Sri Lanka has slashed an import excise duty on vehicles by 50 percent amid a pick up in economy and demand for vehicles, lifted a general 15 percent surcharge on all imports and slashed duties on electronic items, an official said.

With effect from today a car such as an Indian made Maruti which had attracted excise duties of up to 183 percent of its value will now be charged a duty of 90 percent, Sri Lanka’s director general of fiscal policy S R Attygala said.

Cars attracted over 300 in excise duties, import duties, value added taxes, port and airport development levies and national security levies.

The government expects more revenue from car imports which plummeted last year amid high taxes.

Attygala said with a pick up in the economy there was a demand for vehicles including the tourist industry.

The government has also lifted 15 percent surcharge on all imported items.

Several import duty bands had also been adjusted. Current bands of 0, 6, 16, and 28, have been revised to 0, 05, 15 and 30.

But Attygala said with the removal of the 15 percent surcharge there was a reduction even in the 30 percent band as earlier a 33 percent was paid with the surcharge.

Meanwhile taxes on items such as watches and camera’s have been brought down to 10 percent to encourage retail trade especially targeting foreigners, he said.

Sri Lanka is expecting a surge in tourist arrivals and in many East Asian nations including Thailand and Singapore attract visitors simply for shopping.

In Sri Lanka prices of wearing apparel are already considered attractive.

LBO,Tuesday 01 June 2010