State Minister of Samurdhi, Household Economy, Micro Finance, Self Employment and Business Development Shehan Semasinghe today informed Parliament that Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves stood at USD 1,587 million, as of November.
The information was revealed in a document tabled in Parliament by the State Minister, in response to a question raised under Standing Orders.
Speaking in Parliament pertaining to assets including money and gold, State Minister Semasinghe said the country’s economy was affected not only due to the global economic crisis stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, but also due to the management of the economy by various governments.
The State Minister noted Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves were at USD 1.0095 billion, International Monetary Fund reserves were at USD 67 million, special purchases account funds were at USD 127.2 million, gold reserves at USD 382.2 million while other reserves were at USD 1.1 million.
Commenting on the currency swap agreements reached with foreign countries to overcome the dollar shortage, State Minister Semasinghe said the Central Bank of Sri Lanka is in the process of engaging in a foreign currency swap worth over USD 1 billion with the Qatar Central Bank.
State Minister Semasinghe said the government has obtained USD 400 million from a currency swap with the Reserve Bank of India under the SAARC Finance Network.
The State Minister said USD 300 million has also been obtained through joint loan schemes.
He said procedures have been set up for commercial banks to engage in currency swaps amounting to USD 500 million.
The State Minister said the government has set up procedures to secure USD 500 million worth remittances by expat workers.
On a separate note, commenting on the benefits of Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa’s state visit to India, State Minister Semasinghe claimed Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa will secure financial aid from India for the purchase of crude oil, essential items and medicine at the end of the official visit.
He also claimed financial institutions including the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank have agreed to extend their support.
Furthermore, the State Minister said the government is ready to release foreign reserves required to release containers of goods which do not have foreign import bans which are currently held up at the Port of Colombo, if there are any restrictions on the importation into the country.
State Minister Semasinghe said the Ministry of Finance and the Secretary of the Treasury have informed relevant importers to declare goods they imported claiming the government will provide support, if importers provide necessary information.
The State Minister said the government requested the relevant information adding however there has been a delay, and the government can take prompt action if it receives necessary information.