Sri Lanka imposes import restrictions amidst foreign exchange crisis

Sri Lanka imposes import restrictions amidst foreign exchange crisis

Sri Lanka imposes import restrictions amidst foreign exchange crisis

Written by Hassaan Shazuli

19 Apr, 2020 | 9:37 am

COLOMBO (News1st): Sri Lanka’s finance ministry has imposed import restrictions on items such as rice, flour, sugar, liquor, and apparel products as the country faces a foreign exchange crisis.

The Sri Lankan rupee dropping to a record low of Rs 200.46 against the US dollar last week, before appreciating to Rs 195.47 on Friday, central bank data showed.

The finance ministry, in a gazette, said the customs department and commercial banks are “obliged” to suspend facilitating imports of 156 categories of products under certain payment methods.

Accordingly, products such as rice, flour, sugar, bakery products, apparel products, ceramics, and furniture, cannot be imported under Letters of Credits, Documents against Acceptance, Documents against Payment, and Advance payments.

Commercial banks have also been instructed to permit imports of 111 categories of items such as milk, dried vegetables, palm oil, electrical appliances and construction materials, only on a credit basis.

These regulations are to be in effect from April 16 to July 15.

On Sunday, the country’s excise department announced that it would permit liquor stores to be kept open when the curfew is not in effect.

Recently, the government hiked the special commodity levy on fruits for the next two months as the country’s economic woes worsened due to the novel coronavirus.

The recent decision to increase the special commodity levy on palm oil and coconut oil has, however, been suspended for three months.

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