Saturday, 23 September, 2023

Sri Lanka lifts import ban on buses, trucks

Crisis-hit Sri Lanka partially lifted a ban on vehicle imports on Tuesday by allowing buses and trucks back into the island after more than three years.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe issued an order removing the restriction imposed in March 2020, when the country faced an acute shortage of foreign exchange to finance essential imports.

Officials said an import ban on cars, motorcycles and three-wheel scooters will remain until Sri Lanka's foreign reserves improve further.

The ban on vehicle imports has led to a sharp rise in second-hand prices.

The South Asian nation endured serious shortages of food and energy resulting in months of protests that forced then-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to step down last year.

His successor Wickremesinghe has doubled taxes, sharply increased energy prices and cracked down on protests in a bid to stabilise the economy after securing a $2.9 billion International Monetary Fund bailout in March.