Aug 17, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s central bank has relaxed some exchange controls allowing citizens and foreign residents to engage in a series of forex transactions without seeking permission from the state, improving economic freedoms. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka said the new moves would “enhance investor confidence, strengthen the foreign reserves in the long run and stabilize the foreign exchange market” allowing Sri Lanka to integrate more closely with the world.
Giving effect to an earlier budget proposal, foreigners are now allowed to invest in unit trusts (mutual funds) and foreign nationals resident in Sri Lanka who are paid in rupees will be allowed to convert their money and deposit in forex accounts.
Sri Lankans studying abroad will be allowed to take loans without first seeking permission from the central bank.
A resident Sri Lankan could now buy real estate from a non-resident Sri Lankan without seeking exchange control permission.
Selected ‘supermarkets’ or self service department stores will be allowed to change foreign exchange for rupees.
Sri Lanka brought draconian foreign exchange controls in 1952 soon after a so-called ‘soft-pegged’ central bank was created to make