Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe says a business cartel was trying to takeover the government and that Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera could face the same fate as the former Chairperson and Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka.
“Who is making the decisions? It is true the private sector is the engine of growth, but in
Sri Lanka what I find very alarming is that a business cartel is trying to take over the Government. Let’s be frank about it. What is happening in the stock exchange? I mean the purge of the Security and Exchange Commission beats any purge by Stalin in Russia. Overnight the Director General and the Chairperson disappears and they are non persons. For whose benefit? And we are all silent,” he said speaking at the Business Today Top Twenty Awards Ceremony held recently.
“We all know our stock exchange is rigged. You have blue chips here. Their share stock values don’t go up. All of a sudden, someone comes out of nowhere and the share values go up. And people buy, people sell. We are concerned, but we don’t want the EPF and the ETF money used for that. We are also concerned because the Parliament has the final say on the financial system of Sri Lanka. How did that money come in? From where did some of them make the money? If some of you here put the money out, I know. You have the money, you can buy. As to some of whom are buying, I certainly being in Parliament have no explanation. And that is what is happening. Gradually, the stock exchange is no longer transparent. It’s not even a casino, it’s getting fixed and if you can move out the policeman, then what else can you do?” the Opposition Leader asked.
“When the former SEC chairperson was appointed I wondered what experience she had for the job. But at least, in her departure she upheld her office.
“Have you heard the story of Icarus, the Greek, who had wings made out of wax and flew near the sun? Got too close to the sun and the wings melted. You know the rest of the story. The Secretary to the Treasury is like that. He got very close to the private sector and now the private sector wants his job. That’s where it’s going. But we are concerned, because there can’t be a conflict of interest as far as the Treasury is concerned. That cannot be questioned. His policies can be. We must know that there is no conflict of interest regarding the decisions being taken.
“Although we have ended one civil war in the country with the North and East, another one is raging now between the Central Bank and Treasury. In this we have to turn the searchlight inwards. Firstly, forget everything else. Are you going to have a transparent private sector? When a cartel fixes it, it’s you all who’ll loose. Because there is no level playing field and we are still looking at Sri Lanka instead of going out and seeing the world,” Wickremesinghe said.