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* Sri Lanka Central Bank contracts US PR firm to enhance relations with US
Fri, Apr 12, 2013, 11:32 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 12, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Central Bank has entered into an agreement with a public relations firm in the United States to enhance the relations between the two countries.

The Monetary Board of the Central Bank has signed an agreement last month with the Washington-based Thompson Advisory Group to implement a relationship building program between the Sri Lankan and US governments.

According to the contract, the Monetary Board has agreed to pay a total of Rs. 100 million (Approximately US$ 800,000) to the Thompson Advisory Group for the entirety of the services to be rendered.

Under the agreement, the Monetary Board expects the Thompson Advisory Group to promote a political environment in the US that is more conducive to enhancing Sri Lanka's long term political and economic aspirations.

The Group is tasked with creating a comprehensive information platform where, US decision-makers receive clear and accurate information about the country's current achievements and future plans.

The Monetary Board also expects the firm to draw a higher volume of US private sector investment in Sri Lanka.

Under the contract signed between the two parties, the Thompson Advisory Group will arrange a two day program this month in Washington DC for the Governor and other key officials to interact with key senators and representatives of the US Government and the Opposition.

Further the Group is to organize a visit by a Congressional delegation to have discussions with relevant political leaders and officials of Sri Lanka before September 15 this year and a second visit of the US congress delegation before March 2014.

Meanwhile, the Governor of Central Bank, Ajith Nivard Cabraal has clarified a comment made by him that the monetary authority does not come under the purview of the government.

Cabraal speaking to a local radio station has said that the comment was made based on a requirement when the Bank entered into an agreement with the Thompson Advisory Group.

The Central Bank in the U.S. Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Statement has registered itself as a "semi-autonomous arm of the Government".

In the application to register as a foreign principal, the Central Bank has been described as the "advisor on economic affairs as well as the banker to the Government of Sri Lanka" and is responsible for economic and price stability, financial system stability, and currency issue and management.

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