After a special appeal had been made to the President, his Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, by the Vehicles Importers of Sri Lanka together with the JUMVEA (Japan Used Motor Vehicle Exporters Association), Sri Lanka has accelerated imports of reconditioned vehicles. The Vehicles Importers Association’s President, Yogo Perera told the media that the appeal came after the government, under pressure from a 10 billion U.S. dollar trade deficit, increased taxes on vehicle imports last month, which would have strangled the industry.
Regulations in Sri Lanka only allowed cars to be imported which are one year old, however with the appeal, the government of Sri Lanka has now increased this to two years, whilst commercial vehicles age limit has been increased from three and a half years to four.
“We are very happy over this outcome as it would give the chance for more Sri Lankans to afford vehicles,” Perera said. The Vehicles Importers Association of Sri Lanka also stated that if the extension was not granted, it would have resulted in the closure of reconditioned vehicle importers businesses, hence render over one million job losses.
Last year the value of imported vehicles doubled to a record 1 billion U.S. dollars from 546 million U.S. dollars in 2010. However, the Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa explained that higher duty structures cannot be changed since revenue safeguards were important in the current context.
At the appeal with the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees, RamaDBK’s President also participated in demonstrating the value of the reconditioned vehicles industry to both Japan and Sri Lanka. Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning Geethanjana Gunawardena, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, President’s chief of Staff Gamini Senarath were also present at the discussion.