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Committee on Public Finance urges new strategic plan by CBSL

2 years ago

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The Committee on Public Finance informed officials at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka that the Central Bank of Sri Lanka should come up with an innovative strategic plan for the betterment of the general public and the country. The Committee also recommended to the Central Bank officials not to act like the state or commercial banks, which are pursuing profit and ratings.    Committee on Public Finance Chairman Anura Pradharshana Yapa stated that the Monetary Board should fulfill its responsibilities properly and that maintaining financial discipline is a fundamental factor for any country.    Accordingly, the Chairman of the Committee directed the officials of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to submit new development strategies to the Committee on Public Finance, especially in order to uplift the local entrepreneurs, when the Committee on Public Finance met in Parliament recently.  These instructions were given when the bank officials said at the meeting that the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has recently managed to maintain a large savings balance of USD 323 million by 19th February, 2021 under a scheme to open a special deposit account in order to protect local cash reserves in the face of   COVID -19 pandemic situation.    The Committee pointed out that such good deposit schemes introduced by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka should be publicised as this savings special deposit account earns an interest of 2% per annum on deposits which is beneficial to the country as well as Sri Lankans abroad.    State Minister Vidura Wickramanayake and MP Nalin Fernando also pointed out that the harsh criticism leveled at the government over the losses incurred due to the sugar tax revision measures has been a black mark on the government and did not benefit the consumers as expected. The Committee Chairman said that the Committee had not yet received the report called by the Public Finance Committee in this regard and that the Department of Import Control should be able to submit analytical comments with data on these gazette amendments.    The Committee on Public Finance approved the regulations issued on that day regarding the issuance of brown sugar licenses and recommended that a full explanation be given on March 9 with the participation of all relevant Ministries and Institutions.    The Committee approved two Extraordinary Gazette Notifications regarding the extension of the duration of two projects under the Strategic Development Act No. 14 of 2008 submitted by the Ministry of Finance. One such project is a 75-room city hotel located at 116, Galle Road, Colombo 3. State Minister Susil Premajayantha pointed out that the project had failed at the outset. Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, Litro Gas and the Employees Provident Fund have spent about Rs. 20 billion, of which Rs. 4 billion has been spent on settlement payments to a Malaysian company. The State Minister said the hotel, which currently has only 16 floors, would cost at least another Rs. 40 billion to use and could not be expected to be successful.    The Committee on Public Finance stated that the then management of the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation was directly responsible for the 4-5 year delay in the construction of the Sinolanka Spa Hotel which caused this surplus cost. The Committee Chairman pointed out that the Board of Investment should have paid attention to this matter and requested that a feasibility study report on this hotel project be submitted to the Committee soon.    State Ministers Susil Premajayantha, Vidura Wickramanayake, Members of Parliament Prof. Ranjith Bandara and Nalin Fernando were present at the Committee on Public Finance.

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