Sunday, October 2, 2022

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Sri Lanka considers joining Russia’s payment system Mir – Transport Minister

The Sri Lankan authorities are discussing with Moscow the possibility of joining Russian payment system MIR, the discussion is underway between the Central Banks, Sri Lankan Minister of Transport and Highways and Minister of Mass Media Bandula Gunawardena has told Sputnik.

“Yes, yes, our embassy tried to do that because you want to [have] easy payment system… We will try to do that, we can get Central Bank’s approval. After that it will be a success,” Gunawardena said when asked whether the Mir payment system would be launched in Sri Lanka.

The minister added that the discussion is underway between the Central Banks of the two countries, adding that “we must get Central Bank’s approval. After that, we will announce that.”

He noted that the Sri Lankan authorities would like Russian tourists to be able to pay by card while visiting the country.

Visa and Mastercard suspended operations in Russia on March 6 against the backdrop of Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine. Since then, the holders of Visa and Mastercard bank cards issued in Russia can no longer pay for goods and services outside Russia.

Connecting Sri Lanka to the financial remittance system of the Bank of Russia and introducing the MIR payment system on the island would allow direct financial communication and currency exchange, cut transactional losses, and makes the process of bank transfers secure and stable, asenior official of the Finance Ministry said.

He npted that implementation of these mechanisms in Sri Lanka would have a boosting impact on the tourism industry. There are many opportunities for the Sri Lankan business in Russia as well. Russia remains one of the top export markets for the Sri Lankan tea industry.

There are prospects in IT services and coconut based products can be used in the Russian agricultural sector.”

. Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia Prof Janitha Liyanage said her aim is to promote local SME sector products to Russia which currently contributes a negligible share (5%) to National export volume.

Secretary General/CEO of FCCISL stressed that despite long-standing political and economic relations trade volumes have not substantially grown up.

“This clearly shows that there has been a need to develop a strategic business plan at the government level between two countries and requested to resume the third session of the inter-governmental commission at an early date.”

He noted that the objective of this forum was also to break the negative sentiments promoted by social media all around them.

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