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Two Special Committees appointed to formulate program for vehicle imports

By: Staff Writer

June 16, Colombo (LNW): The government has appointed two special committees to lift the importation of vehicles partially stage by stage and prepare necessary guidelines and devise a program towards this end.     

The president appointed the first special committee headed by Bri Ponnambalam, the Chairman of Alliance Agencies PLC early this year  to formulate the new vehicle policy and guidelines.

It will enable the lifting of the ban on private cars by considering the foreign exchange outflow as a percentage of other imported items, and the general demand for automobiles.

This report has already been presented to the president and the road map on relaxation of vehicle import ban submitted to the IMF had been devised on the recommendations of this report.

In a latest move, State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya says that another committee was appointed on Friday (14) to devise a program on how to carry out vehicle importation activities in the future.

Speaking to the media yesterday (15), Siyambalapitiya highlighted ongoing discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has been guiding the country’s financial strategies.

He mentioned that the government has submitted a roadmap to the IMF regarding the relaxation of vehicle import restrictions, recognizing the direct impact of such imports on the country’s foreign reserves.

The relaxation of restrictions will begin with vehicles used for public transport, following a specific method outlined in the roadmap, according to the State Minister.

The aforesaid committee comprises key stakeholders such as the Department of Trade and Investment Policies of the Ministry of Finance, Department of Motor Traffic, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, and representatives from the vehicle import sectors, the Associated Vehicle Assemblers, the Ministry of Industries and the Ministry of Environment in order to develop this program.

Siyambalapitiya emphasized that the initial focus will be on easing restrictions on vehicles used for public transportation, goods transportation, and common alternatives like motorcycles and cars used by the general public.

Subsequently, there will be a gradual easing of restrictions on luxury vehicle imports, with special consideration given to their economic implications, the State Minister said.

The government is to lift restrictions of vehicle imports partially allowing the motor traders to bring down small cars with engine capacity of 1000 CC and 1300 CC.

This decision will be taken in accordance with a comprehensive policy and guidelines in vehicle imports soon, a senior Finance Ministry official said.

Measures will be taken to allow motor traders to import all types of vehicles including private cars as the country was losing around Rs.300-Rs 450 billion in import tax revenue per year from March 2020, he said.

The new vehicle importation policy has been devised by a Special committee appointed by President Ranil Wickremasinghe.

The new vehicle policy and guidelines will enable to lift the ban on private cars  by considering the foreign exchange outflow as a percentage of other imported items, and the general demand for automobiles. 

Vehicle Importers’ Association said that they are ready to import motor cars following discussions with authorities to formulate new laws or regulations with regard to vehicle importation.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka vehicle spare parts traders complained that the prices of spare parts will be increased by Rs 300-600 due to VAT hike  to 18 percent from 15 percent with effect from this month.

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