Cleaning House

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

The exercise to divest governments ownership in Peoples Bank is due to kick off in Sept and end in March next year.
As part of its commitments to get the IMFs US$ 567 mn concessionary aid package, the government has pledged to commercialise the bank as a single entity or separated into viable sub-units through an open and transparent process, which will start off in September this year. rn

rnState-run Peoples Bank is saddled with politically motivated non-performing loans to the tune of Rs. 23.105 bn.

But nearly 40 percent of this portfolio is proving difficult to recover, as they were lent to private entities with political patronage.rn

rnThe bank has a poor cost structure and a top management team was appointed two-years ago to restructure the bank.rn

rnAn investment consultant has also been appointed to evaluate the banks external assets and liabilities. A full report is expected by September 2003. rn

rnThe government says Peoples Bank restructuring would be completed by March 2004, and w