Minister Harin Fernando addressing the Business Conference looked on by Ranjith Halwela, Sri Lanka Treasury, Dr Lesly Gamini, ADGC,Customs, Jagath, Chandrasiri, RMV Commissioner, Transport Deputy Minister Ashok Abeysinghe, Minister Harin Fernando, VIAL, President , Sampath Merenchige, VIAL Secretary Keerthi Gunawardane, JUMVEA President Hiroshi Sato, VEALJ, President Priyantha Salpitikorala
The Vehicle Importers Association of Lanka (VIAL) hosted the Business Conference 2016 with delegates from Japan on July 15 at the Galadari Hotel Colombo under the theme ‘Setting Goals Towards Eco-Friendly Auto Market by 2020’.
VIAL President Sampath Merenchige making the welcome speech at the Business Conference said July 15, was a special day for VIAL as they were able to conduct the business conference on the theme ‘Setting Goals Towards Eco-Friendly Auto Market by 2020’ and have only four years to achieve that target.
“As human beings it is our responsibility to create a good environment without pollution and safe guard the fundamental rights of the future generation. As a reputed association we believe that we have taken the initial step to fulfill this target,” he said.
Merenchige said today the world has advanced technology and the country must get maximum use of that technology with regard to vehicles by using eco-friendly models in the coming decades.
The VIAL President said, “We cannot do anything until we get together and make interaction with the government. As an association we must encourage the government to promote and import eco-friendly vehicles to the country.”
Chief Guest Minister Harin Fernando addressing the gathering said by introducing eco-friendly vehicles; the auto market will bring huge benefits to the country. The recent tax hikes made by the government on automobiles was a temporary measure, he said. The minister requested vehicle importers to have patience and said he was amazed in what the vehicle importers want to achieve in 2020, wanting to go green, thinking about the environment and the
“In coming times I am quite sure that your issues will be answered, the market flourish, expectations met and have a beautiful green Sri Lanka for all our children and be an example to neighbouring countries,” Fernando added.
Guest of Honour, Asok Abeysinghe, Deputy Minister of Transport addressing the gathering said it is a well known fact that due to the economic situation there has been a decline in vehicle imports to the country. The vehicle importers however contribute immensely to the economy and the government appreciates very much the contribution made by vehicle importers to the country’s economy.
Abeysinghe reiterated the fact that what has happened today was a temporary drawback.
The minister said the country imports around US$ 1.6 billion worth vehicles from Japan which stands in the third position of the total US$ 18.9 billion Sri Lankan import costs. But the country’s total export income is US$ 10.5 billion. Because of this US$ 9 billion gap the Finance Ministry has apparently taken measures to reduce vehicle imports. However the minister expressed optimism that due to the economic reforms introduced by the new government within a period of about one year there will be redress to the woes of vehicle importers. The minister also said that over 6.2 million vehicles registered in the country and out of this about 4 million vehicles take the roads daily. From that over half a million vehicles are driven on Colombo roads itself daily. Because of this we are compelled to renovate the road network of the country. The minister said to ease the congestion they would introduce monorail and electric trains to road network soon.
Meanwhile, the Motor Guide Directory compiled by VIAL was launched at the event presenting the first copy to Chief Guest and two tokens of appreciation were also presented to two very important individuals who had done a tremendous amount of work for VIAL, Nishantha Senadipathi and Administrative Secretary VIAL, Sunil Ranasinghe.