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Wednesday February 1st, 2023

Calls for Sri Lanka parliamentary elections, new cabinet

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Podujana Party of newly elected Sri Lanka president is calling on members of parliament who backed Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to make way for Gotabaya Rajapaksa to appoint a cabinet and prime minister to run his administration.

“We expect members of government to support our resolution to dissolve parliament and make way for parliamentary elections,” Udaya Gammanapila, a senior SLPP member told reporters.

“We are ready to bring people to the streets.”

Under the 19th amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution, the current parliament can only be dissolved by the new president around March 2020 or 4.5 years after its first sitting in September 2015.

The parliament on its own can pass a resolution calling for a dissolution.

Unless Wickremesinghe resigns, any Prime Minister appointed by the new president will have to prove its majority in parliament, where the SLPP is a minority at the moment, unless it can muster more support.

Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, brother of the new president was projected as the Prime Minister in a Gotabaya Rajapaksa administion.

He called on Wickremesinghe government to make way saying the situation after this election differs from previous ones.

There is seven month gap between the Presidential and Parliamentary election because President Maithripala Sirisena delayed calls by Wickremesinghe’s dissolve the parliament pushing general elections to September.

“In the face of the unequivocal people’s mandate delivered at this election, we believe the government will abide by parliamentary traditions as appropriate in such circumstances,” Rajapaska said in a statement.

“As stated in our candidate’s election manifesto, it will be necessary to rebuild the economy from the bottom upwards and to introduce constitutional and legal reforms to achieve this objective.

“We will keep the people informed about further developments in this regard in the coming days.

Several members of Prime Minister Wickremesinhe’s cabinet had already resigned, including losing candidate housing Minister Sajith Premadasa, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Trade Minister Malik Samarawickeme and Telecom Minister Harin Fernando.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe issuing a statement said he would discuss with the speaker, other party leaders and the government parliamentary delegation on the next election.

Navin Dissanayake, plantations minister said Wickremesinghe would have discussions with the new President on the way forward on Monday.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is due to take oaths in Anuradhapura in front of a Ruwanweli Seya, an ancient Buddhist Dagoba built by King Dutugamunu, who defeated Elara, a Chola dynasty king who ruled Sri Lanka’s north central Rajarata area. (Colombo/Nov18/2019)

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Sri Lanka bond yields down at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were down at close following a bond auction on Wednesday, dealers said while a guidance peg for interbank transactions remained unchanged.

“The rates were steady at the auction,” a dealer said.

“This can be a signal to the market saying the rates will go down in the future.”

A bond maturing on 01.07.2025 closed at 32.40/60 percent, down from yesterday’s 32.60/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2027 closed at 29.10/35 marginally down from yesterday’s 29.20/75 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank US dollar transactions remained unchanged at 362.14 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers at 371.38 rupees on Friday, data showed. (Colombo/Feb 01/2022)

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Sri Lanka bill auction hits pothole after 2025 bond spike

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka sold only 45 billion rupees in Treasury bills at Wednesday’s auction after offering 120 billion rupees, data from the state debt office showed, amid market confusion over a spike in a two year bond at an earlier action.

30.1 billion rupees of 3-month bills were sold at 29.91 percent, unchanged from a week earlier after offering 60 billion rupees for auction.

5.1 billion rupees of 6-month bills were sold at 28.72 percent, flat after offering 30 billion.

10.3 billion rupees of 12-month bills were sold at 27.72 percent after offering 30 billion.

Phase II subscriptions have been opened.

The market was foxed after the 2025 bonds were accepted at sharply higher yield than market on January 30, dealer said.

There was further confusion as the there was an outright purchase of 2025 at around 29 percent earlier in January.

Some investors speculated that the authorities were trying to drive more buyers towards short end bonds as bill volumes were getting larger. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)

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Sri Lanka services exports down 5.9-pct in 2022

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s services exports were estimated to have fallen 5.9 percent to 1,876.3 million US dollars, the island’s Export Development Board said.

Services exports estimated is made up of ICT/BPM, construction, financial services, transport and logistics.

There are more than 500 ICT companies, the EDB said.

Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports were up 4.6 percent to US dollars 13.1 billion dollars in 2022 from 2021.

Sri Lanka’s goods exports are slowing amid lower growth in Western markets. (Colombo/ Feb 01/2023)

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