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24 MPs to get luxury vehicles again

The government has decided to issue permits even for   provincial councillors –turned –MPs to import luxury vehicles under duty concessions though they enjoyed such perks during their term in the respective provincial councils within a period less than five years, informed sources said yesterday.

Twenty four MPs have been elected to the present parliament from the provincial councils, and, according to the normal procedure, an MP is entitled to such a vehicle permit once in five years only.  When the government approved permits for MPs last year, these 24 members were excluded on the grounds that they had enjoyed this facility during their term as provincial councillors within a period of less than five years.

Permits were issued last year only to the MPs elected for the first time from outside the provincial council system, and to those who had completed five years since receiving this benefit during their term in the previous parliament.

However, on a request by these 24 members, the government has now approved vehicle permits for them though they are yet to complete their five-year term as MPs.

“The Treasury has also given its approval now. The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry is now going ahead with the issuing of vehicle permits,” sources said.

An MP can import a luxury vehicle subject to only 18 per cent duty under this facility. An MP can also apply for a concessionary loan of up to US$50,000 (Rs.5 million) from the Bank of Ceylon.

Daily Mirror learns that most members -- from the ruling party and the opposition alike-- have sold their permits last time to wealthy businessmen, sometimes at a price as high as Rs.1.5 million each.

One MP is known to have sold his permit to the son of a Colombo-based business tycoon.


Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 @ 02:45:18 LKT


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