Import restrictions aimed at uplifting local industries

The government restricted the importation of certain goods not to pressure people, but to allow local industries to flourish, State Minister of Microfinance and Self Employment Shehan Semasinghe said.

He was participating in the debate on three regulations under the Imports and Exports (Control) Act.

In reply to a Point of Order raised by the Opposition, State Minister Semasinghe said that the revocation of the Extraordinary Gazette Notification issued by the Minister of Finance allowing the importation of tiles and bathroom kits due to lack of resources and rising prices was done at the request of tile manufacturers.

He added that the President held discussions with the manufacturers of tiles and other ceramic products, at which the manufacturers had agreed to increase production within two weeks.

“If that is not enough, steps would be taken to import products in a limited manner. Steps will be taken to import such supplies if they are not able to meet the demand locally,” Semasinghe said.

“When the government came to power, the country was facing many challenges. The economy, which had collapsed due to the Easter attacks, was further affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, the government can solve these issues through infrastructure development, employment of graduates, creating a conducive environment for business, correct tax management for the convenience of taxpayers, changing the rules in calculating government revenue, and creating a conducive environment for farmers,” he added.

The state minister said the week starting from March 2 would be declared the ‘Week of Prosperity’, and that a number of development programmes will be launched to mark it.

He added that contrary to what the Opposition projects, the government has been able to manage the country’s economy properly in the midst of numerous challenges.

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