Some officials at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) want Sri Lanka to be administered like North Korea and such a rule cannot be approved of, said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, responding to Ruling Party MP Wimal Weerawansa in Parliament yesterday (06).
Weerawansa: The Foreign Exchange Act was fully liberalised in 2017 by Minister Ravi Karunanayake during your government. That means if someone earns foreign exchange, it is not necessary to have it brought to Sri Lanka, nor was there any penalisation for not bringing it in. So they are not brought in. They can be parked elsewhere. The Central Bank officials were helpless when they went to Courts to take action against someone who did not bring in foreign exchange. In a crisis situation like this, the bill has not even been touched. It should be prioritised than the 22A. Why is to not amended?
PM: Actually, when it was implemented, our country received more foreign exchange, if we look at 2018 – 2019. Money did not come to Sri Lanka with the old method. Nor had anyone brought in. It is under this new method can money be brought in and taken back. We brought a law that exists in all other countries. That law was not a different one, but one parallel to the laws of every country in the world. You and I may have a different opinion about it, but because of this, the amount of forex entering the country soared.
Weerawansa: When the current Governor of the Central Bank came to the CoPE, or some Committee like that, he has mentioned that due to the amendment of the Foreign Exchange Act, on average, more than US $300 million per month will not flow in to the country. It is not me who said this, the Central Bank Governor did. You say no and that the inflow of forex has soared. There is no way to inflow, the law encourages not to bring in forex but to establish them in other countries. So call in a discussion and take an action.
PM: No matter who said it, I will not agree. Even MP Harsha De Silva may confirm it. Money inflow soared due to the Foreign Exchange Management Act. This exists in every country. Other countries care less for arguments like these.
Weerawansa: Not in India.
PM: We do not wish to do everything India does. This is suitable for the country for now. This may increase. In fact, certain officials at the Central Bank has a problem with the administration. They want to live in a North Korea. I do not agree to it.