A timely message | Daily News


 

A timely message

Hard on the heels of the two State banks coming in for heavy flak from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for being remiss in drawing up strategies for the revival of the economy came the even more severe censure heaped on the top brass of the Central Bank by the President for letting matters drift amidst the economic downturn occasioned by the pandemic.

President Rajapaksa pulled no punches in wading into the CB officials who he claimed failed to offer the necessary tools to get the economy back on track. The President did not ask the CB officials to think out of the box as he did to the top brass of the State banks. Instead he accused them of not even paying heed to his own proposals to effect a turnaround in the economy and making things difficult for the Government by their lackadaisical attitude.

This at a time when most countries have come to grips with the new challenges and offered strategies to tide over the present difficulties. Instead, CB officials were digging into their heels and doing nothing, he was to tell the officials.

The President noted that officials involved in the Central Bank Bond scam were still comfortably ensconced in their positions and hinted they may well be making things difficult for the Government. He observed that the Central Bank officials lacked initiative, enterprise and drive to effect the necessary changes.

No doubt, as the apex banking institution in the country which directs fiscal policy along with the Treasury and the Monetary Board, the CB will have to answer a lot for the lapses of officials in getting things moving forward. It is a case of getting their act together which from the President’s observation was far from apparent.

The President also noted that even the supervisory role it is entrusted with to oversee the operations of the Finance Companies was not carried out properly. Had this been done they would not be witnessing the collapse of so many finance companies.

This hands-on approach of the President in dealing with the problems directly affecting the country’s economy and welfare of the masses, no doubt, is a most welcome departure from the past where leaders remained aloof letting officials call the shots with no accountability ensuing from any quarter. It was only the other day that the President directly got himself involved in reforming the country’s prisons system with a view to totally eradicating crime and sleaze within the prison walls. The results were swift and telling with the newly appointed Task force going into action to effectively remedy the situation.

Similarly results were forthcoming at lightning speed vis-a-vis the Central Bank. It was reported that soon after the President’s outburst, prompt and far reaching changes were effected  including policy shifts in keeping with the President’s views with hitherto strict bounds applied in the granting of loans to small and medium business enterprises  liberalized to enable them to contribute more productively to the economy. It is also a message that all officials and bureaucrats in other State sector institutions are bound to absorb knowing they will have to be on their toes all the time lest they be pulled up for their lapses and shortcomings by the highest in the land. It is also a signal that no one will be indispensable whatever positions they may hold, the President’s reading of the riot act to all the top banking officials underlining this direct message.

Hopefully, the President’s broadside to officials of the country’s premier banking institutions over the course of the week will set the tone for the rest of the country’s administrative set up where results rather than talk in the comfort of air-conditioned rooms will be the order henceforth. In the past no official was held accountable for his or her actions and lapses were papered over while they drew exorbitant salaries as the President was quick to note in the midst of his meeting with the CB officials.

Many, no doubt, would agree that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with his twin military and public service background has brought about a degree of regimentation to the country’s administrative service which will lead to the good of the country. Now, all officials and bureaucrats will stand accountable for their actions and there will be no room for shirkers and time servers.

No Government Department or public institution which hitherto prided themselves on their exclusivity and elitism such as the Central Bank would henceforth be spared Presidential scrutiny as the CB officials and its top brass were to learn this week.

In fact this is what the people expect. The people want results oriented leaders who would brook no lethargy and half hearted attempts from any quarter. It is time the country’s administrative set up woke from years of slumber and what a wake-up call that has been, by none other than President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.


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