The government will keep on offering huge benefits and concessions for Sri Lankan migrant workers who channel their money to Sri Lanka through proper banking channels, Minister of Labor and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara said.
Minister Nanayakkara requested Lankan migrant workers to be a part of the initiative to draw $500 million a month to the country to alleviate the problems faced by Sri Lankan people at present and in turn the government would offer them low cost loans for housing and many other benefits.
“We also propose to issue a vehicle import permit if a sum of 100,000 dollars is sent to Sri Lanka within a year and a tax relief grant too has been proposed.”
Minister Nanayakkara also said that steps are being taken to open a specialized job training center in Malaysia and a meeting to this effect was held between the Minister and Malaysian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Tang Yang Tai.
Meanwhile, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe told at the last month’s Monetary Policy press briefing that Sri Lanka would bring down the foreign currency note holdings of the public to USD 10,000 from USD 15,000, and will crack down on anyone holding foreign currency notes for over three months.
Dr. Nandalal also said that the holders of currency notes would be given a grace period of two weeks and within that period, they are expected to deposit the money in the banking system. Accordingly, currency holders are able to deposit money in foreign currency accounts in the banking system or convert that into rupee and keep that in rupee accounts.” Under Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange law, it is illegal to hold more than USD 15,000 worth of foreign currency by Sri Lankan citizens.
“We have observed that people tend to keep foreign currency at home in the recent past because of the grey market premiums.”
Illegal money transactions methods such as Undiyal and Hawala have put immense pressure on the local currency, depriving the country of getting usual remittances. He also mentioned that there is a positive development in the foreign exchange market mainly due to certain guidelines issued by the CBSL.