Sri Lanka to maintain healthy reserve position throughout Year 2022
Posted on December 24th, 2021

Courtesy The Island

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) said on Wednesday that measures being taken at present would ensure that by end of 2021, official reserves would remain above US dollars 3 billion. Thus the government and the Central Bank remain confident that expected inflows will materialise and the reserve position will remain at comfortable level throughout the year 2022.

The full text of the CBSL statement is as follows.

Despite the headwinds of the economic impact of COVID-19 and challenges posed by adverse developments in the external sector, the Sri Lankan economy showed resilience throughout 2021.

Also, Sri Lanka successfully met its debt obligations by repaying foreign loans, including the payments of the International Sovereign Bonds. Since the beginning of the year both the Central Bank and the Government have been actively pursuing possible avenues to replenish official reserves, with an emphasis on encouraging non-debt flows, so that the existing foreign debt could be managed in a sustainable manner. These efforts were accelerated since October 2021 with the announcement of the Six-Month Road Map for Ensuring Macroeconomic and Financial System Stability, which set out envisaged targets for build up of official reserves in the near term.

As articulated in the Six-Month Road Map, number of foreign exchange inflows are envisaged in the very near term. Major foreign exchange inflows to the Central Bank include SWAP facilities with Middle Eastern and other regional central banks amounting to about US dollars 2.0 billion.

The government is also in the process of securing government to government financing, syndicated loans as well as loans from multilateral organisations. In addition, the expected foreign exchange facilities that were negotiated during the high-level visits abroad made by authorities are also progressing well.

Further, the interventions made by the Central Bank on several facets of the foreign exchange market, such as incentive scheme introduced for workers’ remittances, and the repatriation and conversion requirements on account of exports proceeds will improve the liquidity in the domestic market, thereby enabling the Central Bank to build up official reserves further.

With the recent rise in departures for foreign employment and exponential growth observed in tourist arrivals, the external sector is expected to recover well in the period ahead and the pressures observed at present are expected to moderate with increased inflows to the economy.

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CBSL extends additional incentives for inward workers’ remittances

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), having considered the requests made by Sri Lankans

working abroad, has decided to continue the payment of additional Rs. 8.00 per US dollar for

worker remittances, paid in addition to the incentive of Rs. 2.00 per US dollar under Incentive Scheme on Inward Workers’ Remittances”, for such workers’ remittances channelled through Licensed Banks and other formal channels and converted into Sri Lankan rupees, until 31.01.2022.

The decision to continue this additional incentive of Rs. 10.00 per US dollar is in response to the favourable developments observed in workers’ remittances so far during December 2021.

Further, CBSL has also decided to bear the transaction cost incurred by Sri Lankans working

abroad up to a defined limit when remitting their money to Sri Lanka through exchange houses and / or banks.

Accordingly, a large segment of Sri Lankans working abroad would now be able to remit their money to Sri Lanka without any charges. The operating instructions in this regard including the date of commencement will be issued by CBSL in due course. -CBSL

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