Send money home? Use official channels and get incentives in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka offers incentives to migrant workers who send remittances through official channels with the aim of cracking down on illegal transfers and replenishing depleted foreign exchange reserves.
Authorities announced this week that they will pay an additional incentive of 8 Sri Lankan rupees (4 US cents) per dollar for workers’ remittances that are converted in December, on top of an existing offer of 2 rupees. , when these funds are sent through approved banks and âother internationally accepted formal channelsâ.
These workers will also have access to retirement and insurance programs and tax-free concessions, central bank governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal told reporters in Colombo on Saturday.
Official remittances in September fell to $ 353.2 million from $ 702.7 million a year earlier, while remittances in the first nine months of this year fell 9.3 % to $ 4.6 billion, according to central bank data.
The sharp drop in remittances could be due to a “flight” to a gray market, which could be involved in transactions of a questionable nature, including drug trafficking, Cabraal said.
Sri Lanka, which faces $ 1.5 billion in debt maturities next year, is seeking to revive its Covid-hit tourism industry with the country reopening after extended shutdowns. It also depends on the increase in remittances, as more and more Sri Lankans move abroad to seek employment.
The monetary authority predicts that foreign exchange reserves will increase to $ 3.5 billion by the end of 2021. The stack fell 16% to $ 2.27 billion in October, the lowest since July 2009.
The bank accounts of those who distribute and receive money through illegal methods of transmitting money will be frozen with immediate effect, Cabraal said in a Twitter post on December 1.
âWe don’t want the rupee to depreciate further. We want to restore the previous installment numbers, âCabraal said.