In an interesting turn of events, the Central Bank (CB) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have been placed under Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, who is also the Policy Planning, Economic Affairs, Child, Youth and Cultural Affairs Minister, breaking the tradition of keeping the two institutions with the Finance Minister.
According to the extraordinary gazette dated January 18, along with the Central Bank and SEC, 36 other institutions have been placed under Prime Minister Wickramasinghe and his deputy Dr. Harsha de Silva.
Among them, t he National Planning Department, External Resources Department, Census and Statistics Department, Institute of Policy Studies, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, Credit Information Bureau, Employees’ Trust Fund and National Insurance Trust Fund are considered as key institutions relating to economic policymaking and implementation.Since the Employees’ Provident Fund operates under the Central Bank, it will also fall under the Policy Planning and Economic Affairs, Child, Youth and Cultural Affairs Ministry.
Allegations were levelled against the Central Bank and Census and Statistics Department massaging vital economic data during the previous regime. Sri Lanka’s capital market went through some tough times in the 2011 to 2012 period with two SEC Chairmen resigning within just one year, citing interference from the then government.Meanwhile, 35 institutions have been placed under Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, including the General Treasury, Inland Revenue Department, Sri Lanka Customs, Insurance Board of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation and all state banks and their subsidiaries.