Lanka defers customs duty on electronics

DUBAI — The Sri Lankan government has decided to defer the implementation of customs duty on electronic appliances and other goods by a month until September 1, bringing some cheer to migrant workers.

By Preeti Kannan

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Published: Wed 13 Aug 2008, 1:28 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:02 PM

Many are now rushing to send goods through cargo operators to beat the deadline.

Director-General of Sri Lanka Customs, S A.C.S.W. Jayatilake, told Sri Lankan daily, The Morning Leader, that several requests from expat Lankans had prompted the move. He observed that many had already purchased and shipped electronic appliances, which would not be allowed under the new regulations and that was the reason for them to delay the new customs duty.

Last month, a Customs directive said that expatriates would have to pay duty on varying rates from August 1 on seven items, including popular electronic and electrical goods such as TVs, fridges and air-conditioners that were brought in to Sri Lanka.

Cargo operators said the short-lived move would bring some respite to expatriates, who had already shipped their consignments. Mythree Silva, Branch Manager at Frico International, said, “It is a good thing to postpone this as many people have already sent their goods. We have been receiving many calls from expats enquiring about the duty as they are considering sending electronic goods before September 1.”

All types of dish washers, air-conditioners, deep freezers, four-burner cookers fitted with ovens, fully automatic washing machines, refrigerators with two or more doors and with capacity of over 500 litres, televisions exceeding 29 inches and LCDs over 32 inches, earlier exempted, will now be charged customs duty anywhere between 40 to 70 per cent depending on the item. Television, for example, would carry a duty of nearly 72 per cent of its Cost Insurance Freight (CIF) value.

The Sri Lankan government has also warned its nationals against bringing any goods in large (commercial) quantities as accompanied or unaccompanied baggage and has directed them to import it in accordance with the Import Control Act.

Mohamed Giado, president of Sri Lanka Business Council (SBC) in Dubai and Northern Emirates, said that the Sri Lankan government had to be appreciative of expatriates’contribution to the economy. “The SBC certainly intends to take up this matter with the authorities concerned to review the situation,” he added.

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