Expats remitted US$100 Million to get 900 Electric Vehicle import licences

Manusha Nanayakkara

Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara told Parliament yesterday (December 07) that a total of 900 Electric Vehicle import licences have been issued to Sri Lankans who have sent remittances here through legal channels and US$ 100 million has been remitted by persons under this scheme.

Although the President has been informed to extend the time given to issue Letters of Credit related to the import of these vehicles on three occasions, some Finance Ministry officials have not taken the necessary steps in this regard.

The Minister said that there has been some blockage in the issuance of Letters of Credit for importing electric vehicles introduced to Sri Lankan migrant workers.

The Minister emphasized that even though the President and the Cabinet have taken all the decisions in this regard, the relevant officials have not yet provided support to make this a success.

The Minister also said that due to the several activities of the officers of the Treasury, a procedure to extend the issuance of letters of credit has been hindered. Minister Manusha Nanayakkara said this while joining the debate related to the expenditure head of the Foreign Affairs, Labour and Foreign Employment Ministries.

“During the time of former Presidents Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Mahinda Rajapaksa, there was the same group of officials in the Treasury. There are officers who have been in the Treasury for many years. Especially a person named Dr.Kapila Senanayake. In fact, these are the same people who were there at a time when the economy collapsed. They are still taking time to extend the date of opening the Letter of Credit related to importing electric vehicles, especially as they block the benefit to be given to the people who have brought millions of dollars to the country at the time of need. We don’t know what their political agendas are. The President and all of us should pay attention to this matter,”Minister Nanayakkara said.

“Attention should also be paid to how to move the country forward with officials like this. The Cabinet approved tax concessions according to the amount of foreign remittances sent by expatriate workers. It was also decided to give more tax concessions for migrant workers who sent more foreign remittances. But even though the Cabinet has approved these and the Cabinet Gazette being published, the Customs has still been unable to give this tax relief to the migrant workers.

“An affidavit was obtained from every worker leaving Sri Lanka that they would send remittances according to the law. That is how we managed to bring foreign exchange into the country. In addition, even the commission received by foreign employment agencies should be brought through banks. Even investigations were conducted in this regard. What we need to do is to explain the real situation in the country and start doing our own work and start making this change. In this budget too, we have started to make that change”.

“The Leader of the Opposition said about the injustice done to Muslims. We were against it even then. Even though we were in the Opposition, we were against it. Even if we are in the ruling Party today, we condemn the harm done to the Muslim people in accordance with our conscience. It will continue to be the same. We are working to create laws to prevent such things from happening again,”he said.

(Source: Daily News – By Irangika Range)