Good governance activist, Chandra Jayaratne last week called for the law of the land to be amended to allow for the independent regulation of Sri Lanka’s primary and the secondary markets of Government securities. Former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Jayaratne noted that at the very least this aspect concerning the said market should be placed under the purview of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC).

Chandra Jayaratne
Chandra Jayaratne

Jayaratne explained that with regard to a letter sent by him on April 19, 2016 to the Secretary of the Monetary Board of Sri Lanka (MBSL), with copies sent to the Members of the MBSL and the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), requesting for information pertaining to Government Treasury bond issues and offers made during the period of 2016 January to April 18, he said he had been informed by the MBSL Secretary despite the constitutional guarantee of the Right to Information, provisions in the Monetary Law Act, No.58 of 1949, prevented officers of the MBSL from giving out the said information.

CBSL Governor Arjuna Mahendran argues that in a well governed market there is no requirement for such information to be provided, he mentioned.

“It is precisely because the said market is not well governed that a request for the said information was made. The CBSL does not control the secondary market. The SEC does not review the secondary market. Nobody including anyone outside the process reviews the primary market and the secondary market of the Government securities market, in relation to whether there are conflicts of interest, manipulation, and pump and dump operations. The SEC Act, No. 36 of 1987, grants the SEC no legal right to look into this matter. What is taking place right now is unacceptable. We need transparency. The interests of the people buying in the market must be looked after,” he pointed out.