Media Minister and Cabinet Co-Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday confirmed that the Finance Ministry had successfully concluded negotiations in cancelling the previously placed order for luxury SUVs for Members of Parliament.
In a tweet clarifying reports over a TV interview of him, Rambukwella said the Finance Ministry had successfully concluded the negotiations regarding the LCs with the bank and the manufacturer, who in turn had agreed to the request made by the Government (to cancel the order).
The Daily FT yesterday exclusively reported that the controversial move to import luxury SUVs had been suspended, quoting State banking sources.
“The buyer and seller have agreed not to proceed with SUV component but other imports such as ambulances will be pursued,” banking sources told the Daily FT.
The original decision by the Cabinet of Ministers was to lease 227 brand new Toyota Land Cruisers, 17 brand new Toyota Hilux 4WD double cabs, one brand new Toyota Land Cruiser V8, 52 brand new Hino cab Intercooler Turbo, 51 brand new Toyota Hilux 4 WD double cabs with intercooler, one brand new Toyota Hilux 4 WD with intercooler and 50 brand new Toyota high-roof ambulances.
Of the 399 vehicles, 225 were for MPs.
The LC value of the entire purchase was Rs. 3.5 billion.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa recently said the luxury vehicles deal for MPs was off and the previous Cabinet paper had been withdrawn since the country had to save valuable foreign exchange reserves given the pandemic and debt service challenges this year.