Controversy Surrounds Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Tourism’s Vehicle Import Proposal


The Sri Lanka Vehicle Importers Association has raised significant concerns regarding a recent Cabinet paper submitted by the Ministry of Tourism. The paper proposes the importation of 1,000 vehicles, alleging that the move primarily benefits a select few rather than serving broader governmental objectives.

Since March 20, 2020, vehicle imports have been halted, leaving importers without opportunities for up to five years. Criticism has been directed at the Ministry of Lands and Tourism for allegedly favoring specific brand new agents, granting them exclusive rights to import buses and vans under the guise of tourism development.

The Association contends that this selective allocation excludes thousands of other importers, emphasizing that the process appears tailored to benefit a privileged minority. They highlight discrepancies in delivery times, noting that orders placed through these agents are expedited to meet immediate demands, contrary to normal procedures which typically take six to eight months.

Moreover, concerns extend to fiscal implications, with allegations that the Ministry’s approach may bypass potential tax revenues that could accrue if vehicles were sourced directly from countries like Japan, England, or Australia, where tax rebates are applicable.

Critics argue that such a policy not only undermines fair competition but also raises questions about the transparency and inclusivity of governmental decision-making processes. As the controversy unfolds, stakeholders urge a reconsideration of the Ministry’s strategy to ensure equitable opportunities within the vehicle import sector.

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