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Sri Lanka PM outlines bond policy, makes history

ECONOMYNEXT – Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe explained his government’s policy on raising public debt as he entered history books Monday by becoming the first premier to testify before a presidential commission of inquiry.

The Prime Minister spent over one hour before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating bond sales during the period of Arjuna Mahendran who had been handpicked for the job of Central bank Governor by Wickremesinghe.

"I had an opportunity to explain our government policy on public debt…," Wickremesinghe said as he left the commission after his testimony at the make-shift commission room within the courts complex in Colombo.

"The President, Secretary of our party and our ministers have come forward to fearlessly give evidence," he said. "The yahapalanaya (good governance) will move forward. there is nothing to hide. There may have been mistakes, shortcomings, but the yahapalanaya will move forward."

The top United national Party (UNP) ministers as well as Government spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne and Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga turned up for the hearing.

Wickremesinghe was invited before the commission following his public announcement last month that he was willing to testify should the commissioners required any clarification from him about government policy on bonds.

The former governor Mahendran had previously told the commission that it was the Prime Minister who wanted him to do away with the system of  private placements and go for public auctions to ensure more transparency in bond sales.

President Sirisena appointed the three-member commission earlier this year to investigate if the country lost billions of rupees as alleged by the opposition as a result of inside information leaking to a primary dealership owned by the governor’s son-in-law.
(COLOMBO, November 20, 2017)

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