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Saturday June 3rd, 2023

20A will create a President who is not accountable to anyone – Karu Jayasuriya

Former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya

ECONOMYNEXT- Former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya is saying that the 20th Amendment to the constitution would make the President a ruler who will not be accountable to the Constitution, the Parliament or the people of the country.

Jayasuriya who is now the leader of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) was speaking at an event held this morning in Colombo in collaboration with members of the Opposition in Parliament representing various parties against the 20th Amendment.

Jayasuriya said that Members of the Parliament will also not hold accountability to the people as they become puppets under the Executive through the 20th amendment.

“When looking at the powers given to a single person through the 20th amendment, there is no reason for an ordinary person not to fear it,” he said.

He added since 1978 when J.R. Jayawardena brought the Presidential Constitution, the promise of abolishing executive presidency was made at every presidential election but the talk was limited to the elections.

Jayasuriya said that instead of the saying that the current government has got a mandate of 6.9 million voters to change the constitution, the government should discuss and create a good constitution considering the opinion of the 6.2 million voters who did not vote for them.

He said government should not tarnish the reputation they gained after successfully controlling the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and bring all the drug dealers before the law.

Also, speaking at the event General Secretary of Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Ranjith Madduma Bandara said that the government is trying to go for a monarchy sidelining the MPs and ministers who were elected by the people.

Further, he said by removing over 120 institutions that have being Gazetted under the President and Prime Minister from being audited, it has created a situation where those institutions could be audited by private audit firms of their choice.

He also added that the SJB has already organised a rally to protest against the 20th amendment at Hyde Park on October 8 to which they intend to bring people from all around the country.

SJB MP Rajitha Senaratne who also spoke at the event said that when the 1978 constitution was brought in many in the opposition at that time including the current Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Cabinet Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara protested against the executive presidency which was brought from that constitution.

Senaratne said that the reasoning most of the members in the government says against 19the amendment is that it was brought against the Rajapaksa family.

He said one of the main reasons put forwarded by them for it is the issue of dual citizenship.

“Which citizen of this country would like to elect the President or a Member of Parliament who is a citizen of another country. We don’t say that 19th amendment to the constitution is the supreme constitution but it is the best constitution which was created in this country,” he said.

He also added that only the17th and 19th amendments to the constitution was brought in for the good of the people and all the other amendments were brought in for the betterment of the rulers. (Colombo, September 29, 2020)

Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe

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Sri Lanka to ramp up weekend fuel deliveries after petrol price cut

More deaths reported at Sri Lanka fuel queues

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation will be operating on the weekend to complete all fuel deliveries to end vehicle queues forming outside fuel stations after the price revision earlier in the week, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

“Instructions have been given to CPC and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals to continue fuel deliveries on Saturday and Sunday this week to supply sufficient stocks to all fuel stations,” Minister Wijesekera said in a TWITTER.COM MESSAGE

“To reduce expenses on overtime, CPC and CPSTL have not been operating on Sundays and public holidays in the last 4 months,” Wijesekera said.

“Non-placement of orders by fuel stations from last Saturday, anticipating a price reduction, not maintaining minimum stocks, immediate increase in demand by consumers after the price revision, and quota increase have created shortages in the fuel stations.”

The Minister in April 2023 said all fuel stations would be required to maintain a minimum of 50 percent of stock tank capacity.

“I have asked CPC to review and suspend the license of fuel stations that had not maintained minimum stocks.” (Colombo/ June 02/ 2023)

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Sri Lanka bonds yield up at close, rupee at 291.75/292.50 against the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bonds closed steady on Friday, dealers said, following the central bank’s decision to cut its main policy rate by 250 basis points.

The Spot US dollar closed at 291.75/292.50 rupees, dealers said.

The rupee opened at 290.25/75 to the US dollar Thursday and closed at 292.50/295.50 to the US dollar.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 24.70/90 percent up from 24.50/90 percent a day earlier, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 closed at 25.75/26.25 percent up from 25.00/26.00 percent a day earlier.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2025 closed at 27.00/30 percent, up from 26.30/27.00 per cent at last close.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 20.25/21.00 percent, up from 20.00/40 per cent at last close.
(Colombo/ June 02/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s shares edge up on positive macroeconomic sentiments

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares closed higher in trade on Friday, over positive macro-sentiments encouraging investors to redeem their interest towards buying, an analyst said.

The main All Share Price Index was up 0.72 percent or 62.19 points to 8,753.80,  while the most liquid index S&P SL20 was up 0.68 percent or 16.87 points to 2,487.29.

Sri Lanka’s inflation in the 12-months to May 2023 has eased to 25.2 percent from 35.3 percent a month earlier according to a revised Colombo Consumer Price Index calculated by the state statistics office.

Prior to the Monetary Policy investors were quite optimistic that inflation is to lower and interest rates will decrease and since exp, an analyst said.

Sri Lanka Central Bank is waiting for the government proposal on the domestic debt restructuring (DDR), the central bank governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said amid uncertainty over DDR and speculations over instability in the banking sector.

“On debt restructuring, the borrower is the ministry of finance’s treasury. Certainly we will announce what the strategy will be. We are waiting for a government proposal,” Weerasinghe said.

Sri Lanka’s investors are waiting on assurances to be made on debt restructuring and optimization, Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said, “It is up to the government to clear the uncertainty, because from our side we have done that part.”

The central bank cut the key policy rates by 250 basis points to spur a faltering economic growth as inflation was decelerating faster than it projected.

The speculation of DDR has hit the market and the risk premium has kept the market lending rates well above the central bank’s policy rates. The government has yet to present its plans on DDR.

Weerasinghe said the central bank has done its best to reduce the risk premium through bringing down the market lending rates while keeping the policy rates unchanged.

Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has discussed progress of International Monetary Fund program and debt restructuring during a visit of Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura, statement said.

“The discussion primarily focused on the progress of the IMF program between Sri Lanka and the IMF,” a statement from President’s office said.

“Attention was also paid to the on-going debt restructuring negotiations.”

However Officials from IMF have said Sri Lanka has to focus on expanding taxes.

“We discussed the importance of fiscal measures, in particular revenue measures, for a return to macroeconomic stability,” Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura said in a statement.

The finance ministry this week issued rules requiring everyone above 18 year of age to register to pay income tax.

“I was encouraged by the authorities’ commitment to negotiate a debt strategy in a timely and transparent manner.

The market generated a revenue of 738 million rupees, while the daily average was 1 billion rupees.

Top gainers in trade were Vallibel One, LOLC Finance and Browns Investment. (Colombo/June02/2023)

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