Vehicle importers call on government to regulate trade


The government was called on to regulate the importation of motor vehicles by the Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka (VIASL), so that local consumers are safeguarded against ‘seasonal’ importers and malpractices in the trade.

The Association asserted the need to streamline importation of vehicles and formulate a mechanism to identify genuine importers so that the market is not disrupted when the government reverses its policy on the current import ban.

“Importation of motor vehicles is not regulated, hence carried out by various ‘seasonal’ importers whose identity is not discoverable after a few months. Due to insufficient restrictions, the number of individuals posing to be genuine importers on various platforms of advertising have committed various frauds and have obtained large advances from customers in order to import vehicles and have not returned them citing various reasons,” pointed out the VIASL in a statement to the media yesterday, December 14.

The Association reiterated that a mechanism must be in place to make certain that all vehicle importers are being monitored under various legal and ethical criteria.

The VIASL expressed that it is of the view that the introduction of such a system would immediately boost government income tax revenue, which in turn could be used for the benefit of the general public.

“This system will definitely reduce the dollar outflow due to the controls in place. Above all, Sri Lankan consumers will be protected from various fraudulent activities,” the association said.

Commenting on the policies outlined by the Budget 2022, the VIASL pointed out they are not in agreement with several proposals, some of which are the continuity of the import ban on vehicles, the imposition of Special Goods & Services Tax (SGST) on the motor trade, and the providing of an amnesty for illegally imported motor vehicles to be legally registered. The VIASL also frowned upon the possibility of implementing a US dollar import scheme as it would only worsen the current dollar crisis and lead to various malpractices.

Meanwhile, the VIASL requested the government to consider the inputs and take on board the suggestions put forward since as veterans the Association is well aware of the manner in which the vehicle trade operates.