The Vehicle Importers’ Association has raised doubts regarding the government’s repeated claims of easing existing restrictions and allowing vehicle imports.

President of the Sri Lanka Vehicle Importers’ Association Prasad Manage highlighted the uncertainty and potential impacts on the vehicle prices once imports are permitted.

“We have been waiting for four years to import vehicles. They say it will happen soon, but no specific date is given. The Central Bank Governor said the restrictions can be relaxed gradually. Vehicles are assembled locally, but none have been exported as of yet. The government imposes taxes of around 200% when we import vehicles,” Manage alleged.

He added that discussions with State Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya indicated that buses and lorries would be prioritized in allowing vehicle imports, followed by three-wheelers and motorcycles, with cars and vans being considered last.

“We suspect that the promise of vehicle imports is a ploy. It seems intended to facilitate the MP and ministers’ requests for vehicles, as they have asked the Speaker for new vehicles,” Manage noted.

“Current vehicle prices are driven by demand and supply. Even if imports recommence, significant price reductions are unlikely. In fact, there’s a concern that prices might increase in the interim,” he added.