The Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA), one of the longest standing automotive associations in South Asia, has recently raised concerns regarding the fairness of current import regulations, shedding light on the importation of extravagant items such as televisions and mobile phones, while essential necessities such as a motorcycle remains restricted.
The CMTA emphasizes the need for a more equitable import policy that considers the struggles faced by everyday individuals, including parents relying on public transport and small business owners, who are disproportionately affected by these restrictions.
While a significant portion of the population faces difficulties in providing transportation for their families and growing their businesses, it is disconcerting to witness the importation of luxury items that cater exclusively to the elite.
The CMTA firmly believes that this disparity in import regulations is unjustified, as it allows the affluent to spend exorbitant amounts on high-end products while denying the import of essential items, such as a simple motorcycle.
The importation of luxury goods, like high-end televisions ranging from US$ 1,000 and above retailing for Rs700,000-1,000,000Mn and more, dual door refrigerators which range above US$900 retailing for Rs1,000,000 to high-end smartphones costing above US$ 1,000 retailing Rs500,000-750,000 In comparison, a 110cc Petrol Scooter would cost approximately US$650 & Three-Wheeler costing US$1,300.
It is worth mentioning that several items were recently removed from the import ban list, but it is disheartening to observe that essential items like Motorcycles and Three-Wheelers were not included in the consideration.
The CMTA highlights the need for import regulations that prioritize the welfare and aspirations of the majority, rather than catering solely to the desires of a privileged few. It is crucial to create an environment where equal opportunities and resources are available to all, enabling ordinary citizens to thrive and contribute to the nation's growth.
The CMTA urges policymakers and authorities to engage in a comprehensive dialogue with the public, taking into account the perspectives of those directly affected by these import restrictions.
It is imperative that a more equitable society is created by fostering transparency and inclusivity, where the import regulations align with the needs and aspirations of the people. The CMTA acknowledges the importance of revenue generation and economic progress, but emphasizes that the well-being of citizens should be at the forefront of policy decisions
Founded in 1919, the Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA) is the only Ceylon Chamber of Commerce affiliated trade body that represents vehicle manufacturers through their locally appointed franchise holders (commonly called ‘agents’).
It is the most senior automotive trade association in the region. The members of the CMTA collectively employ and train thousands of Sri Lankan citizens while bringing in international best practices in engineering and management, developing a talent pool that is trained and employable internationally. CMTA members are all audited by the manufacturers they represent, and the vehicles they import are shipped directly from the factory, designed to meet country specific requirements.