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Thursday March 23rd, 2023

Gammanpila, Wimal, Wijedasa, Vasu change stand on Dual Citizens holding office

ECONOMYNEXT- A group of government Members of Parliament who opposed the proposal to disallow dual-citizens to hold political office have changed their minds and will support the motion, Minister Udaya Gammanpila told reporters today.

Nationalist groups opposed to the dual citizenship clause had put pressure on these leaders to have the clause removed and initially they had said they were not voting with the government on this.

Gammanpila, a Cabinet Minister, said this following a discussion with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday

The MPs who are members of smaller parties which contested under the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna umbrella said they have arrived at a compromise to the issue.

Gammanpila said that the President has promised to include a clause in the new constitution, he has promised to bring in before November next year, which would not allow dual citizens to contest in Presidential or Parliamentary elections.

The group which includes Wimal Weerawansa, Gammanpila, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Wijedasa Rajapaksa and Prof Tissa Vitharana had met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday to discuss the issue of dual citizenship.

Speaking at a joint press conference held this morning, he said that they got huge mandate at the elections to their promise to temporarily abolish 19th amendment and bring in a new constitution,

“However, in the debate of 20th amendment, if there are positive characters in the 19th amendment we made a promise to protect them,” he added

So he said that the government will retain the clause that will limit the terms and duration of the President and the parliament and the clause that will keep Right to Information as a basic right of the people as mentioned in 19th amendment.

Further, he said amendments such as raising the number of member of the Election Commission to 5 members, allow the President to dissolve the parliament after two-and-a-half years since the election and including President and Prime Minister’s offices and other state institution to the audit of Auditor General which were present Attorney General were included.

“Also, the determination of the Supreme Court said the government will have to go for a referendum in order to remove the right for the people to file Fundamental Rights cases against President and the right to punish public officials who violate the directions of Election Commission,” he said.

Moreover, Gammanpila said that the cabinet decided on the issue of emergency acts, limiting the number of cabinet ministers, including state institutions to the audit of the Auditor General.

“The issue of dual citizens was the only demand which was not fulfilled, however, the President said that there was no debate about the dual citizenship in the society before, this clause was brought to stop him from running for the presidency, so there is an emotional problem about this clause, so give him a chance to remove this clause,” he said.

“We will support 20th amendment, however, Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) as a party does not agree on policy-wise to allow dual citizens to contest parliamentary and presidential elections,” said Gammanpila. (Colombo/Oct22/2020-sb)
Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe

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Sri Lanka establishes committee to investigate aircraft incidents

An aircraft lands at the Jaffna International Airport, which was opened in October 2019 and promises to push the tourism frontiers in Jaffna.

ECONOMYNEXT: Sri Lanka’s has established an expert committee under the state-run Civil Aviation Authority to investigate aircraft accidents and to implement precautionary methods in the Sri Lankan airspace, an Official said.

“Even if it is only one flight, there is a chance an accident may occur,” Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka, Director General, P. A. Jayakantha said.

“This particular committee is there to investigate aircraft accidents and act as a mechanism to take over if something goes wrong”.

Sri Lanka has encountered around 2,700 minor aircraft accidents and incidents mostly on the ground in the 19 years through 2021, the CAA annual reports showed.

The new committee will analyze the past accidents and take precautionary measures while also conducting investigations and provide independent reports in the future, Jayakantha said.

The team is provided with required training and qualifications by the CAA along with an International organization, free of charge.

“Internationally also it is a requirement to have a team to investigate the aircraft accidents,” Jayakantha added.

“For a long time we have not fulfilled this requirement and that is why we established this team with the cabinet approval. Moreover, recently, Sri Lanka’s two aircrafts, one training aircraft and a commercial aircraft met an accident”

The committee will be on active duty, until the Accident Investigation Act is passed and a proper Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation Bureau is established. (Colombo/ Mar23/2023)

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Sri Lanka bond yields steady, Rupee 319/325 at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s treasury bond yields closed steady on Thursday while rupee closed weaker, dealers said.

A 01.07.2025 bond closed at 30.60/31.00 percent on Tuesday, down from 30.25/75 percent on Wednesday.

A 15.09.2027 bond closed at 27.80/28.10 percent, steady from 27.90/28.00 percent from Wednesday.

Sri Lanka rupee closed at 319/325 against the US dollar depreciating from 318/320 from a day earlier. (Colombo/ March23/2023)

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Sri Lanka shares dive to two-week low on local debt restructuring fears

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka market fell for a fourth session to a two-week low on Thursday, led by financials, as worries over domestic debt restructuring continued after the IMF loan was approved earlier this week resulting in investors adopting a wait-and-see approach until further clarity was provided, analysts said.

The main All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed down 1.38 percent or 131.07 points to 9,395.98, lowest since March 02.

Analysts said, majority of the banks have been on slower investment trends on fears of domestic debt restructuring after the IMF approval and waiting for more clarity on the local debt restructuring.

“The market is on muted sentiments despite the IMF loan being approved and is going through a period of consolidation,” Ranjan Ranatunga of First Capital Holdings said.

The market saw a net foreign outflow of 298 million rupees and the total offshore inflows recorded so far in 2023 to 3.3 billion rupees.

The most liquid index, S&P SL20, closed 1.64 percent, or 45.33 points, down at 2,722.94.

The market saw a turnover of 3.4 billion rupees on Thursday, above this year’s daily average of 1.8 billion rupees.

This is the highest turnover generated since March 08, which is when the market was driven off of positive sentiments from International Monetary Fund deal hope after Chinese assurances.

Top contributors to revenue was Agalawatte Plantations, on off board transactions of a stake change, contributing revenue of 1.6 billion rupees, Ranatunga said.

Top contributors to revenue industry wise was Food and Beverage and Telecommunications.

Sri Lanka Telecom has been seeing positive uptrends as the Secretary to the Treasury has informed the Board of Directors of Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT) and Lanka Hospitals PLC that the Cabinet of Ministers has granted approval in principle for the divestment of the stakes held by the Treasury Secretary in the two companies.

Top losers were Sampath Bank, Hatton National Bank and Commercial Bank.

Sri Lanka is looking at options to re-structure domestic debt, or local law local currency debt (LLLC), without harming the banking sector and announce them the International Monetary Fund said in a report.

Banks have been witnessing profit taking and selling pressures after continuous uptrends prior to the IMF loan had been approved.

Analysts said, selling pressures is expected to ease as the IMF hopes to reduce inflationary pressures which will in turn lead to reductions in interest rates. (Colombo/Mar23/2023)

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