An Echelon Media Company
Sunday December 3rd, 2023

Dollar crisis poses existential threat to Sri Lanka’s publishing industry: authors

Arbeitsbereich der Inhaltserschließung in der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek in Frankfurt am Main

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s prevailing dollar shortage is severely impacting the country’s publishing industry which may grind to a halt in March as a result of price hikes and shortages in imported paper and printing materials, a collective of authors said.

Speaking at a press conference organised by Mass Guiding Artists, a collective affiliated with the opposition National People’s Power (NPP), writer Kamal Perera said on Thursday (10) that thousands of jobs in the industry are now in danger as a result of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis.

“There is no paper in the market. There are no dollars to import paper.

“In three months, the price of a ream of paper has gone up by 900 rupees. A ream cost about 5,200 rupees in December; it is now difficult to find one in the market even for 6,200 rupees,” said Perera.

Sri Lanka is currently going through one of the worst economic crises in its history, compounded by a severe dollar shortage and rising inflation that some economists have blamed on excess money printing.

According to the writer, there is also a shortage in plates and other equipment used in printing.

He complained that the government is not interested in finding solutions and doesn’t seem to consider the emerging crisis in the industry to be a serious matter.

“The government has no interest in this whatsoever. It is not in the interest of corrupt leaders to have a learned populace,” said Perera.

He called for slashed taxes and other measures to save the industry.

“In former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s time, there was a quota for writers and publishers. They can remove taxes for imported paper. Alternately, they can produce paper locally. There are several factories in our country, but they don’t manufacture paper for book printing,” said Perera.

Perera expressed suspicion that the apparent lack of interest on the part of the authorities could be an attempt to outsource book printing to a foreign country.

“We wonder if a proposal will be made that we outsource printing to China, which is a nation that’s very friendly to this government and is a global leader in printing. Or even to Singapore or India,” he said. (Colombo/Feb11/2022)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sri Lanka UGC wants to boost number of IT-related degrees

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s University Grants Commission is of the view to boost the number of Information Technology (IT) related degrees in state universities with an aim to pave the way for a digital economy.

Sri Lanka’shigher education system has been producing more graduates in Arts stream while the degrees in highly demanded IT and other engineering services are being looked at only now.

“We do have a high demand for engineering, science, AI, computer and electronical engineering

studies,” Chairman of University Grants Commission, Sampath Amaratunga, told reporters at aa media briefing on Friday

“However, while avoiding neglecting the humanities, we should develop new IT skills.”

Amaratunga confirmed that a student who studied in any stream could obtain an IT degree, including students who studied in the arts stream.

The UGC data show that out of 18,490 engineering technology stream students who sat for their Advanced Levels (A/L) in 2022, 10634 were eligible for university.

“Even streams like agriculture should be encouraged to use technology,” Amaratunga said. (Colombo/Dec 2/2023)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka leader inaugurates Climate Justice Forum at COP28 in Dubai

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe launched Climate Justice Forum (CJF) at the ongoing 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) held in Dubai in a move to gather support for vulnerable nations hit by climate-change led disasters.

This year’s climate summit held in Dubai’s EXPO2020 features a raft of issues for countries working to find common ground in tackling climate change, including whether to phase out fossil fuels and how to finance the energy transition in developing countries.

Wickremesinghe inaugurated the Climate Justice Forum at COP28 on Saturday and emphasized the critical importance of addressing climate issues with a sense of justice and equity.

The President had been in talks with many nations vulnerable to climate change disasters including African and South American countries to get their support for the CJF.

The move is to compel advanced and developed countries to look into the poor nations hit by the climate changes and help them to get over economic and debt burdens by either investing more in green energy initiatives or writing off debts to ease financial pressure.

Sri Lanka, which is now facing an unprecedented economic crisis, has seen increasing losses and damages, both human lives and physical properties due to climate change-led disasters like floods, drought, and earth slips.

In his speech at the COP28 forum, Wickremesinghe on Friday said the Climate Justice Forum will provide a platform for constructive and proactive engagements. (Dubai/Dec 2/2023)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka IMF review goes to executive board on December 12

ECONOMYNEXT – The first review of Sri Lanka’s International Monetary Fund program is scheduled to go the lender’s Executive Board for consideration on December 12.

Sri Lanka officials were expecting the review to be completed in December as soon as official creditors gave their assurances.

According to the notice Sri Lanka had missed one performance criterion and has requested modifications.

Sri Lanka has outperformed on a number of quantity targets including inflation. In addition to quantity PCs there was also one non-accumulation of arrears.

There would also be re-phasing of access. The review was originally expected around September with another review based on December data, leading to September and March disbursements.

Continue Reading