Sri Lanka’s merchandise export sector has shown a notable improvement in 2021 compared to the pandemic-affected 2020. As per the latest Customs data, export earnings have averaged US dollars 985 million during the eight months ending August 2021 compared to a monthly average of US dollars 837 million in 2020, while the average earnings have amounted to US dollars 1,064 million during June-August 2021. This is an appreciable development as the merchandise export sector (comprising diverse products) is the largest foreign exchange earner in most countries, including Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has had a trade deficit each year since 1977, and the gap between merchandise imports and exports is typically financed by other inflows to the external current account (such as tourism and other services inflows as well as workers’ remittances), and financial inflows (such as investments and borrowing).
In this background, some recent developments in the foreign exchange market have raised several concerns, particularly as some of these typical avenues of foreign exchange inflows have been affected due to pandemic-related pressures, as explained below:
a) Compared to the monthly average exports as reported by Customs (goods flow) of US dollars 985 million during the eight months ending August 2021, the monthly average repatriation of export proceeds during July/August 2021 has been US dollars 640 million as reported by banks (financial flow). Accordingly, there has been a significant gap of US dollars 345 million between these two figures. This observation therefore, raises the serious question as to whether exporters comply with the regulation on 100 per cent repatriation of export proceeds.
b) It also appears that due to an undue speculation on exchange rate movements, there has been a reluctance to convert export earnings during the period from January 2020 to July 2021, thereby limiting inflows to the domestic foreign exchange market, which situation has then resulted in a buildup of foreign currency deposit balances with the banking sector by a significant US dollars 1.9 billion. In addition, with low rupee interest rates, some exporters have found it more lucrative to borrow and import to meet their input requirements, leading to further tension in the domestic market.
c) As per the data available, it would also be noted that if there had been a 100 per cent repatriation and 100 per cent conversion of export proceeds, the monthly export foreign exchange flow into the domestic market would have been US dollars 985 million, and with the average expenditure on imports of US dollars 1,670 million, that would have resulted in a monthly average gap of US dollars 685 million. This could have been easily financed using other foreign exchange inflows into the country.
d) Based on the above past statistics in general, and the experience during July/August 2021 in particular, the monthly average gap between the conversions of export proceeds with an incomplete repatriation and expenditure on imports has been quite alarming.
It would also be fair to state that there is a necessity for a country to ensure that the foreign exchange generated through export activities are duly repatriated into the country and converted into its currency. In fact, many emerging market economies have repatriation and conversion requirements imposed on merchandise and services exports. Country experiences vary, and over time, with the buildup of a country’s foreign exchange reserves through such non-debt inflows, countries have also gradually relaxed these requirements. Regional economies such as Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Thailand have export proceeds repatriation requirements currently in place varying from 3 months to 2 years of the export. Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Thailand have repatriation requirements on both goods and services export proceeds, while in Nepal, Malaysia and Indonesia, the repatriation requirement is only applicable on goods exports. Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Thailand have rules on conversion to respective local currencies in different percentages based on nature and the amount of repatriated export proceeds and their utilisation. Such repatriation and conversion requirements ensure the fulfillment of the demand for foreign currency, including intermediate and investment goods imports directly required by the export sector, as well as essential fuel and medical requirements of the country, which are indirect inputs to all sectors including the export sector.
Therefore, it would be reasonable for the Government (which supports the export sector through lower taxes and numerous other incentives) and the Central Bank (which is expected to deliver price and economic stability as well as financial system stability) to take steps to ensure the complete repatriation of export proceeds within a reasonable period and the conversion of inflows of export proceeds into the local currency, including the proceeds already accumulated in exporters’ accounts, so that the true purpose of exports is realised.
As would be well appreciated, an export would realise its objective only when it finally culminates in the flow of foreign exchange that is generated by the export into the country’s financial system in its local currency. That objective would obviously not be fulfilled if the final conversion of export proceeds into local currency does not take place. Accordingly, steps must be taken to strengthen the systems to ensure monitoring and to implement measures that lead to this objective. It is only then that the gap between the foreign exchange liquidity provided through exports and the foreign exchange liquidity demand for imports would reduce to the level as published in the Central Bank’s own reports.
Sri Lanka Insurance holds “Minimuthulanthaya” for Children’s Day 2021
Sri Lanka Insurance holds “Minimuthulanthaya” an exclusive series of informative and entertaining sessions for children and their parents commemorating the World Children’s Day 2021. The programme was held from 01st to 3rd of October 2021 via Sri Lanka Insurance official Facebook page attracting thousands of enthusiastic children across the country.
The programme was conducted with the support of Sri Lanka Insurance Minimuthu Education Plans to inspire the younger generation to achieve their dreams. The Minimuthu Education Plan provides financial assistance for children to pursue their dreams setting a strong foundation for child’s future.
The first session of the series “Super Parents”, an informative discussion on child education, mental health and nutrition was held for parents on 1st of October with the participation of Ms.Christine Jayakody Psychologist, Mr.Upali Ginasekara former Principal of Royal College Colombo and Principal of Polymath College, Dr.Sujeewa Wickramasinghe Nutritionist and Mr.Amintha De Silva Visionary Guru. The programme was well received by parents participated and the programme was followed by a Q & A session where many important issues were discussed regarding the education, health and wellness of children.
The other sessions of Minimuthulanthaya was held during the weekend allowing children as well as their parents to enjoy a quality time together. “The Artist” session and “The Entertainer” session was conducted live in both Sinhala and Tamil mediums teaching and allowing children to express their talents in drawing and creativeness.
The Mastermind session was conducted to interact with masterminds with knowledge about mathematics, science, history, general knowledge and various other fields.
The Computer Wizard session was the main attraction of the whole series as many kids with avid interest towards computer programming joined the session to learn programming.
The sessions were concluded asking the participants to submit their own creative work to stand a chance to win valuable gifts from Sri Lanka Insurance and is receiving tremendous response in return.
BoardPAC certified one of Asia’s Best Workplaces by Great Place to Work
BoardPAC, the Sri Lanka-based multinational board meeting automation solutions company, reached another milestone recently when it was featured for the first time in the prestigious Best Workplaces in Asia 2021 list – Small and Medium category, published by Great Place to Work.
A company news release said this recognition came hot on the heels of BoardPAC being certified as a ‘Great Workplace’ by Great Place to Work in Sri Lanka for the third consecutive year in 2021.
“The internationally acclaimed list follows strict criteria in acknowledging the best of the best in terms of workplaces in the Asia region. BoardPAC’s recognition is based on extensive ratings provided by its employees in an anonymous survey and a culture assessment conducted by the Great Place to Work organisation, and upon having achieved the globally accredited cut-off scores,” the release added..
Commenting on being placed on this esteemed list, BoardPAC’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms Lakmini Wijesundera stated: “We are honored to be selected into the Asia’s Best Workplaces List. Our team’s happiness is key to our success. The well-crafted GPTW Survey helps us with an accurate analysis of employees’ sentiments. The emphasis by GPTW on Trust, Pride, Camaraderie, and Care has been valuable in our efforts to improve continuously. GPTW has become a hallmark of our positive work culture. A big thank you to our team for the contribution to this great culture.”
Great Place to Work provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognise outstanding workplace cultures, and is the global authority on high-trust and high-performance workplace cultures. This process is carried out via proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programmes, including a list of best workplaces and workplace reviews. The Best Workplaces in Asia 2021 list can be viewed at
BoardPAC is recognised for driving simple, secure, sustainable, and experiential communications for Board and Executive members. BoardPAC serves a host of fortune 500 companies worldwide, with over 50,000 users globally and a presence in over 40 countries.
Leading Indian corporations such as the Bombay Stock Exchange, Power Grid Corporation of India, IDBI Bank, Container Corporation of India, and LIC Housing Finance Limited are already users of BoardPAC. It has also been deployed by some of the strongest brands across the world such as the Axiata Group of companies, Deloitte and Maxis among others. BoardPAC clientele span the largest banks and sector leaders in the Asia Pacific region such as Prudential, Petronas, Maybank, Hong Leong Group, MSIG, BSN, Bumi Armada, RHB Banking Group, Affin Bank, and Bursa Malaysia – the stock exchange of Malaysia.
In Sri Lanka over 150 of the top corporate entities including John Keells, SriLankan Airlines, MAS Holdings, Bank of Ceylon, Commercial Bank, Hemas, Carsons, Softlogic, Sri Lanka Telecom, Sampath Bank, National Savings Bank, Nations Trust Bank and Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka as well as the SEC and Colombo Stock Exchange use BoardPAC.
UN-recognized pioneer leads Hayley’s Fabric’s greening thrust
Leonie Vaas, a chemical engineer who’s the Manager of Sustainability and Innovation at Hayley’s Fabrics made history last June when she was selected from thousands across the globe to be designated as one of just 10 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Pioneers by the United Nations (UN) Global Compact for 2021.
With an extensive range of experience in green house gas (GHG) reduction and ensuring carbon neutrality, life cycle perspective of products, plant and process improvements with sustainable technologies and textile chemical management, Leonie has paved the path for local sustainability champions to be recognized on a global platform, a news release from Hayley’s Fabrics said.
She primarily focuses on five key areas at Hayleys Fabric, including driving efforts in reducing GHG emissions, water preservation, improving efficiency with sustainable solutions for effluent treatment plants, building and training sustainability teams, as well as developing and applying new processes for ‘better and greener’ products, the release said.
Sustainable business starts with a sustainable culture
“I’ve always had a passion for the environment, and so from the start, I gravitated towards work in sustainability. Once I joined Hayleys Fabric, I was challenged and supported to link sustainability with innovation properly. Here, the opportunity to have a continuous learning experience, to be at the very forefront of sustainable innovation and part of shaping a greener future – is tremendous.
“We have a strong leadership commitment that all employees evenly match, and ultimately, that culture and enthusiasm to take the lead on sustainability are what drives our success. Sustainability at its core is driven by the higher management and we were able to come this far with the support and guidance of our CEO and Managing Director Rohan Goonetilleke. Because of this unique dynamic, we were able to rapidly commercialise our sustainable innovations, which gave me a chance to showcase what Hayleys and Sri Lanka have to offer the world. When you build the right culture, everything else flows from there,” Vaas said.
A team committed to sustainable innovation
True sustainability is about more than a single innovation. Leonie cites a host of extraordinary initiatives implemented by the Hayleys Fabric team collectively aimed at securing global leadership in sustainable textile manufacturing.
“We treat 100% of the water used for production to maintain strict compliance with certified and audited commitments on Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals. This standard is recognised globally, beyond Sri Lanka’s strict national regulations,” Leonie noted.
As a signatory to the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming at 1.5°C, Hayleys Fabric has already cut its carbon footprint by 15%. This was achieved by installing the largest private sector rooftop solar power system in Sri Lanka at the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Horana. With 9,000 solar panels installed across 18,000 square metres, the system has contributed 4.5 Mw to the National Grid since June 2021.
Leonie finds the company’s future focus on re-engineering its value chain truly inspirational. “Our team is looking at substituting production supplies with recycled polyester, organic cotton, and other bio-degradable materials as well as augmenting production capabilities to create textiles from yarn comprised of recycled plastic.”
The innovation team recently launched an app to enable end-to-end traceability for its recycled PET fabrics, mostly supplied locally to Sri Lanka’s largest apparel manufacturers. This will allow local producers and global retailers to tag individual pieces of clothing with a QR code, which customers can scan to learn exactly how many discarded PET bottles were used to create the item and exactly which part of Sri Lanka, the bottles were collected from.
Hayleys Fabric also connects employees with key sustainability issues through culture building, webinars, and training and awareness building workshops.
“Keeping key issues like waste segregation, pollution, and energy efficiency top of mind, ensures that the entire workforce stays engaged with the company’s quest to become a global leader in sustainable textile production. As local leaders, we must always continue to find ways to become global pioneers.”
Central Bank looking at proposal to permit dollar-paid vehicle imports
Confessions of a global gypsy – Part 20
CBK had an impulsive streak but was gracious in admitting mistakes
7-billion-rupee diamond heist; Madush splls the beans before being shot
The Burghers of Ceylon/Sri Lanka- Reminiscences and Anecdotes
Unfit, unprofessional, fat Sri Lankans
Opinion6 days ago
SRI LANKA @ EXPO 2020: Paradise Lost!
news7 days ago
Reports of possible terror attack: ACJU requests Muslims to pray for Sri Lanka
Sports7 days ago
Antonians in UAE excel in 3×3 basketball
Midweek Review5 days ago
City University and utilisation of existing higher education institutions
Features7 days ago
Molnupiravir: A Pill to Treat COVID-19
Business7 days ago
Economist urges all citizens to hold the government accountable for public spending
Features6 days ago
For better research in Humanities and Social Sciences
Sports3 days ago
Basketball Federation signs ‘safe sport’policy