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Apparel exporters call for transparent cashless refund system amid plans to abolish SVAT

1 December 2023 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association’s (SLAEA) re-appointed chairman Indika Liyanahewage reiterated the significant challenge posed by the proposed abolition of Simplified Valued Added Tax (SVAT), asserting the need to bring in acceptable solutions.


Addressing SLAEA 41st Annual General Meeting held recently, Liyanahewage urged the government to introduce an alternative cashless scheme.


While highlighting the need for a secure and modern financial framework for the industry, he pointed out that a cash-based system could potentially lead to corruption and malpractices.
“The apparel industry stands ready to collaborate with the government in the implementation of a new cashless system. Whilst appreciating the decision to delay the removal of SVAT to 2025, a robust and transparent mechanism for a cashless refund system is vital,” said Liyanahewage.


He added that a corruption-free financial environment is crucial for the industry’s sustained growth and ethical business practices.”


Meanwhile, addressing the current state of the industry, he called on the government to look at entering into strategic partnerships with Japan and India amid a decline in orders faced in Sri Lanka’s primary markets, which are the USA, the EU, and the UK, accounting for over 85 percent of Sri Lanka’s apparel exports.
Since September 2022, apparel export earnings have been on a downward trend on a YoY basis, primarily due to the economic slowdown in major Western markets. Liyanahewage noted that Japan, in particular, presents a significant opportunity, with an annual import of US$ 26 billion worth of apparel, of which only US$ 35 million comes from Sri Lanka. 

“There is great potential for growth in the Japanese market,” he said.


Reflecting sentiments expressed by apparel sector stakeholders over the months, Liyanahewage also asserted the need to increase the apparel quota under the existing India - Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement. 
Apparel exports for the first 10 months of 2023 ending October, contracted by 20.5 percent Year-on-Year (YoY) to US$ 3748.72 million.

 

 


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