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Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy - New Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Sweden, July 3 -- Sri Lankan economist Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy has been named yesterday as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) by President Maithripala Sirisena.

The appointment of a respected economist to the post of governor to replace Arjuna Mahendran has avoided a showdown between President and the Prime Minister, however both men have emerged badly bruised.

President Maithripala Sirisena who on Wednesday announced he would appoint a new governor "within hours" named Indrajit Coomaraswamy more than 70 hours later on Saturday "after consulting all parties concerned."

However, settling for a nominee from Wickremesinghe's own socio-economic class showed the President was not ready to go all out and have a confrontation with his PM. Although he was not giving way to the Prime Minister, he was named someone the PM would find hard to reject.

After consulting all parties relevant, I appointed Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy to head the Central Bank of Sri Lanka," the President wrote on his official Twitter account. The decision was taken after a discussion held between the President and the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Accordingly, he will be appointed as the Governor of the Central Bank next Monday (July 4) and will receive the letter of appointment from the President on that day.

The announcement over Twitter was an indication that he had the concurrence of his Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who was stoutly defending the former incumbent Arjuna Mahendran and was keen on his re-appointment.

"After consulting all parties relevant, I appointed Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy to head the Central Bank of Sri Lanka," the President wrote on his official Twitter account. The decision was taken after a discussion held between the President and the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Accordingly, he will be appointed as the Governor of the Central Bank next Monday (July 4) and will receive the letter of appointment from the President on that day.

Dr. Coomaraswamy was the former Director Economic Affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat. Educated at the Royal College, Colombo and at Harrow School in England, he gained his undergraduate degree at Cambridge University and obtained his Doctorate at the University of Sussex.

Joining the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in 1973 he served in the Economic Research, Statistics and Bank Supervision Divisions as a staff officer till 1989. From 1981 to 1989 he was seconded to the Ministry of Finance and Planning. Thereafter he worked for the Commonwealth Secretariat from 1990-2008, holding the posts of Director, Economic Affairs Division and Deputy-Director,

Secretary-General's Office and was brought back to the Commonwealth Secretariat to head the Social Transformation Programme Division, as Interim Director. Arjuna Mahendran, the former central bank chief since January 2015, ended his term on Thursday amid a corruption investigation.

Sirisena had come under intense pressure not to reappoint Mahendran, who had faced allegations of insider trading. A group of Sri Lankan academics and professionals had gone to court to demand action against Mahendran, a Singapore national of Sri Lankan origin.

Activists had threatened to take to the streets unless the president replaced him. He was accused last year of leaking inside information to his son-in-law's firm, allegedly allowing it to make millions of dollars in profits from a central bank bond auction.

Mahendran has consistently maintained his innocence.

UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena, who is a member of the "Joint Opposition" which has criticized the government over the former Governor, has welcomed the move. "We welcome appointment of a New CB Governor, an experienced professional & respected in his field. Hope he brings credibility to CBSL & CBG," he wrote on his Facebook page.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Asian Tribune.

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Publication:Asian Tribune (India)
Geographic Code:9SRIL
Date:Jul 3, 2016
Words:618
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