Business Times

CB takes lead in spurring economic activity in capital

By Bandula Sirimanna

The Central Bank has taken the lead in spurring economic activity in Colombo City with the restoration of a historic building preserving its colonial era architecture.

This will encourage the owners of other buildings in Colombo Fort to follow suit making Colombo a grand commercial city in the world, Governor of the Central Bank, Ajith Nivard Cabraal told the Business Times. He noted that the old buildings including th Grand Oriental Hotel located in the Colombo city are major tourist attractions, and it should be refurbished highlighting the economic transformation in the country.

On Wednesday, the refurbished Lloyd’s Building owned by the Central Bank was ceremonially opened by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Employees Provident Fund (EPF) staff numbering 200 along with another 200 outsourced employees will be relocated to this building soon. Mr. Cabraalsaid this refurbished building reflects the transformation of the country, after the restoration of peace. No one believes that the country will be able to achieve this kind of transformation and economic growth, he added.

Mr. Cabraal disclosed that the Central Bank has also purchased another building owned by now defunct Co-operative Wholesale Establishment at Chatham Street Fort. It will be renovated by the Sri Lanka Navy. The Central Bank will develop another property in Trincomalee and plans to purchase property in Jaffna to expand the bank’s operations countrywide, he said. It has properties in Matale, Matara and Anuradhapura, he disclosed.

The historic Lloyds with five floors was purchased by the banking regulator in 2009 at a price of Rs.150 million from United Ceylon Insurance Co. Ltd which had owned the building since 1957 with the intention of meeting the bank’s growing space requirements due to expansion of activities in the recent years. It took measures to renovate it taking care to preserve its architectural value and spent another Rs. 150 million for this purpose, Mr. Cabraal said.

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