Sri Lanka’s private sector opposes SLPA tariff hike at this juncture

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May 04, 2019 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s private sector firms have strongly opposed the unilateral decision by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to increase port tariffs.

In a joint statement, the private sector representatives involved in the import-export business said the opposition to the tariff hike is based on several reasons.

“Amongst them is the difficult operating environment that the trade is facing, the need to address existing inefficiencies in the Port operations to make Sri Lanka more competitive and the disruption to existing contracts,”

A Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) which included private sector representatives as well as officials of the SLPA was established by the Ports Ministry to enable a consensus-driven mechanism to resolve the issues relating to the tariff increase.

The statement, however, says that the concerns raised by the private sector at the JCC and through written proposals have not been adequately addressed and thereby rendered the envisaged consultative process a failure.

“The private sector representatives of the JCC are also disappointed to note that the assurances given by the SLPA to refund the excess tariffs already paid has not been implemented.”

They further urge that the proposed tariff hike be stayed permitting the private-public consultation process through the JCC to arrive at a suitable solution.