An Echelon Media Company
Monday February 6th, 2023

Elected Sri Lanka ruling party MP to resign for diplomatic posting in US: source

Image credit: facebook

ECONOMYNEXT – Elected ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) parliamentarian Mahinda Samarasinghe has decided to vacate his seat and take up an ambassador post in the United States, a source close to the MP said on Saturday (18).

“He opted for the US ambassador post,” the source, who has been involved with Samarasinghe’s political career for more than a decade, told EconomyNext.

Local media, however, said he will be appointed as the ambassador for the US and Mexico. Samarasinghe was not immediately available for comment.

The ex MP was elected from the island nation’s Western coastal district of Kalutara in the 2020 parliamentary poll. He polled the least preferential votes out of the eight SLPP legislators elected to parliament.

Kalutara district SLPP candidate Wadduwage Manju Lalith Varna Kumara is next in the list to succeed Samarasinghe, a party source said.

Before his resignation, Samarasinghe was on a three month leave from parliament that was approved by the legislature. He has attended only 48 parliament sessions out of a total 93 so far held since the 2020 election.

Before joining politics, he was in the foreign service and served as the first secretary to the Sri Lanka High Commission in Australia as well as a counselor for the Sri Lankan Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva during the 1980s.

Samarasinghe entered active politics in 1988 and was elected to the parliament in 1994 under center-right United National Party (UNP). He crossed over to the then government side in 2006, joining the ranks of the center-left Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

He had served as minister of Labour, Disaster Management, Plantation, Skills Development, as well as Ports and Shilling in his parliamentary career. He, as Port Minister, signed the Chinese-built $1.5 billion Hambantota port deal to be handed over to China in 2018 on a 99-year lease.

Samarasinghe is the third SLPP legislator to resign from the parliament since July.

Already Jayantha Ketagoda resigned to make way for Basil Rajapaksa, younger brother of both president and prime minister, to become the finance minister in July. Last week, Ajith Nivard Cabraal resigned to take up the position of central bank governor at the request of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Samarasinghe defected from the Rajapaksa camp after the 2015 presidential poll defeat and joined former president Maithripala Sirisena. He lost the parliamentary election later in 2015, but Sirisena appointed him under the national list.

Samarasinghe’s name was in the Wikileaks quoted by then US ambassador to Colombo Robert Blake in 2007.

The cable said Samarasinghe had expressed concern that the President and his two brothers have rendered his human rights and humanitarian access efforts ineffective and that he would not sacrifice his political career to become “part of a white wash” for the Government of Sri Lanka’s (GSL) recent human rights violations. (Colombo/Sep18/2021)

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 to address SME tax problems at first opportunity: State Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Problems faced by Sri Lanka’s small and medium enterprises from recent tax changes will be addressed at the first opportunity, State Minister for Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said.

Business chambers had raised questions about hikes in Value Added Tax, Corporate Income Tax and the Social Security Contribution Levy (SSCL) that’s been imposed.

It should be explored on how to amend the Inland Revenue Act, Siyamabalapitiya said, adding that the future months should be considered as a period where the country is being stabilized.

Both the VAT and SSCL are effectively paid by customers, but the SSCL is a cascading tax that makes running businesses difficult.

In Sri Lanka SMEs make up a large part of the economy, accounting for 80 per cent of all businesses according to according to the island’s National Human Resources and Employment Policy.

(Colombo/ Feb 05/2023)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka revenues Rs158.7bn in Jan 2023 up 51-pct

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government revenues were 158.7 billion rupees in January 2023 but expenditure and debt service remained high, Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.

In January 2022 total revenues were Rs104.5 billion according to central bank data.

Sri Lanka’s tax revenues have risen sharply amid an inflationary blow off which had boosted nominal GDP while President Ranil Wickremesinghe has also raised taxes.

Departing from a previous strategy advocated by the IMF expanding the state and not cutting expenses, called revenue based fiscal consolidation, he is attempting to do classical fiscal consolidation with spending restraint.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has presented a note to cabinet requesting state expenditure to be controlled, Gunawardana told reporters.

State Salaries cost 87.4 billion rupees.

Pensions and income supplements (Samurdhi program) were29.5 billion rupees.

Other expenses were 10.8 billion rupees.

Capital spending was   21 billion rupees.

Debt service was 377.6 billion rupees for January which has to be done with borrowings from Treasury bills, bonds and a central bank provisional advance of 100 billion rupees, Gunawardana said.

Interest costs were not separately given. (Colombo/Feb05/2023)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Tea prices down for second week

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Tea prices fell for the second week at an auction on January 31, with teas from all elevations seeing a decline, data showed.

“In retrospect, the decline in prices would be a price correction owing to the overall product quality and less interest from some key importers due to the arrival of cargo at destinations ahead of schedule,” Forbes and Walker tea brokers said.

The weekly sale average fell from 1475.79 rupees to 1465.40 rupees from a week ago, according to data from Ceylon Tea Brokers.

The tea prices are down for two weeks in a row.

High Growns

The High Grown sale average was down by 20.90 rupees to 1380.23 rupees, Ceylon Tea Brokers said.

High grown BOP and BOPF was down about 100 rupees.

“Ex-Estate offerings which totalled 0.75 M/Kg saw a slight decline in quality over the previous week” Forbes and Walker said.

OP/OPA’s in general were steady to marginally down.

Low Growns

In Low Grown Teas, FBOP 1 was down by 100 rupees and FBOP was down by 50 rupees while PEK was up by 150 rupees.

The Low Growns sale average was down by 8.55 rupees to 1547.93 rupees.

A few select Best BOP1s along with Below Best varieties maintained.

OP1                     Select Best OP1’s were steady, whilst improved/clean Below Best varieties maintained.   Others and poorer sorts were easier.

PEKOE                 Well- made PEK/PEK1s in general were steady, whilst others and poorer sorts were down.

Leafy and Semi Leafy catalogues met with fair demand,” Forbes and Walker brokers said.

“However, the Small Leaf and Premium catalogues continued to decline.

“Shippers to Iran were very selective, whilst shippers to Türkiye and Russia were fairly active.”

This week  2.2 million Kilograms of Low Growns were sold.

Medium Growns

Medium Grown BOP and BOPF fell by around 100 rupees

The Medium Growns sale average was down by 33.40 rupees to 1199.4 rupees.

“Medium CTC teas in the higher price bracket witnessed a similar trend, whilst teas at the lower end were somewhat maintained subject to quality,” Forbes and Walker brokers said.

“Improved activity from the local trade and perhaps South Africa helped to stabilize prices to some extent.”

OP/OPA grades were steady while PEKOE/PEKOE1 were firm, while some gained 50-100 rupees at times.

Well-made FBOP/FBOPF1’s were down by 50-100 rupees per kg and more at times.

(Colombo/Feb 5/2023)

Continue Reading