Cabraal on when Sri Lanka will lift vehicle import ban

The restrictions imposed on the import of vehicles and other non-essential items to Sri Lanka will only be lifted when there is an inflow of foreign exchange from other sources, says  the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

During a press briefing at the Govt. Information Department, Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabraal was asked for a timeframe for when the central bank would lift the temporary ban on non-essential imports including vehicles.

He asserted that other than vehicles, all the other non-essential items are being imported ‘heavily’. “What is the non-essential item that is not available? If you go to any supermarket, you would find that almost every conceivable type of goods are available,” he emphasized.

He said that items which are available in any part of the world are imported to Sri Lanka as well and that they also in his view can sometimes be termed as non-essential, but those also are being imported.

“And that’s causing a fairly heavy outflow of foreign exchange as well,” he said, adding that this can sometime disturb the overall importation as well because these items which are considered non-essential are flooding the market.

“But at the same time we have allowed those things. The only items that have not been allowed are some strategic items which are being manufactured in Sri Lanka particularly like tiles etc. and vehicles.”

“But that can only be eased once we see another inflow of foreign exchange coming in from other sources as well,” the governor said.

Mr. Cabraal said that one of the key sources that Sri Lanka is having is tourism.

“Tourism is an industry where the entire investment by all the Sri Lankan cooperates as well as the country as well as the government is as much as one trillion rupees.”  – ada derana

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