Sri Lanka central bank chief quits as forex crisis worsens
Sri Lanka’s central bank chief resigned Friday over “political and personal issues” as a foreign exchange crisis intensified and the government imposed new import controls.
W.D. Lakshman said he will step down next Tuesday, six weeks ahead of his planned retirement at the age of 80, citing severe “mental stress” over the past 10 days.
Lakshman said he had drawn up President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s economic policy, but he was unable to implement it fully due to ideological and personal clashes.
“There have been unpleasant reports in the media in the past week to 10 days,” he told reporters.
“There are some political issues, there are some personal issues. Generally, getting things done according to my plan was not easy.”
The announcement came three days after Finance Minister Basil announced that Sri Lanka faced a “dangerous foreign exchange crisis”.
The president declared a state of emergency last week with most private banks running out of foreign currency to finance essential imports. Queues have formed outside stores on most days for sugar and rice.
The government had already banned imports of cars, some cooking oils, spices and other goods in a bid to save currency.
On Thursday, the central bank further tightened restrictions, telling banks not to provide credit to finance imports of mobile phones, consumer goods, tyres and clothing.
Sri Lanka’s coronavirus-hit economy shrank by a record 3.6 percent last year after the key tourism sector shut down.
Official figures show foreign reserves fell to $2.8 billion at the end of July. Sri Lanka has to repay about $2 billion to service its foreign debt during the rest of the year.
International rating agencies have downgraded the country’s credit status, expressing fears it could soon default.
Oh! dear we are sinking.
Professor Lakshman played a big role to develop the Economics Department at University of Colombo.
He developed and agreement with the Netherlands government and trained many lecturers with PhDs.
That is itself is a big contribution to our country.
It is good to leave politicians at your old age and maintain your own reputation.
This is called ‘ Theory & Practice’. An SL Prof. taught economics for more than 30 years, couldn’t last for more than 1 & 1/2 years in CBSL. SL Universities never willing to include practioners in their curriculum or any of it’s programs. They only go for qualifications and give prominence to ‘theory’ only. That is why people feel the university education in SL does not has ‘relevance’ or required ‘quality’ ? Foreign universities always have a correct mix of theory & practice and always perform better than SL !
Going to university in Sri Lanka is just like going to school. The knowledge gain by Sri Lanaken graduates are so poor they end up as toilet cleaners and road sweepers in foreign countries.
You are a Professional,
The speech you made a few days ago, retiring from you job, demonstrates the excellence of your character.
You look like a scholar. Yes, Sri Lankan university system is crazy and possesses a tribal features. They always recruit lecturers from first degree and those who got the first degree from the same department in most of the cases.
Most university professors are not literal adequately in English, not at least a PhD and published at least one single researcher paper.
If academics are this much of low quality people, who do not change the system, what will be the Sri Lanka ?
In 2011, they marched in streets demanding high salaries to prevent migrating Sri Lanka professors for foreign university job. But we know only about minor level of Sri Lankan professors can even apply for foreign university jobs, and most of them are very low level academics.
These professors are coward people, but our country layman people don’t know that.