VIASL to take up burning issues with authorities soon | Daily News

VIASL to take up burning issues with authorities soon

 President Vehicle Importers Association S K Gamage
President Vehicle Importers Association S K Gamage

The Vehicle Importers Association (VIASL) will discuss the burning issues with regard to the motor industry soon when they meet the Secretary to the Finance Ministry and other officials, Vehicle Importers Association (VIASL) President S K Gamage said.

He said they were well aware of the looming foreign currency shortage in the country where nearly 1,700 containers being held up in the harbours unable to settle the bill and clear them due to the dollar shortage. In such a background it was difficult to expect vehicles to be imported to the country at this juncture, however the association will discuss the mechanism and ways of reopening vehicle importation when the government decided to do so. However, he said that the motor industry was reeling because of the ban on vehicle importation jeopardising the livelihood of over 300,000 dependents.

Gamage said because of the present situation employees are being made redundant by car sale dealers and these unemployed people will become a burden to the government in turn. Commenting on the sudden surge of vehicle prices he said the huge increase in vehicle prices has been created by adhoc individuals and businessmen from other fields who were not related to vehicle importation but using their extra money to make a quick buck by purchasing vehicles and selling them with a profit margin. Hence people from other business lines who have switched into the motor industry to earn quick money are mostly responsible for jacking up vehicle prices, he said.

However this has now taken a reverse turn with the demand for vehicles coming down, he said.

He also said that even permit holders too were unable to get down cars because of the import ban which was a sad situation. However he said as soon as dollars keep coming in and reserves start growing this situation will change and vehicles too will be imported into the country. Gamage said the vehicle industry added nearly 30-35 % to the gross domestic income of the country and this income could have been used by the government to pay salaries of State employees or some other worthy cause. Hence Gamage said without imposing a total ban on import the government could have used other means such as increasing taxes or other strategies deemed necessary to check the import of vehicles. He said that methods like requesting for a margin when importing vehicles should be reintroduced to control over importation and by reintroducing margins and even increasing taxes, vehicles could be sold for a lesser price than today.

For example he said they used to sell a Vitz for Rs 4.7 million now it is sold for Rs 8 million by individuals who have entered the motor business recently and are not involved in the motor trade. Due to this the end loser is the government who loses tax revenue from these vehicle transactions, he said. Gamage said the government must monitor the motor trade transactions in order to ascertain whether they are authentic or carried out by outsiders who do not have a registered entity to engage in the motor trade.

These sort of monitoring mechanisms are vital to put the trade on a level playing field, he said, adding that they would request for such a monitoring system and clarification over the implementation of the special goods and services tax (SGST) when the association meets the top brass in the Finance Ministry soon.

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