% of the market share, the importers are surviving in the industry with a stake of same 50% of market share, they pointed out.

The temporary import prohibition on tiles and sanitaryware imports will have a spilling effect on auxiliary related industries such as warehousing and logistics, clearing and forwarding, banking and finance, construction and commercial real estates.

It will increase under employment among a large number of professionals such as architects, engineers, consultants, quantity surveyors, sub-contractors as well as tile masons and daily wage earners, they warned.

The industry maintains an average warehousing space of 2 million sq. ft. and approx. 200,000 sq. ft. of showroom retail space immensely contributing to the real estate sector in the country.

Therefore, restricting imports would adversely impact the income generated for warehouse and showroom owners’ country wide they claimed.

In a letter to the head of Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival and Poverty Eradication Basil Rajapakasa, the secretary of Tiles and Sanitaryware Importers Association (TSIA), E.S. Bulathsinhala has urged the authorities to grant them approval to import these products under 180 day LC s.(BS)


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