Sri Lanka to remove tax on foreign currency note imports: minister

Chandi Dharmaratne

June 03, 2010 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan government is to remove taxes totaling up to 22 percent on import of foreign currency notes in an effort to curb black market trade, a senior minister said. “With these taxes removed, they (black market) will find it hard to compete with government approved institutions,” Rambukwella said “This is to reduce the premium paid by consumers in the official (money exchange) system,” Keheliya Rambukwella, media minister and government spokesman told reporters at the weekly cabinet briefing, Thursday.

“All printed material brought into Sri Lanka is taxed, including currencies, but currencies are not taxed on face value.”

All printed material is subjected to value added tax (VAT), nation building levy (NBL) and port and airport development levy (PAL) which add up to about 22 percent, Rambukwella said.

The black market gets hard currency without any taxes, he said.

Since buying foreign exchange from banks is more expensive, people tend to go to black market currency dealers to buy foreign currency notes, Rambukwella said.