Vehicle wheeler deals:In parts or under cover
Customs officials with a luxury jeep detected inside a container.
Government has been losing much revenue as a result
of certain businessmen importing vehicles in parts or by concealing
vehicles in containers in an attempt to circumvent paying taxes.
According to the Customs and Import and Export Control Departments
this racket has been going on for a long time despite certain regulations
being introduced to curb it.
Customs Assistant Director Mali Piyasena told
The Sunday Times his department was regularly detecting vehicles
imported in parts and vehicles concealed in containers. He said
this racket has often been carried out by a well-organised group
which later assembles the imported parts and sell it as a complete
He said some vehicles were brought into the country
by concealing them in containers with vehicle accessories or other
items while some are imported separately as engine, chassis and
other parts for which the import duty is much less.
Mr. Piyasena said some vehicles were imported
under false addresses so that even if such cases were detected by
the Customs, the importer could not be identified. He said that
compared to the last few years there has been a reduction in such
He said the Customs imposes a tax of 300 percent
of its value on petrol vehicles imported and a 400 percent tax on
diesel vehicles. “However when parts imported separately are
used to assemble a complete vehicle, the amount of taxes payable
by the importer is in the region of only Rs. 100,000,” he
Mr. Piyasena said that it was not practical to
check all the incoming containers. He said there were some cases
where individuals imported vehicles without knowing the regulations
and therefore faced difficulties.
It is estimated that the Government has lost revenue
of about Rs. 25 million from the seven vehicles recently imported
to Sri Lanka fraudulently, while the value of those vehicles was
about Rs. 30 million.
Import and Export Controller Neil Bandara Appuhinna told The Sunday
Times the issue of permits to import parts which could later be
assembled to make a complete vehicle, has been stopped six months
ago on a directive from President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“We are not issuing permits to import portions
and old vehicles now”, Mr. Appuhinna said. He said the import
of three and half year old cars, five year old vans and seven year
old trucks has been stopped.
He said from this month importers have to furnish a pre-export inspection
certificate to his department before importing a vehicle.