Sept 30, Colombo: State Minister for Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya says the government is ready to ease the import restrictions on goods that have been temporarily suspended due to the ongoing economic crisis based on priority.
Joining an observation tour at the headquarters of the Import and Export Control Department yesterday (29), State Minister Siyambalapitiya pointed out that import restrictions were imposed on the relevant goods on the basis that they can be produced locally or are not essential.
“Loan reserves are at a very low level and money is needed to import essential gas, oil, and medicine for people. So we needed to create a priority list. This was recommended by the Economic Research Division of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Accordingly, a gazette notification was issued. We have imported really unnecessary goods. We have imported incense sticks, kites. In the country where there is no essential medicine, we brought kites from abroad. We had to stop imports of 1465 items in the gazette notification issued on August 23. Later, taking into consideration the requests of various parties including Chambers of Commerce, the import restrictions of 708 items were removed," the minister said.
The minister further stated that while restricting imports, efforts should be made to increase exports.
"We should increase exports and limit imports. This ban was created with the shortage of dollars. We hope to relax these after reconsideration. Those required by the industry sector have been exempted. Considering the necessities of agriculture and exports, these relaxations are done by a committee. Apart from this, we also worked to remove the restrictions imposed on devices for visually impaired," the minister said.
Taking into consideration of the demands, further relaxation of import restrictions will be done in the future, the Minister said pointing out that the government’s expectation is to relax the import restrictions so as to be able to import the raw materials needed for local industries as well as protect the reserves.
Controller General of Imports and Exports Upulmalee Prematilake also participated in this occasion.