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Mangala calls President’s public dressing down of Bank officials an “act of bullying”

FILE PHOTO – Mangala Samaraweera addressing a press conference when he was Finance Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Former Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera is calling the public “tongue-lashing” the Governor and other senior officials of the CBSL received from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa an unprecedented event.

“Never in the seven- decade long history of our Republic have either the government or opposition ever spoken to the Central Bank in such a manner,” Samaraweera wrote in an open letter sent to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who is also Finance Minister and released to the media on Sunday, June 22.

Samaraweera who has announced that he has stepped down from Parliamentary politics said the President’s outburst “publicly humiliated the institution and its officers in a most disgraceful manner.”

President Rajapaksa at a meeting with the Governor of the Central Bank and senior officials on June 16, expressed his frustration at the apparent inability of the officials to bring forward a solution to help state banks to give cheaper loans to businesses struggling because of the COVID 19 pandemic.

He demanded that the Central Bank release more money into the market and wanted it done “by tomorrow morning.”

That night the Bank cut the Statutory Reserve Ratio by half releasing an additional Rs115bn into the market.

The President’s dressing down of the Bank officials was videotaped and released to Media by his office and made available for viewing on his official Facebook page.

Samaraweera in his letter said that as ministers who have served for many years “from time-to-time a few miscreant officials need a good dressing- down.”

“But we have always done so in private. In public, we have always defended the honour and reputation of the institutions and officers that silently serve the public,” he said.

“To publicly castigate public officials in such a crabby and aggressive manner is nothing less than an act of bullying. It reflects an inner callousness and meanness of spirit that sets an unfortunate example to our nation’s children,” he added.

The Prime Minister has not responded Samaraweera as yet. (Colombo, June 22, 2020)

The full text of the letter is as follows:

An Open letter to PM from Mangala S.21062020

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