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DateLine Wednesday, 4 February 2009

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CB Treasury Bills/Bonds for Lankan migrant workers


Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal

The Central Bank (CB) has launched a program to sell and purchase Treasury Bills/Treasury Bonds issued by the Government for Sri Lanka’s diaspora and migrant workforce.

This will promote inward remittances to Sri Lanka.

“Currently more than 1.3 million Sri Lankans are abroad and they remit more than Rs 3 billion to the country.

Therefore, issuance of these instruments will ensure inflow of capital into the country by the Sri Lankan diaspora and migrant workforce,”Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal told a media conference in Colombo yesterday.

He said with the global recession funds worth more than US $ 1.2 trillion went out of Asia to the West but due to the prudent economic polices only US $ 450 million worth of foreign reserves went out of Sri Lanka. Therefore, authorized dealers have been informed and Sri Lankans living abroad have been granted permission to join this scheme and it is expected to raise US$ 500 million from this issue.

The total investment in Treasury Bills should not exceed 10 per cent of the total value of those two instruments outstanding at any given point of time. Investors are not utilizing funds available under this scheme as collateral.

However, they are permitted to utilize funds available in NRFC and RFC accounts or other foreign currency accounts in Sri Lanka to purchase Treasury Bills/Bonds under this scheme, he said.

Deputy Governor W.A. Wijewardean said with the launch of the scheme investors can withdraw and deposit funds at any time in any given currency and has introduced a special account, “TIERA-D” which could be opened in the name of the investor. The eligible individual investors or by two or more eligible investors held funds, is simple to invest in, he said.

The Central Bank has assured investors that they can withdraw or deposit their funds without any hindrance and they have set up a “Sinking Fund” under the patronage of CB’s Monetary Board to ensure payment of funds in any requested foreign currency, he said.

Wijewardena said they would organize many road shows and awareness programs in five continents. To facilitate these activities the CB appointed seven commercial banks as lead managers overseas.

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