Foreign remittances: New proposals to boost remittances


  • CBSL Governor concerned over incentive payment for remittances
  • Competitive interest rates on housing loans for migrant workers
  • Loyalty cards with incentives offered on a tier basis for families
  • Transferrable import permits to be granted based on amounts remitted


The Government is looking at introducing several incentive schemes to encourage migrant workers to remit their foreign exchange in the country through official means, it is learnt.

Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara yesterday (21) held several discussions with the relevant officials, including Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe. The discussions were to decide on the incentive plans drawn to encourage migrant workers remitted their earnings through official channels to support the country’s usable foreign reserves, which are currently nearly zero.

Nanayakkara told The Sunday Morning that he had drawn up four key proposals to increase foreign remittances to the country. These proposals include an incentive payment to be added to the amounts remitted by migrant workers, granting competitive interest rates by subsidising rates for housing loans offered to migrant workers, offering loyalty cards that will provide incentives to family members to use for medical purposes or even other purchases, and granting transferrable import permits depending on the levels of their remittances (permits will be subjected to applicable taxes).

“All these incentives will be given to migrant workers who remit monies through the official channels,” Nanayakkara added.

However, the CBSL Governor had pointed out during yesterday’s meeting that it was not feasible to make incentive payments to monies remitted since the Government was currently not in a position to allocate funds for the purpose. The Governor had also pointed out that migrant workers could still be encouraged to look at informal avenues in search of a few extra rupees for their US Dollars.

As for subsidising the interest rate offered for housing loans for migrant workers, the subsidy is to be borne by the Bureau of Foreign Employment.

Therefore, out of the four proposals, three proposals are to be taken forward by the Labour and Foreign Employment Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Ministry is also looking at introducing a higher education scholarship for children of parents working overseas.