Sri Lanka relaxes some forex controls

Mar 08, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has relaxed several exchange controls relating to opening bank accounts abroad, forward forex cover and imports margin deposits and prepayments from March 11 in the first phase of a forex liberalization plan announced earlier in the year. “This is the first series of relaxations,” Central Bank governor Nivard Cabraal said.

“We will be relaxing other controls in a phased manner.”

Exporters, persons earning foreign exchange abroad from approved investments, people providing professional services abroad, people doing any job abroad and people who go abroad for education or medical treatment have been allowed to open bank accounts.

Forward foreign exchange cover has been allowed for remittances, approved foreign lending and borrowings as well as trade in goods and services.

A 100 percent margin requirement against advanced payments for imports will be removed. Importers will be allowed to prepay.

Several different types of investment accounts for inward investments for shares and bonds will be unified into one account.

The central bank said in its monetary policy roadmap in January that over 2010 a series of foreign exchange controls would be relaxed.

Sri Lankan residents would be allowed to invest abroad u