Sri Lanka President vetoes youth Tuk-tuk ban

ECONOMYNEXT – An attempt by sections of the elected ruling class and the more affluent to block less-educated and younger unemployed from entering the taxi market has been vetoed by President Maithripala Sirisena at a cabinet meeting, official sources said.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera had pointed out a rule to block persons below the age of 35 from owning and driving a three wheeler taxi was a human rights violation, sources familiar with the discussions said.

"Even Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa who usually supports controls on the basis of culture, opposed the ban," a source said.

The ban on youth was first proposed by Taxi Driver Associations who wanted to block competition, raise prices, and earn more money by driving smaller distances by creating what is known as a ‘regulatory premium.’

The proposal found support among regulation-happy bureaucrats and so-called experts who want to re-regulate the economy and stifle innovation.

They had already stifled the bus transport sector with a allegedly corrupt route licensing system, which has prevented consolidation and left vast areas of newly opened up urban sprawl and rural areas without bus transport.

Industrialists who has unfilled vacancies are also supporting the three wheeler driver ban. (Colombo/Aug22/2018)

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