Expat Lankans in Kuwait cry foul over duty rebates | Daily News


Expat Lankans in Kuwait cry foul over duty rebates

A group of Sri Lankans employed in Kuwait, who call themselves the 'Kuwait – Sri Lanka Collective', have complained to Treasury Secretary Sajith Attygalle in writing that they have been deprived of their duty rebates, which they are entitled to while shipping their goods (mostly personal belongings) here.

The Organiser of the 'Collective', Gamini Wijeratne, in his letter to Attygalle dated March 20, said that they were planning to arrive in Sri Lanka for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, and shipped the goods which were classified with their names as the recipients.

However, this process had been done well in advance as they were expecting to be at home in Sri Lanka by April, oblivious to the COVID-19 crisis that was to unfold with time, and also oblivious to their inability to arrive here in time to receive the goods.

They had been advised to nominate members of the family, or close kith and kin, who had been asked to pay taxes and duties for the personal belongings, which they were entitled to bring free of duties. One individual had been asked to pay Rs.66,000 for three boxes/cartons.

Therefore, Gamini Wijeratne, in his letter, had requested the Treasury to release the goods to the nominees of the owners, granting them tax concessions, which they would have been entitled to, if they were here. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Customs Spokesman Sunil Jayaratne, when contacted by the Daily News, said that the stipulated law was for duty-free concessions to be awarded on the passport.

If the recipient was not available, the cargo would be deemed a gift, and a small levy had to be charged. This regulation has been imposed for the prevention of misuse of the facility. “However, anybody who has a legitimate grievance could speak to the authorities and get them sorted out,” he said.


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