'SL the only country to tax electric vehicle imports'


By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Sri Lanka is the only country that imposes taxes on electric vehicle imports, while the rest of the world does nothing of the kind. These vehicles should be considered environment friendly as they do not consume fossil fuel, well known academic Dr Ravi Fernando said.

" At a time when other countries are eliminating duty on electric vehicle imports, Sri Lanka is the only country that imposes a75 percent duty on such vehicles, a condition stemming from the last budget, Fernando, who is the

Executive in Residence at INSEAD Business School in France said at a World Environment Day seminar held at the University of Colombo last week. The event was sponsored by Sri Lanka’s premier cement manufacturer INSEE Cement which joined hands with the Base for Enthusiasts of Environmental Science and Zoology (BEEZ) of the University of Colombo and Biodiversity Sri Lanka

He said the time is opportune to move out of fossil fuel and promote renewable energy for the betterment of the country and for the globe due to global warming. "Therefore, solar power and other renewable energy could be used as a substitute for fossil fuel in order to prevent pollution, Fernando said.

"Sri Lanka is absolutely on the wrong track when it comes to protecting the environment and this trend has to be reversed if not Sri Lanka will become a desert in a few decades time, Fernando added..

He also said that protecting bio diversity is the need of the hour because the remaining forest cover of 16 percent in Sri Lanka will diminish in no time. Sri Lanka destroyed 85 percent of its forest cover during the last 30 years, he explained..

A network of private sector companies is working together on biodiversity conservation issues, to commemorate World Environment Day. The celebration under the theme, "Connecting People to Nature", provided the ideal opportunity to launch a Coffee Table Book initiated by INSEE Cement in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) titled, "To Our Planet with Respect".

CEO, INSEE Cement Nandana Ekanayake said: "As a major stakeholder in the construction industry, we are sincerely concerned about striving to create a better world for tomorrow while building the structures of today. Our passion for biodiversity protection is clearly reflected in the many strategies we have in place to safeguard the delicate balance within our ecosystem. Through our membership with Biodversity Sri Lanka we are glad to be able to share our success stories with the private sector both nationally and internationally."

Professor Wipula Yapa, Head, Department of Zoology and Environmental Science of the University of Colombo commented ,"This initiative helps to raise awareness and encourage our country’s future leaders to adopt environment friendly practices. Creating awareness among our students is critical as we are the first generation to combat and deal with climate change and the last generation that can probably to do something about it"

The book showcases the Company’s environmental initiatives carried out in partnership with IUCN on rehabilitation of an ecosystem at the Aruakalu Quarry in Puttalam. Thousands of animals have been rescued and systematic reforestation and rehabilitation has been put in place at this site by INSEE Cement to restore the ecosystem to its former glory. The endeavour initiated as a socially conscious corporate company, also promotes awareness among the community about the need to protect the environment and vulnerable species.

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