Sunday, June 4, 2023

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CMTA urges the government to introduce a vehicle import quota system.

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW):The government has been urged to regulate the motor industry to protect consumers, environment and the economy while introducing a quota system for the imports of vehicles and other essential items, Chairman of the Ceylon Motor Traders’ Association.

This appeal was made by Charaka Perera, Chairman of the Ceylon Motor Traders’ Association at the Stakeholder Breakfast Forum held in Colombo recently.

The event was graced by the Ambassador for Japan in Sri Lanka His Excellency Mizukoshi Hideaki as the guest speaker while several senior officials from Ministries, Government Institutions and other stakeholder organizations of the Motor Industry also participated.

Addressing the gathering Charaka Perera highlighted the government’s action to allow the importation of essential items of various industries and business sectors spending millions of dollars.

The government should consider a quota system for all such industries and offer a quota for the automobile industry as well, which would also enable to reduce the exorbitantly high used vehicles prices.

He stressed that efficient mobility is essential for the functioning of any economy and that 50% of the current vehicle fleet in the country is over 10 years old.

He outlined the the import expenditure for the two calendar years of 2020 & 2021 of some of these items

The government has spent $421M to import finished clothing & accessories, $739M for Home Appliances & furniture, $310M for seafood, $122M for cosmetics & toiletries and the list goes on, he claimed.

The total forex outflow for these 04 categories alone was $1,592M for two years. Therefore, motor traders believe that there should have been a quota system for most of these industries which could have allowed all of them to survive, including vehicle import sector.

Henoted that the auto industry could have easily been allocated at least $400M, which would have been sufficient for the industry to manage our businesses without bleeding, save over 15,000 lost jobs and provide much needed government revenue.

Japanese Ambassador Mizukoshi Hideki spoke of the important need of economic and fiscal reforms conditioned by the IMF, as they would help restore the local economy sustainably.

He further elaborated on Japan’s wide-ranging assistance to Sri Lanka and his perspectives on the promotion of Japanese investment in Sri Lanka, and the challenges faced by Japanese companies in doing so.

In order to fully restore the economy in a sustainable manner, Sri Lanka needs to implement a series of fiscal and economic reforms agreed with IMF and Japan continues to support such efforts.

Now that IMF EFF is approved, he expressed the hope that overtime the economy of Sri Lanka would be recovered and Sri Lanka would be ready to lift restrictions for imports of automobiles“

Regarding EVs, he commented that if the power is generated with coal, there is not much advantage in electric vehicles and that Sri Lanka should consider decarbonisation in power generation.

But he also mentioned that a Japanese company is interested in making electric three wheelers in Sri Lanka as they are mainly for short runs.

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