‘Monetary Law Act amendments could be made after expert committee review’ | Daily News
Opposition Leader suspects hidden agenda in draft Bill:

‘Monetary Law Act amendments could be made after expert committee review’

If the Monetary Law Act is to be amended, it should be done based on the recommendations of an expert committee and the Opposition will not allow the government to amend this Act as the government pleases, Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

Rajapaksa alleged that the government has brought about a draft Bill to amend the Finance Act to remove the Central Bank from the purview of the Finance Ministry.

Addressing a media briefing held at the Parliamentary complex yesterday, the Opposition Leader said that one of the purposes behind the removal of the Central Bank from the Ministry was for government to lay their hands on the Employees’ Provident Fund.

The Central Bank had continued to operate under the Finance Ministry as per the Finance Act. “The Finance Ministry Secretary who is also a member of the Central Bank Monetary Board managed to implement the state finance policies. As per the provisions envisaged in the draft bill, the Finance Ministry Secretary has been removed from the Central Bank’s Monetary Board. The Central Bank could then function as a separate entity,” he said.

“The Central Bank is involved in printing currency notes, deciding the interest rates and managing the reserves as per the fiscal policies of the Finance Ministry. If the amendment is made all such tasks of the Central Bank would be handled by a separate group of officials without being answerable to the Finance Ministry. That is a dangerous situation,” Rajapaksa said.

If the government needed to amend the Monetary Law Act to suit the needs of the present times, then it should have been done after those proposed changes were studied by a committee of experts, he said. “There is no urgency to do so. The urgency is because there is a hidden agenda behind the proposed change,” he said.

MP Bandula Gunawardena said that the Draft Bill should be studied by a committee appointed by the President. The President should make sure that the bill would not proceed further without his approval. Amending the Monetary Law Act is a serious affair and the President should not let the government to do it for the latter’s advantage. The government is eyeing to get hold of the EPF monies.As per information we have, the government has plans to rush it through the Cabinet and to submit it to the Sectoral Oversight Committee of the Finance Ministry on July 18,” he said.

MP Gunawardena said that the Joint Opposition would seek the support of other parties and organisations to garner their support against the proposed draft bill and to defeat the government’s move to grab the EPF funds.


 

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