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PM’s nod sought to convene P’ment early on Dinesh’s request

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 4 January 2018 00:19

By Ashwin Hemmathagama

To debate recent regulatory action by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) on ETI Finance Ltd. and Swarnamahal Financial Services Plc and also receive a copy of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on the Bond Issuance of the Central Bank, the UPFA Joint Opposition parliamentary group anticipates the Prime Minister’s nod for Parliament to be summoned next week while also gunning for a debate on the economic climate of the country.

A letter from the 55 lawmakers of the UPFA parliamentary group was submitted on 29 December 2017 to the Speaker requesting to summon Parliament. It has now ended up with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who will have to make a decision on convening Parliament, which was adjourned until 23 January. Unable to wait till the end of this month for a parliamentary sitting, UPFA Joint Opposition parliamentary group leader MP Dinesh Gunwardena told the Daily FT that the Parliament could take action before matters got worse. 

“We expect Parliament to meet next week as the situation is worsening by the day. The Central Bank has already started imposing restrictions on deposits of finance companies and that could be passed on to the other companies as well. It could get developed with customers and the depositors could get panicked. On the other hand, there is a drop in foreign remittances. There is a fertiliser issue also. These can cause a crisis in the country. So we want this debate to discuss these matters to which attention could be drawn.” Even though the Joint Opposition’s letter issued in December 2017 lacked the new development in the financial markets Gunawardena predicts three possibilities. 

“The Prime Minister could request the Speaker to summon Parliament within a short period. The President can also summon Parliament within three days. With the investigations report on the Central Bank released today (3 January) and the President making a statement, it is correct to have the report tabled in Parliament. It was not an issue at the time the letter was written but now the report needs to be given to the MPs. Now the matter has been referred to the Prime Minister based on the Standing Orders,” he added. 

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