An Echelon Media Company
Friday February 23rd, 2024

Sri Lanka de-reg commission headed by Weeratunga, Balendra appointed by President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapapksa has appointed a de-regulation commission headed by Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Chairman of John Keells Group KrishanBalendra, which could potentially boost growth and bring down corruption.

The 18-member committee has been asked to simplify existing laws and regulations.

President Rajapaksa had publicly declared his intention to cut red tape soon after he was elected. On December 10 at a meeting with businessmen he asked them suggest ways to cut red tape.

Sri Lanka however has seen an uptick in regulations with import controls, exchange controls and price controls being racheted up.

It will;

01. Review all laws, regulations and circular instructions pertaining to Government finance, revenue laws and circular instructions, licensing and permit arrangements, investments, approvals and building permits etc., and how those regulations and circular instructions have evolved and circumstances influencing such regulations.

02. Assess as to whether the issuance of regulations and circular instructions has resulted in over regulation and deviated from the scope and objectives of original legislations.

03. Assess the relevance of them in the context of global standards and applicability of them in the Sri Lankan context to identify new rooms to adopt to make the most effective modern regulatory systems.

04. Assess the cost of enforcement to the state, compliance cost to the people and potentials for corruption and irregular practices associated with complex and over regulatory systems.

Regulations, including ‘minister’s concurrence’ delay economic activities and also provide opportunities for corruption as economic agents try to bribe public service officers to circumvent regulations.

Others such as price controls, disrupts price signals and makes even law abiding people into law breakers, critics say.

The 1970s closed economy has been blamed by some critics for initiating the decline in the Sri Lanka’s once respected public service.

De-regulation could radically alter economic growth and bring down corruption, analysts say.

The 18-member commission will be co-chaired by Weeratunga and Balendra.

1. S.D.A.B. Boralessa – Secretary, State Ministry of Land Management, State Enterprises Land and Property Development
2. M.M.C. Ferdinando – Retired Ministry Secretary, Power sector
3. Suresh de Mel – Chairman, Export Development Board
4. C. Weligamage – Director General, Department of Public Finance
5. Chandana Kumarasinghe – Director General of Establishments, Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government
6. Harsha Cabral – Company Law expert
7. Nihal Jayawardana – President’s Counsel
8. ThishanSubashinghe – Chartered Accountant of Sri Lanka
9. RanjithGunathilake – Chief Executive Officer, Sanken Constructions (Private) Limited
10. RenukaWeerakoon – Executive Director, Board of Investments of Sri Lanka
11. Gerard Ondaatjie – Board of Director, Mercantile Investments and Finance PLC
12. Arjun Fernando – Non-Executive Director, Nations Trust Bank
13. S.P. Liyanarachchi- SME Construction Sector
14. AnslemPerera – Managing Director, Mlesna Tea
15. NissankaWijeratna – Secretary General/ Chief Executive Officer, Chamber of Construction Industry
16. Chandra Wickremasinghe – Chairman/ Director General, Theme Resorts and Spas
The tasks of the Commission cover the following.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sri Lankans may need to wait for Monetary Board meeting minutes despite new Act

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankans may have to wait more time to read the meeting minutes of the Central Bank’s Monetary Board, a top official said, despite a new act that has made the central bank to be more transparent and accountable for its decisions.

Many central banks including the United States’ Federal Reserve, India’s Reserve Bank, and Bank of Mexico release the minutes of their monetary policy meeting to ensure transparency.

The new Central Bank Act passed by the Parliament in line with the guidance by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) includes measures for Sri Lanka’s central bank to be more transparent and accountable.

These measures include releasing the Monetary Policy Report every six months and the first such report was released on February 15.

However, the central bank has not taken a decision to release the minutes of the Monetary Board meetings on the monetary policy.

“Going forward, one day this could happen,” Chandranath Amarasekara, Assistant Governor at the Central Bank told reporters on Wednesday (21) at a media briefing.

“Right now, we have just started working on the new Central Bank Act. We are not there yet. There is no such decision on releasing minutes yet.”

The central bank in the past printed billions of rupees to keep the market interest rates artificially low and provide cheap funding for successive governments to propel a debt-driven economy.

It’s decision, however, led Sri Lanka into an unprecedented economic crisis in 2022 with sovereign debt default.

It also propped up the rupee currency artificially in the past to maintain a stable exchange rate at the expense of billions of US dollars. The move also contributed for the economic crisis and later the central bank was forced to allow over 60 percent depreciation in the rupee in March 2022.

However, none of the top central bank officials was held responsible for wrong decisions to hold interest rates artificially low with money printing and propping up the rupee. (Colombo/Feb 23/2024)

Continue Reading

Amid mass migration, Sri Lanka to recruit volunteers as English teachers

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka is planning to appoint foreign and expatriate volunteers to teach English for Sri Lanka students, the Ministry of Higher Education said, amid thousand of teachers migrating to other countries after the island nation’s unprecedented economic crisis.

Over five thousand teachers have left the country with the Education Ministry permission using the government’s circular of temporarily leaving state jobs while tens of thousands of teachers have left the country without informing the relevant authorities, Education Ministry officials say.

That had led to an acute teacher shortage in the country.

Suren Raghavan, the State Minister for Higher Education said the shortage has aggravated because most of the graduates who have an English degree become writers and join the private sector due to higher salary.

“They do not join government schools. This is a problem all over the country which is why we need to have an online system,” Raghavan told EconomyNext.

Separately he said on Thursday at a press conference that he had spoken to Canadian and Australian High Commissions to get the assistance of where their English teachers who have experience in teaching English as a second language in South Asia.

He also said that there is a number of teachers in the Unite Kingdom have shown interest in teaching English and they have experience in teaching in other Asian countries such as Burma and India while the teaching would be done free of charge.

The new move also comes at a time when the country’s English literacy rate is on the decline, according to the Minister.

President Ranil Wickramasinghe announced the English-for-all initiative three months ago with plans to improve English literacy at school and university level. (Colombo/Feb 23/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka tea production up 1.4-pct in Jan 2024, exports up 6.8-pct

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tea production was up 1.4 percent to 18.73 million kilograms in January 2024, with high growns falling and low and mid growns rising, industry data shows.

High grown tea in January 2024 was 3.56 million kilograms, down from 3.36 million, medium growns were 2.6, up from 2.5 million kilograms and low growns were 12.56 million, up from 12.32 million kilograms last year.

Exports, including re-exports were up 6.88 percent to 18.76 million kilograms, industry data published by Ceylon Tea Brokers show.

Export earnings were reported at 102 million US dollars, up from 99.5 million dollars last year. The average FOB price was 5.45 US dollars a kilo down from 5.67 dollars last year.

Tea in bulk was 8.5 million kilograms valued at 12.79 billion rupees, tea in packets was 7.8 million kilograms valued at 13.1 billion rupees and tea in bags was 1.8 million kilos, valued at 5.06 billion rupees.

The top buyer was Iraq with 2.5 million kilos, up from 2.1 million last year followed by the UAE with 1.99 kilos, up from 1.86 million last year.

Russia bought 1.98 million kilos, down from 2.0 last year, Turkey bought 1.72 million kilos, from 2.3 million last year, while Iran bought 1.32 million, up from 614 million last year. (Colombo/Feb23/2024)

Continue Reading