CBSL appeals Sri Lankans abroad for foreign currency to battle COVID-19

CBSL appeals Sri Lankans abroad for foreign currency to battle COVID-19

April 2, 2020   10:30 pm

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The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) made an appeal to Sri Lankans around the world on Thursday to deposit foreign currency in the domestic banking system to support the government’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quoting Governor of the CBSL, W.D. Lakshman and Secretary to the Treasury S.R. Attygalle, a statement said Sri Lankans around the world, well-wishers, and charitable organizations were requested to deposit foreign currency in licensed commercial banks and specialized financial institutions in the country.

“Your foreign currency deposits in Sri Lankan banking system at this difficult stage would be of immense help to authorities to tide over the present crisis,” it said.

The government has made assurances that foreign currency remittances would not be met with any regulatory hindrances including exchange control regulations and taxes for three months starting April 2. It has also guaranteed the future convertibility of deposits and protections under banking secrecy provisions.

“Such remittances would go a long way to promote people’s welfare during the current period of still spreading COVID-19, and economic revival in the immediate aftermath,” the statement said.

 

The full statement issued by the CBSL is as follows:

“Appeal to all Sri Lankans and well-wishers living in Sri Lanka and Abroad: An Appeal Made with the Approval of the Cabinet of Ministers

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka invites all Sri Lankans and well-wishers living in Sri Lanka and abroad to consider depositing their savings and other funds in foreign currency within the Sri Lankan banking system - Licensed Commercial Banks and Specialized financial institutions — as a gesture of goodwill and assistance to Sri Lanka and its people during the three-month period commencing from April 2, 2020, in support of the wide-ranging national effort to safeguard the people from coronavirus, to bring its spread under control and to provide healthcare and social security to the people. Your foreign currency deposits in the Sri Lankan banking system at this difficult stage will be of immense help to authorities to tide over the present crisis.

We guarantee that your foreign currency deposits into the Sri Lankan banking system will be accepted without any hindrance from the Government, the Central Bank or any other Government authority. We also guarantee the future convertibility of these deposits into foreign currency whenever you desire to do so. All your forex remittances will be exempted from exchange control regulations and taxes and protected under banking secrecy provisions.

This appeal goes to all Sri Lankan expatriates abroad and those living in Sri Lanka with foreign currency holdings. The country welcomes remittance inflows to the banking system in Sri Lanka from them, as well as from charitable organizations, funds, and well-wishers all over the world, with the well-being of Sri Lanka and its people in their hearts. Such remittances would go a long way to promote people’s welfare during the current period of still spreading COVID-19 and economic revival in the immediate aftermath.

This announcement and appeal are made following a decision of the Government of Sri Lanka made during the April 1st meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.

The Cabinet has decided to suspend all restrictions on foreign currency inflows into Sri Lanka during COVID — 19 preventive periods, defined as the three (3) months commencing 2 April 2020.”

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