The state minister made this statement in the larger context of the government considering proposals to lift the existing restrictions on vehicle imports to boost government tax revenue.
To check the state minister’s claim, FactCheck.lk consulted the Ministry of Finance Annual Report (MoFAR) 2022 and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Annual Report (CBSLAR) 2022.
MoFAR reports that a total of 2,530,830 motor vehicles were imported into the country from 2015 to 2020, which aligns closely with (within 1.5% of) the figure quoted by the state minister.
CBSLAR data shows that the value of “Personal Vehicles and Vehicle/Machinery Parts” during the same period was LKR 1,133.63 billion. This figure does not align closely with the figure (LKR 1,331 billion) quoted by the state minister. On closer examination, however, the error is likely to have been one of transposition: stating 133 as 331.
Meanwhile, the cumulative tax revenue from “Motor Vehicles and Others” was reported as LKR 1,053.51 billion, which is slightly higher than the figure mentioned by the state minister. However, since the categories presented in CBSLAR encompass a broader range (“Motor Vehicles and Others”), the state minister’s figure for cumulative tax revenue of only motor vehicles is most likely to be accurate.
Therefore, we classify his statement as TRUE.
*FactCheck.lk’s verdict is based on the most recent information that is publicly accessible. As with every fact check, if new information becomes available, FactCheck.lk will revisit the assessment.
Additional note: In the larger context of vehicle import taxes and their impact on government revenue, it is notable that the average tax revenue from “Motor Vehicles and Others” between 2015-2019, before the imposition of import restrictions on motor vehicles, accounted for 1.48% of Sri Lanka’s GDP.
Statistical Appendix, Central Bank of Sri Lanka 2022, Available at https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/sites/default/files/cbslweb_documents/publications/annual_report/2022/en/15_Appendix.pdf [last accessed: 19 July 2022]
Statistical Appendix, Central Bank of Sri Lanka 2019, Available at https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/sites/default/files/cbslweb_documents/publications/annual_report/2019/en/15_Appendix.pdf [last accessed: 19 July 2022]
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