Off Duty

Mar02. (LBO) — Sri Lanka’s second wireless local loop operator says it has lobbied the authorities to scrap a tax on CDMA handset imports. “We have written to the Board on Investment and the regulator. We are expecting a positive response soon,” Lanka Bell Managing Director Suren Goonawardene told LBO.

The government last week wrote to the two wireless local loop operators (WLL) informing them that it was imposing a 18 percent import duty and a 15 percent Value Added Tax on CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) customer premises equipment.

The import duty is effective immediately and is applicable on all units sold since CDMA services were launched mid last year.

Since CDMA services were launched in mid 2005, both Suntel and Lanka Bell have sold an over an estimated 200,000 connections.

The two operators, as Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment approved business, enjoy tax and duty holidays for their investment here, which is also applicable to customer premises equipment or the phone unit used by customers until the announcement late last week.

“The import duties on CDMA handsets are not fair. Mobile handsets using th