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Friday June 2nd, 2023

Joining all-party cabinet won’t be a ‘system change’: Sri Lanka opp. leader

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s main opposition the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) will not be taking up cabinet positions in the proposed all-party government as doing so will not be the ‘system change’ being sought, opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premadasa said.

“We will not be accepting ministerial portfolios because that would not be a system change. It would be changing seats and promoting corruption,” said Premadasa speaking at an event in Colombo on Tuesday August 16.

Premadasa said the SJB’s approach was to fulfill the needs of the nation through parliamentary committees that the party wishes to be part of.

“If I was invited to be the President of the US or even the Prime Minister of the UK, I would not accept those positions but would choose to stand with my nation, my country,” he said.

The event was an SJB-organised national assembly for women activists with representation from a number of groups involved in Sri Lanka’s youth-led Aragalaya (struggle) protest movement. Discussions focused on the economic crisis and its effect on Sri Lanka’s women.

Tilted Maha Jana Sabhawa or People’s Council, the round of discussions was chaired by Premadasa. SJB national organiser Tissa Attanayake and former parliamentarian Hirunika Premachandra were also present.

Speaking at the event, Attanayake said the SJB wishes to work with the government amicably but SJB members have been advised not to take the government up on any offers of positions.

The event was attended by several groups that were involved in the Aragalaya, with representation from the deaf community, lawyers, mothers and state workers.

SJB spokespersons said the progamme was launched to give due consideration to decisions that impact women in leadership as well as to discuss women’s issues in general. Seeking justice for protestors injured in a military raid on July 22 was also taken up.

Among the issues raised was prices of sanitary napkins and menstrual products.

In a recent tweet, Premadasa had praised Scotland for becoming the first country to provide sanitary napkins and menstrual products free of charge.

“We raised this matter in parliament 2019 and we were laughed at and hooted at. It was not taken any notice of and I was not surprised.

“They famously said they would implement it, but it was limited to words, not action,” he said. (Colombo/Aug17/2022)

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  1. Suseela S says:

    Kudos!! Premadasa wait till the dotards in the cabinet vacate their seat to be replaced by younger blood from all parties. Stick to your guns and don’t budge an inch. Hope those in your party toe the line and are not tempted by the Rajapaksa lure or their stinking lucre.

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  1. Suseela S says:

    Kudos!! Premadasa wait till the dotards in the cabinet vacate their seat to be replaced by younger blood from all parties. Stick to your guns and don’t budge an inch. Hope those in your party toe the line and are not tempted by the Rajapaksa lure or their stinking lucre.

Sri Lanka to ramp up weekend fuel deliveries after petrol price cut

More deaths reported at Sri Lanka fuel queues

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation will be operating on the weekend to complete all fuel deliveries to end vehicle queues forming outside fuel stations after the price revision earlier in the week, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

“Instructions have been given to CPC and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals to continue fuel deliveries on Saturday and Sunday this week to supply sufficient stocks to all fuel stations,” Minister Wijesekera said in a TWITTER.COM MESSAGE

“To reduce expenses on overtime, CPC and CPSTL have not been operating on Sundays and public holidays in the last 4 months,” Wijesekera said.

“Non-placement of orders by fuel stations from last Saturday, anticipating a price reduction, not maintaining minimum stocks, immediate increase in demand by consumers after the price revision, and quota increase have created shortages in the fuel stations.”

The Minister in April 2023 said all fuel stations would be required to maintain a minimum of 50 percent of stock tank capacity.

“I have asked CPC to review and suspend the license of fuel stations that had not maintained minimum stocks.” (Colombo/ June 02/ 2023)

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Sri Lanka bonds yield up at close, rupee at 291.75/292.50 against the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bonds closed steady on Friday, dealers said, following the central bank’s decision to cut its main policy rate by 250 basis points.

The Spot US dollar closed at 291.75/292.50 rupees, dealers said.

The rupee opened at 290.25/75 to the US dollar Thursday and closed at 292.50/295.50 to the US dollar.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 24.70/90 percent up from 24.50/90 percent a day earlier, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 closed at 25.75/26.25 percent up from 25.00/26.00 percent a day earlier.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2025 closed at 27.00/30 percent, up from 26.30/27.00 per cent at last close.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 20.25/21.00 percent, up from 20.00/40 per cent at last close.
(Colombo/ June 02/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s shares edge up on positive macroeconomic sentiments

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares closed higher in trade on Friday, over positive macro-sentiments encouraging investors to redeem their interest towards buying, an analyst said.

The main All Share Price Index was up 0.72 percent or 62.19 points to 8,753.80,  while the most liquid index S&P SL20 was up 0.68 percent or 16.87 points to 2,487.29.

Sri Lanka’s inflation in the 12-months to May 2023 has eased to 25.2 percent from 35.3 percent a month earlier according to a revised Colombo Consumer Price Index calculated by the state statistics office.

Prior to the Monetary Policy investors were quite optimistic that inflation is to lower and interest rates will decrease and since exp, an analyst said.

Sri Lanka Central Bank is waiting for the government proposal on the domestic debt restructuring (DDR), the central bank governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said amid uncertainty over DDR and speculations over instability in the banking sector.

“On debt restructuring, the borrower is the ministry of finance’s treasury. Certainly we will announce what the strategy will be. We are waiting for a government proposal,” Weerasinghe said.

Sri Lanka’s investors are waiting on assurances to be made on debt restructuring and optimization, Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said, “It is up to the government to clear the uncertainty, because from our side we have done that part.”

The central bank cut the key policy rates by 250 basis points to spur a faltering economic growth as inflation was decelerating faster than it projected.

The speculation of DDR has hit the market and the risk premium has kept the market lending rates well above the central bank’s policy rates. The government has yet to present its plans on DDR.

Weerasinghe said the central bank has done its best to reduce the risk premium through bringing down the market lending rates while keeping the policy rates unchanged.

Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has discussed progress of International Monetary Fund program and debt restructuring during a visit of Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura, statement said.

“The discussion primarily focused on the progress of the IMF program between Sri Lanka and the IMF,” a statement from President’s office said.

“Attention was also paid to the on-going debt restructuring negotiations.”

However Officials from IMF have said Sri Lanka has to focus on expanding taxes.

“We discussed the importance of fiscal measures, in particular revenue measures, for a return to macroeconomic stability,” Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura said in a statement.

The finance ministry this week issued rules requiring everyone above 18 year of age to register to pay income tax.

“I was encouraged by the authorities’ commitment to negotiate a debt strategy in a timely and transparent manner.

The market generated a revenue of 738 million rupees, while the daily average was 1 billion rupees.

Top gainers in trade were Vallibel One, LOLC Finance and Browns Investment. (Colombo/June02/2023)

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