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Finance Ministry discloses measures to lift vehicle import restrictions

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Officials representing the Ministry of Finance have disclosed that they intend to lift all restriction on imports except for private vehicles by the end of 2023. 

The officials stated the aforesaid when the Committee requested for a time frame as to how long such restrictions will be in place post advertently considering the duopolies such restrictions have caused, especially governing wheat flour and tile.

The discussion pertaining to the said was held at the Committee on Public Finance held today (05) in Parliament, Chaired by Dr. Harsha de Silva.

Accordingly, the Committee took into consideration the Regulation under the Imports and Exports (Controls) Act, No. 1 of 1969 published in the Gazette Extraordinary 2341 / 38 of 20.07.2023 and was approved by the Committee.

Migration allowance increased

The Order under the Foreign Exchange Act, No. 12 of 2017 was also considered during the Committee on Public Finance Chaired by Hon. (Dr.) Harsha de Silva and approved. 

Accordingly, the eligible migration allowance for the emigrants who are claiming the migration allowance for the first time was increased from USD 30,000 up to a maximum of USD 50,000 or equivalent in any other designated foreign currency.

The Committee questioned the position of equity for those who migrated the year prior to such order. The officials present stated that emigrants who have already claimed migration allowance could claim the remainder up to a maximum of USD 20,000.

Moreover, the Social Security Contribution Levy (Amendment) Bill was also considered by the Committee on Public Finance and was approved.

 Accordingly, the said Bill intends to amend the said Act to exempt any motor vehicle liable to the excise duty under the Excise (Special Provisions) Act, No. 13 of 1989 on the importation in considering excise duty is a composite tax introduced to simplify the tax structure, previously included in the Act.

Furthermore, it also intends to exempt equipment used by persons with disabilities to lower the tax burden on such persons, rough unprocessed gem stones imported for re-exporting after cut and polishing to maintain the competitiveness of such Sri Lankan business in the global market by lowering the tax burden and any items sold at duty free shops, similar to other import taxes.

However, the Committee questioned the officials present regarding the motive, effectiveness and the impact of to exempt equipment used by persons with disabilities to lower the tax burden when access for persons with disability is not being facilitated. 

State Minister Dr. Suren Raghavan, Members of Parliament – Chandima Weerakkodi, Wajira Abeywardana, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Nimal Lanza, Isuru Dodangoda, Dr. Major Pradeep Undugoda, Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Madhura Withanage were also present at this Committee meeting held.

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Ceylon tea exports offset $60M of Sri Lanka’s fuel debt to Iran

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The Sri Lanka Tea Board announced yesterday that exports of Ceylon Tea have successfully offset a substantial portion of the country’s fuel bill owed to Iran, amounting to US $ 60 million.

Since 2011, Sri Lanka has accumulated an arrears of US $ 251 million for fuel imports from Iran.

Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Niraj De Mel said that the settlement was achieved, as exports of tea to Iran tripled during this period.

Facing financial challenges exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and domestic economic downturn, Sri Lanka struggled to meet its financial obligations to Iran, due to the foreign exchange shortages.

To resolve this issue, an agreement was reached between the two nations, focusing on settling outstanding debts through tea exports.

De Mel reported that tea exports to Iran from January to May 2024 totalled 4.98 million kilogrammes, a significant increase compared to 1.85 million kilogrammes exported during the same period in 2023.

(dailymirror.lk)
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailymirror.lk has not been edited by SLM staff) 

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Sri Lanka to Host ICC Annual General Meeting, July 19-22

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In a statement, SLC mentioned that the mega cricket conference will bring together over 220 delegates from 108 ICC member countries from across the world, covering regions such as Africa, the Americas, Asia, East Asia Pacific, and Europe.

The pinnacle gathering of cricket administrators and stakeholders from around the globe, the ICC Annual Conference provides the platform for discussions on the strategic direction of the sport, governance, and the development of cricket worldwide, it added.

This year’s conference, themed “Capitalizing on the Olympic Opportunity,’ will discuss topics such as ‘Diversity and Inclusion,’ ‘environmental sustainability and the sport,’ and ‘Cricket’s triumphant return at LA28.

“This is a significant occasion for Sri Lanka, and we wish to warmly welcome the delegates from around the world to our beautiful island. We intend to use this conference to contribute to the future of cricket and showcase the beauty and heritage of our country to the world,” said Mr. Shammi Silva, President, Sri Lanka Cricket.

The annual conference will consist of a series of key meetings, workshops, and networking sessions, and key decisions will be taken for the benefit of the future of the game.

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Mervin Backs Wijeyadasa for President

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Former Sri Lankan Minister Mervin Silva is backing Minister (Dr) Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and President’s Counsel Maithri Gunaratne, as potential candidates for President.

“This country needs a leader who can take it forward,” Silva asserted.

As election campaigns intensify, he highlighted the tendency of politicians to make extravagant promises. 

Drawing from his experience serving under Mahinda Rajapaksa, Silva recalled the distribution of various items, including material and undergarments, during campaigns. Despite these efforts, Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the election.

Similarly, Silva pointed out that Sajith Premadasa’s massive rallies at Galle Face Green did not secure victory. 

“We need a leader,” Silva emphasized, *”who can uphold law and order, enforce laws effectively, and collaborate with experts.”

In his opinion, Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe stands out as the best candidate for the presidency. Silva also mentioned ongoing discussions with President’s Counsel Maithri Gunaratne.

“Deceitful politicians,” Silva concluded, “must be held accountable and sent home.”

newsfirst.lk

(This story, originally published by newsfirst.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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