Central Bank Holds Up International Payments To Sri Lankan Bank Accounts For "Screening"

February 11, 2015

Central Bank, under the new government, has taken measures to hold up international payments to Sri Lankan bank accounts for a "screening" process.

Central Bank sources said all incoming funds to Sri Lankan accounts are now channelled through Central Bank to local banks in the country.

However, the underlying issue with this process is the lack of effective communication mechanism to convey this message to parties who are involved in international payments, including Sri Lankans working overseas. As a result,  a considerable number of international payments are now in a bottleneck due to lack of awareness on this matter.

Under this initiative, payments that are made to Sri Lankan bank accounts from foreign countries will be held back until completion of a questionnaire given by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. This whole process could take at least three to four days, or even more.

The new questionnaire, introduced by the Central Bank, is as follows

"1. Detailed purpose of the payment

2. Include the vessel name and IMO number

3. Description of the goods, port of origin, destination port,

transit-through country, exact dates of the voyage for this payment.

4. Provide an attestation that the payment has nothing to do with any of these countries: Cuba, Iran, Burma, North Korea, Syria or Sudan"

Our attempts to contact new Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran in this regard, did not bear fruit.

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