Local News: The government has taken measures to introduce several reforms to get the country back on track, said Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena at a government information department media briefing held last (19).
There are currently 4.4 million school children and university students confined to their homes and for the benefit of these students there will be a television channel operating from 8.00 am (20) until midnight (12.00 midnight).
Furthermore, the object of the import and export control gazette issued on the 18th was to preserve the stability of the rupee and to prevent depreciation of the rupee.
The minister noted that by these steps the government aims at reducing the amount of money leaving the country and increasing the foreign currency flowing into the country.
This gazette has specified the import limits and bans and Minister Gunawardena noted that as the government does not have sufficient foreign exchange to spend at this point they have decided to ban the import of certain items which could be produced locally for a period of three months. Among the banned items are vehicles, fridges, luxury goods and fruits and vegetables that could be manufactured locally, pepper, ulundu and all unessential items.
He also stated that with the aim of deterring the import of certain goods the taxes have been increased, but added that all raw materials required for small, medium and large scale business operations and industries have been allowed to be imported without any hindrance.
Therefore, he said that there would not be any shortage of consumer goods or raw materials required for industries.
He requested all exporters to submit an appeal to the Finance Ministry Secretary in the event they are facing any issues due to the current regulations.
The government has also commenced special bank accounts at the Central Bank to encourage the inward remittance of foreign exchange to the country where those who hold their money in the account for over six months would receive an interest which is 2% higher than the regular interest rates and these deposits would be exempted from all taxes.
Minister Gunawardena therefore, appealed to all Sri Lankans residing overseas and foreign nationals to deposit their funds in Sri Lanka as if foreign deposits flow into the country the dollar value could depreciate to around 185 against the rupee.