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Sunday June 23rd, 2024

Duty, EV allowances to Sri Lanka’s migrant workers who remit via official channels

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers has approved a proposal to provide an additional duty concession and electric vehicle import allowance to migrant workers based on the amount they remit to the country through official channels, Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara said.

The proposal was presented in accordance with recommendations by a committee that was appointed to find ways to encourage migrant worker remittances into the country.

Minister Nanayakkara said that, until now, the duty concession allowed at the duty free lounge at Sri Lanka’s international airports was not applicable to the remittances sent by the migrant workers.

“Those concessions will remain the same as we introduce an additional concession for the migrant workers who send money through legal channels,” Nanayakkara said at the weekly cabinet briefing on Tuesday August 02.

“According to the earlier system, the duty concession allowance was as follows; if you were returning in under 90 days, then it was 187.50 US dollars. If it was 90 to 365 days then 625 dollars, and if it was more than 365 days you would get 1,650 dollars as the allowance.”

Nanayakkara said it  was for anyone who went abroad and it was not categorised as remittance senders.

Keeping these allowances as it is, Nanayakkara said, migrant workers who send at least 2,400 dollars will be added to a category called Silver.

“If they are coming back in under 90 days, their allowance will be increased to 787 dollars. If it is between 90 and 365 days, the allowance will be increased to 1,225 dollars and if it is after more than 365 days, the allowance will be increased to 2,350 dollars,” he said.

Accordingly, if the amount of remittances sent was 4,800 dollars, allowances will be increased, for fewer than 90 days to 1,175 dollars, between 90 and 365 days to 1,585 dollars and for more than 365 days up to 2,710 dollars.

If the migrant worker has sent more than 7,200 dollars it will be increased to 1,627 dollars, 2,065 dollars and 3,190 dollars according to the number of days.

“Another category called Gold Plus is for migrant workers who send more than 12,000 dollars within a year. They will get allowances of up to 2,587 dollars, 3,025 dollars and 4,150 dollars as allowances at the duty free.

“If they have sent more than 24,000 dollars within a year, allowances will be as 4,985 dollars, 5,425 dollars and 6,550 dollars according to the number of days.”

Nanayakkara said migrant workers will be grouped into categories through the banking system.

Apart from the duty concessions allowance, the cabinet has also approved a decision to allow migrant workers to import vehicles up to a maximum value of 65,000 US dollars.

Sri Lanka banned importing vehicles in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic in order to control foreign exchange outflow of the country.

“We have introduced a special package for migrant workers,” said Nanayakkara.

Migrant workers who send more than 3,000 dollars and less than 20,000 dollars, permission will be given to import electric two-wheelers for half the value that will be sent as remittances.

Nanayakkara said threewheelers will not be permitted to import considering the number of threewheelers already in the country.

Those who send more than 20,000 USD within a year may purchase an electric car for the the value of the remitted amount up to a maximum of 65,000 dollars.

“It should be within 300-500 cc,” said Nanayakkara.

However, electric vehicles thus purchased cannot be charged using the national grid, said Nanayakkara.

“They will have to purchase solar panels for this.

“They should be charged through an off-grid system. We are trying to achieve a few things through this. One is to control forex outflow, environmental protection, and conserving electricity,” he said.

This, too, was given the cabinet approval and it will be implemented in the coming days, he added.

Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena said circulars with details of the allowances and vehicle packages will be issued within the next week. (Colombo/Aug 02/2022)

Comments (2)

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  1. Francis Perera says:

    Why not allow the import of new Engines and Gear Boxes only for cars older than 10 years presently used in Sri Lanka funded by foreign exchange provided by relatives and friends abroad so that there will be no environmental pollution as they are new engines and further it will provide employment to technical hands in garages etc. mechanics , welders

  2. Mohamed Moiez says:

    All these are bullshit. Arrange us a bank loan to build our houses.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Francis Perera says:

    Why not allow the import of new Engines and Gear Boxes only for cars older than 10 years presently used in Sri Lanka funded by foreign exchange provided by relatives and friends abroad so that there will be no environmental pollution as they are new engines and further it will provide employment to technical hands in garages etc. mechanics , welders

  2. Mohamed Moiez says:

    All these are bullshit. Arrange us a bank loan to build our houses.

India supports Sri Lanka Coast Guard to boost maritime security

ECONOMYNEXT – India has given 1.2 million US dollars’ worth spare parts to Sri Lanka’s Coast Guard to be used in a vessel also gifted to the Indian Ocean Island on an earlier occasion, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.

“Handing over of the large consignment of spares symbolizes India’s commitment to support capability building towards addressing the shared challenges of Maritime Security in the region,” the Indian High Commission said

The spare parts were brought to Sri Lanka on the Indian Coast Guard Ship Sachet, an offshore patrol vessel that was on a two-day visit to the island.

The spares were formally handed over to the Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ship Suraksha which was gifted to Sri Lanka in October 2017 by India.

India has gifted spare parts for the ship in June 2021 and April 2022 and also provided assistance in refilling of Halon cylinders in January 2024. (Colombo/June23/2024)

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Sri Lanka Water Board makes profits, tax-payers inject Rs28bn

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run National Water Supply and Drainage Board has made a profit of 5.2 billion rupees in the year to December 2023, after a tariff increase despite not getting money for 25 percent of its water it pumps out.

Total revenues went up to 61.8 billion rupees in 2023 from 35.4 billion rupees, a Finance Ministry report said.

Water revenue surged to 58.5 billion rupees from 33.1 billion rupees, cost of sales also went up to 32.8 billion rupees from 23.14 billion rupees, helping boost gross profits from 12.3 billion rupees to 29.0 billion rupees.

Finance costs surged to 14.9 billion rupees from 3.9 billion rupees,

NSWD reported net profits of 5.2 billion rupees for the year, against a loss of 2.7 billion rupees a year earlier.

The Treasury had given 28 billion rupees from tax payer money to settle loans.

During the Rajapaksa administration, macroeconomists who ran the Finance Ministry made state enterprises borrow money from banks through Treasury guarantees listing them as ‘contingent liabilities’, claiming they were ‘off balance sheet’.

The Road Development Authority, which had no revenues to speak of borrowed large amounts of money from banks which were listed as ‘contingent liabilities’ though they were a responsibility of the state from day one, allowing macroeconomists to understate both the budget deficit and national debt, critics say.

The water tariffs were raised by 81 percent after macroeconomists printed money to supress interest rates for flexible inflation targeting/potential output targeting. The currency collapsed after macroeconomists tried to float the rupee with a surrender rule in place.

Non-revenue water for which no money is collected was 25.2 percent. The agency was supposed to reduce non-revenue water. In some districts religious establishments are responsible for non-revenue water, according to an official who said it on condition of anonymity.

The water board is also unable to collect money from some services like common toilets for underserved communities. (Colombo/June23/2024 – Update II)

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Sri Lanka will expedite Indian projects: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will expedite Indian-backed projects in the island, President Ranil Wickremesinghe told Indian business people after a visit by Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar this week.

“I discussed with Prime Minister Modi the need to accelerate the joint program that we have decided, agreed on. So the major ones are identified, and Foreign Minister Jaishankar came down today [20] to have a discussion. Now this will show the new path we are taking,” president Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

“It won’t be individual projects. We’ve discussed a fair number of them. First is the grid interconnection between Sri Lanka and India, so that sustainable energy can be transmitted to India.

“We have the Sampur solar power project, which is a Government to Government (G2G) project, and a three island project, which is where we hope the ground breaking can take place in July,” he told Indian business people at the 31st All India Partner’s Meet 2024 (AIPM 2024), held at ICT Ratnadipa in Colombo.

The AIPM 2024 which was organised by KPGM Sri Lanka and India provided a platform for both countries to reaffirm their commitment to collaborative projects that promise to redefine bilateral relations and propel socio-economic growth.

“It’s a great pleasure and a privilege to have you in Sri Lanka, in Colombo, holding this meeting. It shows on one hand the close friendship that our two countries have, and on the other hand, the confidence that you have in Sri Lanka.

“Having now survived two difficult years, I must acknowledge that this was possible because India gave us a loan of $3.5 billion. All that will be repaid.”

Cooperation between the two nations needed to be enhanced, particularly in the energy sector, aiming to foster new development for the Northern region, Wickremesinghe said.

“We are looking at developing Palk Straight for wind energy and solar energy, both countries to get together and have a large farm for solar energy, for renewable energy. It also means that we will have a new economy for the northern province, which was worst affected by the war.”

Several Indian-backed projects in Sri Lanka have stalled due to protests from some parties, with some going to courts.

India is helping expand the Kankesanturai port, and is discussing development of the Palali and Colombo airports.

The National Livestock Development Board of Sri Lanka, in collaboration with India’s Amul Dairy Company, is involved in a project to enhance liquid milk production in the country.

The two nations are also considering establishing land connectivity.

Discussions have also taken place regarding expediting the Trincomalee Development Project, which encompasses industrial investment zones and tourist areas.

“Plans are underway to construct a multi-product oil pipeline from Nagapatnam to Trincomalee, pending the final observation report. Trincomalee is poised to become a hub for oil refining, with the development of ports and investment zones, transforming Trincomalee Port into a significant hub on the Bay of Bengal.

“Today, the entire East Coast is being opened up for tourism, with additional land earmarked for hotels in Galle and southern areas. Moreover, there are plans to establish more investment zones across the country, alongside expanding our professional training programs. In these endeavours, we are collaborating closely with India.” (Colombo/Jun22/2024)

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