Following Governor’s objections Govt. pressures CBSL to endorse controversial payment platform project NPP apolitical, will promote economic growth – Harsha
Posted on February 22nd, 2018

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

On the instructions of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, his deputy, Dr. Harsha de Silva has initiated talks with the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy to iron out differences over proposed controversial National Payment Platform (NPP).

Dr. Coomaraswamy has been called for a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) on Wednesday evening at Temple Trees after The Island published his confidential letter to E. M. S. B. Ekanayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister.

In his letter, dated Feb. 15, Dr. Coomaraswamy strongly opposed proposal for a separate hybrid enterprise with the involvement of the CBSL and Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) to facilitate single button transactions. Asked by The Island whether the government would go ahead with NPP against the backdrop of Treasury bond scams controversy and also in the immediate aftermath of heavy drubbing at Feb. 10 local government polls, Dr. de Silva said that he would work with ICTA and CBSL in that regard. The Deputy Minister said: “We discussed at CCEM with Governor Coomaraswamy and ICTA and agreed to come up with a possible solution shortly. I will coordinate with both sides. The objective is to create the right ecosystem for digital payments to ignite entrepreneurship in the SME sector across across the country for both domestic and export business.”

Deputy Minister de Silva stressed that the decision on NPP had been apolitical and was meant to spur growth.

Dr. Coomaraswamy succeeded Singaporean Arjuna Mahendran in June 2016 in the wake of treasury bond scams involving the Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) in Feb. 2015 and March 2016.

Alleging that CBSL had been deliberately deprived of an opportunity to attend CCEM meeting on Jan. 10, 2018 at which the decision was taken, Dr. Coomaraswamy has pointed out that Sri Lanka could comfortably manage retail payment and settlement system as well as large value payment and settlement system with existing arrangements. The economist primarily opposed the project on the basis Sri Lanka with 21 mn population could manage on its own like the National Payments Corporation of India (NCCI), which catered to a staggering 1.324 bn people.

Dr. Coomaraswamy has also brought the move to the notice of President Maithripala Sirisena through Secretary to the Cabinet of Ministers, in addition to the Secretary, Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs, Secretary, Ministry of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure and the Director General, department of Project Management and Monitoring.

The CBSL comes under the purview of the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs.

3 Responses to “Following Governor’s objections Govt. pressures CBSL to endorse controversial payment platform project NPP apolitical, will promote economic growth – Harsha”

  1. Sirih Says:

    NPP was needed but problem came with previous ICTA CEO Muhunthan, pushing a certain party with out due process and got caught and now we have this mess.
    There are good tech companies in SL that can do this and as long as ICTA being sideline we can achieve it.

  2. Charles Says:

    As Sirisena seems to know nothing of Economics he will ask Ranil and Ranil will cleverly dupe him and that would be the end – and Sri Lanka is supposed to have an Executive President !!!

  3. SA Kumar Says:

    Sri Lanka is supposed to have anSri Lanka is supposed to have an Executive President- that was JRJ ( Ranil’s uncle) plane to keep We-Tamil under control.
    All achieved May 2009 . than what else can expect from an Executive President?

    live & let’s live in United Sinhela Island (NPC(Saiva TE), EPC(Muslim TE), 7PCS( Bhuddist SL) , no short cut !!!

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