The Financial Express

Sri Lanka central bank chief steps down as reserve crisis worsens

| Updated: September 12, 2021 08:49:21

Weligamage Don Lakshman Weligamage Don Lakshman

Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Weligamage Don Lakshman has said he would step down next week at a time when the South Asian island nation’s weak foreign exchange reserves have limited its ability to import goods and raised the risk of default.

Sri Lanka did not immediately announce a successor to Lakshman, who took up the post in December 2019. The government said he would step down on Tuesday, according to a Reuters report published on Friday.

The announcement comes with bonds at nearly half their face value, debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) levels exceeding 100 per cent, more than 80 per cent of government revenues going on interest payments alone and foreign exchange reserves dropping to less than two months import cover in July.

“Getting things done according to my policy perspectives was not an easy task. My plan was to tender my resignation on my 80th birthday coming next month,” Lakshman told a briefing.

 “The unpleasant events over the last week or 10 days have shortened my intended period by about six weeks,” he said, although he did not elaborate.

The government said it does not want to seek support from the International Monetary Fund.

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