• Last Update 2022-08-09 20:18:00

SL Central Bank contemplates tough action against forex offenders

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Sri Lankan authorities on Friday warned offenders violating current rules pertaining to foreign exchange transactions, which includes exporters and migrant worker remittances, of serious action, as the country desperately tries to overcome a forex crisis.

“Any instances of non-compliance will be dealt with stern action within the provisions of all applicable laws,” the Central Bank (CB) said in a statement.  It said the CB has strengthened its capacity in relation to monitoring of foreign exchange transactions through the implementation of the Export Proceeds Monitoring System (EPMS) and the International Transactions Reporting System (ITRS), which is a comprehensive monitoring system of cross-border transactions and domestic foreign currency transactions.

The CB said it has been brought to its notice that certain market players are not being fully compliant with these regulations. Such practice, if continued, would deprive the people of the support expected from the Government in difficult times, while undermining the moral obligation of ‘equal burden sharing’ that is expected of all stakeholders under difficult and extraordinary circumstances.

“Against this backdrop, and in the best interest of the nation, the CB wishes to reiterate to all stakeholders of the economy, that, going forward, all efforts would be taken to strictly monitor and ensure compliance with all regulations on foreign exchange transactions, including repatriation requirements of export proceeds, conversions, and mandatory sales to the CB etc,” the statement added.

It urged the export trading community to continue to repatriate all export proceeds within the stipulated timeframe and surrender the residual earnings in accordance with the regulations. The banking community is requested to ensure strict adherence to all regulations in relation to foreign exchange transactions.

The CB has introduced a gamut of guidelines and regulations to lift the amount of foreign exchange remitted to the country through exports and migrant workers, many of whom are using unofficial banking channels to remit money to their families here.

The shortage of forex liquidity has affected the provision of essential imports, including fuel. To ensure adequate foreign exchange liquidity in the banking system, the CB had to impose surrender requirements on export earnings. Further, measures were taken by the Government and the CB to discourage foreign exchange outflows, such as imposing restrictions on certain imports and payment terms and introducing margin requirements, while encouraging foreign inflows through the banking system, rather than those being channelled through the grey market.

The success of these regulatory measures and the ability to achieve the intended outcomes depend on the support and cooperation from the trading community and the banking system. However, it has been brought to the notice of the CB that certain market players are not being fully compliant with these regulations. Such practice, if continued, would deprive the people of the support expected from the Government in difficult times, while undermining the moral obligation of ‘equal burden sharing’ that is expected of all stakeholders under difficult and extraordinary circumstances, the statement said.

“The Central Bank wishes to reiterate that overcoming current economic woes and distresses requires substantial and concerted efforts from all stakeholders of the economy. Foul play on the part of any group of stakeholders would inevitably result in the worsening of the crisis, thereby having widespread detrimental effects. It is the duty of everybody to act conscientiously and responsibly, and extend their unhindered support during this hour of need, for the nation to recover rapidly and emerge stronger from this crisis,” it said.

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