Sri Lanka calls for expat funds in Swiss accounts: Ravi K

Oct 02, 2015 (LBO) – The government encourages Sri Lankan expats to bring back undeclared funds in Switzerland, with no questions asked, the Finance Minister said.

“There are about 10 to 15 billion dollars held outside the country. We are inviting Sri Lankan expatriates to bring their money and we can offer a considerable interest rate,” Ravi Karunanayake, finance minister of Sri Lanka said.

Due to a recent black money law, a number of Swiss and other European banks have begun asking Indian and Sri Lankan clients to disclose their accounts to tax authorities back home.

In this situation, Sri Lankan and Indians with money in these countries could repatriate them to Sri Lanka, Karunanayake said.

This is one of the measures to support dollar inflows into the country amid weaker inflows this year, he said.

“This will help us to boost our foreign reserves and rupee.”

“I mean why keep paying foreign countries to get funding when expatriates can bring the money to the country,” he said.

“And why keep them in accounts paying zero interest?”

He said the government expects 2- 3 billion US dollars to flow in over the next six months. Sri Lankan’s are not allowed to have accounts in foreign banks without specific permission.

“We will ask no questions. In fact we will provide measures to make them feel safer,” he said.

“What we want to do is make Sri Lanka a financial hub,” he added.

The money will come through the banking system in accordance with internationally accepted rules. He added that Indians expatriates are also welcome to have accounts in Sri Lanka.

“We want them to think of Sri Lanka as their second home,” Karunanayake said.