Business Times

Foreign exchange at SL supermarkets

By Jagdish Hathiramani

Who among us has never panicked at the last minute trying to find a money changer before sudden business travel or even when going abroad in the case of a family emergency, etc ?. In fact, it happened to me, and I am sure countless other Sri Lankans, just over the last few months. But now, thanks to an initiative by Sri Lanka's Central Bank, you no longer have the added stress of changing your money en route at the airport when you embark on, or even return from, last minute business trips, etc. Or in any other circumstances where you find yourself in need of changing foreign currencies into Sri Lanka rupees or vice versa.

Now anybody can walk into Laugfs SunUp in Wellawatte, as of Friday, July 1, 2011, and, legally, buy or sell, foreign currencies as this supermarket recently became the first of its kind to be licenced for money changing by the country's Central Bank. In fact, while this service is currently only available between 9.00 a.m. and 10.00 p.m., seven days a week, at the Wellawatte branch, the next step for this chain will be the opening of a money changing operation at Laugfs SunUp's 24-hour Havelock outlet, with the possibility that you may even, as early as August 2011, have access to this service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Also, according to company Chief Executive, Ravi Dahanayake, within the next three to four months, shoppers at any of Laugf SunUp's 25 island-wide locations will also be able to access this money changing facility. Meanwhile, according to the Controller of Exchange, P.H.O. Chandrawansa, Laugfs SunUp is just the first local supermarket chain licenced and other local chains, including Keells Super, Cargills Food City and Arpico SuperCentre, are also on the verge of being authorised as money changers.

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