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Sunday October 1st, 2023

Sri Lanka new monetary law fate to be decided by new administration

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s new administration will have to decide whether to pass the new central bank law that has been drawn up, but the agency would be able to run a ‘flexible’ inflation targeting regime, a top official said.

“The new government will have to look in to the proposed act and decide whether it needs amendments or they will go ahead with the same thing,” Deputy Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said.

Weerasinghe said the process of passing a bill for a new Monetary Law Act, drawn up by the central bank and which was introduced to parliament ended when the assembly was prorogued.

The process will have to re-start from cabinet approval, Weerasinghe said.

Senior Economic Advisor to the Finance Minister Nivard Cabraal who was also an ex-Central Bank Governor has said that the new administration may decide not to pass the law.

Analysts who closely track the central bank has said that the new law does not address the principle source of monetary stability in the country, in the form of dual anchor conflicts that lead to frequent balance of payment crises and output shocks.

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Sri Lanka to institutionalize ‘flexible exchange rate’ in new monetary law

Sri Lanka not keen to enact draft monetary law

The law also institutionalized the dual anchor conflicts contained in an unstable soft-peg defined a ‘flexible exchange rate’

Economists and analysts have called for either genuine inflation target with a floating exchange rate or a East Asia hard peg or Dubia style stable peg with floating overnight rates to end monetary instability. (Colombo/Dec29/2019)

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Sri Lanka National Christian Council opposes Online Safety Bill

ECONOMYNEXT – The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) in a statement on the Online Safety Bill, said that the existing legal regime is adequate to deal with instances of harmful speech, making it unjustifiable to enact such “stringent laws”.

The Council called upon the government to withdraw the bill immediately.

The body expressed “deep concern” over the proposed bill, detailing its potential to curtail freedom of speech and how, according to the Council, the piece of legislature is inconsistent with the principles of democracy.

“The bill proposes the establishment of an entity named the Online Safety Commission without provisions to guarantee its independence and impartiality,” the statement said.

Chapter 3 imposes restrictions on online communication of certain statements, many of which are vague and overbroad, leaving room for executive control and the curtailing of legitimate criticism and dissent that are basic features of democracy, the statement said.

“The laws granting wide discretion to the executive and its investigative agencies with expansive reach have been misused in the past.”

The Council said that the bill was not drafted with the process of public consultation and discussion, which might have ensured the bill would be less draconian in nature.

“The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka calls upon the government to withdraw this anti-human rights and anti-democratic bill immediately.” (Colombo/Sep30/2023)

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Sri Lanka to implement new vehicle revenue licence issuing system

ECONOMYNEXT – A new system of issuing vehicle licences called eRL 2.0 is to be implemented in 5 provinces, excluding the Western Province, from 3 October onwards.

The new system is to be implemented beginning in the North West, South, North Central, Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces, respectively. The existing vehicle licence issuing system eRL 1.0 will continue to be used in the Western Province.

The issuing of revenue licences islandwide at Department of Motor Traffic head offices and regional branches will be temporarily halted on October 2.

The facility of obtaining vehicle permits online will also be temporarily halted on 6 October till midnight.

The Sri Lanka Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and the Provincial Motor Traffic Departments are working to modernize the current vehicle revenue license issuance system.

The implementation of the new eRL 2.0 system is expected to be an important step in the digitalisation of Sri Lanka. (Colombo/Sep30/2023)

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Sri Lankan Airlines flights cancelled as aircraft grounded

ECONOMYNEXT – State-run SriLankan Airlines has apologized to passengers who were stranded as multiple aircraft were grounded at the same time.

The airline said it has strict procedures which requires aircraft to be grounded when technical issues are discovered.

“Unfortunately, in this case we suffered a number of groundings at the same time,” the airline said.

“We apologize for the disruption and inconvenience caused and assure all our loyal customers that we are working diligently to minimize such occurrences moving forward.”

The airline said it was booking passengers on other airlines while some have been accommodated at hotels. (Colombo/Sept30/2023)

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