May 12, Colombo: It has been proposed to appoint a Monitoring Committee comprising representatives of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs to regulate the Samurdhi Banks.
Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy at a media briefing on Friday (11) stated that a discussion was held at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on regulating the Samurdhi Bank.
The oversight committee is headed by Secretary of National Policies and Economic Affairs Ministry K.D.S. Ruwanchandra and will include Deputy Secretary of Treasury A.R. Deshapriya and Sri Lanka Central Bank Deputy Governor K.D. Ranasinghe.
Dr. Coomaraswamy said the new monitoring committee has been proposed with the aim to strengthen the management of the Samurdhi Bank and broaden the services offered to the public.
However, the Governor said the taking the Samurdhi Bank under the Central Bank need to be studied as to how it should be done.
Responding to media questions, Deputy Governor K.D. Ranasinghe said the Samurdhi Banks established under the Divi Neguma Act are administered by a Management Committee, which includes two representatives of the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry. However. The Management Committee is not sufficient to manage the Samurdhi Banks and it has been proposed to appoint a new committee.
The Bank official dismissed the report that the Central Bank will be taking the Samurdhi Bank under its wings. There has been no decision to take over the Samurdhi Bank under the Central Bank, he asserted.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the UNP May Day rally on 6th May said steps will be taken to bring the Samurdhi Bank under the Central Bank since the Samurdhi Bank is not under any state body's supervision and is not regulated.
Several complaints have been made to the government over high income earners receiving Samurdhi benefits fraudulently. Therefore, the Prime Minister said that he has advised to inquire into this and take the financial institution under the Finance Ministry.
The Prime Minister pointed out that Samurdhi Bank is an institution that was not monitored by any institution while other state financial instruments such as Employees Provident Fund, Public Employees Trust Fund are managed under the Finance Ministry. However, there is no regulation to oversee the Samurdhi Bank.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe has instructed the officials to prepare a new system to provide Samurdhi benefits to the 1.4 million low income families throughout the island.
Under the new system, over 380,000 families who had not had the opportunity of receiving the Samurdhi benefits for over three decades even with all required qualifications will be granted the Samurdhi beneficiaries