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Tuesday November 29th, 2022

China donates eight mobile labs for chronic kidney disease detection in Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT – China has donated eight chronic kidney disease (CKD) screening vehicles mobile labs worth 660 million Sri Lankan rupees, the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka.

The mobile labs will be based in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Ampara, Kurunagala, Matale, Badulla districts, a statement said.

Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka QI Zhenhong officially handed over the vehicles to Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella at the Colombo National Hospital on Tuesday September 27.

Sri Lankans in rural areas are severely affected with CKD and the donation is expected to assist in conducting early screening and detection of cases.

The Chinese embassy will work alongside the Nephrology Hospital in Polonnaruwa, another Chinese donation, for treatment, and a joint Research & Demonstration Center for Water Technology in Kandy to find the causes of kidney disease, the statement said.

According to the statement, the vehicles contain facilities similar to laboratory facilities and can be run on electricity. However since Sri Lanka is in the midst of a cashflow breakdown and is undergoing hours of power cuts, the CKD screening vehicles are equipped with power generator facilities which will allow continuous testing, it said.

Each vehicle can test 500 patients daily and can be used to identify kidney patients at district level and regional level, the health ministry said. The mobile laboratory can also be used for laboratory activities in emergency situations like COVID-19, it said.

Minister Rambukwella said in a Facebook post: “At present, about 65,000 kidney patients have been reported in 10 districts across the country who do not know the reason (sp).”

The country received five billion rupees as the first bulk of the second phase of a Chinese subsidies programme, he said.

The Chinese embassy said China continues to assist Sri Lanka’s health crisis and has extended supplies and medicine to reach the island’s waters in the coming months with an accumulated value of five billion rupees. (Colombo/Sep27/2022)

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Sri Lanka rubber farmers to get boost from France, Michellin

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will start a project supported by France and Michellin group to support 6,000 rubber farmers, cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena said.

Rubber farmers in Badalgama and Medagama in the Moneragala district will be supported improve their capacity and supply chains at a cost of 726,700 Euros.

Financial support will be provided by France’s Michellin group which has a subsidiary in Sri Lanka and the government of France.

The project will be implemented by France’s Ksapa group under the guidance of Ministry of Industries.

The cabinet of ministers had cleared a proposal by the Plantations Industries Minister to enter into an agreement to implement the project. (Colombo/Nov29/2022)

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A new Sri Lanka monetary law may have prevented 2019 tax cuts?

ECONOMYNEXT – A new monetary law planned in 2019, if it had been enacted may have prevented the steep tax cuts made in that year which was followed by unprecedented money printing, ex-Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said.

The bill for the central bank law was ready in 2019 but the then administration ran out of parliamentary time to enact it, he said.

Economists backing the new administration slashed taxes in December 2019 and placed price controls on Treasuries auctions bought new and maturing securities, claiming that there was a ‘persistent output gap’.

Coomaraswamy said he keeps wondering whether “someone sitting in the Treasury would have implemented those tax cuts” if the law had been enacted.

“We would never know,” he told an investor forum organized by CT CLSA Securities, a Colombo-based brokerage.

The new law however will sill allow open market operations under a highly discretionary ‘flexible’ inflation targeting regime.

A reserve collecting central bank which injects money to push down interest rates as domestic credit recovers triggers forex shortages.

The currency is then depreciated to cover the policy error through what is known as a ‘flexible exchange rate’ which is neither a clean float nor a hard peg.

From 2015 to 2019 two currency crises were triggered mainly through open market operations amid public opposition to direct purchases of Treasury bills, analysts have shown.

Sri Lanka’s central bank generally triggers currency crises in the second or third year of the credit cycle by purchasing maturing bills from existing holders (monetizing the gross financing requirement) as private loan demand pick up and not necessarily to monetize current year deficits, critics have pointed out.

Past deficits can be monetized as long as open market operations are permitted through outright purchases of bill in the hands of banks and other holders.

In Latin America central banks trigger currency crises mainly by their failure to roll-over sterilization securities. (Colombo/Nov29/2022)

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Sri Lanka cabinet clears CEB re-structure proposal: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet has cleared proposals by a committee to re-structure state-run Ceylon Electricity Board, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijeskera said.

“Cabinet approval was granted today to the recommendations proposed by the committee on Restructuring CEB,” he said in a message.

“The Electricity Reforms Bill will be drafted within a month to begin the unbundling process of CEB & work on a rapid timeline to get the approval of the Parliament needed.”

Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Electricity Board finances had been hit by failure to operate cost reflective tariffs and there are capacity shortfalls due to failure to implement planned generators in time. (Colombo/Nov28/2022)

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