Friday, 31 January 2014 00:00
Perhaps given the positive spin at the Invest Sri Lanka Forum in Singapore after all the presentations and most of the Q&A, a participant who may have wanted to get a more realistic picture asked Minister Sarath Amunugama and Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal what keeps them awake at night! Amidst laughter, the Singaporean wanted to know three things that worry the duo. Dr. Amunugama turned candid and said for him, the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa remaining in power, thereby ensuring political stability and safeguarding of hard-won peace, communal harmony and democracy, were critical. He also said oil prices, especially sanctions on Iran and their impact on oil prices, was another. Minister Amunugama also said that the certain parts of the world were harping on some of the events leading to the final battle in the war in May 2009 without considering the bigger picture and recent history as well as the post-war rebuilding and reconciliation. CB Chief Cabraal voiced a different tone. He said that rather than being preoccupied with sleepless nights, the Central Bank has been focusing on building spaces to deal with different unfolding issues time to time.
“In the past we have had high inflation, high debt, high interest rates, high budget deficit, but we have successfully addressed those and have brought them down and the path has been progressive. We have had to face global oil shocks, global food shocks, financial and economic shocks. Items of discomfort have been dealt with in a reasonable manner. We don’t know what the next shocks will be but we have built safeguards that give us confidence rather than sleepless nights to face those unknown challenges,” Cabraal said.