Prices will rise, SMEs will collapse: SJB

  • Warns that CBSL’s new regulations will aid black market

 By Dinitha Rathnayake

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s (CBSL) imposition of a 100% cash margin deposit on the import of non-essential items will result in a price mark-up that will put an end to several small and medium-scale businesses, claimed Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Patali Champika Ranawaka on Sunday (12).

Speaking at a media briefing, he noted that the new import regulations would see consumer goods marked up in price, with the interest rate on 100% of the cost of an item added to its value to make business sustainable for importers, which would apply to the 623 non-essential consumer items listed in the import regulations.

These 623 items include garments, undergarments, computers and accessories, mobile phones, refrigerators, air conditioners, and many others.

Ranawaka went on to predict that this would result in creating a thriving black market.

“We all know how the black market operates. All regulated items will be sold in the black market for a higher price. The rate at which the rupee is depreciating and the US dollar is gaining creates more and more of a shift towards the black market. Now we see a trend where people are investing in the acquisition of products and property. The rate at which the rupee is depreciating has made these items, such as liquor, electronic items, and property and real estate, desirable items for collection. The dollar is already thriving in the black market, so this is how the black market is created and maintained.”