Eran claims CBSL politicised 

The Samagi Jana Balawegeya (SJB) yesterday (5) accused the Government of politicising the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and urged its independence in order to solve the severe economic crisis in the country.

“This Government has politicised the CBSL. They must make the CBSL independent and allow the CBSL to fulfil their two main responsibilities. One is to maintain the stability of the financial system, and the other is to control inflation. They must be independent to do these two things. They are capable of doing this but they have not done so,” said SJB Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne.

Wickramaratne said this at the launch of the SJB’s weekly seminars themed “Make the economy a strength to the country” programme, conducted by Wickramaratne, and SJB MPs Dr. Harsha de Silva and Kabir Hashim.

Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa, on Monday (3), announced a Rs. 229 billion ($ 1.1 billion) relief package, and said that all essential food items and medicines will be exempt from taxes from January 2022 onwards. He further said that the Cabinet of Ministers has decided to award a Rs. 5,000 monthly special allowance to all public sector employees from January 2022.

However, Wickramaratne criticised this move, claiming that it could lead to a further increase in the prices of goods due to increased inflation.

“What they have done is to put us in a situation of begging, and then give us a small relief measure. We cannot allow that to happen. Only if the prices of goods are controlled will everyone get the benefits. But, what have they done? There are two goods. One good is Rs. 50. With these relief measures, they are just doubling the price of each good. All the while, there are still only two goods in the market as production has not increased,” said Wickramaratne.

Furthermore, Wickramaratne pointed out that no relief measures have been given to the private sector which employs about seven million people and self-employed workers, when compared with the public sector that only employs 1.5 million workers.

Inflation has risen to a record level in the country, with the prices of food and other essential goods skyrocketing. With the cost of living at a near unbearable level for many quarters of the population, the Government’s economic and financial management has been severely criticised by experts and politicians alike.