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Massive e-vehicle racket comes to light after 119 luxury car imports

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A massive electric vehicle import racket has been exposed by the Parliamentary Committee on Ways and Means revealing startling details on misusing the facility given to migrant workers, official sources revealed.     

Chairman of the Committee Patalee Champika Ranawake said that 119 luxury electric vehicles worth Rs1.2 billion had been imported into the country misusing the migrant workers vehicle scheme.

Of this 75 such vehicles had been brought in to the country by a single company, he disclosed without naming the importer.

These vehicles have been imported by using the licence to import electric cars by several vendors and sold it in the local market fraudulently, he claimed.

The committee has issued a directive to relevant authorities to immediately take action against perpetrators including corrupt state officials.

It will issue guidelines to the finance and labour ministries to properly implement the incentive scheme for migrant employees to import a two-wheeled electric vehicle valued up to US$25,000 and a four-wheeled fully electric vehicle valued up to $65,000.

The Business Times exclusively reported on June 11, 2023 quoting, several leading motor traders as stating that vehicles import scheme for migrant workers has turned into a racket by some unscrupulous vehicle importers in hand in glove with corrupt officials.

The global manufacturers and authorised representatives were consulted to formulate a sustainable roll out of Electric Vehicles to Sri Lanka considering the missteps of the past and failures of over 5,000 Nissan leaf vehicles which were imported against manufacturer recommendations.

This proposal was accepted and the first circular [MFE/DEV/HOB/03/ vol ii] was issued on 31st August 2022 by the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment Circular No; 02/2022).

However nine days later, this was suddenly reversed in a circular No; 02/2022 dated September 9 2022.

In this new circular, the manufacturer warranty of three years was changed to a 3rd party warranty. Manufacturer recommendations of suitability to a country or region were completely ignored.

The electric vehicles are being imported by unauthorised parties totally against manufacturer recommendations, they pointed out.

The earlier wording limited the vehicle CIF value to a maximum of US $65,000 which still allowed vehicles from medium to luxury categories to be imported.

However, the altered circular has eliminated the maximum limit on the CIF which now enables ultra-luxury vehicles to be imported, they claimed.

Such a change supported by the other alterations on the latest circular, clearly enables the ultra-rich living in Sri Lanka to import electric vehicles for their personal usage utilising the migrant worker scheme, motor traders charged at that time.

(sundaytimes.lk)

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Man arrested over selling overpriced Vadai to tourist

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The Tourist Police in Moragolla has arrested a man over selling an overpriced Vadai and tea to a foreign  tourist in Kalutara.

Footage of the incident had sparked public ire after going viral online.

It has been revealed that the suspect is a 60 year old residing in Kalutara and is usually seen loitering near the eatery.

Police say that investigtations have revealed that he had duped foreigners visiting the eatery many times.

He is to be produced before the Kalutara Magistrate Court tomorrow (April 19).

It is also reported that officials of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) and the Moragolla Tourist police have also arrived at the eatery, and sternly advised the owner after questioning him.

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NPP’s 7-point statement on Easter attacks, presented to the Cardinal

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The National People’s Power (NPP) today (April 18) presented to Archbishop of Colombo – Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, their 7-point statement pledging to mete out justice to the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks.

The statement included key points such as implementing law against those responsible for the attacks so as to mete out justice to those who lost lives in the attacks and family members of the victims and to take action against those who were directly or indirectly involved in the attacks.

NPP members Professor Krishantha Abeysinghe, Attorney-at-Law Sunil Watagala, President’s Counsel Upul Kumarapperuma, Rohan Fernando and Aruna Shantha Nonis participated in the occasion.

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IMF ready to support Sri Lanka’s discussions with bondholders

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stands ready to support Sri Lanka’s discussions with international bondholders and will provide a formal assessment after the parties reach a tentative agreement-in-principle, an IMF spokesperson said on Thursday.

“We hope an agreement consistent with the parameters of the IMF-supported program and official creditors’ Comparability of Treatment requirements can be reached soon, ahead of completing the second review under the program,” the spokesperson said.

Sri Lanka said it failed to reach an agreement with bondholders to restructure about $12 billion debt earlier this week, raising concerns there could be a delay in the island nation receiving a third tranche of its $2.9 billion IMF program in June.

The government said one of the main stumbling blocks had been that the “baseline parameters” of the bondholders’ plan had not matched those embedded in its IMF program.

“We encourage both parties to continue their discussions swiftly,” the IMF statement added.

Sri Lanka will consult with the IMF to assess if the latest proposals discussed with bondholders were within the parameters of its bailout program.
The island nation defaulted on its foreign debt in May 2022 and kicked off negotiations with bilateral creditors several months later, eventually securing an agreement in principle with China, India and the Paris Club last November.

Sri Lanka plunged into its worst financial crisis since independence from the British in 1948 after its foreign exchange reserves fell to record lows in early 2022, leaving it unable to pay for essentials including fuel, cooking gas, and medicine.

(Reuters) 

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