The sudden imposition of restrictions on imports indiscriminately has caused immense difficulties to importers of luxury items for houses and luxury apartments, which is a niche market in the Sri Lankan context, Mirror Business learns.
According to industry stakeholders, importation of such items should be restricted with a hard look, given the circumstances and ample notice given to the entrepreneurs involved in
Such a move could have enabled them to look for alternative ways and means or establishing a facility for the local market and surrounding markets such as India, Bangladesh, Nepal and other countries in the SAARC region. That could have been worked out within a year’s time frame, for necessary negotiations and other related work to set up such a facility in Sri Lanka.
They believe that the government should have studied the effects of such an imprudent decision before making a unilateral announcement across the board that had created an unfavourable business climate for the import market.
“It is an unwise move by somebody who has no concern for thriving businesses and the people who are employed in these enterprises and making a living,” a spokesperson from the Furniture Importers Association said.
“Our industry is for a niche market and the local industrialists can no way match these requirements.
These are items manufactured using cutting-edge technology to create ultra-modern and state-of-the-art products and only luxury house builders would purchase them. It will not have any adverse effect on the local manufacturers since they do not have the technical know-how or the machinery required,” she added.
It has been brought to the notice that the furniture items ordered before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic are still lying at the respective factories overseas. The factory owners are perturbed over the delays occurring pending collection and shipments.
On the other hand, some of the ongoing local projects are at a standstill being unable to complete on time while the clients who made advanced payments threatening legal action.
Besides, the closure of such businesses would result in a loss of employment for nearly 30,000 to 40,000 people, if the government fails to lift the restrictions in some form, bringing in relief to the businesses involved in importing luxury items.
Showroom owners lament that millions of rupees invested to set up showrooms displaying these items for prospective buyers have now gone to waste.
The taxes levied for such imports are a hundred percent, which includes the freight charges when calculating the Customs duties. Hence, the government is also losing revenue by way of tax revenue imposed on theses goods.