By Sandun A Jayasekera
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa briefed the cabinet on Wednesday on the success of the economic fundamentals adopted to face the challenges posed by the Covid 19 pandemic and said Sri Lanka’s exports revenue had overtaken the imports revenue for the first time since the open economy was introduced in 1977, Cabinet spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardana said yesterday.
In June, Sri Lanka’s exports revenue has topped US$ 1,020 million while US$ 961 million has been spent on imports, saving US$ 59 million after four decades, Minister Gunawardana told the media at the weekly cabinet news briefing.
“The government has been able to achieve this success after the imposition of import restrictions imposed soon after Gotabaya Rajapaksa assumed presidency in November last year. The Rajapaksa government clamped down on the import of food items, fruits, vegetables, spices and other commodities which can be produced locally. You may recall how the Yahapalana government issued permits to import kites, Vesak lanterns, candles, toys, spices, pepper and even cashew with no concern at all on the unrestricted draining of foreign reserves Minister
Uncontrolled imports had contributed to the rapid depreciation of the rupee against the dollar under the Yahapalana government and as a result, the rupee devalued to Rs. 180 by 2020 from Rs. 131 against the dollar in 2014, he added.
Minister Gunawardana said one of the main objective of import restriction was to increase foreign reserves and thereby appreciate the value of the rupee against the dollar.
President Rajapaksa is of the view that restriction of non essential or highly luxurious imports has begun to pay dividends. Despite the global recession brought about by the Covid 19 pandemic, Sri Lanka has been able to keep the rupee around Rs. 180 against the dollar and export more than imports. This will appreciate the rupee against the dollar and contribute to bring down the cost of living, Minister Gunawardana emphasized.
- Sri Lanka’s exports revenue has overtaken the imports revenue for the first time since the open economy was introduced in 1977