Sri Lanka exporters protest gazette on repatriation of funds

Apr 25, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lankan exporters have begun to protest after the Finance Ministry issued a gazette notification requiring the repatriation of funds from exports that are retained abroad.

“As part of current policy measures taken to improve the foreign exchange inflows to the country, the Hon. Minister of Finance has issued the Gazette Notification (Extraordinary) No: 1960/66 dated 01 April 2016,” the notfication said.

It contains three clauses:
1) Repealing the exemption granted in respect of payment for goods exported from Sri Lanka in the Extraordinary Gazette Notification No. 759/15 dated 26 March 1993.

2) Requiring repatriation of any such payment retained abroad as at 01 April 2016 to Sri Lanka not later than 01 May 2016.

3) Requiring any such payment received on or after 01 April 2016 to be repatriated to Sri Lanka within 90 days from the date of exportation of goods.

These proceeds may be credited to any Foreign Currency Account maintained in the name of the exporter in the Domestic Banking Unit of a Licensed Commercial Bank or sold to a LCB, the notification states.

Without amounts specified in the notification, this amounts to a general decree to exporters, some expoters said, while others point out that that there is a lack of consistency in policy.

With continued pressure on foreign reserves, analysts say Sri Lanka is tightening its procedures with exporters to increase fund inflows into the island and tackle the problem of money stashed outside the country.