Thursday, August 11, 2022
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Sri Lanka vehicles go off the roads in spare parts shortage   

The Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA) raised concerns on the unofficial restrictions made by banks to cripple the country’s vehicle fleet maintenance, which would have a direct impact on goods and people transportation as well as the overall economy. 

The association revealed the plight of opening Letter of Credit (LC) facilities with regards to spare parts orders and difficulties faced by the vehicle users in the country. 

“If the transportation sector grinds to a halt, it would have a severe impact on the main revenue lines of the country such as exports, tourism, which are heavily reliant on the availability of transport,” the CTMA said.

It urged policy makers to pay attention to the plight of the automotive industry and identify spare parts as an essential goods category to keep Sri Lanka’s ageing vehicle fleet functioning. 

Noting that many vehicle owners are resorting to dangerous patch repairs, usage of non-genuine spare parts and used spare parts imported from overseas junkyards, they cautioned that these practices place the safety of vehicle users and the public in great danger. 

In addition to public safety concerns, these restrictions and delays of LC facilities have resulted in the inability for legitimate franchise holders to predict the supply or price of spare parts creating uncertainty and panic across the automotive market.

The franchise holders who have been battered by the import ban of almost two years, are now facing difficulties in managing their after-sales operations, which is the only revenue stream left to sustain their staff and overheads. 

 “Inability to maintain these vehicles according to their manufacturer recommended schedules will result in greater repairs and breakdowns in the future, causing even greater foreign currency drain,” the association warned. 

Founded in 1920, the CMTA is the only Ceylon Chamber of Commerce affiliated trade body that represents vehicle manufacturers through their locally appointed franchise holders (commonly called ‘agents’). It is the most senior automotive trade association in the region. 

The members of the CMTA collectively employ and train thousands of Sri Lankan citizens while bringing in international best practices in engineering and management, developing a talent pool that is trained and employable internationally. 

CMTA members are all audited by the manufacturers they represent, and the vehicles they import are shipped directly from the factory, designed to meet country specific requirements.

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