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COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Tuesday lifted a ban on imports of trucks and other heavy vehicles for the first time since March 2020, according to a gazette notification.

Sri Lanka has been gradually easing import restrictions, which were imposed as the country’s economy tottered from a financial crisis caused by a severe shortage of dollars.

Sri Lanka shares end lower as financials, industrials weigh

This, however, is the first time it has rolled back some restrictions on vehicles that were imposed in March 2020.

Heavy vehicles including buses, trucks and tankers can now be imported, according to a government notification issued by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also the finance minister.

However, import bans on passenger vehicles including cars will remain in place.

Sri Lanka’s economy has stabilised over the past nine months after the country secured a $2.9 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), brought inflation levels under control and embarked on rebuilding its foreign exchange reserves.

Sri Lanka’s reserves grew 26% to a 19-month high of $3.8 billion in July, helped by stronger remittances and tourism earnings.

The currency has risen about 13.5% this year, central bank data showed.

Despite the easing of the crisis, the country still needs to complete debt talks with creditors by September, in time for its first IMF programme review, and implement key economic reforms to put its recovery on a sustainable path.

Sri Lanka’s economy is expected to shrink about 2% this year, according to central bank estimates, after a 7.8% contraction last year.

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