The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) directions on classification, recognition and measurement of credit facilities and other financial assets will come into effect from 01st January 2022 onwards. It’s paramount for bankers to understand the regulatory expectations in this regard. New directions were introduced with the objective of harmonizing the regulatory framework with Sri Lanka Financial Reporting Standards-SLFRS 9 Financial Instruments.
The regulator has emphasized the importance of having a comprehensive credit risk management framework while stipulating its main components. Accordingly, Licensed Commercial Banks (LCBs) are expected to have a framework covering all aspects of credit lifecycle of its financial assets which includes, policy on classification, potential risk, under performing loans and write-offs, guidelines on computing Expected Credit Losses (ECL) & disclosures.
A high-profile deliberation on this crucial theme conducted by Manil Jayesinghe, Country Managing Partner, Ernst & Young, Sri Lanka and Maldives and Rajith Perera, Partner, Financial Accounting Advisory Services of Ernst & Young, Sri Lanka is to be held on 22 November 2021 where they will discuss regulatory expectations combined with Financial Reporting Risk Management challenges faced by banks.
Apart from the emphasize on governance, compliance with new regulation will induce other technical and operational changes for banking community. Mainly, change in the definition of Non-performing loans (NPL) may trigger system modifications and classification for certain segments of the loan portfolio while the specific and general provision based on the subclassification will cease to exist and provision determination will be based on SLFRS 9 Financial Instruments combined with the directive providing additional guidance as appropriate. Deliberation on “Significant Increase in Credit Risk” (SICR) will require lending officers to exercise judgement and have well documented policies and processes to ensure consistency in terms of staging its credit facilities. Another aspect which needs early intervention is on recognition of interest income for stage 3 facilities which shall be recognized in line with SLFRS 9 Financial Instruments. Banks may review the mechanism for income recognition as the interest suspension is no longer relevant with the revocation of the respective circulars.
Further, there will be impairment charges defined based on SLFRS 9 and the directive based on 12months Expected Credit Loss (ECL) and Lifetime ECL. Minimum Stage 1 Provision of 0.5% will be maintained and in the event 0.5% is not maintained adequate appropriations to be made from Equity.
Another important requirement under the new direction is on managing model risk. Banks are requested to develop comprehensive policies in relation to model governance covering life cycle of model development and validation. Given the increased use of sophisticated models with the implementation of SLFRS 9, regulatory requirement is timely to ensure accuracy and completeness of financial information. Further, if any changes in the credit models are required, the rationale and justification for such change shall be evaluated by the Chief Risk Officer, Integrated Risk Management Committee and approved by the Board of Directors.
The directive states that scope of internal audit function should be enhanced to independently evaluate the effectiveness of the credit risk assessment & measurements. Further, the Internal Audit function will at least annually, validate and evaluate all credit risk assessment models, inputs and assumptions used along with data smoothening. An assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of back testing should be provided from third line of defense perspective.
Economists, banking and financial service professionals and other decision makers interested are invited to join for further deliberations on this crucial theme webinar with Ernst and Young, on 22nd November 2021 from 09.00 am to 12.00 pm. For registrations contact Thilini Perera on Thilini.firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel. +94 770623529.
Central Bank to Deal with the ‘Elephant in the Room’
Seeks opportunity to apprise parliament of substantial salary hikes to CBSL staff
By Sanath Nanayakkare
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka embroiled in a controversy pertaining to about 70% salary hike for CBSL employees despite the ongoing economic crisis, has expressed its willingness to be answerable to an appropriate parliamentary committee in this regard.
Issuing a press release, the Bank stated that it seeks an opportunity to apprise the Members of the Parliament in this context.Reproduced below is the press release issued by the Central Bank yesterday.
Clarification by CBSL on Salary Hike
“Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has taken note of recent news reports in the media on comments and remarks attributed to some Members of Parliament at recent proceedings of the House with regard to the latest revision of remuneration of employees of the CBSL that were approved by the Governing Board under the triennial Collective Agreement entered into with the Trade Unions covering the period2024- 2026.”
“In this regard, the Governing Board at its meeting held on 21.02.2024, requested the Governor of CBSL, acting in terms of the Section 80 (2) (b) of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Act No. 16 of 2023, to make a written request to the President in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, through whom the CBSL normally communicates with Parliament, to seek an opportunity to apprise the Members of the Parliament through an appropriate parliamentary committee of the process and rationale pertaining to the recent revision of remuneration of CBSL staff.”
“The Governor has accordingly made a written request on 22.02.2024.”
“CBSL will explain its position upon being offered the requested opportunity or on receipt of a request for information,” CBSL said.
On Feb. 19, The Island published its lead story titled, “Over 70% salary hike for CBSL employees: Gevindu demands explanation from Finance Minister.”
“Dissident SLPP lawmaker Gevindu Cumaratunga said on Feb. 18 that the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government owed an explanation as to how the Governing Board of the Central Bank had approved a massive salary increase to CBSL employees at a time the country was experiencing a deep socio-economic crisis,” the news story said in its beginning.
Govt getting bullish about prospects for Hambantota International Port
Focuses on its connectivity to Myanmar, East China and Africa
In a recent discussion convened at the Presidential Secretariat, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has articulated his vision for economic development and infrastructure investment, particularly focusing on the master plans for strategic tourism zones in the Eastern Province, the Colombo City and the Western Region and Greater Hambantota, according to the President’s Media Division.
The President has emphasized the economic potential of Hambantota, envisioning it as a pivotal hub for infrastructure development and connectivity. He has highlighted plans to link Hambantota to the Myanmar port, with further extensions anticipated up to Chongqing in eastern China and down to Africa.
President Wickremesinghe has also stressed the importance of leveraging the extensive investments already made in infrastructure in Hambantota, despite previous challenges.
“We have spent a significant amount on infrastructure here, and despite facing crises, it is imperative to capitalize on these investments,” President Wickremesinghe has said.
He has disclosed plans for allocating thousands of acres of land for investment zones, with additional acquisitions sought in the Moneragala area.
Moreover, the President advocated for strategic expansion into new areas, including Avissawella and Eheliyagoda, to alleviate urban congestion and foster new city centres. Plans for a North Colombo port expansion and potential industrial and IT parks were also discussed, aiming to attract investments and spur economic growth.
“We must concentrate our efforts and funds on key infrastructure, particularly in Hambantota and Colombo,” President Wickremesinghe stated.
He expressed confidence in attracting investors for heritage cities like Colombo once land availability is ensured. However, he acknowledged the need for continued investment in Hambantota to propel its development, highlighting it as the next significant hub after Colombo.
The development of Trincomalee as a major investment zone, in collaboration with India, emerged as a priority during the discussion. President Wickremesinghe announced plans for a joint working group to implement development initiatives in Trincomalee, emphasizing the importance of bilateral cooperation in driving economic growth and regional stability.
President Wickremesinghe’s remarks underscored a strategic shift towards targeted infrastructure development, emphasizing the pivotal roles of Hambantota and the Eastern Province in economic growth and positioning it as a key player alongside Colombo in Sri Lanka’s development trajectory, the President’s Media said.
Colombo Fashion Week 2024 to shine spotlight on sustainability
Colombo Fashion Week (CFW) returns from March 6th to 9th 2024, for its 21st edition, marking a significant milestone and promising a future brimming with innovation for the fashion industry of Sri Lanka. This year the platform focuses on multiple locations around Colombo to make the city come alive, as it’s also an apt time for travelers to experience the creativity and cultural richness of Colombo.
Since 2003, CFW has played a pivotal role in reviving, guiding, and building pride in Sri Lanka’s fashion industry. From humble beginnings featuring a handful of designers, it has blossomed into a thriving ecosystem embracing sustainability and empowering young talent. More than 80% of today’s leading Sri Lankan designers are the product of CFW’s development system, a testament to its impact.
Under the leadership of Managing Director Ajai Vir Singh, CFW has championed sustainability, introducing initiatives such as Ethical Fashion Day, the Responsible Fashion Summit, and the innovative tool, Responsible Meter. These efforts have positioned CFW as a leader in ethical fashion globally, attracting renowned designers from Europe, Australia, and South Asia, alongside esteemed Sri Lankan designers, fostering knowledge exchange, and showcasing the burgeoning talent of Sri Lankan designers alongside established industry names.
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