May 11, 2016 (LBO) – A Parliamentarian aligned with the joint opposition has imported a brand new Range Rover under the tax-free vehicle scheme of the Parliament, further widening the burden to taxpayers.
The former Minister who usually shouts against the policies of this government is the first Parliamentarian who has cleared the vehicle from customs under this scheme.
As per The Island newspaper report, he has paid about 8.9 million rupees as Cost Insurance and freight (CIF) for the vehicle and paid only 1,750 rupees as Customs Declaration fee.
According to the documents, the container vessel has reached the port on 16 April 2016 and the vehicle had been imported from a British company and cleared by a clearing agency in Mattakkuliya.
The total exemption of taxes is over 42 million rupees which included Customs Import Duty, Port Aviation Levy, Excise Import Duty, Nation Building Tax and Value Added Tax.
The concession has been granted under Customs Procedure Code, 4000 and parliamentarians are entitled to import luxury vehicles without taxes even though the public has been hampered by unwarranted taxation.
Customs officials were unavailable for comment and the All Ceylon Customs Services Union said they were unaware of such an incident.
Tax-Free Permit Scheme introduced to import vehicles free from fiscal levies came under severe criticism with some MPs exploiting the permits by selling the permits in the open market.
The 2016 budget proposal to withdraw the duty free vehicle import permit system was later relaxed with MPs being given concessions.
The Government Medical Officers Association and the Sri Lanka Administrative Service Association strongly protested against the withdrawal of the scheme for public officials.
However, the Public Administration Ministry is currently looking at giving duty free vehicle permits to public servants who are entitled for the benefit.