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No attempt to privatise People’s Bank; media reports baseless – Mangala

Media reports quoting an Opposition lawmaker that People’s Bank is to be privatised are completely false and misleading, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

In a statement issued today, Samaraweera said “certain political parties and trade unions affiliated with those parties” are accusing the Government of attempting to privatise the state-owned People’s Bank due to financial difficulties.

“There is no truth in these allegations and the government categorically dismisses this claim of privatization as false and misleading made by people with ulterior motives,” he said.

It is understood that this baseless allegation is made following the proposal made by the Ministry of Finance to amend the People’s Bank Act No 29 of 1961 enabling the Bank to increase the authorised capital and the debentures to strengthen the financial stability and effectiveness of its operations, the Minister further said.

Once this amendment is passed in Parliament, he said, the employees and depositors can get these securities and there is no intention to issue equity securities to outsiders.

The Budget 2019 speech made by him as the Minister of Finance in parliament had proposed on the needs to develop capital markets beyond bank financing, said Samaraweera.

“Therefore, I wish to emphasise that the attempts on the part of political parties to portray that the government is trying to privatise the People’s Bank is a malicious attempt to hide their political bankruptcy,” he added.

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