Despite the many restrictions introduced by the government, the import bill for January- July 2021 is higher than the import bill of 2019 for the same period.
According to the latest data, the import bill for January – July 2021 was $11.7 billion, while 2020 and 2019 bills for the same time were $8.9 billion and $11.3 billion. Some point out that the increase in local manufacturers’ need for raw materials was the reason for the sudden increase.
On the other hand the merchandise export earnings for January- July 2021 was $8.6 billion. The data shows an increase in export earnings as 2020 and 2019 recorded $5.5 billion and $7 billion. The overall balance of trade which includes workers’ remittance, tourism & other gains for 2021, was (-$2.7 billion), a drop from the +$1.5 billion of 2019.
However, Sri Lanka is not out of the woods, as the country’s debt repayment liability for the next 12 months is $6.9 billion, and the existing reserve is at $3.5 billion.
The newly appointed Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal recently tweeted that the government is ready to address the country’s financial issue with an economic roadmap that addresses the critical issues in the economy. This plan is to be revealed on the 1st of October 2021.
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