Cabraal on relaxing Sri Lanka’s import restrictions


Sri Lanka’s central bank chief says that the government does not want to keep the import restrictions which are currently in place for too long and that he would like to see them being eased out after a certain period as the restrictions do have an impact on investor confidence.

During a live interview with “Bloomberg Markets: Asia,” the newly re-appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabraal was asked about the capital controls, import restrictions and much longer he believes they need to be in place.

He stated that they want to give a clear guideline on that when the central bank formulates its economic stability roadmap, which is being prepared, as the import restrictions do have some impact as far as the overall confidence levels on investors are concerned.

“We don’t want to keep that going for too long. But at the same time, we also want to make sure our rupee stays stable and any additional imports could damage that.”

“That’s a very careful balance that we need to strike over here,” Mr. Cabraal said.

The governor admitted that they are aware that imports need to be eased once again and hinted that the timeline for this would likely be revealed in the coming days through the roadmap which will be unveiled by the central bank.

“We have mainly curtailed the imports of vehicles, but at the same time the other import restrictions have come in the form of a 100% margin that we have imposed in certain non-essential goods, which we had some time ago as well.”

“But I would like to see that being eased out at a certain period. And that period I would probably be looking to announce with the rest of the Central Bank team in the next few days,” he said.

Speaking further on the roadmap which is to be unveiled “in the next few days”, he said it will take into consideration the different stakeholders and their expectations so that the central bank can give them a clear guidance as to how they should move in these turbulent times.

“I’m confident that this could be done and we are looking forward to the challenge as well in a way.”  – ada derana


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