Published on: January 4, 2024

Government Initiates VAT Exemption for Ayurvedic Products and Medicines to Lower Healthcare Costs

State Minister of Indigenous Medicine Sisira Jayakody announced a significant step toward reducing healthcare costs by exempting Ayurvedic products, medicines and industries related to indigenous medicine from Value Added Tax (VAT). The decision aims to make traditional medicine more accessible to the public.

Additionally, the State Minister mentioned that the cabinet has granted approval for the establishment of a special bureau dedicated to addressing issues affecting native doctors and ensuring the sustainability of the indigenous medicine system.

Speaking at the “Collective Path to a Stable Country” media briefing held at the Presidential Media Centre today (04), Mr. Jayakody highlighted the Ayurveda Corporation’s plan to introduce Ayurvedic healing centers, known as “Body Mantras”, as part of a transformative change in the field of indigenous medicine.

Minister Sisira Jayakody further commented:

“Significant strides have been made in the realm of indigenous medicine, with the government opting to exempt Ayurvedic products, medicines and related industries from VAT. This decision aims to reduce healthcare costs.

The Cabinet has approved the establishment of a specialized bureau dedicated to preserving traditional medicine. Operating under the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine, this bureau is tasked with addressing issues affecting traditional medicine until a formal institution is established. Its objectives include granting proper recognition to registered and unregistered native doctors, conducting studies on the medical system, developing an appropriate framework and collecting information about the profession.

Following discussions, it has been recommended to the Cabinet to approve the establishment of a unit to safeguard traditional medicine, as outlined in paragraph 03.1 of the Cabinet Memorandum, without being a burden to the Treasury.

The Ayurveda Corporation is introducing Ayurvedic health care centers, known as “Body Mantra”, to the local medical field, with the aim of bringing transformative change to indigenous medicine. The establishment of physical healthcare services, supervised by graduate-trained massage therapists, will be implemented through Ayurvedic healthcare centers. This initiative extends both domestically and internationally and organizations in the hotel and tourism industry in the country are invited to register, with a newspaper advertisement set for release on the 10th of this month.

By the end of this year, efforts are underway to elevate the production and cultivation of indigenous medicines to a commercial industry level. Traditionally at a subsistence level, the focus now shifts to commercial cultivation, with plans to cultivate Long pepper (Thippili) plants alongside paddy cultivation. Long pepper plants can be harvested for four seasons, offering a significant economic advantage over traditional methods. The goal is not only to enhance domestic production but also to generate raw materials locally.

The “Suwa Daruwo” program aims to provide a robust and advanced education for government employees involved in the indigenous medical field. Additionally, efforts are directed towards empowering Ayurveda councils. In the coming months, arrangements are being made to organize a program awarding the “Presidential Gold Awards” to indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturers and individuals contributing to the field.”


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