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Sri Lanka to maintain healthy reserve position throughout Year 2022

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The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) said on Wednesday that measures being taken at present would ensure that by end of 2021, official reserves would remain above US dollars 3 billion. Thus the government and the Central Bank remain confident that expected inflows will materialise and the reserve position will remain at comfortable level throughout the year 2022.

The full text of the CBSL statement is as follows.

Despite the headwinds of the economic impact of COVID-19 and challenges posed by adverse developments in the external sector, the Sri Lankan economy showed resilience throughout 2021.

Also, Sri Lanka successfully met its debt obligations by repaying foreign loans, including the payments of the International Sovereign Bonds. Since the beginning of the year both the Central Bank and the Government have been actively pursuing possible avenues to replenish official reserves, with an emphasis on encouraging non-debt flows, so that the existing foreign debt could be managed in a sustainable manner. These efforts were accelerated since October 2021 with the announcement of the Six-Month Road Map for Ensuring Macroeconomic and Financial System Stability, which set out envisaged targets for build up of official reserves in the near term.

As articulated in the Six-Month Road Map, number of foreign exchange inflows are envisaged in the very near term. Major foreign exchange inflows to the Central Bank include SWAP facilities with Middle Eastern and other regional central banks amounting to about US dollars 2.0 billion.

The government is also in the process of securing government to government financing, syndicated loans as well as loans from multilateral organisations. In addition, the expected foreign exchange facilities that were negotiated during the high-level visits abroad made by authorities are also progressing well.

Further, the interventions made by the Central Bank on several facets of the foreign exchange market, such as incentive scheme introduced for workers’ remittances, and the repatriation and conversion requirements on account of exports proceeds will improve the liquidity in the domestic market, thereby enabling the Central Bank to build up official reserves further.

With the recent rise in departures for foreign employment and exponential growth observed in tourist arrivals, the external sector is expected to recover well in the period ahead and the pressures observed at present are expected to moderate with increased inflows to the economy.

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CBSL extends additional incentives for inward workers’ remittances

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), having considered the requests made by Sri Lankans

working abroad, has decided to continue the payment of additional Rs. 8.00 per US dollar for

worker remittances, paid in addition to the incentive of Rs. 2.00 per US dollar under “Incentive Scheme on Inward Workers’ Remittances”, for such workers’ remittances channelled through Licensed Banks and other formal channels and converted into Sri Lankan rupees, until 31.01.2022.

The decision to continue this additional incentive of Rs. 10.00 per US dollar is in response to the favourable developments observed in workers’ remittances so far during December 2021.

Further, CBSL has also decided to bear the transaction cost incurred by Sri Lankans working

abroad up to a defined limit when remitting their money to Sri Lanka through exchange houses and / or banks.

Accordingly, a large segment of Sri Lankans working abroad would now be able to remit their money to Sri Lanka without any charges. The operating instructions in this regard including the date of commencement will be issued by CBSL in due course. -CBSL



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Berendina bags Silver at the CA Sri Lanka 56th Annual Report Awards

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From left: Sarath Chandra Fernando - Director-BMIC, Charith Fernando - Deputy Managing Director-BMIC, Saman Manatunga - Acting Head of Finance-BMIC, Dilhara Jayasinghe - Assistant Manager Compliance & Corporate Relationship-BMIC, Ranel T Wijesinha - Past President CA Sri Lanka, Jagath Godakanda – Chairman-BMIC, Chaaminda Kumarasiri – Chairman-Annual Report Awards Committee 2021 and Chamila Cooray - Alternate Chairperson-Annual Report Awards Committee 2021

Berendina Micro Investments Company Limited, better known as BMIC among its microfinance clientele and partners, won the Silver award at the 56th Annual Report Awards organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), under the category of Finance Companies and Leasing Companies (total assets up to Rs. 20 Billion). Over 70 companies, ranging from conglomerates, multinationals to non-profit organisations, and SMEs, were honoured at this year’s competition for their excellence in financial reporting. The gala event of this year held on 09th December 2021 at BMICH. Being the first Microfinance Company licensed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, BMIC is no stranger to this annual competition having won a prestigious Gold Award in 2017 and Merit Award in 2018.

The award from CA Sri Lanka is the fourth award to be won by BMIC during the financial year 2021, having won 3 international awards, namely, ‘The Best Microfinance Company in Sri Lanka’ and ‘The Best Agricultural Lending Company in Sri Lanka’ awards from the UK based Global Banking and Finance Review magazine as well as ‘Donor’s Choice Award’ at the international competition conducted by SCALE Green Creative Adaptation Awards in USA in 2021. Focused on poverty alleviation, BMIC as a Microfinance Institution (MFI) extends micro-credit facilities and enterprise development services that ensure long term sustainability and growth of business ventures of its clients, providing loans at the lowest interest rate compared to other MFIs in Sri Lanka. At present, BMIC manages a loan portfolio of over Rs. 3.1 billion and an annual turnover exceeding Rs. 900 million. It supports well over 70,000 microfinance clients through its 30 Branches in 11 districts. The CA award bestowed on BMIC is another testament to its commitment in continuously supporting its clients to overcome the obstacles during difficult times, while preserving its transparency in reporting, corporate governance, sustainability and social responsibility.

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SLIC repositions Business Club insurance with more focus on SMEs

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Sri Lanka Insurance last week announced repositioning of its Business Club insurance, a trade insurance policy which provides a comprehensive business insurance solution to fit for the diverse insurance need of small and Medium enterprises (SME).

“According to the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka SMEs are considered to be the backbone of the economy with a contribution up to 52% of the GDP. SMEs play a crucial role to battle the poverty in the country providing employment opportunities for the youth as the SMEs does not require capital than large firms. Further SMEs increase tax bases much quickly when compared to large firms,” an SLIC news release explained.

“Recognizing the importance and vital contribution made to the economy by SMEs, Sri Lanka Insurance went back to the drawing board to refine the “Business Club” comprehensive insurance solution to cater to the unique requirements of the businesses,” it said.”

“Therefor the insurance solution was developed to reinforce the success and safety of the businesses.”

The insurance plan will provide protection for any businesses be it retail, grocery store, supermarket, pharmacy or any other covering many perils inclusive of environmental dangers such as floods, cyclone, fire, lightning as well as other factors such as breaking and burglary, SLIC explained.

The release further said an array of main covers are available for businesses inclusive of fire and/or lightening, explosion, malicious damage, aircraft damage, earthquakes along with the free covers such as cost of removal of debris, loss of rental, architect, surveyors, consulting engineering fees, cost of alternative accommodation etc..

A range of additional covers are also available at an additional premium for businesses to choose. Money insurance during transit and while at premises, accidental breakage of glass cover, sign board cover, electronic equipment all risk cover are among the many additional covers offered.

Interested parties who’d like SLIC to assist in developing an insurance solution that covers the business risks can contact SLIC call center on 011 2 357 357.

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German fruit and tea importers stresses importance of packaging

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Jan Paul Bethke, a leading German importer of Sri Lankan fruits and tea, at a recent

EDB-organized event, urged Sri Lankan agri-product exporters to practice effective and superior packaging if they are to be successful in terms of capturing markets in Europe.

“If you package your product well, include a QR code (incorporating extensive details such as the farmer who grew products), and convey a personalized story, customers in advanced markets such as Germany and Europe would develop an affinity with your products”, Bethke noted.

He made these remarks at a Jan. 12 forum forum organized by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) on packaging and value addition strategies to enhance Sri Lanka’s agri-product exports to Germany, an EDB news release said.

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