An Echelon Media Company
Tuesday February 27th, 2024

Foreign banks refuse to confirm Sri Lanka state bank letters of credit: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Foreign banks are refusing to confirm letters of credit issued by Sri Lanka state banks, and oil suppliers are also rejecting them, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said as the country reels from the worst currency crisis in the history of the central bank.

A supplier who was given an order for petrol had rejected a letter of credit issued by a state bank.

At first efforts were made with Bank of Ceylon to issue a Letter of Credit and later People’s Bank agreed to issue a letter of credit.

Minister Wijesekera said efforts were made to get Standard Chartered Bank and some Indian banks to confirm the Letter of Credit but they had declined.

The supplier then tried to get the trade credit approved by a financial institution affiliated to them, but a few days later the agency had also refused.

The ship had then been diverted to an Indian port, he said and CPC could not confirm when the next petrol ship would come.

State run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation owes US$326mn to traditional suppliers through the Bank of Ceylon and would owe US$371mn to suppliers by June and July when the terms expire through letters of credit opened by People’s Bank, he said.

The LCs related to fuel imports made in November, December, January, February, March and April 2022.

Some suppliers like Petro China used to give Sri Lanka 180 days of credit through LCs, Minister Wijesekera said.

Sri Lanka is operating probably the most deadly monetary regime cooked up mainly by US neo-Mercantilists and peddled to third world nations called flexible inflation targeting where a unstable reserve collecting peg (flexible exchange rate) is bombarded with liquidity injections via open market operation (flexible inflation targeting) until it collapses.

Traditional suppliers to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation could no longer bear the risk of supplying Sri Lanka due to unsettled arrears, he said.

However efforts were underway to develop a payment plan to settle them, he said.

Sri Lanka was not getting responses for recent oil tenders he said. Except for a solitary tender for Jet-A1 which was too expensive at around 70 million US dollars when the normal price was around 50 million dollars, there were no responses for regular tenders, he said.

With old suppliers in arrears the CPC had evaluated proposals from a number of new suppliers who had made proposals and given letters of awards.

Several of the new awardees had also moved out, he said.

“Two suppliers told me that their banks when they went to their banks, their suppliers refused to supply after a further downgrade a few days ago they cannot agree to LCs with these banks or tripartite agreements,” Wijesekera said.

The new supplier had asked for pre-payment but there was no provision in the agreement to do that.

However the CPC was now looking at paying upfront and getting oil, he said. (Colombo/June27/2022)

Comments (1)

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

  1. John Wong says:

    Some idiots said, “after we stop paying our debt and go to IMF, all the confidence and trust will skyrocket and we will get loan from anywhere. Then we can restructure the debt, give haircut, and come back clean with zero debt”. NOW WHAT??? This was an illusion of some idiots. The moment you stop paying debt, no matter what’s your excuse, people will start CASH AND CARRY business instead of start to give you more debt. And if you dare to impose haircut, your future borrowing costs will skyrocket.

View all comments (1)

Comments (1)

Cancel reply

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

  1. John Wong says:

    Some idiots said, “after we stop paying our debt and go to IMF, all the confidence and trust will skyrocket and we will get loan from anywhere. Then we can restructure the debt, give haircut, and come back clean with zero debt”. NOW WHAT??? This was an illusion of some idiots. The moment you stop paying debt, no matter what’s your excuse, people will start CASH AND CARRY business instead of start to give you more debt. And if you dare to impose haircut, your future borrowing costs will skyrocket.

Sri Lanka president appoints Supreme Court-faulted official as police chief after CC clearance

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed Deshbandu Tennakoon as the 36th Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the country after the Constitutional Council (CC) cleared the official who along with three other police officers were asked by the Supreme Court to compensate 2 million rupees in a fundamental rights case last year.

“President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed Deshbandu Tennakoon as the IGP in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution,” the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

The island nation’s Supreme Court on December 14 ordered Tennakoon when he was the Acting IGP and three other officials to pay a compensation of 500,000 rupees each for the violation of the fundamental rights of an individual.

The Supreme Court also instructed the Police Commission to take disciplinary action against the said Police officers after it considered the petition filed by W. Ranjith Sumangala who had accused the Police officers of violating his fundamental rights during his detention at Mirihana Police Station in 2011.

The Supreme Court held that the four police officers violated the fundamental rights of the petitioner by his illegal arrest, detention and subjection to torture at the Mirihana Police Station, which was under the supervision of Tennakoon at the time of the arrest.

President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake presented the official appointment letter to Tennakoon on Monday (26) at the Presidential Secretariat.

When Tennakoon was asked over if the Supreme Court decision would have an impact on his appointment as the IGP last week, he declined to comment, saying that it was a Supreme Court matter and he does not want to say anything about it.

Tennakoon was also criticized by Colombo Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith when he was appointed as the Acting IGP citing allegations against him related to security lapses leading up to the Easter Sunday attacks which killed at least 269 in April 2019.

However, Tennakoon rejected the allegations. (Colombo/Feb 26/2024)

Continue Reading

No water tariff hike in Sri Lanka this year: Minister

Millennium Challenge Corporation Photo.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s planned water tariff formula is ready, and the government will implement it this year only if the formula’s tariff is lower than the current price, Water Supply Minister Jeevan Thondaman said.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government has been implementing IMF-led pricing policies on utilities and the Water Supply Ministry has already come up with a formula.

“There is a water tariff formula in place right now and we are waiting for it to be drafted and seek approval from the cabinet,” Thondaman told reporters at a media briefing in Colombo on Monday.

“Once this water tariff formula is in place, there will be an annual revision with an option of biannual review.

The formula has been developed with the help of the Asian Development Bank. The formula includes electricity and exchange rate among many others as components like the fuel formula.

The National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWS&DB) increased the water tariff in August 2023, claiming that the operating cost had been increased owing to high interest payment for bank loans and increased electricity prices.

The last year revision saw the consumers paying 30-50 percent increase from the existing water bill.

Minister Thondaman said he will implement the new formula this year only if there is a reduction.

TARIFF CUT WILL BE IMPLEMENTED 

“We will have to wait to see what the formula is. If the formula shows us there needs to be a reduction in the water tariff, we can implement it. But if there is an increase, why should we burden the people when we are on a road to recovery?” he said.

He said a group of experts including University Professors are working on the formula and the numbers.

“Once they come with the number, we will have to take a decision on whether we are going to impose on the people or not,” he said.

“We have already spoken to the Asian Development Bank and informed them we have established the formula. But according to the ADB requirement of this policy-based loan, the implementation period is only in 2025.”

“But right now, you want to take the approval for the formula for sustainability.”

The Energy Ministry is considering a drastic slash in electricity tariff soon. Thondaman said the exact numbers will be decided on after the finalized electricity tariff.

However, he said that as per the formula, there has to be a up to 10 percent increase in the water tariff as of now.

“Given the current formula set up, there must be around a 9-10 percent increase. It was actually at 14 percent. What we have done is since it is at 14 percent, we also did a calculation to see how we can do a cost cutting,” he said.

“So, despite our cost cutting measures, there will be an increase of 9 or 10 percent. But we will not be imposing it as of now because this year is meant to be policy sector reforms. Next year is meant to be the implementation.”

“As per August 2023 water tariff hike, we are able to come close to sustainable. So right now, there is no issue in the water sector. But a formula eventually needs to be established.” (Colombo/Feb 26/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka rupee closes at 310.80/311.00 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 310.80/311.00 to the US dollar Monday, from 310.95/311.05 on Thursday, dealers said.

Bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed stable at 10.60/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.80/90 percent down from 11.90/12.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.03.2028 closed at 12.00/12.15 percent down from 12.10/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.20/70 percent from 12.20/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 12.30/70 percent down from 12.40/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2031 closed at 12.60/80 percent from 12.45/13.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.50/90 percent from 12.50/13.30 percent. (Colombo/Feb26/2024)

Continue Reading