Financial Times

Round-table on Banking and Financial Issues


With reference to the article headlined “Systemic Issues Impacting on Banking and Financial Services” appearing in The Sunday Times FT last week, I fully agree with the views of Mr. Chandra Jayaratne who I know to be a very independent analyst over the years and is well respected in the business world.

However, I do not agree with the 30 names he has proposed since we cannot continue with the “petite bourgeois” attitude the business community is used to. I am particularly saying so, as we in the business world, continue to base our standards on what we see in and around Colombo. For instance, he has suggested Minister Sarath Amunugama and Minister Milinda Moragoda to be members of the panel. I have the highest regard for both, however I cannot understand why these names have been proposed to represent the government when the government already has a Minister to handle Finance - Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, Deputy Minister of Finance. I understand, in addition to him being the Deputy Minister, he holds a Degree in Economics from the Sri Jayawardenapura University.

The name of Ravi Karunanayake, an accountant like me, has been suggested to represent the UNP. This too is from the environs of Colombo and we accountants know very little about economics, as Mr. Jayaratne too would undoubtedly agree.

Therefore, to represent the UNP I would suggest someone like Kabir Hashim, MP representing a truly rural electorate of Mawanella. In addition I believe he has an Economics Degree from the Peradeniya University and a Masters in Economics from the Colombo University. What better credentials than that.
I have no problems with the other names except in order to give this group a truly independent flavour, I would suggest the omission of Dr. Harsha de Silva who is associated with the UNP and Dr. Sunimal Fernando, whom I believe is a Senior Advisor to the President.

Finally, I hope this will be taken in the spirit that I have written it, since even at this late hour, we need to concentrate on the wider population of Sri Lanka and not restrict ourselves to Colombo and the Western Province.

Susantha Fernando
Colombo 8

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