Peace Dividend

July 10, 2011 (LBO) – Singer Sri Lanka, a consumer durables firm, a top retailer of televisions, refrigerators and sewing machines says sales in the former war-torn north and east of the country has doubled since a 30-year war ended two years ago. “Now, North-east is giving 6.5 percent percent of the sales,” chief executive Asoka Peiris said.

“During the war it was only half of that.”

Some parts of the Eastern province and the northern Jaffna peninsula was under government rule and had electricity even before the end of the war. But the rest of the region is getting power only now.

Peiris said 750 televisions and 600 refrigerators are selling each month in the North-East areas.

The firm is expecting revenues of about 1.2 billion rupees from the north and east in 2011.

Sri Lanka cut taxes import duties on consumer durables last year improving the trade freedoms of ordinary citizens, especially the poorer sections of the population, and cut the incentives for tax arbitrage.

Economic analysts point out that tariff protection spawns two types of tax arbitrage rackets; smuggling and import substitution.

In the March 2011 quarter, Singer group revenues rose 37 percent to 5.0 billion rupees while profits