- Electric vehicle permits, duty free facility to expatriate workers
By Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera
Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara yesterday blasted the officials of the Treasury and the Customs Department for not cooperating with the government policy decisions to provide benefits to Sri Lankan expatriate workers who contribute with remittances to revive the economy.
Speaking during the committee stage debate of the Ministry of Foreign Employment, he said the officials of the Treasury had failed to extend the date of the Letter of Credits (LCs) issued to Sri Lankan expatriates to import electric vehicles despite the requests of the President.
He said nearly 900 permits have been issued for Sri Lankan expatriates, who had sent substantial amounts of remittances, to import electric vehicles as a gratitude for their service and added that the country had received more than USD 100 million as a result.
The Minister alleged that Treasury officials are continuously delaying the extension of the date of the LCs despite requests by the President.
“These officials have been occupying the Treasury for years now. They were there under former presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa when the country went into bankruptcy. They may have separate political interests just as those who campaigned to stop remittances coming into the country. These officials should be dealt with,” he said. The Minister said the government took a policy decision to provide duty free facility with Sri Lankan expatriates at the airport proportionate to the remittances they had sent to the country and that the Customs Department had not been able to provide the benefit to them as yet.
“The decision was taken by the Cabinet and the President had issued the necessary gazette notification as well. However, the Customs department officials have failed to provide benefits to the expatriate workers,” the minister added.