Lanka Ashok Leyland’s factory in Jalthara, Homagama, which has not been operational since 1994, has resumed operations after 27 years and was recently inspected by Minister of Industries, Wimal Weerawansa.
Lanka Ashok Leyland has a 28% stake in India and a 72% stake in Sri Lanka. 30% of this is owned by local shareholders and the remaining 42% is owned by Lanka Leyland Company which operates under the Ministry of Industries.
Buses, lorries and other vehicles were assembled in Sri Lanka until 1994. The company had stopped assembling its vehicles in 1994 as it was cheaper to import vehicles from India than to assemble in Sri Lanka.
However, the Minister who addressed the media after his inspection said, now that the Ministry has publicized the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on the vehicle manufacturing, vehicle assembling and auto accessories manufacturing industries, the local vehicle assembly industry receives tax concessions in proportion to the local value-added percentage, thereby limiting the import of vehicles to Lanka Ashok Leyland and opening its own vehicle assembly factory to create cheaper assembly vehicles in the country.
Lanka Ashok Leyland will be using the tax breaks and market opportunities provided to the automotive assembly and automotive manufacturing industries through the aforementioned Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to create new employment opportunities for Sri Lankan technology and engineering graduates in future. Minister Weerawansa asserted that his aim is to upgrade thousands of locally assembled and auto parts manufactured locally.
Minister Weerawansa further added that this will also help to enter into vehicle exports using free trade agreements in the South Asian region and to launch not only buses and lorries but also specialized vehicles such as garbage lorries, water bowsers, concrete mixing trucks, etc. into the Sri Lankan market.
The Chairman of Shantha Jayasena and Managing Director Umesh Gautam of Lanka Ashok Leyland PLC also participated during the inspection.