Kapruka Founder Dulith Herath Censured Online For ‘Anti-Free Market’ Comments At Pre-Budget Forum

September 19, 2017

Kapruka CEO and Founder Dulith Herath has found himself the target of online ire after comments he made at a pre-budget forum organised by Standard Chartered Bank were published in the media.

The media has reported Herath as saying: “We in the e-commerce industry have seen this increasing of single packages that are coming into the country through Alibaba, eBay and other websites.”

“Initially we thought this was small but it’s almost like products raining into the country and it’s going undetected because they arrive directly onto the doorstep.”

“This means local traders in Pettah have to compete with eBay. So we have to control this, in my view, at the post office level, for it to be fair trade and improve commerce in competitive way.”

Despite his comments championing the cause of ‘Pettah traders’ he has been censured online for ‘anti-free market’ comments aimed at promoting what users online have termed as ‘monolithic’ business empires.

Herath has come under criticism for wanting to restrict trade from sites such as Amazon, Alibaba and eBay to to create demand for his site Kapruka.

Commenting on Facebook, a user said, “What a disgrace. This man wants the government to implement policies that would infringe on the consumers right to choose, so that he and “other merchants in Pettah” can act as middlemen and take their cut from selling the same Chinese product that consumers could have bought directly from Chinese vendors for a lower price.”

Another said, “All the countries have a limit on the value of the products that can be imported without duty. In Australia, personally you can import anything up to AUD1000 without paying GST of 10%. Sri Lanka has the same rule which I believe is up to $30 but don’t quote me on that. Don’t try to lobby the government for your personal gain.”

Attempting to defend himself Dulith Herath has commented on the post against him saying, “They misinterpreted what I said. What I said is post office must charge correct duty for small packages. We can’t have a duty-free channel into this country when regular retail is having to pay import duty.”

He was however called out by another commenter of Facebook, who said, “Customs charge duty after inspecting packages coming into the country. So your statement is not valid. I believe you are promoting this idea for personal gain.”

Meanwhile, former ICTA CEO and MD Muhunthan Canagey waded into contention, speaking on behalf of Kapruka founder Dulith Herath.

In his comments Canagey said: “Before I start explaining my views, I want people on this thread to know that I am in support and a firm believer of non-monopolistic principles irrespective of borders, but not an unfair system and policy differentiating local and foreign companies.”

“Lets be fair with this guy and Kapruka; when Kapruka has to pay the correct declared taxes for goods brought down by they and distributed, while the goods that come through local post are delivered without paying the right taxes, in most cases even without taxes, in many cases goods are undervalued because the invoices don’t come with them.”

“These guys Kapruka go by investing on delivery, call centre, tracking systems, advance the cash required for paying the taxes on your behalf and taking responsibility for the order. They have also enabled people to visit a store and order giving the convenience and enabling people who not so familiar with online booking.”

“It is the state which must implement a propose process for online declaration and online tax paying method for such goods that come through the postal service and the delivery must happen after such import duties are paid correctly to the customs.”

“It is unfair when such processes are not adopted. There should not be different treatment for state institutions and private companies. People must realize that hardworking taxpayers are paying for these inefficient state organizations process and pilferage by those who don’t pay their due taxes.”

“ It is normal for such discriminated private sector institutions to state their grievances at such open forums and be treated fairly. So from a consumer rights either the government must correct the process of take out the duties and taxes if they cannot manage parcels less than a particular value.”







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