Sri Lanka allows cars stuck at port to be cleared at old tax rates

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is allowing cars imported during 2015 and 2017 for personal use, which were stuck at port after taxes were suddenly hiked to be cleared at earlier rates the finance ministry said.

The taxes that will be charged will be the rates applicable at the time of opening of the letters of credit.

About 200 vehicles are believed to be stuck at Hambantota Port after owners could not pay the higher duty.

Affected persons should apply to the head of the fiscal policy department of the Treasury, before October 31 to get the relief.

The relief is only applicable for vehicles imported for personal use.

After the clearing the vehicle the owner has to register it in his name within a month.

Sri Lanka changes import taxes suddenly on many goods and making life difficult for citizens. Some taxes do not even last a year, making it difficult for both businesses and citizens to make any long term plans.

Taxes on imports are sometime raised and restrictions are placed when the central bank prints money at will using bureaucratic discretion and generates currency crises.

There have been calls to abolish the central bank or reform it to free Sri Lanka from discretionary policy. (Colombo/Sept24/2019)

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