Unclaimed Prizes

Oct 15, 2007 (LBO) – Though 25,000 state workers are eligible to buy duty-slashed vehicles, less than half of those entitled have so far applied for a car, officials said. Long waiting lists at agents for popular brands as well as the high cost of new cars is said to be deterring public servants from cashing in on the bonanza.

Though applications for tax slashed vehicles were rushing in by the hundreds in the early days, officials say it has now reduced to a trickle, with only 12,000 having submitted papers so far.

Some officials have asked to buy re-conditioned (vehicles used abroad for less than three years and imported to Sri Lanka) Japanese cars instead of brand new ones, but the request had been turned down by authorities.

Meanwhile agents for popular Japanese brands like Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi are unable to bring down cars quickly enough, resulting in long waiting lists.

Ordinary Sri Lankan citizens outside the public service have to pay more than twice the price, paid by a state worker to acquire a car due to the high tax burden.

Public servants also get a tax free salary and pension in Sri Lanka, and 57 cents out of every tax rupee