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Sunday, 14 August 2016





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Vehicle importers echo need for eco-friendly models

Sri Lanka should make use of the advanced technology in the automotive industry by using eco-friendly vehicles, President, Vehicle Importers Association of Lanka (VIAL), Sampath Merenchige told the VIAL Business Conference 2016 in Colombo recently.

It was held on the theme 'Setting Goals Towards Eco-Friendly Auto Market by 2020'.

"Our responsibility to create a good environment without pollution and safe guard the fundamental rights of the future generation. As a reputed association we believe that we have taken the initial step to fulfill this target," he said.

VIAL President Sampath Merenchige presents the Motor Guide Directory, compiled by VIAL, to Minister Harin Fernando. VIAL Secretary Keerthi Gunawardane and Treasury Franklin Fernando look on.

The Motor Guide Directory compiled by VIAL was also launched at the event and the first copy was presented to the chief guest and tokens of appreciation were presented to two very important people who had done a tremendous amount of work for VIAL, Nishantha Senadipathi and Administrative Secretary VIAL, Sunil Ranasinghe.

Merenchige said today the world has advanced technology and the country must make maximum use of that technology with regard to vehicles by using eco-friendly models in the coming decades.

"We cannot do anything until we get together and make interaction with the government. As an association we must encourage the government to promote and import eco-friendly vehicles to the country," he said.

During the past, countries which had monopolies over fuel, refrained from introducing a new technology and eco-friendly vehicles to the market. But due to the influence of environmentalists and scientists, developed counties have taken steps to introduce high technology and eco-friendly hybrid and electric vehicles to the market. As a result those countries give zero duty and some grants to import such vehicles.

He said the government too should be encouraged to import eco-friendly vehicles to the country. With President Maithripala Sirisena being the Environment Minister the country must push for new rules and regulations for reasonable less tax to encourage the importation of hybrid and electric vehicles according to the needs of the country.

Chief Guest Minister Harin Fernando said by introducing eco-friendly vehicles; the auto market will bring huge benefits to the country. The recent tax hikes by the government on automobiles was a temporary measure. The minister requested vehicle importers to have patience and said he was amazed by what vehicle importers want to achieve in 2020, wanting to go green, thinking about the environment and the next generation.

Guest of Honour, Deputy Minister of Transport, Asok Abeysinghe said it is a well known fact that due to the economic situation there has been a decline in vehicle imports to the country. The vehicle importers, however, contribute immensely to the economy and the government appreciates very much the contribution made by vehicle importers to the country's economy.

Abeysinghe reiterated the fact that what has happened today was a temporary drawback. The minister said the country imports around US$ 1.6 billion worth vehicles from Japan which stands in the third position of the total US$ 18.9 billion Sri Lankan import costs. But the country's total export income is US$ 10.5 billion. Because of this US$ 9 billion gap the Finance Ministry has apparently taken measures to reduce vehicle imports.

The deputy minister said due to the economic reforms introduced by the new government within a year there will be redress to the woes of vehicle importers. The minister also said that over 6.2 million vehicles registered in the country and out of this about four million vehicles take the roads daily.

Over half a million vehicles are driven on Colombo roads daily. Due to this we are compelled to renovate the road network of the country. The minister said to ease the congestion they would introduce monorail and electric trains to road network soon.

The main sponsor of the event was AA Japan, co sponsors - JEVIC, Providence Auto, Bureau Veritas, BOC and Cobe Motors. VIAL formed in 1980 was reorganized in 2012. Within a short period, VIAL has emerged as one of the leading vehicle importing bodies in Sri Lanka with 316 members and growing from strength to strength catering to a large number of well organized commercial entities and all classes of people. VIAL has 500 members representing micro, small and medium scale enterprises in Sri Lanka.



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