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Labour Ministry addresses electric vehicle import allegations

Colombo (LNW): The Sri Lankan Ministry of Labor and Foreign Employment has affirmed that their programme, designed to motivate expatriate Sri Lankans to send remittances via banks in exchange for licenses to import electric vehicles, has been fully transparent.

Official figures from the Ministry show a significant 75 per cent increase in foreign remittances, amounting to US $4.3 billion in the first nine months of the year, compared to last year.

Responding to an investigation by Sri Lanka customs into electric vehicles imported under this scheme, the Ministry noted that 318 licenses have been granted for vehicle imports through legal remittance channels, resulting in US $38 million in revenue for vehicle imports.

All vehicles brought into the country under this programme are subject to regular customs duties and taxes, which contribute to the nation’s revenue.

The initiative is in line with encouraging legal remittance channels.

The Ministry expressed concern over the Parliament’s involvement in vehicle import business matters and criticised the misuse of its committees for these purposes.

The Ministry has voiced its support for a comprehensive inquiry into the matter and stresses the importance of prioritising the nation’s economic interests over narrow political objectives.

Furthermore, the Finance Ministry disclosed that seven recently imported vehicles have been detained by customs due to potential misuse of the foreign workers’ permit scheme.

This could result in a revenue loss of Rs 35 billion. The probe is exploring allegations of undervaluing vehicles, tax evasion, vehicle ownership transfers, and the legitimacy of the remittances used for vehicle imports.

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