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Friday June 14th, 2024

Crisis-hit Sri Lanka plans to trade off debt with climate vulnerabilities at AP meeting

FILE PHOTO – People crossing a flooded river

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka, which is struggling to get rid of an unprecedented economic crisis is trying to initiate a Climate Justice Forum at an upcoming Asia Pacific regional forum to bargain with developed nations to cut off some debts due to climate vulnerabilities, a cabinet minister said.

Leaders from poor countries at the last Climate Change Conference or COP27 held in Egypt in November 2022 criticized wealthy nations and oil companies for driving global warming and demanded to pay up for damages being inflicted on their economies.

Small island states already buffeted by increasingly violent ocean storms and sea-level rise called on oil companies to shell out some of their huge recent profits, while developing African states called for more international funds for adaptation.

Sri Lanka has been facing frequent droughts and often floods in the recent past, resulting human and property losses along with hit on the food production.

The island nation has declared bankruptcy in April last year and it has to pay above $41 billion external loans when it starts repayments after its debt restructuring.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe government which is hosting the fifth Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific jointly with the United Nations Environmental Programme is working hard to establish Climate Justice Forum in a remedial measure to reduce some of its debt.

“This is something a new concept Sri Lanka is going to initiate,” Environment Minister Nazeer Ahamed told reporters at a media briefing on Monday.

“We are trying to bring many affected countries, climate-vulnerable countries to join hands with this concept. So that we all will have one voice at the COP28. So, the voice will be heard loudly. Sri Lanka is trying to lead this.”

President Wickremesinghe since becoming to power in July last year has been pushing for measures to protect from the climate change.

“The objective is to reduce the debt burden,” Environment Minister Ahamed said without elaborating.

“The 2016 floods cost close to $680 million loss and 2017 floods forced us to lose $400 million plus 212 deaths. There are so many droughts, there are so many floods. Our people have got affected, but so far not much has been done by the developed countries,” he said.

“What we are trying to propose is to address the debt burden as against the climate vulnerabilities. We are finalizing a resolution.”

Sri Lanka government has earmarked 65 million rupees for the conference while UNEP will provide $20,0000, the minister said.

Over 300 delegates including from 41 member countries will visit Colombo for the summit scheduled to be held from October 3-5. (Colombo/September 25/2023)

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Sri Lanka opposition leader proposes Grama Rajya system in addition to 13A

Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa (r) – File photo

ECONOMYNEXT — Sri Lanka opposition leader Sajith Premadasa has proposed devolving power to the village level through a Grama Rajya system in addition to implementing the 13th amendment to the constitution.

Speaking at an event in Jaffna on on Wednesday June 12, Premadasa said all provinces will benefit from the 13th amendment.

“Whatever one’s ethnicity, religion, status or region, this country has citizens of equal level. They’re all Sri Lankan citizens.

“There is no division or grouping.  As we give you and every other province what you should be given through the 13th amendment, we must implement a Grama Rajya system,” Premadasa said, addressing a crowd of school children and other attendees.

Premadasa’s assurance of implementing the 13th amendment has already drawn some protest in the south.

A collective of civil society organisations held a protest outside the office of the leader of the opposition in Colombo on Thursday June 12.

Calling itself the ‘Coalition Against Partition of Sri Lanka’, the group carrying national flags marched up to the opposition leader’s office Thursday June 13 morning and demonstrated against the full implementation of the 13th amendment.

“We arrived here today to hand over a missive against devolving police powers, land powers and judicial powers. If Mr Premadasa is inside, come outside,” Jamuni Kamantha Thushara, Chairman of the Citizen’s Movement Against Fraud, Corruption, and Waste, was seen declaring at the site.

“First of all, tell us what we stand to achieve by dividing and giving away the north and east,” said another protestor, warning against bringing the 13th amendment “anywhere here (paththa palaathe)”.

A police officer at the scene the protestors that a secretary to the opposition leader was ready to accept their letter.

“In Kilonochchi, he says the 13th amendment will be implemented. The votes in the north are going to be decisive this election. To win those votes, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sajith and Anura Kumara Dissanayake all say they will implement the 13th. We will not allow this country to be divided into nine pieces,” said Thushara.

Ven Balangoda Kassapa Thero, who was arrested on June 06 during a protest against the new Electricity Act, was also seen at Thursday’s protest. The Buddhist monk requested for a debate with Premadasa on the matter of the 13th amendment. (Colombo/Jun12/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes flat at 303.85/95 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed broadly flat at 303.85/95 to the US dollar on Thursday, from 303.80/304.00 to the dollar the previous day, dealers said. Bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.00/30 percent, down from 10.20/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.10.2027 closed at 10.60/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 11.00/15 percent, down from 11.15/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 11.80/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 11.85/12.05 percent, down from 11.90/12.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed stable at 11.95/12.15 percent. (Colombo/Jun13/2024)

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Sri Lanka sells Rs295bn in 2027 to 2031 bonds

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has sold 295 billion rupees in 2027, 2029 and 2031 bonds, data from the state debt office showed.

The debt office sold an offered 60 billion rupees of 15 October 2027 at an average yield of 10.30 percent.

All offered 125 billion rupees of 15 September 2029 bonds were sold at 11.00 percent.

All 110 billion rupees offered of 01 December 2031 bonds were sold at 12.00 percent. (Colombo/May13/2024)

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