Amidst soft-peg crisis, Sri Lanka has temporarily suspended the import of over 300 ‘non-essential’ items with effect from Wednesday.
Signed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Finance Minister, the gazette was issued under the Import and Export Control Act.
The list of items included cosmetics, electrical goods, water craft, ships, aircraft, electrical and electronic goods and building materials. It also included chocolate and other food products such as cocoa, condensed milk, yoghurt, coconuts, coconut-based arrack, roses, perfumes, beauty or make-up products, deodorants, shampoos and dental floss, trunks, suitcases, briefcases, and various clothing items.
The building materials, which are banned for export by the Finance Ministry includes, marble, travertine, and other calcareous monumental or building stone, tubes, pipes and hoses, and fittings.
The list also included bags, bottle cases, jewellery boxes, powder-boxes, cutlery cases, toilet or facial tissue stock, towel or napkin stock and electrical goods such as refrigerators, freezers and other refrigerating or freezing equipment, electric or other heat pumps.
However, the goods in the suspended list which were shipped on or before August 23 and arrived at any sea ports or airports in Sri Lanka on or before September 14 would be allowed for customs clearance.
With dried up gross official reserves limited to $1.8 billion at the end of July, the country failed to make interest payments on the loans and defaulted on the debt of $51 billion in May.
Country’s Central Bank announced that negotiations with the IMF towards reaching a staff-level agreement on the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement are scheduled in coming weeks, while expeditious measures are being taken to advance the debtrestructuring process with the assistance of financial and legal advisors.