Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has been selected as the Finance Minister of the Year for Asia-Pacific by the prestigious The Banker magazine for his efforts to steer Sri Lanka into a new era of economic reform and a change of mindset. The banker a prestigious international financial publication published in London inter alia select the finance minister of the year who has best managed to stimulate growth and stabilise the economy of their country. Accordingly for the 2016 Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has been selected as the Finance minister of the year 2016 award.
The Banker says Karunanayake secured a $ 1.5 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan program that the country needed to avoid a balance of payments crisis, replenish reserves and rebuild confidence among international investors.
Sri Lanka’s latest bond issues in the international capital markets suggest Karunanayake has indeed reached his objective. In 2015, the sovereign issued a $ 1.5 billion dual-tranche note, its largest
A year later, it printed a second bond of the same size, with order books of $ 6.6 billion, despite market volatility after the UK voted to leave the EU.
Sri Lanka is also working towards fiscal consolidation. Sri Lanka’s budget deficit has dropped from 7% when Karunanayake took office in January 2015 to 5.4% in 2016 – below the targeted expectations of 5.6%.
After a visit in September 2016, the IMF said Sri Lanka’s tightening of fiscal and monetary policies has been effective and that it met the IMF program’s targets through to the end of June 2016.
According to latest Sri Lanka’s total government revenue grew from Rs. 1205 in 2014 to Rs. 1,461 billion in 2015. Tax revenue rose from Rs. 1,050 billion to Rs. 1,356 billion in the same period. This is crucial for Sri Lanka, which has a very low tax revenue-to-gross domestic product ratio.