Wednesday, 24 February 2021 19:11

Government compels to lift Vehicle import ban this year Featured

The government will be considering the need of lifting the vehicle import ban being enforced since last March amidst hue and cry of motor traders who have been dragged into bankruptcy, vehicle importers said.

Minister of State of Finance Ajith Nivard Cabraal said that the country had sufficient stocks of vehicles for about two years and that a decision on the importation of vehicles, which is currently banned, would be considered by the end of this year.

This announcement was made by the Minister following an appeal made to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa urging an appointment to meet them with the aim of discussing their current plight, they said.

The thrust of the policy outline implied that the Government had spent US $ 5 billion on vehicle imports over the last five years and that they could not afford to continue this outlay, importers pointed out.

Revenue generation from Excise duty on the importation of motor vehicles declined notably by 47.1% to Rs.43.1 billion in the first eight months of 2020, compared to Rs.81.5 billion recorded in the same period of 2019.

The country has deprived of around $35 million last year on actual duty as result of the ban on motor spare part imports.

“Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka (VIASL) executive member said they have requested for appointments with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Rajapaksa, and the Head of the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation Basil Rajapaksa,.

“VIASL has been informed that they will be given a meeting with the Prime Minister this week he said adding that they are hoping to discuss the problems faced by their industry with the PM and propose solutions”.

The State Minister said that the Government and the Central Bank had to tackle the severe pressure on the exchange rate of Sri Lanka and accordingly imposed import restrictions on selected non-essential commodities from last March.

A vehicle import ban in Sri Lanka is distressing 100,000 jobs and 350,000 dependants as well as a number of industries and services which need mobility and transport, motor vehicle importers association announced. .

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