ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s central bank Governor W D Lakshman said he was leaving the post from September 14.
He said he had not taken any decision against his conscience.
Lakshman said he played a ‘behind the scenes’ role in preparing an ‘alternative’ economic policy for the Saubhagya manifesto of President Rajapaksa and was asked to be Governor by P B Jayasundera which he did not expect.
He was asked to serve at least an year, and provide the ideological backing for the policy framework.
He acted on the economic and monetary policy he believed in and had taught.
“I realize that only a minority believed in this,” he said.
However he knew that his ideology was not easy for many in the central bank to follow and it was not easy to get things to get done. He was not saying it to hurt anyone.
The central bank had taught him a great deal about economic theory and practice.
Since around March 2020 the central bank had printed the largest amount of money and lost the largest amount of reserves in its history.
He said when he was studying Sri Lanka was referred to as a developing country. He realized that over two years, society and party politics does not have a system for it. There is no agreement of a strict policy.
It was his intention to resign on the 80th birthday.
But he was retiring on September 14, six weeks ahead of his intended date.
There were news and social media reports about him which were painful he said. He said when he retired from the university system he got a provident fund payment but there was no pension.
He said it was stressful at times. He was offered the position of Alternate Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund for Sri Lanka, but declined.
In December 2019, newly elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed Lakshman as Governor after Indrajit Coomaraswamy resigned.
Lakshman was formerly Professor of Economics at the University of Colombo.
State Minister for Money and Capital Market Nivard Cabraal who was Governor until the end of 2014 is to return. (Colombo/Sept09/2021- Updated)