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Saturday, March 25, 2023

PM yet to meet CBSL Governor; no date fixed for meeting  – The Morning

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By Madhusha Thavapalakumar

Despite having been in his position for two full weeks, as well as being sworn in as Minister of Finance yesterday (25), Prime Minister and United National Party (UNP) MP Ranil Wickremesinghe is yet to meet Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, and no definitive date has been fixed for a meeting between the two, The Morning Business learns.

UNP Media Secretary Dinouk Colombage told The Morning Business that Wickremesinghe has not yet met with the Central Bank Governor, but added that Wickremasinghe is expected to meet the Governor and Treasury officials in “the next day or so”.

The confirmation of no official meeting between the Premier and Governor comes amidst intensifying speculation that Wickremesinghe is hoping to replace Dr. Weerasinghe as the current Governor of the Central Bank with Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy, who was formerly CBSL Governor. However, Colombage vehemently refuted such speculation.

Yesterday (25), during a press conference, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha claimed that Premier Wickremesinghe is plotting to replace Dr. Weerasinghe due to a “conflict” between the two.

“The reason for this conflict is the incidents that occurred after 2015. Dr. Weerasinghe was the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank when the bond scam took place back in 2015. He is someone who acted against this bond scam,” he claimed. 

Further, the MP questioned whether the Rajapaksas, who came into power in 2019 by promising legal action against those who are involved in the bond scam, are now planning to chase away “talented” Central Bank officials. 

Jayamaha also questioned whether Wickremesinghe ever met the CBSL Governor since his appointment as Prime Minister.   

On 6 April, Dr. Weerasinghe, a career banker, was appointed Governor of the Central Bank to try and salvage Sri Lanka’s ailing economy. He replaced Ajith Nivard Cabraal, who resigned on 4 April after failing to prevent a spiralling economic crisis and resisting aid from multilateral lenders.

With a doctorate in economics from the Australian National University, Dr. Weerasinghe previously served as an Alternative Executive Director at the IMF until 2011 and as the CBSL’s Chief Economist, according to the authority’s website. He had chaired the CBSL’s Monetary Policy Committee and Foreign Reserve Management Committee.

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