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Friday March 1st, 2024

Kamala Harris’ VP nomination historic: Sri Lankan-American former chief of staff Rohini Kosoglu

ECONOMYNEXT – This week’s nomination of Democratic Senator Kamala Harris as US presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate is a historic moment, Harris’ former Chief of Staff and senior adviser, Sri Lankan-American Rohini Kosoglu said.

Harris, who was picked as Biden’s vice presidential nominee on Tuesday (11), is the first woman of colour in the US to be named a VP nominee by a major party. In another first, Kosoglu was first appointed Harris’ chief of staff in 2018, becoming the only American-Asian woman to serve as a US senator’s chief of staff.

Harris has picked Karine Jean-Pierre, a former Obama staffer, Haitian immigrant and self-identified lesbian as her Chief of Staff for the Vice-Presidential bid.

“This is a historic moment. Proud to share it with so many. 84 days. #khive,” tweeted Kosoglu tweeted yesterday.

It was reported at the time of Kosoglu’s appointment that the diversity amongst Harris’ staff was not matched by her Democratic colleagues even though they employ a large number of women, predominantly white.

Kosoglu’s parents’ Doctor Wijeyadevendram Ravindran and Shobhana Ravindran hail from SriLanka and emigrated to the United States in the early 1980s. She is a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School.

She graduated from the University of Michigan and the George Washington University and was first introduced to national politics as a mailroom manager while working for Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Kosoglu worked her way up as a senior policy adviser after graduating in Sen. Stabenow’s office. She then moved to Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett’s office as his senior health care adviser meanwhile the congress was considering Obamacare or Affordable Care Act.

After seven years in Bennett’s office, Kosoglu got an offer from Harris, then a senator-elect, to work as deputy chief of staff.

If Biden gets elected this November, Harris will be America’s first female, the first woman of colour and the first Asian-American vice president. (Colombo/Aug13/2020)

Comments (3)

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  1. Kamala fernando says:

    As a Sri Lankan American and a a south Asian woman my heart is bursting with pride. And I bear the senators name too .

  2. Sonali Dias says:

    Congratulations and so proud of you. More women should be in the forefront.

  3. Lasantha Karavita says:

    My congratulation & best of luck.
    Proud of your achievement as Sri-Lankan.
    Stay Safe.

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Comments (3)

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

  1. Kamala fernando says:

    As a Sri Lankan American and a a south Asian woman my heart is bursting with pride. And I bear the senators name too .

  2. Sonali Dias says:

    Congratulations and so proud of you. More women should be in the forefront.

  3. Lasantha Karavita says:

    My congratulation & best of luck.
    Proud of your achievement as Sri-Lankan.
    Stay Safe.

Sri Lanka’s RAMIS online tax collection system “not operatable”: IT Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s online tax collection system RAMIS is “not operatable”, and the Ministry of Information Technology is ready to do for an independent audit to find the shortcomings, State IT Minister Kanaka Herath said.

The Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS) was introduced to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) when the island nation signed for its 16th International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme in 2016.

However, trade unions at the IRD protested the move, claiming that the system was malfunctioning despite billions being spent for it amid allegations that the new system was reducing the direct contacts between taxpayers and the IRD to reduce corruption.

The RAMIS had to be stopped after taxpayers faced massive penalties because of blunders made by heads of the IT division, computer operators and system errors at the IRD, government officials have said.

“The whole of Sri Lanka admits RAMIS is a failure. The annual fee is very high for that. This should be told in public,” Herath told reporters at a media briefing in Colombo on Thursday (29)

“In future, we want all the ministries to get the guidelines from our ministry when they go for ERP (Enterprise resource planning).”

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government said the RAMIS system will be operational from December last year.

However, the failure has delayed some tax collection which could have been paid via online.

“It is not under our ministry. It is under the finance ministry. We have no involvement with it, but still, it is not operatable,” Herath said.

“So, there are so many issues going on and I have no idea what the technical part of it. We can carry out an independent audit to find out the shortcomings of the software.”

Finance Ministry officials say IRD employees and trade unions had been resisting the RAMIS because it prevents direct interactions with taxpayers and possible bribes for defaulting or under paying taxes.

The crisis-hit island nation is struggling to boost its revenue in line with the target it has committed to the IMF in return for a 3 billion-dollar extended fund facility. (Colombo/Feb 29/2024) 

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Sri Lanka aims to boost SME with Sancharaka Udawa tourism expo

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is hosting Sancharaka Udawa, a tourism industry exhibition which will bring together businesses ranging from hotels to travel agents and airlines, and will allow the small and medium sector build links with the rest of the industry, officials said.

There will be over 250 exhibitors, with the annual event held for the 11th time expected to draw around 10,000 visitors, the organizers said.

“SMEs play a big role, from homestays to under three-star categories,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman, Chalaka Gajabahu told reporters.

“It is very important that we develop those markets as well.”

The Sancharaka Udawa fair comes as the Indian Ocean island is experiencing a tourism revival.

Sri Lanka had welcomed 191,000 tourists up to February 25, compared to 107,639 in February 2023.

“We have been hitting back-to-back double centuries,” Gajabahu said. “January was over 200,000.”

The exhibition to be held on May 17-18, is organized by the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators.

It aims to establish a networking platform for small and medium sized service providers within the industry including the smallest sector.

“Homestays have been increasingly popular in areas such as Ella, Down South, Knuckles and Kandy,” SLAITO President, Nishad Wijethunga, said.

In the northern Jaffna peninsula, both domestic and international tourism was helping hotels.

A representative of the Northern Province Tourism Sector said that the Northern Province has 170 hotels, all of which have 60-70 percent occupancy.

Further, domestic airlines from Colombo to Palali and the inter-city train have been popular with local and international visitors, especially Indian tourists. (Colombo/Feb29/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 309.50/70 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 309.50/70 to the US dollar Thursday, from 310.00/15 on Wednesday, dealers said.

Bond yields were slightly higher.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed at 10.50/70 percent down from 10.60/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.10 percent from 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 12.20/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.30/45 percent up from 12.20/50 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 12.35/50 percent up from 12.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.55/13.00 percent up from 12.50/90 percent. (Colombo/Feb29/2024)

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