Confusion and chaos around Cabraal’s press conference
BY Shenal Fernando
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and the Treasury have denied rumors that a press conference was scheduled by CBSL to be held yesterday (22), where CBSL Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal and ministry secretary of Finance SR Attygalle were to address the country’s current economic situation, which was, according to talks, subsequently canceled due to “unavoidable circumstances”, Morning business learns reliably.
However, when Morning business contacted the government’s Information Ministry, they said such a press conference was scheduled for yesterday and was subsequently canceled.
Speaking to us, CBSL denied that such a press conference took place yesterday and claimed that they were not aware of the origins of this rumor.
Further, responding to our questions in this regard, Cabraal said no such press conference was scheduled for yesterday and claimed that there appears to be a misunderstanding.
Likewise, Attygalle denied having knowledge of such a press conference and claimed that he was not informed or invited to attend such a press conference.
These rumors emerged at a time when the public and the business sector have increasingly called on the government and CBSL to reveal how they will cope with the current economic situation in the country where foreign exchange liquidity has become an issue. major due to Sri Lanka’s foreign crisis. reserves fell to their lowest level in 12 years, at $ 1.6 billion at the end of November.
Sri Lanka’s official foreign exchange reserves fell to $ 1.6 billion at the end of November, down 30 percent from October, according to CBSL data. In addition, of the remaining reserves, liquid currency reserves only amount to $ 1.0 billion, which is enough to cover just about three weeks of imports, according to CBSL data.
As a result of the decline in the country’s foreign exchange reserves, the government decided on Monday (20) to increase the price of fuel in order to control fuel consumption, which, according to the government, is one of the main reasons for the decline. foreign exchange reserves as the country currently needs around $ 350-400 million in fuel imports per month. This fuel increase is expected to affect most commodity prices and service charges.
The public and the business sector have asked the governor of CBSL to disclose the current status of proposed foreign currency inflows during the period October to December, in accordance with the CBSL biannual roadmap. Although the governor of the CBSL has repeatedly promised to keep the public apprised of the status of the currency flows targeted under the roadmap, such an update has yet to be made.
In its six-month roadmap, CBSL revealed that it would receive $ 11.45 billion in foreign currency inflows over the October-December period. From the foreign inflows targeted above, the Government of Sri Lanka and CBSL will trade for $ 3.9 billion and the remaining $ 6.95 billion includes foreign currency inflows into the domestic foreign exchange market with contributions mainly merchandise exports ($ 3.3 billion), workers’ remittances ($ 1.8 billion) and service exports ($ 1 billion).
Regarding the targeted inflows of $ 1.8 billion in foreign worker remittances, it seems highly unlikely that this targeted inflow will be achieved given that remittances during the months of October and November were only $ 317.4 million and $ 271.4 million, respectively. .