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Sri Lanka middle class should have bigger stake in stock market: Prime Minister

Dec 02, 2015 17:08 PM GMT+0530 | 1 Comment(s)

RINGING BELL:  Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe at Colombo Stock Exchange on December 02, 2015, with other officials.

ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's middle class should own more shares but transparency and governance at the capital markets should also improve, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe said.

"I wanted to see an expansion in the shareholding in this country," Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe said at a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the Colombo Stock Exchange.

"The middle class must have a stake."

The Prime Minister said, he was not satisfied with the current situation. Over the last five years, there has been a concentration of wealth, he said.

"Then there are questions of integrity, which we can't run away from and which we have to address," he said.

Prime Minister Wickramasinghe said Chandra Jayaratne, a governance activist had outlined the conflicts in the market.

He said once oversight committees of parliament once established next year will go into the issues.

He said the Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Tilak Karunaratne had been 'born again'.

Karunaratne was sacked by ousted President Mahinda Rajapaksa after he started probing the so-called stock market mafia over alleged pump and dump scams during a stock market bubble fired by low interest rates.

He was the second SEC chief to step down under pressure from the so-called stock market mafia. The current administration is also in hot water over a massive bond market scam.

Wickramasinghe said the most modern laws not seen in South Asia will be brought to make Sri Lanka a financial centre with territorial taxation and an overhauled exchange management law.

He said a number of state entities will be listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange next year. (Colombo/Nov02/2015)