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Thursday February 29th, 2024

Sri Lanka central bank appoints six Assistant Governers

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s central bank said C Amarasekara, W A Dilrukshini, P K G Harischandra, D S W Samaratunga, E H Mohotty and R D T Gunasekara have been appointed as Assistant Governors with effect from January 22, 2024.

Dr. C Amarasekara

Dr. Amarasekara has served the Central Bank for more than 21 years. He is currently on release to the International Monetary Fund, Washington DC, USA, as the Alternate Executive Director for the constituency of Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan. At the Central Bank, he worked extensively in the Economic Research Department in different capacities specializing in monetary policy and research, and was the Director of Economic Research during 2019-2021. In addition to serving as a longstanding member and secretary to the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank, Dr. Amarasekara was a member of the Financial System Stability Committee, the Market Operations Committee, External Debt Management Committee, the Domestic Debt Management Committee, the Training Committee and the Library Advisory Committee.

He was also a member of the Board of Governors of the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute (HARTI) and a member of the Science and Technology Policy Research Working Committee, National Science Foundation.

Dr. Amarasekara’s research on monetary policy and other central banking themes has been published in several international and local journals and is widely acknowledged and cited. He was the Editor of Staff Studies, the Central Bank’s Journal, during 2015-2020. He has volunteered as a guest lecturer, examiner, and quiz master at various academic and professional institutions, including various universities, the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka (IBSL), and the Centre for Banking Studies (CBS).

Dr. Amarasekara holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom, a Master of Science Degree in Economics from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from the University of Peradeniya. He is also an Attorney-atLaw.
Communications Department 2024.02.01

Mrs. W A Dilrukshini

Mrs. W A Dilrukshini has over 23 years of experience in the Central Bank and served as the Director of the Macroprudential Surveillance Department. Before taking over the Macro Prudential Surveillance Department she has worked in the Departments of Economic Research, Statistics, Centre for Banking Studies in different capacities. Mrs. Dilrukshini has expertise in policy making related to price and economic stability and financial system stability. Further, she spearheaded the sustainable finance initiatives of the CBSL. She is a member of the Financial System Stability Committee (FSSC) and served as the Secretary to the Financial System Stability Oversight Committee (FSOC).

She also served as a visiting lecturer at the Department of Economics, University of Colombo.

Mrs. Dilrukshini holds a Master of International & Development Economics Degree from the Australian National University, Australia, and Bachelor of Arts Special Degree in Economics from the University of Colombo. She is currently awaiting graduation with a Masters in Business Administration from the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM) at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

Dr. P K G Harischandra

Dr. Harischandra has served the Central Bank for more than 21 years in different capacities in the Departments of Economic Research, Domestic Operations before serving as the Director of Economic Research Department from April 2022. He is the designate Alternate Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington DC, USA, representing the constituency of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan, and his term at IMF will begin from February 2024

He served as a member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), Market Operations Committee (MOC), Financial System Stability Committee, Working Committee (Establishment of the International Financial Centre in Colombo Port City), and the Green Finance Review Group, among others. He was the Chairperson of the Research Advisory Committee of the Economic Research Department. Further, he has served as the Additional Director General of the Fiscal Policy Department, Ministry of Finance.

Dr. Harischandra holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom, a Master of Science Degree in Economics from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom, a Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of Colombo and a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Kelaniya.

Mrs. D S W Samaratunga

Mrs. Samaratunga has served the Central Bank for more than 23 years in different capacities in the Departments of Statistics, Economic Research, Supervision of Non-Bank Financial Institutions, International Operations before serving as the Director of Centre for Banking Studies from 2021. She has also been released to the Ministry of Finance in February 2015 to serve as the Director – Economic Affairs for around two years.

Mrs. Samaratunga holds a Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of Colombo, a Master of Science Degree in Economics and Finance from the University of
Warwick, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Statistics from the University of Colombo.

Mrs. E H Mohotty

Mrs. Mohotty has over 23 years of experience in the Central Bank and has worked in the Departments of Bank Supervision, Secretariat, International Operations, Public Debt, Regional Development, Supervision of Non-Bank Financial Institutions, Financial Intelligence Unit, and Communications in different capacities.
Mrs. Mohotty holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management (Public Administration) from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and a Master of Business (Banking and Finance) from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Mrs. R D T Gunasekara

Mrs. Gunasekara has served the Central Bank for more than 23 years in different capacities in the Departments of Secretariat, Public Debt, International Operations, and Communications before serving as the Director of Policy Review & Monitoring Department from 2021.

Mrs. Gunasekara holds a Master of International Business Degree from the University of Sydney, Australia, a Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, and a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. She is also a Fellow member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), United Kingdom.

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Sri Lanka’s RAMIS online tax collection system “not operatable”: IT Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s online tax collection system RAMIS is “not operatable”, and the Ministry of Information Technology is ready to do for an independent audit to find the shortcomings, State IT Minister Kanaka Herath said.

The Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS) was introduced to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) when the island nation signed for its 16th International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme in 2016.

However, trade unions at the IRD protested the move, claiming that the system was malfunctioning despite billions being spent for it amid allegations that the new system was reducing the direct contacts between taxpayers and the IRD to reduce corruption.

The RAMIS had to be stopped after taxpayers faced massive penalties because of blunders made by heads of the IT division, computer operators and system errors at the IRD, government officials have said.

“The whole of Sri Lanka admits RAMIS is a failure. The annual fee is very high for that. This should be told in public,” Herath told reporters at a media briefing in Colombo on Thursday (29)

“In future, we want all the ministries to get the guidelines from our ministry when they go for ERP (Enterprise resource planning).”

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government said the RAMIS system will be operational from December last year.

However, the failure has delayed some tax collection which could have been paid via online.

“It is not under our ministry. It is under the finance ministry. We have no involvement with it, but still, it is not operatable,” Herath said.

“So, there are so many issues going on and I have no idea what the technical part of it. We can carry out an independent audit to find out the shortcomings of the software.”

Finance Ministry officials say IRD employees and trade unions had been resisting the RAMIS because it prevents direct interactions with taxpayers and possible bribes for defaulting or under paying taxes.

The crisis-hit island nation is struggling to boost its revenue in line with the target it has committed to the IMF in return for a 3 billion-dollar extended fund facility. (Colombo/Feb 29/2024) 

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Sri Lanka aims to boost SME with Sancharaka Udawa tourism expo

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is hosting Sancharaka Udawa, a tourism industry exhibition which will bring together businesses ranging from hotels to travel agents and airlines, and will allow the small and medium sector build links with the rest of the industry, officials said.

There will be over 250 exhibitors, with the annual event held for the 11th time expected to draw around 10,000 visitors, the organizers said.

“SMEs play a big role, from homestays to under three-star categories,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman, Chalaka Gajabahu told reporters.

“It is very important that we develop those markets as well.”

The Sancharaka Udawa fair comes as the Indian Ocean island is experiencing a tourism revival.

Sri Lanka had welcomed 191,000 tourists up to February 25, compared to 107,639 in February 2023.

“We have been hitting back-to-back double centuries,” Gajabahu said. “January was over 200,000.”

The exhibition to be held on May 17-18, is organized by the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators.

It aims to establish a networking platform for small and medium sized service providers within the industry including the smallest sector.

“Homestays have been increasingly popular in areas such as Ella, Down South, Knuckles and Kandy,” SLAITO President, Nishad Wijethunga, said.

In the northern Jaffna peninsula, both domestic and international tourism was helping hotels.

A representative of the Northern Province Tourism Sector said that the Northern Province has 170 hotels, all of which have 60-70 percent occupancy.

Further, domestic airlines from Colombo to Palali and the inter-city train have been popular with local and international visitors, especially Indian tourists. (Colombo/Feb29/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 309.50/70 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 309.50/70 to the US dollar Thursday, from 310.00/15 on Wednesday, dealers said.

Bond yields were slightly higher.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed at 10.50/70 percent down from 10.60/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.10 percent from 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 12.20/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.30/45 percent up from 12.20/50 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 12.35/50 percent up from 12.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.55/13.00 percent up from 12.50/90 percent. (Colombo/Feb29/2024)

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