The Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka (VIASL) said that it hoped more taxes would not be heaped on vehicle imports in the upcoming budget.
Its chairman Ranjan Peiris said imposing more taxes on vehicle importers in the guise of increasing Government revenue would make the government hugely unpopular at the upcoming elections.
“More and more taxes had been imposed on vehicle imports by the Yahapalana Government. The public and our members have suffered a lot from unbearable taxes that have been imposed.
“Since last September, the Finance Ministry had instructed us to keep a 200 per cent cash margin at the time of opening Letters of Credit (LCs) when importing all vehicles, except buses, lorries and ambulances. That had caused a slightly drop in the number of vehicles imported,” he added.
“This high cash margin limits vehicle imports. Due to that, new vehicle registrations have decreased by more than 50 per cent,” he said.
He said if the government thought that it could collect more revenue from increasing taxes that is a false notion. “Imposing more taxes may actually result in less revenue to them. The Rupee value against US Dollar is falling. Instead of controlling that aspect they are busy imposing taxes on vehicle imports, which is completely the wrong approach,” he said.
“The government should take measures to improve the infrastructure for vehicle imports and introduce new technology such as hybrid and electric vehicles.
“If the government wants to encourage an environment-friendly transport service, it should take measures to reduce taxes on hybrid and electric vehicles,” he said.
“The government should also conduct promotions while implementing the infrastructure that is needed for this purpose such as erecting charging points for electric vehicles countrywide,” he said. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)