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Wednesday February 1st, 2023

Gota’s promises on education unrealistic – UNP

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s promises on education reform are unrealistic and impractical, United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Prof Ashu Marasinghe said.

Addressing the media at party headquarters at Sirikotha this afternoon (23), Prof Marasinghe said Rajapaksa’s promise to provide state university education to all eligible students cannot be realistically implemented.

“I heard Gotabaya Rajapaksa claiming recently that all students eligible for state university entrance will receive university admission under his government. It is an amusing thing to say considering that in 10 years of Rajapaksa, not a single new university was built. Nor did the number of students enrolled to existing universities increase,” he said.

“At least 150,000 students are eligible to enter the state universities every year. How are they going to provide adequate facilities for all of them?  At present, facilities are only adequate for 30,000 students. What is their plan to accommodate 150,000? People should not be misled by such lies,” he added.

The MP, who has served in a number of education committees, further said that the UNP-led New Democratic Front (NDF)’s education policies are more practical.

“We have an education policy that will give priority to STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education. We intend to encourage students to pursue those subjects. At present only 38 per cent of students follow STEM, and we have a plan to increase it to 60 per cent by 2030. To implement that, we have made thirteen years of education compulsory. We will also build technical colleges in all provinces,” said Prof Marasinghe.

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Sri Lanka bond yields down at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were down at close following a bond auction on Wednesday, dealers said while a guidance peg for interbank transactions remained unchanged.

“The rates were steady at the auction,” a dealer said.

“This can be a signal to the market saying the rates will go down in the future.”

A bond maturing on 01.07.2025 closed at 32.40/60 percent, down from yesterday’s 32.60/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2027 closed at 29.10/35 marginally down from yesterday’s 29.20/75 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank US dollar transactions remained unchanged at 362.14 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers at 371.38 rupees on Friday, data showed. (Colombo/Feb 01/2022)

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Sri Lanka bill auction hits pothole after 2025 bond spike

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka sold only 45 billion rupees in Treasury bills at Wednesday’s auction after offering 120 billion rupees, data from the state debt office showed, amid market confusion over a spike in a two year bond at an earlier action.

30.1 billion rupees of 3-month bills were sold at 29.91 percent, unchanged from a week earlier after offering 60 billion rupees for auction.

5.1 billion rupees of 6-month bills were sold at 28.72 percent, flat after offering 30 billion.

10.3 billion rupees of 12-month bills were sold at 27.72 percent after offering 30 billion.

Phase II subscriptions have been opened.

The market was foxed after the 2025 bonds were accepted at sharply higher yield than market on January 30, dealer said.

There was further confusion as the there was an outright purchase of 2025 at around 29 percent earlier in January.

Some investors speculated that the authorities were trying to drive more buyers towards short end bonds as bill volumes were getting larger. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)

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Sri Lanka services exports down 5.9-pct in 2022

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s services exports were estimated to have fallen 5.9 percent to 1,876.3 million US dollars, the island’s Export Development Board said.

Services exports estimated is made up of ICT/BPM, construction, financial services, transport and logistics.

There are more than 500 ICT companies, the EDB said.

Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports were up 4.6 percent to US dollars 13.1 billion dollars in 2022 from 2021.

Sri Lanka’s goods exports are slowing amid lower growth in Western markets. (Colombo/ Feb 01/2023)

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