Sri Lanka appoints new head of central bank | Economic and business news

Career central banker P Nandalal Weerasinghe will replace Ajith Cabraal, who has failed to examine the escalating economic crisis.

Via Bloomberg

P. Nandalal Weerasinghe, a professional central banker, was appointed head of Sri Lanka’s monetary regulator as the government sought to pull the South Asian country out of the economic spiral. bond defaults and began aid negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.

Now a deputy governor after a stint at the IMF, Weerasinghe is expected to take over as governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka on April 7, he said by phone from Australia. He will replace Ajith Nivard Cabraal, who resigned on Monday after failing to control the economic crisis that spiraled and withholding aid from multilateral lenders.

“Yes, I was approached and asked to post,” Weerasinghe said during the appointment, which was confirmed by a female central bank spokeswoman. “I agreed to accept it,” he said.

Weerasinghe takes the job with the fastest growing inflation in Asia and the rupee becoming the world’s worst performing currency this year. His first job is to review interest rates, a decision that initially took effect on Tuesday but was postponed indefinitely as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa overhauled his political and economic groups.

The main cause of Sri Lanka’s inflation near 19% may be beyond Weerasinghe’s control. Depleting foreign exchange reserves led to shortages of food, fuel and medicine, creating discontent in the island nation, while large debts could not be repaid. Problems complicated by Invasion of Russia Ukraine, which has driven up oil prices and stifled the tourism recovery.

With a doctorate in economics from the Australian National University, Weerasinghe previously served as an alternate managing director at the IMF until 2011 and was the central bank’s chief economist, according to the agency’s website. He served as chairman of the monetary policy committee and the foreign exchange reserve management committee of CBSL.

On Monday, President Rajapaksa was also sworn in as new Finance Minister Ali Sabry, replacing his brother Basil, to steer the economy out of its worst crisis in decades. Sabry is part of the team that will oversee the country’s debt restructuring, key to getting support from the IMF.

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