(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – New laws to regulate financial markets:
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday spoke of introducing new laws to regulate financial markets as ‘Sri Lanka navigates through a period of transformation amid global turbulences’.
One of the key features in this transformation would be a new Monetary Policy Law which would have the Central Bank focus on essential items and not peripheral issues, a new Liability Management Law and the creation of a National Debt Office in the Ministry of Finance, a new Security Exchange Act, the new Foreign Exchange Act and the new Inland Revenue Act.
Delivering the keynote address at the IOSCO Growth and Emerging Markets (GEM) Committee Conference held at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo, the Prime Minister highlighted the positive steps taken by the government to steer the country’s economy in the right direction.
He noted that his government took over an economy burdened with high debt taken since 2006 and thus the years 2018 and 2019 were going to be crucial for the country’s economy as many of the debt servicing payments are due during this period.
The Prime Minister assured investors that all debt would be repaid in this generation.
To investors from security and exchange markets around the world who converged in Colombo to discuss “Enhancing sustainable and innovative market-based financing”, the Prime Minister assured them that the government had put into play several measures to regulate and stabilize the economy.
“Today government revenue exceeds the sum needed for debt servicing”, he added and said the government was moving away from the dependence of high fuel prices for revenue.
Improvements and technological innovations in the Inland Revenue Department, Excise Department and Customs have resulted in revenue collection going up, said the Prime Minister.
In addition the government will be looking at investments in the building of a dockyard, oil refinery, steel plant and three LNG plants with Japanese and Indian partnerships.
These investments, he said will stabilize the country’s foreign exchange in time to come and have a massive transformation in the economy.
The Prime Minister also stressed on the need to look at the climate change economy which has had devastating impacts of the country’s agriculture.“We can no longer depend on good weather to keep our economy going, so we need to focus more on the non-agricultural sector”, he said.
But by 2018, the legal framework for the financial sector in Sri Lanka will change and Sri Lanka which is at the centre of a rapidly developing region, the PM expected a much broader capital market function.
He thus stated that the GEM Committee deliberations were the ideal place to decide what these new changes to the Securities and Exchange Market especially with the advent of technology would be.