Exporters Association of Sri Lanka

No: 50, Nawam Mawatha, Colombo 02, Sri Lanka.
Tel : (+94 11) 2421745 - 7 Fax : (+94 11) 2437477

Exporters' Association perturbed by CBSL allegations of 'hoarding' foreign currency

01st October 2021

The Exporters' Association of Sri Lanka (EASL) in a statement said yesterday it was deeply disturbed by the negative connotations and inferences cast on the export sector of the country by the Central Bank with its recent article in the media.

EASL, which is the export arm of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, said exports were the driver of the economy and at this crucial juncture where the export community was doing its best to support the foreign exchange earnings of the country, it was deeply disappointing to see these unfounded allegations being cast on the export sector as a whole.

EASL asserted that as a whole, exporters had been abiding by the rules of the country despite the number of difficulties they faced and this broad-brush tarnishing was neither useful, nor accurate.

EASL said in an era where digitalisation was being portrayed as the way forward, the CBSL would have access to the real time data on each and every exporter in terms of their export earnings (these are on the ASYCUDA system of the Sri Lanka Customs, and from remittances through the banking sector).

'It would be far more productive if the CBSL were to use this data to identify any companies which are not abiding by the regulations regarding both the repatriation of export proceeds and the conversion of at least 25% of the same. The CBSL should call these individual companies out and use the provisions of the law that are afforded to it, to take strong action against any such company,' asserted EASL.

The EASL said it would strongly support such an intervention rather than the generalisation of the entire export sector as companies that were 'hoarding' foreign currency. 'We stand ready to work with our membership and with the CBSL in this endeavour,' it emphasised.

'There are challenges such as dealing with NFE exports, reconciling of payments for exports by buyers, issues over cargo that has been 'shipped' but is sat on a dock in a port somewhere due to port and shipping delays all need to be considered before a decision is taken on whether a company is 'hoarding' its exchange earnings,' it noted.

EASL said it was unfortunate that at a time where exporters needed to focus their attention on the real problems of securing orders and delivering them to customers, attention now had to be focused on rescuing the image of the industry because of alleged infringements by some companies.

'We urge the CBSL to use the information and tools that it has within its armoury to correctly identify companies failing in their obligations to repatriate export proceeds and to take severe action against those companies,' EASL said in its statement.

DailyFT News article on 01st October 2021

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