No more duty allowance for these luxury items

By Leon Berenger

The Customs is set to slam a tax on several luxury and semi-luxury items in a move that is likely to hit Sri Lankan returning from overseas and duty-free shops.

The items include air conditioners of all types, refrigerators of two or more doors with a capacity of over 500 litres, dish washers of all types, deep freezers of all types, four burner cookers with ovens, fully automatic washing machines, televisions-CRT exceeding 29” and LCD exceeding 32”.

On one hand the new tariffs will have an adverse impact on the hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans entering the country after stints of employment overseas. On the other it will also help end the exploitation of allowances by unscrupulous businessmen, says Customs Chief R.S.M. Jayatilleke.
He said the bulk of these items were being re-sold in the open market through a well-organised syndicate that includes officials and workers at the Katunayake Airport. At the end the state stands to lose a large amount of revenue, he said.

A senior manager with a leading Duty Free shop at the Katunayake Airport said the new tariff would lead to at least a 50 per cent drop in sales that may eventually result in the closure of several outlets.

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