Sri Lanka’s interest rates kept higher to help savers: Treasury Secretary

Mar 08, 2014 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s interest rates have been kept higher than underlying conditions required, in order to protect savers, Treasury Secretary P B Jayasundera said. Jayasundera said price reforms in state energy utilities, transport and water distribution had resulted a public sector deficit reversal of around 2 percent of gross domestic product.

“And today Ceylon Electricity Board, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, have eliminated their losses, which is technically speaking an almost two percent of GDP turnaround,” he said.

“That is why reliefs are coming to other two banks of the economy. That is the Bank of Ceylon and Peoples’ Bank.”

The two state energy utilities heavily borrowed people’s savings in the two state banks to subsidize energy, which is mostly consumed by the richest income deciles in the country and big business including exporters catering to first world customers.

The credit ultimately pushed the country into a balance of payments crisis, when a required interest rate adjustment was delayed with injections of central bank credit (printed money) which eventually led to currency depreciation and higher inflation.

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