Sri Lanka has approved gradually lifting some limits on converting rupees to foreign exchange for outward remittances and the new directions will be presented to parliament for approval, cabinet spokesperson Bandula Gunawardane said on Tuesday.

The island nation’s central bank had suspended permission to remit funds for overseas investments by Sri Lankan residents from mid-2020 except under certain conditions.

“Sri Lanka’s reserves have gradually improved and limits will be increased under the guidance of the central bank,” Gunawardane told reporters during the weekly cabinet briefing.

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The country of 22 million people is slowly recovering from its worst financial crisis in decades, which sent the economy into freefall with soaring inflation, currency depreciation and low foreign reserves.

Sri Lanka’s official reserves stood at $4.4 billion at the end of 2023, an increase of 22% according to the central bank. About $1.5 billion of the reserves is a Chinese yuan-denominated swap.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2024.

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