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Sri Lanka auto service providers warns of job losses, breakdowns over import controls

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Automobile Service Providers’ Association (SLASPA) has warned of up to a half a million job losses after paints and vehicle part imports were controlled, appealing to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for relief.

Jobs over 500,000 blue collar workers are under threat, the association said.

“With temporary suspensions on importation of Auto Paints automobile workshops and paint technicians would lose their earnings and lose jobs and turn towards foreclosure within months” SLASPA said.

“With restrictions on spare parts, again the common motorist will be subject to grave inconvenience as well as it may cause many vehicles to be stranded on the road side or at the workshops without an avenue to import and supply spare parts.”

SLASPA also request tax wavers for local automobile service companies, and to provide tax free status up to 84 months.

Sri Lanka slapped import controls on cars and a number of items, after the rupee came under pressure from monetary stimulus (rate cuts and liquidity injections), with the help of a law used widely in the 1970s controlled economy period.

The association has asked for import licenses to be given to get down parts.

In the 1970s Sri Lanka had around 20 percent unemployment with exchange and trade controls. Car parts made on lathes and improvised.

The import controls had also banned the imports of nuts and bolts and asbestos washers, raising fears that many types of machinery may break down. (Colombo/Apr27/2020)

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