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Thursday June 20th, 2024

Sri Lanka gets Malaysian nod for 10,000 security guard jobs

ECONOMYNEXT- Forex trapped Sri Lanka is planning to send 10,000 individuals to Malaysia for security guard jobs in hope of boosting foreign remittances and opening new markets for migrant workers, A Foreign Employment Ministry source said.

Sri Lanka is facing an unprecedented economic crisis after it declared sovereign debt default in April last year following the island nation’s foreign currency reserves fell sharply to near one-month of imports.

“Basically the Malaysian party has given the consent and the assurance to recruit Sri Lankans for this particular job,” an official from the Ministry of Foreign Employment told EconomyNext asking not to be named.

“Currently we haven’t sent anyone to Malaysia yet. But, we are looking for new markets and that’s how we managed to approach Malaysia.”

Accordingly, Sri Lanka Foreign Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), the regulatory authority in the process, will oversee the recruitments, the official said.

The remittances, which is one of the country’s top foreign exchange earners, fell from December 2021 with most workers sought to send money via illegal Hawala and Undiyal methods in the face of the central bank kept the rupee propped up artificially.

More migrant workers resorted to illegal methods without sending forex through the formal banking channels as the central bank propped up rupee before they allowed the currency to collapse in March last year, which later aggravated the economic crisis before turning into a political crisis.

The remittances have improved since November 2022, and Sri Lanka’s official remittances almost doubled to 407.4 in February 2023 from a year ago, as credibility of an exchange rate peg improved after money printing was phased out, reducing parallel premiums.

Sri Lanka has reported 844.9 million US dollars of remittances through official channels during the first two months of the year, up 82 percent from 446.1 million dollars a year earlier.

“We are working towards achieving the target of earning one billion dollars as monthly foreign remittance” the official said.

The island nation saw a record number of migrant workers leaving the country last year after the crisis which led to deficiency of foreign currency to import necessities. (Colombo/March20/2023)

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Sri Lanka shares debt management experience at global forum

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has shared its experiences at a forum on debt management to “provide lessons for others”, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe has said.

Semasinghe spoke on “The Role of Debt Management in Navigating Crises” at the 14th Debt Management Facility (DMF) Stakeholders’ Forum, in Livingstone, Zambia.

“I shared the experiences of Sri Lanka which can provide valuable lessons for others and explored the critical elements of capacity building and sound institutional practices in managing debt, particularly in the context of economic challenges,” Semasinghe said on X (twitter).

“Sri Lanka’s experience demonstrates that effective debt management is not just about managing numbers but also about building robust institutions and capacities.”

The journey underscores the importance of transparent, accountable governance and the need for international support and cooperation in times of crisis, he said.

“Sri Lanka prioritized addressing gaps in public debt management by drafting a consolidated Public Debt Management Act, ensuring clarity and legal robustness and establishing a centralized Public Debt Management Office with operational autonomy.

“The role of debt management in navigating crises is multifaceted and critical. Further, by investing in capacity building, adhering to sound institutional practices, and strategically managing debt restructuring and liability operations, countries can better withstand economic shocks and pave the way for sustainable recovery.”

Developing countries face severe debt distress as they are more vulnerable to external shocks, Semasinghe said, and “managing global debt requires coordinated international efforts on debt restructuring where necessary, timely fiscal policy adaptation and help sustainable economic growth.”

The state minister also pointed out the financial impact of climate change was an emerging challenge, as countries need investment to mitigate and adapt to climate impacts, “especially through non-debt creating inflows, which would require private capital mobilization.” (Colombo/Jun20/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes stronger at 305.10/30 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed stronger ahead of the long weekend at 305.10/30 to the US dollar on Thursday, up from 305.40/55 to the US dollar Wednesday, dealers said, while some bond yields edged up.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.45/80 percent, up from 10.35/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 11.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.00/15 percent, up from 11.95/12.35 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.12.2031 closed at 12.05/25 percent.

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Sri Lanka stocks close up, JKH trade pushes turnover

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Thursday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.19 percent, or 23.11 points, at 12,249; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed up 0.15 percent, or 5.33 points, at 3,610.

Turnover was 2 billion. Nearly half of this (Rs980mn) came from a crossing on John Keells Holdings Plc. The share closed down at 202.00.

“There were several crossings today which pushed turnover,” market participants said.

“Institutions and high net-worth activity drove the market, while the retail investors we feel are still about uncertain and adopting a wait-and-see approach.”

Melstacorp Plc was among the companies that saw active volumes (Rs194mn) in the day. The share closed up at 87.10.

Top contributors to the index included TeeJay Lanka Plc (up at 41.70), Sampath Bank Plc (up at 79.50), Hatton National Bank Plc (down at 201.00). Hayleys Plc (up at 105.00) and its subsidiary Hayleys Fabric Plc (up at 46.60) were also positive contributors. (Colombo/Jun20/2024)

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