"...there are a few things we could have finished earlier. One such example is the amendments to the SEC Act which was drafted and handed over to the ministry of finance in July 2013," he said. "A special committee has been reviewing our proposals since then. We hope once this election period is over this committee will complete its work and the new amendments will be presented to the parliament" he said.
Two of Godahewa’s predecessors, Indrani Sugathadasa and Tilak Karunaratne, resigned within a year of each other, both making public comments that they were not allowed to go after market manipulators.
Some of the key improvements expected through new SEC act amendments involve enhanced investor protection, aligning SEC governance principles with international standards, and the introduction of civil and administrative sanctions strengthening the ability of SEC to take enforcement action. Currently SEC is limited by the availability of only criminal sanctions which are quite time consuming and difficult to establish.
Though not as vociferous as his predecessors, isn’t Godahewa also hinting that someone at the ministry of finance is blocking SEC from getting real powers to take enforcement action ? 18 months is a very long period to review a document unless there is a hidden agenda to block the amendments proposed by the SEC.
The amendments to the SEC Act sought by Godahewa were pushed by both Sugathadasa and Karunaratne before they resigned. So it looks like he is facing the same roadblock at the ministry.
Obviously Godahewa is far more knowledgeable and more diplomatic than his two predecessors. But the January 5th speech shows some frustration with the powers. Another example for this is his repeated reference to government's reluctance to list SOEs. He pointed out that the answer to the accusation that there is no good governance at SOEs would be listing, so that mgt of these institutes will be answerable to the public. Another hint that somebody at Ministry of Finance is blocking the capital market development efforts.
Is history going to repeat ?.