Monetary Board to decide on Friday

Published : 9:20 am  October 12, 2016 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Sandun A Jayasekera
Acting Finance Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane said yesterday the SLFP members were awaiting the decision of the Monetary Board (MB) on the phenomenal profits earned by bond trader Perpetual Treasuries for the year ending March 2016. 

 He told the media briefing held at his office that they would take their next step based on this decision, but he did not elaborate on what that step would be.   

He said this controversy had tarnished the image of the unity government and therefore a quick response from the Monetary Board was vital to clear the air.   

“The SLFP parliamentary group is of the view that a thorough and quick inquiry is necessary so as to clear the air before the image of the unity government is further tarnished,” the acting finance minister said.   

“Please wait till Friday. We must give an opportunity to the Central Bank Governor to carry out a formal inquiry to determine what has happened. We are confident that the Governor will conduct an independent inquiry and find out the truth behind this controversy,” he said.   

The acting minister said the SLFP members in the government discussed this matter with President Maithripala Sirisena because it had eroded the confidence of the business community and in the money market.   

“Various sources have quoted various figures as the profits earned by Perpetual Treasuries. For instance, former CB deputy governor W.A.Wijewardena has said it is Rs.10 billion with some others saying it is Rs.5.2 billion,” he said.”President Sirisena’s position is very clear. He has full confidence in the current CB governor. We expect him to do whats right on this contentious matter because the entire country is watching and waiting.”   

 Responding to a journalist on the 2017 Appropriation Bill which has been approved by the Cabinet, the acting minister said there was no reduction in the budgetary allocation for education.   

Commenting on the 2017 Budget he said the government was able to bring down foreign debts ratio to 60% of the GDP from the earlier 98% and expected to reduce it further by next year. 

“Only 38% of the funds have been used last year for education and therefore an enhanced budgetary allocation was not necessary for 2017,” he said adding that the government had received a World Bank grant of US$42 million and a loan of Rs.46 billion from Japan.