By Saman Indrajith
SLPP dissident MP Gevindu Cumaratunga has told Parliament recently that the word, independence, will take on a new meaning if the proposed new Central Bank Bill becomes law.
Cumaratunga said that the new legislation was being introduced under the excuse of making the Central Bank ‘more independent’. “What sort of independence is expected out of this new law? This so-called independence could be seen in the way of appointing persons to the post of Central Bank Governor, Monetary Board and Administrative Board. As per the new law persons for these appointments are nominated by the Minister of Finance. He submits his nominations to the President. It is the President who makes these appointments. How the independence of Central Bank could be ensured when we are in a situation similar to the present times where the finance minister and the president are the same person. What sort of independence is that? What wonderful independence would it be when the same Ranil Wickremesinghe as the minister of finance proposes a set of names and he as the President makes the appointments?
“When the 21st Amendment was being debated in this House, Ranil Wickremesinghe who was the Prime Minister then, stated against the President holding ministerial portfolios. He who speaks highly of British Parliament traditions should have left the finance minister post in parliament rather than taking it under the executive presidency. He has no moral right to hold both positions at once,” Cumaratunga said.