Sri Lanka CB appoints top committee to boost sovereign rating

Chandi Dharmaratne

June 10, 2010 (LBO) – A committee made up of top central bank, finance ministry and private sector representatives had been appointed to develop strategy to push Sri Lanka’s sovereign rating to investment grade, the island’s monetary authority said. The committee is charged with devising a strategy of taking Sri Lanka current speculative B+ (Fitch) and B (S&P) rating to an investment grade ‘BBB-‘ or higher over the next four years, the Central Bank said.

“Towards this end, a carefully designed, forward looking and effective strategy with the participation and co-operation of the all stakeholders, country authorities, private sector business leaders, chambers and rating advisors, will be implemented,” the Central Bank said in a statement.

The sovereign rating measures the ability of a country’s government to repay debt. Sri Lanka has a weak sovereign debt due to chronic deficit spending which has pushed up national debt to over 80 percent of gross domestic product.

Last year the country deficit spent the equivalent of 10.2 percent of gross domestic product including grant funding and 9.8 percent without.

The Central Bank said the newly appointed “high level Sovereign Rating Committee” will make regular reviews of developments of the economy and convey these improvements to the rating agencies through rating advisors, to push the rating up.

The members of the committee are as follows:

K G D D Dheerasinghe, Deputy Governor, Central Bank (Chairman)
J Mampitiya, Assistant Governor, Central Bank (Deputy Chairman)
K D Ranasinghe, Chief Economist & Director of Economic Research, Central Bank
C J P Siriwardena, Superintendent of Public Debt, Central Bank
U.R. Seneviratne, Deputy Secretary to the Treasury
C N Wijayasekera, Additional Superintendent of Public Debt

Ashroff Omar, Chief Executive Officer, Brandix Lanka Ltd
David Saudan, Managing Director, Nestle Lanka PLC

Anura Ekanyake, Chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce

Upali de Silva, Secretary General, Sri Lanka Banks’ Association

Dilith Jayaweera, Managing Director, Triad Advertising
K.R. Suresh Kumar, Managing Director, Lanka IOC Ltd