Home / Front Page/ Sri Lanka risks losing debt market access if future Govt. policy changes

Sri Lanka risks losing debt market access if future Govt. policy changes

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 12 August 2019 01:13

REUTERS: Sri Lanka could lose access to global debt markets if a new government shifts away from the country’s current fiscal policy that’s aimed at shoring up the economy and managing inflation, a Central Bank official said on Friday. 

The Indian Ocean island nation is preparing for the Presidential election later this year and a Parliamentary election in 2020, which is causing uncertainty among investors over potential policy shifts.  

“The question is whether any new government coming after elections will move in a different direction compared to what we have been or rather what this Government has been doing for the last four years,” Central Bank Senior Deputy Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe told Reuters in an interview on Friday. 

“If anyone tries to move away from this fiscal, macro-economic stability, they will not have access to global markets,” he said. 

The economy cannot afford to lose access to global markets as it has to repay more than $ 16 billion in foreign loans over the next four years. 

“Anyone who comes to power will have to make sure we have access to a global investor base so that we can meet payments in the next couple of years through market borrowings,” Weerasinghe said. 

During Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Government, the Central Bank had tightened monetary policies to back the administration’s overall goal of fiscal consolidation, an effort supported by a $ 1.5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. 

Though Wickremesinghe is widely seen as a business-friendly leader, critics say his economic politics have stunted economic growth. 

The Central Bank had introduced an inflation-targeting monetary policy and a flexible exchange rate, transformed short-term high-cost borrowings to long-term lower-cost ones, and reduced the outflow of foreign exchange for luxury goods. 

Those measures contributed to pulling down the economic growth rate in 2018 to an 18-year low of 3.2%. A power tussle in 2018 for the Prime Minister’s job and this year’s Easter Islamist militant bombings, which killed more than 250 people, further weigh on the economy. 


Senior Deputy Governor Weerasinghe said proposed changes to monetary policy law, expected to win Parliament approval soon, will help bolster the Central Bank’s independence.

“Already there’s Central Bank independence in the current law, and we are now proposing a new monetary act which will strengthen the Central Bank’s independence as well as accountability to the public, to the Parliament.” Weerasinghe forecast 3% growth this year.

In May, the Central Bank reduced the key interest rates by 50 basis points to boost credit growth and the economy.

There was still room to reduce market interest rates, Weerasinghe said. “I don’t see any reason to tighten at this point.” He also said the Central Bank is in advance discussions to borrow $ 500 million from Japan via a bond sale this year.

Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

2020: Safe has never looked so dangerous

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

While it was never easier to meet your audience, it is becoming near impossible to buy their attention. In this fearsome digital pandemic, the antidote of creativity is going to be more sought after than ever. The alternative is an invisible and expe

Strategic thinking and planned processes key to economic development

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Higher education cannot be experienced, nor can it function in isolation from its relevant industries. We need to be aware of the country’s demand for resources and an effective workforce that will support industries to take the economy to the next

Saving Gotabaya

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Nearly two months have passed since Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) was elected to the presidency. Although it is too soon to make any informed judgement on his administration, his achievements so far, in improving efficiency and productivity in public admin

Cultural dynamics and the beauty of multi-ethnic society in Sri Lanka

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Modern world is full of multidimensional and multidisciplinary conflicts involving use of physical and psychological violent tools. The panacea for conflict resolution requires revivalist research in the mind of an individual and physical outburst is

Columnists More