284 import licenses issued for vehicles, spare parts despite ban

  • Import Control Dept. annual report reveals 154 licenses issued for aircraft, helicopter part imports
  • 60 licenses issued for import of body shells, 21 for chassis, seven for engines



By Imesh Ranasinghe 

The Imports and Exports Control Department had issued 284 licenses for the import of used vehicles and auto parts in 2021, compared to 197 in 2020, despite the import ban on vehicles and spare parts, as per the Department’s annual report.

According to the report, the Department had issued 154 licenses for the import of aircraft and helicopter parts in 2021, while 60 licenses were issued for the import of body shells, 21 for chassis, and seven for engines.

“The number of licenses issued by this unit in 2020 has come down drastically due to the regulation for suspending the import of vehicles and spare parts in order to reduce the pressure on the exchange rate and to boost the local industry in the face of the global pandemic of Covid-19. However, licenses were issued in 2021 to import raw materials for the development of the local vehicle assembly industry and as a result, more licenses were issued in 2021 compared to 2020,” the annual report said regarding the reason for the increase in the licenses.

However, the import licenses issued also included six licenses to import used motorcycles, three licenses for heavy vehicles, one license for vehicles imported by embassies, and another license for the Import made by officers in foreign missions.

The Department has issued 19,576 overall import licenses, out of which 8,982 licenses are issued for mobile phones and telecommunication equipment.

The main factor influencing this, according to the Department, was the increase in the number of mobile phone imports, which went up by 85% compared to 2020.

In addition, the number of other communication devices imports increased by 45%. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the school and university system adapted to an online education system, which led to high demand for mobile phones and communication equipment and increased imports to meet the demand. 

“Accordingly, the number of licenses issued were increased due to the increase in imports made by the telecommunication trade for commercial purposes, and the increase in the number of mobile phones sent by Sri Lankans working abroad as gifts to their relatives,” the report said.