Foreign currency salary earners up in arms over conversions by banks
Conversions under new export proceeds repatriation rules by CB
Some foreign currency earners say their moneys converted to rupee against their wishes and without knowledge
Banks say they are required to covert export proceeds in absence of written requests and documentary evidences to contrary
Sri Lanka’s service exporters, including resident Sri Lankans, who receive their earnings in foreign currencies through the banking channels, have started to protest against the conversions of their foreign currency earnings by banks, under the new export proceeds repatriation rules imposed by the Central Bank (CB).
In October, the CB issued fresh rules, which were published in Extraordinary Gazette No. 2251/42, requesting the exporters of both goods and services to convert their export proceeds into rupees, after meeting their authorised payments in foreign exchange, on or before the seventh day of the following month, effective from October 28.
It was the first time that the CB asked the services exports to convert their foreign exchange earnings into rupees.
The CB stipulated five such authorised payments to cover their foreign currency-related expenses and requirements before converting the remaining foreign currency into Sri Lankan rupees.
However, some of the foreign currency earning deposit holders said all of their foreign currency earrings in their forex accounts are converted to rupee against their wishes and without knowledge.
Responding to these claims, a top banker noted that the exporters and all resident foreign currency income earners are required to submit their foreign currency requirements with documentary evidences before the seventh day of the subsequent month, as per the instructions issued by the CB.
“The banks are required to convert export proceeds on the due date in the absence of written requests and documentary evidences from the exporter,” the banker said.
He pointed out that the documentary evidences are required to establish the necessity of foreign currency for the exporters’ commitments and requirements as per the instructions given by the CB.