Business Times

No kickbacks but kicks – CB Gov’nor

By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal gets a kick as does all the others currently holding responsibility in the government sector by doing their job while the alleged kickbacks that some of them get are a figment of imagination on the part of those who point fingers at them.

“There are certainly no kickbacks, but I certainly get a ‘kick’ out of what I am doing. I am heading an institution which can put the interest rates up or down. The Central Bank (CB) can make markets move. It has the highest number of qualified people and it is nice to be heading such an institution,” he told the Business Times in an interview.

He stressed that the notions of bribery and corruption against the government have never been proved and it is an imagined thing or a fabrication when one delves deep into certain allegations. He said 2011 will see CB strengthening the Finance Companies’ Act, doing certain amendments to the Banking Act, bringing a Microfinance Institutions Act together with a Deposit Insurance and a new Securitization Law during the next two to three months.

“We plan to start two offices in the North and the East. There are plans to initiate an Exim Bank (export and import) for the country. We will liberalise some exchange controls since we now possess sufficient reserves,” Mr. Cabraal said highlighting some of CB’s plans for the year ahead.

He noted that the economy is bouncing back to normalcy and international reserves have recorded historically high levels. “The Colombo Stock Exchange performs as the world’s best stock exchange and inflation is at record low levels. “Interest rates have moderated significantly and the post conflict tourism sector is expected to expand significantly in the near term,” he added.

“There are three major stimuli now for investment in the country. The war is over, high inflation has dropped together with the interest rates and there is access to finance.”

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