The officials representing the Ministry of Finance have disclosed that they intend to lift all restrictions on imports, except for private vehicles, by the end of 2023.
The officials stated this when the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) asked how long such restrictions would be in place after advertently considering the duopolies such restrictions have caused, especially in wheat flour and tile industries, the Parliamentary Communications Department said.
The COPF discussion, chaired by Dr. Harsha de Silva, was held at the parliamentary complex yesterday (Sep. 05).
Accordingly, the Committee took into consideration the Regulation under the Imports and Exports (Controls) Act, No. 1 of 1969 published in the Gazette Extraordinary 2341/38 of July 20, 2023, and was approved by the Committee.
Meanwhile, the Order under the Foreign Exchange Act, No. 12 of 2017 was also considered and approved during the COPF meeting chaired by Dr. Harsha de Silva, the statement mentioned.
Thus, the eligible migration allowance for the emigrants who are claiming the migration allowance for the first time was increased from USD 30,000 up to a maximum of USD 50,000 or equivalent in any other designated foreign currency.
The Committee questioned the position of equity for those who migrated the year before the order was put in place. The officials present stated that emigrants who have already claimed migration allowance could claim the remainder up to a maximum of USD 20,000.
Moreover, the Social Security Contribution Levy (Amendment) Bill was also considered by the Committee on Public Finance and was approved.
Accordingly, the said Bill intends to amend the said Act to exempt any motor vehicle liable to the excise duty under the Excise (Special Provisions) Act, No. 13 of 1989 on the importation in considering excise duty is a composite tax introduced to simplify the tax structure, previously included in the Act, Parliamentary Communications Department stated.
Furthermore, it also intends to exempt equipment used by persons with disabilities to lower the tax burden on such persons, rough unprocessed gemstones imported for re-exporting after cut and polishing to maintain the competitiveness of such Sri Lankan business in the global market by lowering the tax burden and any items sold at duty-free shops, similar to other import taxes.
However, the Committee questioned the officials present regarding the motive, effectiveness and impact of exempting equipment used by persons with disabilities to lower the tax burden when access for persons with disabilities is not being facilitated.