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President appoints independent committee to review CBSL salary hikes

By: Staff Writer

April 02, Colombo (LNW): President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies, has appointed an Independent Remuneration Committee to review the salary increase of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL).

The Independent Remuneration Committee members include Mr Dinesh Stephen Weerakkody, Mr Arjuna Herath, Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Mrs Sudharma Karunarathne, Mr Anthony Nihal Fonseka, Mr Anushka S Wijesinha and Mr Duminda Hulangamuwa.

Responding to mounting pressures from Members of Parliament and the Committee on Public Finance (CoPF), President Wickremesinghe has established an independent remuneration committee. This committee will review the contentious salary hike based on the recommendations delineated in the CoPF report on CBSL salary revision, the President’s Media Division said.

The CoPF report, as presented to Parliament by (Dr.) Harsha de Silva, Chair of the Committee, underscores the paramount importance of transparency and accountability in the actions of the CBSL. It emphasizes that while CBSL retains autonomy, it is imperative for it to be answerable to Parliament, particularly amidst prevailing economic challenges confronting the nation.

The committee’s remit encompasses assessing the reasonableness of the across-the-board salary increase and proposing adjustments that are in consonance with CBSL’s mandate and economic exigencies. It will comprise members from both within and outside the CBSL, ensuring a diverse spectrum of perspectives in the decision-making process.

Furthermore, the committee is tasked with formulating a transparent formula for future revisions to CBSL staff remuneration, thereby fostering equity and transparency in the salary framework.

President Wickremesinghe’s expeditious action underscores his unwavering commitment to upholding accountability and ensuring prudent financial management within Sri Lanka. The nation anticipates the findings of the independent remuneration committee, poised to herald a new era of fiscal prudence and transparency within the CBSL, the PMD said.

CoPF also recommended that a report on the same be submitted within 4 weeks and that CBSL defer the salary increase until a mutually acceptable solution is arrived at, based on the findings of the report.

However on March 21, the CBSL informed the COPF that they accepted all recommendations from COPF report on salary revisions. It also announced that a majority of senior management and professionals of CBSL made a collective decision to consider a revision to their salaries that sparked controversy.

The salary hike, which amounts to an additional Rs. 232 million per month, drew sharp criticism from the Party Leaders. They voiced concerns over the timing of the raise, denouncing it as unjustifiable amidst widespread economic challenges faced by citizens.

Despite the Central Bank’s status as an independent entity, Party Leaders argued that it should have taken into account the prevailing national economic conditions before implementing such a substantial increase.

A significant bone of contention arose over the legality of the salary hike. While Central Bank officials asserted that the raise was carried out in accordance with a signed agreement, doubts were raised regarding the registration of this collective agreement with the Labour Ministry. This discrepancy has sparked a legal dispute, further complicating the matter.

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