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CoPF displeased over no show of Finance Ministry officials

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The Committee on Public Finance (CoPF) chaired by Dr. Harsha de Silva expressed displeasure over the absence of the officials responsible who had been summoned before the Committee. 

The Committee was of the view that where matters pertaining to the Ministry is taken up for discussions, heads of the Ministry who are responsible and answerable to Parliament should be present before the Committee in order to proceed forth.

This was stated when the Mid-Year Fiscal Position Report 2023 issued under Section 10 of the Fiscal Management (Responsibility) Act, No. 3 of 2003, by the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies was taken up for consideration at the Committee meeting held yesterday (25) in Parliament.

MoF presented the fiscal status as of the end of June 2023. According to this report, the primary balance of the budget had a surplus of 0.1%. Revenue collection has increased by 41.9% YoY to 1,317 Bn, mainly as a result of the substantial increase in VAT on goods and services. Expenditure for the first half was 2,560 Bn, which witnessed an increase of 40.5% YoY. The biggest increase was in domestic interest expense, which rose by 51.6% to 1,273 Bn in the first half of this year.

The Committee members raised various questions regarding the fiscal position, Economic performance, expenditure and the performance of the state-owned enterprises based on the statistics presented by the officials present. Key concerns raised by the member of CoPF were regarding the 11.5 percent contraction in the first quarter of 2023. The Committee questioned the root causes of such contraction and the specific measures taken to address such root causes preventing further economic downturns

The Committee further questioned the sustainable plan of the Ministry to achieve growth in line with the President’s vision 2048. Though there was a substantial discussion on the plan for growth to reach a developed country, it was disclosed that there was no coherent strategy.

The Committee was of the notion that the response to the Committee queries by the officials who were present, were ineffective and in lacks clarity. The Committee also queried the increase of taxes due naturally to inflation vs policy changes in taxes.

Whilst expressing the importance of being prepared with adequate data and statistics when presenting before the Committee, the CoPF also emphasized that the officials to the Ministry of Finance should be more responsible and have a proper vision along with a focused team to achieve the goal of a sustainable economy.

State Ministers Dr. Suren Raghavan, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Madhura Withanage, Harshana Rajakaruna, Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Mayantha Dissanayake were present at the Committee meeting held.

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Sri Lanka Mirror wishes everyone a happy Sinhala and Tamil New Year!

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The 2024 Sinhala and Tamil New Year dawned at 09.05 pm last night (April 13).

‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ extends heartfelt New Year greetings to all our readers. May this upcoming year be filled with boundless happiness, prosperity, and success for each and everyone of you.

–  Sri Lanka Mirror team

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Derailed train causes delays on coastal line

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A train has derailed at the Kalutara South railway station on Saturday morning (13).

Trains operating on the Coastal Line are thus experiencing delays, Sri Lanka Railways said.

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Kristalina Georgieva to head IMF for a 2nd term

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The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has selected Kristalina Georgieva to serve as IMF Managing Director for a second five-year term starting on October 1, 2024.

The appointment comes ahead of the start of the fund’s spring meetings in Washington next week.

Georgieva, who has been in the role since the autumn of 2019, was the sole candidate for the position. However, it was only after European leaders signalled that they would endorse her last month that her candidacy was assured.

In a statement, the coordinators of the Executive Board, Mr. Afonso S. Bevilaqua and Mr. Abdullah F. BinZarah has said, “Looking ahead, the Board welcomes Ms. Georgieva’s ongoing emphasis on issues of macroeconomic and financial stability, while also ensuring that the Fund continues to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of its entire membership. It recognizes her focus on strengthening the Fund’s support to its members through effective policy advice, capacity development and financing. The Board looks forward to continuing to work closely with the Managing Director.”

“I am deeply grateful for the trust and support of the Fund’s Executive Board, representing our 190 members, and honored to continue to lead the IMF as Managing Director for a second five-year term,” Ms. Georgieva has said.

The Bulgarian national has served as Managing Director since October 1, 2019. The Managing Director is the chief of the IMF’s operating staff and Chair of the Executive Board. The Managing Director is assisted by four Deputy Managing Directors in overseeing the Fund’s operations, which serve its membership through about 3,100 staff.

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