Vehicle imports from October Industrial and heavy vehicles first and then other categories

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By Damith Wickremasekara 

The Government has decided to permit vehicle imports, starting with industrial and heavy vehicles, from October bringing forward an earlier proposal to implement the decision early next year.

Soon after permission is granted for the import of industrial and heavy vehicles, priority will be given to the import of three-wheelers and motorcycles. The next category to be permitted will be small cars under a particular c.i.f. value.

Luxury and super-luxury vehicles will be the last category to be permitted.

Finance State Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told the Sunday Times that the government policy would be to give priority to the import of electric vehicles under this scheme.

He said that the government would seek the Central Bank’s advice on the maximum number of vehicles to be imported in a year in keeping with the foreign reserves.

The Sunday Times learns that the government will, however, not immediately consider granting permission for public sector employees to import vehicles under duty-free schemes. The decision has been delayed as the revenue gained from duty-free imports was minimal.

Another criterion would be that only brand-new vehicles or those manufactured within two years will be allowed to be imported.

In a related development, to encourage the assembly of vehicles locally, the government has decided to offer incentives if the value addition is increased to 45 percent.  Currently, the value addition is around 30 percent.

State Minister Syambalapitiya met representatives of some 20 companies involved in assembling vehicles in Sri Lanka. They expressed concern that permitting imports would affect their businesses.

Last year, more than 6,000 vehicles and 36,000 motorcycles were assembled in Sri Lanka.