Sri lanka News – An import ban imposed in Sri Lanka which has severely impacted a number of industries will be reviewed every two weeks and amendments made as needed, according to cabinet spokesman Ramesh Pathirana.
Minister Pathirana told reporters on Tuesday September 13 that amendments to the list of items will be presented to parliament for approval.
Sri Lanka slapped a ban on the import of over 300 items in August, amid the worst currency crisis triggered in the history of the island’s soft-pegged central bank.
Speaking to reporters at the weekly cabinet press briefing, Pathirana acknowledged that the ban has impacted industry and created issues in obtaining raw materials and inputs.
“This is only a temporary measure. We’re ready to lift the ban as soon as the foreign exchange crisis has been resolved. The government has also decided to review it every two weeks,” he said.
One of the victims of the ban, Decathlon, a France-based a sportswear brand, announced earlier in the week that it was closing its stores in Sri Lanka after the ban made it impossible for the firm to operate in the country.
Decathlon closes Sri Lanka store after import ban
Pathirana said exemptions have been made for items that have been recognised as essential.
“It’s not a permanent list. It’s subject to change.
“A lot of industrialists have spoken to us about their grievances. We will take action to change it,” he said.
Experts say forex shortages are a problem associated with soft-pegged regimes, and are absent in clean floats and hard pegs and is linked to money and credit.
Import bans have no effect as long as credit fired by printed money continues.
The latest import ban, however, came amid a steep correction in the balance of payments after the central bank allowed rates to go up, reducing private credit and investments.
The banned items include dairy products, cosmetics, electrical goods, watercraft, ships, aircraft, electrical and electronic goods and building material.
Some industrial machinery including metalworking machinery, packing machines and ball bearings have also been halted. Many small and medium industries have said they are facing difficulties. (Colombo/Sep13/2022)