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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Sri Lanka to appoint panel to assist economic council after criticism

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ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet has approved a proposal to appoint a 14-member advisory committee comprising business leaders and academics to assist a 11-member Economic Council which was by the opposition for not including any economic experts.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed the Economic Council early this month amid a worsening economic crisis.

The new cabinet decision included business tycoons like Dhammika Perera and Krsishan Balendran to assist the 11-member Economic Council.

Co-cabinet spokesman and Plantations Minister Ramesh Pathirana said the committee will comprise the following people:

  1. Prof H D Karunaratne
  2. Prof Shirantha Heenkenda
  3. Dr Dushni Weerakoon
  4. Dhammika Perera
  5. Krishan Balendran
  6. Ashroff Omar
  7. Dr Hans Wijesuriya
  8. Vish Govindasamy
  9. S Wenganadan
  10. Ranjit Page
  11. Suresh De Mel
  12. Prabhash Subasinghe
  13. Duminda Hulangamuwa
  14. Sujeewa Mudalige

The Economic Council announced on March 09 was appointed to accelerate economic growth is chaired by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and comprises the following:

  • Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa
  • Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa
  • Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal
  • Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardhana
  • Minister of Highways Johnston Fernando
  • Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage
  • Minister of Plantation Ramesh Pathirana
  • Secretary to the President Gamini Senerath
  • Secretary to the Treasury S R Aatigala
  • Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Dhammika Nanayakkare

A statement from the cabinet office said issued on March 09 said the council was appointed to speed up economic growth by discussing local economic policies including macroeconomic policies, the behaviour of the national economy since the pandemic, economic restructuring and major development projects that directly affect the economic and financial policies of the government.

According to the statement, relevant ministries, departments and statutory institutions are expected to implement decisions subject to the approval of the cabinet with the guidance the council.

Intellectuals with standing in their respective fields will also be invited to meetings of the council as required, it said.

Sri Lanka is currently in the midst of one of the worst economic crises in the country’s history, with shortages of essential items on top of an energy crisis brought about by excess money printing to raise interest rates. (Colombo/Mar15/2022)

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