Qatar to develop & Invest in the tourism sector in Sri Lanka…. – The Island


By Sanath Nanayakkare

Small and medium exporters want the Central Bank (CBSL) to give them greater leeway on converting advance payments, they receive from their foreign clients, for confirmed export orders, into rupees.

“Under the existing export repatriation guidelines, we are required to convert such advance payments, into Sri Lanka rupees, within a time frame that does not take into consideration the processing time of export orders. When we receive USD advance payments for export orders, the banks, we deal with, say that they can’t hold USD funds, received as advance payments for export orders, beyond one month, without converting it into Sri Lanka rupees. Banks say they can’t do so because of CBSL’s exports repatriation guidelines. But this rule has hardly taken into account the processing time of our export orders and the credit periods available to us,” SME exporters told The Island.

“We generally get advance payments from our foreign buyers in terms of confirmed export orders, such as value-added products, which we ship to them in 30-45 days. The USD advance payments are credited to our companies’ accounts at the relevant banks. But the rules require us to convert the foreign currency, into Sri Lanka rupees, within a month, hence we cannot benefit from the transactional facilities offered to us by our freight forwarders and foreign intermediate goods suppliers,” they pointed out.

“You see, our freight cost is billed in USD after, 45 days from the date of the bill of lading. Our imported intermediate inputs are billed in USD, within a 30-day credit period. But the banks, we deal with, convert the USD advance payments, into Sri Lanka rupees, before we can settle these bills, under the rules stipulated by the CBSL. This means that the advance payments are converted into Sri Lanka rupees, before the export orders are shipped, and total export proceeds are remitted to Sri Lanka,” they said.

According to them, the Director, Department of Foreign Exchange, at CBSL, has informed them that advance payments, received in respect of exports, are also considered export proceeds and the requirements stipulated, in existing rules, shall be applicable for such export proceeds.

‘In this context, we seek the assistance of the CBSL to allow the above-mentioned requisite payments to be paid on due dates, after the advance is received. We request the CBSL to give a directive to the banks to hold these funds, without converting them, because it is vital for us to benefit from the available transactional facilities to keep our SME export businesses viable in the long term. The Central Bank and the commercial banks are on the same page as per the rules, but SME exporters are left at a disadvantage due to this. So we urge the CBSL to extend the time frame on the mandatory conversion of advance payments received in USD for SME export orders,” they said.


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