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Blanket amnesty for money repatriated from Swiss Banks: FinMin

2 October 2015 06:30 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Ravi Karunanayake


By Chandeepa Wettasinghe
The government extended an olive branch to all Sri Lankan nationals, allowing them to repatriate all foreign investments with no questions asked.
“Please bring back your money to Sri Lanka. We won’t ask any questions and we will guarantee safety. We have already instructed the Exchange Control Department, the Central Bank and the commercial banks,” Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said yesterday.
He said that the government took the decision after the Union Bank of Switzerland downgraded Sri Lanka and two other countries and ordered the closure of all accounts of these countries in its banking system.
“If the Swiss are asking you to leave, bring them here instead of taking them to Dubai or Singapore. You can put them in a current account, or invest in bonds, the stock market, or put them in savings,” Karunanayake said.
He added that the Sri Lankan Diaspora alone had foreign investments of US$10-15 billion, and the government expects US$2-3 billion in inflows in the next 6 months.
“We already have the confidence of the world with the outcomes in Geneva and New York. So place your confidence in us. You’re getting zero percent interest there. Come and get 3-4 percent interest here,” he said.
He went on to say that this would be the solution to the low local savings which is stifling local investments.
“Instead of paying foreigners interest on bonds, we want local funds,” he said.
Nearly 50 percent of the country’s debt is from foreign sources.
Karunanayake expressed that this would be the first step in creating a financial hub in Sri Lanka, and said that Indians too will be requested to bring their savings here, capitalizing on the close working relationship between the Prime Ministers of the two countries.
He added that success from this exercise would strengthen the rupee. The rupee has fallen 7 percent against the dollar this year after the Central Bank decided to stop intervention to maintain foreign reserves.
Karunanayake was unable to comment on the current strength of foreign reserves.
“We are not desperate. If we are desperate, we can take more drastic measures,” he said.

Transfers on disciplinary grounds

Karunanayake said that the Central Bank staff transfers that had taken place are on disciplinary grounds.
“They need to be disciplined,” he said, and added that the staff concerned could not be let off the hook with minute disciplinary action.
 Mirror Business reported yesterday that over 100 officials from below senior management levels to minor officials were transferred from their positions.
 The transfers were enforced without any prior notice, as the officers were notified of their new responsibilities only Wednesday morning.
 Prior to that, over 15 senior Central Bank officials were transferred, again without any advance notice.
 At a press briefing held at the Central Bank this Monday, Governor Mahendran maintained that these transfers are routine.
 He said that this year’s rotational transfer procedure was delayed due to the elections. He noted that those officials who had completed five years in one department were eligible for transfers.

LTV reset to 90%

The loan-to-value ratio (LTV) on vehicle imports was increased to 90 percent from the 70 percent cap set last month.
“There are too many vehicles on the roads and we’re being criticized, but it’s an individual freedom. But the purchase must be done well and maintained well,” Karunanayake said.
 The current low-interest regime has allowed finance companies to provide a 100 percent lease on motor vehicle imports until the Central Bank intervened in September.
 However, Karunanayake said that to prevent excessive ad-hoc buying which usually takes place before a budget, customers must deposit 100 percent of the vehicle value in a non-interest, account when opening a letter of credit.  
“This will take effect when the banks open on Monday,” he said. 
He added that from January to June 2015 US$744 million worth of vehicles were imported compared to US$377 million year-on-year.
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See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

 
  • pdias Saturday, 03 October 2015 07:29 AM

    You are opening a flood gate to all corrupt politicos to bring illegal money via SWISS banks to Srilanka.


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