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Wednesday September 27th, 2023

Modi gets jabbed in Sri Lanka’s parliament: Namal Suvendra

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi boldly suggested that Sri Lanka should emulate his "cooperative federalism" but the opposition UPFA which is against the "F" word may have given him a jab on the bum.

After the Indian leader told Sri Lankan law makers the virtues of devolving power, Sri Lanka’s new opposition leader Nimal Siripala de Silva resorted to a subtle rear-guard action.

"Your excellency, you are a self-made man, worthy of immunisation, "said de Silva who was the health minister under the former regime. De Silva whose United People’s Freedom Alliance considers federalism a four letter word made no reference to the Modi prescription, but gave him a Freudian jab.

Perhaps it was also a bit difficult for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to swallow.  "You have given us a throat provoking  speech,"  a stumbling Wickremesinghe told Modi. "It is a valuable contribution that we have to start from here."

The state television anchors were also having some difficulties of their own. The Sinhalese anchor extolled the virtues of our great Asian friend and partner and Asian giant "China."

Another Freudian slip from an anchor who not long ago was praising China during Xi Jingping’s  Colombo visit. "China…errr, India," he managed to spit out just in time to keep his job.

A Tamil anchor who got carried away as Modi drove to the Presidential Secretariat for the official welcome introduced the dignitary as "Thalaivar (leader)  Narendra Singh Dhoni." Modi is probably used to it by now after President Maithripala Sirisena during his Indian visit very nearly called him Narasimha Rao.

For more satirical writing by Namal Suvendra click this link.



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Sri Lanka rupee opens at 323.50/324.10 to the US dollar, bond yields stable

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee opened at 323.50/324.10 to the US dollar on Wednesday, after closing on Tuesday at 323.70/324.20 to the US dollar, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 was quoted at 15.50/70 percent on Wednesday up from Tuesday’s close at 15.45/65 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 was quoted at 14.50/55 percent from closing at Tuesday at 14.30/55 percent. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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Sinopec to go up to 200 Sri Lanka pumping stations, more possible: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT- China’s Sinopec which has been assigned 150 fuel retail outlets in sri Lanka which were operated by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, has been given the nod to set up another 50 stations, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera has said.

Out of 150 stations, Sinopec has already signed up 145, Minister Wijesekera had said at a dealer convention of the new company.

‘Also we have given them the opportunity to start 50 brand new stations, in locations that may fit the requirements that exists,” Minister Wijesekera said in comments broadcast by Sri Lanka’s Derana Television.

“But it is not necessary to be restricted to 200 fuel stations. If there are any requests made by you we will be open to consideration for agreements with dealers and distributors.”

Minister Wijesekera attended the dealer convention where China’s ambassador to Colombo Qi Zhenhong was also present.

Sinopec was supposed to enter Sri Lanka in 2003 under current President Ranil Wickremesinghe who was then Prime Minister. At the time India’s IOC entered Sri Lanka.

“Under the leadership of the then prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, two companies asked to take part in the retail operations,” Minister Wijesekera said.

“Unfortunately due to the change of government in 2004 the companies could not take part, and due to the political changes and policy changes.

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Sri Lanka making new laws for Colombo financial zone: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is drawing up a new law for Colombo Financial Zone at the Port City and also an economic commission replace the Board of Investment, President Ranil Wickremesinghe ha said.

Sri Lanka wanted to position itself as a central player in the region providing services including legal and dispute resolution. Several new laws were in the cards.

“One is the new legislation which will replace the port city to make it a Colombo financial zone with jurisdiction for offshore activity,” President Wickremesinghe was quoted as saying at a symposium on alternate dispute resolution.

“The new law has been drafted. And we will see the light of day before the end of the year. Secondly, the BOI will be replaced with the Economic Commission. Which is also looking at the resolution of disputes.”

Sri Lanka has set up an Alternate Dispute Resolution Centre in 2018.

Sri Lanka was looking at Singapore as an example and should strive to match or surpass the country except for costs where it should be a competitive advantage, President had said.

There was a void in the region Sri Lanka can fill.

“This is the key lesson to be derived. Furthermore, it is essential for all lawyers and individuals involved in legal services to broaden their perspectives and explore opportunities beyond their current scope,” he said.

Singapore however has monetary stability and has rejected printing money for growth. Sri Lanka on the other runs from one currency crisis to another by cutting rates with printed money for growth (targeting so-called potential output).

Sri Lanka has in a new law legalized printing money for growth in a new monetary law, the very strategy that drove the country into series of currency crises and eventual default, critics have warned.

The Port City however is a dollarized zone, which will be free of ‘monetary policy’ for growth. (Colombo/Sept27/2023)

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