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CBSL releases Annual Report for 2021

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The 72nd Annual Report of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka presented to Ali Sabry, Minister of Finance, by Dr.P Nandalal Weerasinghe, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka

In terms of Section 35 of the Monetary Law Act No. 58 of 1949, the seventy-second Annual Report of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka was presented on Friday to Ali Sabry, Minister of Finance, by Dr. P Nandalal Weerasinghe, the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan economy recovered in 2021 from the pandemic induced contraction in 2020, albeit with several deeply entrenched structural problems and vulnerabilities inherited over several decades coming to the forefront, thereby resulting in unprecedented socio-political tensions in early 2022.

The economy was already in a fragile state lacking the necessary buffers to withstand shocks when it was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and other multifaceted headwinds that emanated from the global and domestic fronts. Such vulnerability of the economy can be mainly attributed to the lack of fiscal space, which was further constrained by the changes introduced to the tax structure in late 2019. Sri Lanka was not an exception in the world in deploying countermeasures to face the pandemic and safeguard the economy to forestall lasting economic fallout and scarring effects on livelihoods.

However, given particular vulnerabilities in the economy,the Central Bank had to be heavily involved in shielding the economy through extraordinary responses, in the form of monetary policy easing, ample liquidity provision to the markets and the Government, and adopting several external sectors and financial sector policies, in the absence of adequate policy space in the fiscal sector or an adequately prompt response from the fiscal sector. The ultra-easy macroeconomic policy package unveiled by the Central Bank and the Government helped the economic recovery in 2021 from the historical contraction recorded in 2020, while also helping cushion the impact of the pandemic on a broader segment of the stakeholders.

Both public and private sectors enjoyed the comfort of low-cost funds for working capital and investment that helped them stay afloat during this difficult time, and keep industries viable, even witnessing some growth, which in turn ensured uninterrupted provision of public services, utilities and goods and services to the public as well as other essential supply chains. However, unprecedented policy responses taken during the peak of the pandemic together with the inability to withdraw the policy measures due to expected fiscal responses not coming through adequately caused a limited space for reversal measures and led to some unintended effects on macroeconomic stability in 2021, which were further aggravated in early 2022. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 – 01:00

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