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Migrant workers’ remittances: Solar requirement removed from electric vehicle incentive

Following the approval received from the Cabinet of Ministers for migrant workers to be provided a licence to import an electric vehicle equivalent to 50% of the remittances transmitted through legal channels, Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara has waived off the requirement for the purchase or import of a solar power system to provide the electricity required to charge the vehicle for a six-month period.

“This requirement has been waived off for the first six months, as we want to assess the success of this novel initiative. Furthermore, we will grant this licence to any workers who have remitted the relevant amounts from 1 July 2022, and the period will end on 31 December 2022,” Nanayakkara told The Morning yesterday (4).

The remittance incentive scheme announced on Monday offered migrant workers a licence to import an electric vehicle equivalent to 50% of remittance transmitted through legal channels, whereby workers who transfer over $ 3,000 will be allowed to import an electric motorcycle, and those who have transferred more than $ 20,000 will be permitted to import an electric car priced at half the amount remitted to Sri Lanka, up to a maximum of $ 65,000.

However, the migrant workers were originally required to also purchase or import a solar power system to provide the electricity required to charge the vehicle they import, as these electric vehicles were not allowed to be charged through the national grid. However, this requirement has now been waived for the first six months, during which the charging can be carried out through the national grid.

In a statement, the Government said increasing the migrant worker remittances to Sri Lanka is a solution to the foreign exchange crisis in the country, to which end an officers’ committee was appointed as per the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers on 27 June to study the facts and make recommendations regarding the relief and incentives to be given to them. Cabinet approved Minister Nanayakkara’s proposal presented in accordance with the recommendations of the said committee.