ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government has largely retained protection given to the local ceramic industry through import tariffs despite further liberalisation of the economy proposed in the 2018 budget presented Thursday, an analysis by a brokerage said.
Protectionism still prevails in the ceramic sector, Bartleet Religare Securities said in a note to clients that analysed the budget presented to parliament by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.
Listed tile companies, Royal Ceramics Ltd., Lanka Tile and Lanka Walltiles Ltd., “remain protected for the moment,” BRS said.
The latter two tile firms are now part of the Royal Ceramics group, which makes tiles and sanitaryware.
“With the present government keen on liberalizing many protected local manufacturing industries, the ceramic sector had threat of having the cess on imported tiles removed,” the report said.
“However, the industry remains protected, albeit many para tariffs were removed from the present budget.”
The budget however indicates the need for sufficient local competition in increasing efficiency and innovation, the report noted.
It also noted the strong emphasis given for anti dumping laws to support local industries and to strengthen consumer protection.
BRS said there was a total duty of 90% on the tiles sector with import cess of 35%, Customs duty of 30% or Rs100 per square metre, Value Added Tax of 15%, Nation Building Tax of 2% and the Port and Airport Levy of 7.50%.
(COLOMBO, November 10, 2017)