PB Jayasundara on why Sri Lanka halted importing vehicles
Posted on August 25th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Secretary to President Dr. P.B Jayasundara, speaking during the Derana 360° discussion programme, explained the reasoning behind the decision of the government to halt of vehicle imports to the country.

He stated that right until 2019, between 1,000 and 1,200 million US dollars were spent per a year on importing vehicles to Sri Lanka. 

He said that the vehicle stock in the country had risen significantly between 2015 – 2019 to such an extent that it is sufficient for two-and-a-half years.

If you want to buy a vehicle now you can go to a dealership, of which there are more than clothes shops now, and buy a top range vehicle. From the best kind whatever you want. The increase in prices is a different issue. There is that much of a stock of vehicles,” he said.

Dr. Jayasundara questioned as to then why the country needs to continue to be importing vehicles while having a foreign exchange crisis.

If vehicles are being imported, reconditioned and then re-exported then there is a logic to that, similar to the apparel industry which is importing textile material and exporting a manufactured product and thereby  generating a number of jobs, he said.

But this is not something like that,” he said, adding, that the vehicle imports industry only causes an outflow of foreign exchange such as money spent on the vehicles, parts, fuel, service fees and royalties. 

He stated that fuel, vehicles and even the motorcycle is imported from abroad and that the country’s economy is therefore stuck in a vicious cycle.”

In order to reverse this, you must have courage, permanent policies, decisions need to be taken fast and the decision taken needs to be implemented,” the economist said.

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