Central Bank, other SOEs can’t increase their staff salaries
Posted on March 2nd, 2024

By Damith Wickremasekara Courtesy The Sunday Times

  • Justice Minister will present a bill to Parliament, transferring financial powers to the Treasury and Parliament

Financial powers of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), including the Central Bank, will be curtailed in terms of a bill the Justice Minister will present to Parliament this month.

The move would remove the power of the Central Bank to determine its staff’s salaries, and that power would be vested with the Finance Ministry and Parliament, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told the Sunday Times.

He said that accordingly, the Central Bank’s recently proposed salary hike for its staff would be revoked, but a reasonable salary increase would be considered in consultation with the Finance Ministry.

Under the proposed bill, the SOEs would be given only administrative powers and financial policy decision-making powers, while the

powers to increase their salaries would not be given to the institutions, the minister said.

He said that in terms of the bill, which is to be presented this month, the SOEs would not be allowed to exceed the parliamentary financial powers.

He said one of the existing issues was that there was no proper interpretation of the financial powers of SOEs, and thereby many of them were trying to bypass parliamentary powers.

The party leaders in Parliament will be briefed about the proposed bill on Tuesday, while other ministers will also be submitting proposals on maintaining parliamentary financial powers.

Minister Rajapakshe said the move to increase the salaries of the Central Bank staff had come while issues of exporters retaining funds overseas, measures to stop illegal micro-finance company businesses, issues over leasing, and pawning centres were pending.

Meanwhile, Opposition Chief Whip Lakshman Kiriella told the Sunday Times that they would extend support for maintaining parliamentary financial powers, as they have been campaigning all along to preserve these financial powers.

He said the timing and proportion of the salary increase by the Central Bank were wrong, and therefore they were opposed to it.

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