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Friday March 1st, 2024

Nine Sri Lanka Navy sailors jump ship in America

ECONOMYNEXT – Nine Sri Lanka Navy sailors who were among personnel expected to return on a vessel gifted by the United States have jumped ship, official sources said as the country reels from a monetary meltdown which has triggered a spike in boat people.

The nine sailors are aged between 27-36 years belonging to several ranks.

The incident comes as Sri Lanka is suffering the worse currency crisis in the history of the island’s intermediate regime central bank. Many people had been arrested by the authorities attempting to leave the country and heading to India and Australia in fishing boats.

“A big crew went to the USA to bring in a ship that was donated to the Sri Lanka Navy,” an official source said.

“From that crew 9 people have gone missing.”

The U.S. embassy said a group of Sri Lankan sailors traveled to the United States to train alongside their U.S. counterparts before returning to Sri Lanka on the P-627, a former U.S. Coast Guard cutter gifted to the Sri Lanka Navy.

“We understand that several sailors have absconded from the training, a matter that has been referred to U.S. law enforcement,” a US Embassy Spokesman told Economy Next.

“Individuals who break U.S. immigration laws can be subject to arrest, detention, and deportation, and those who accrue unlawful presence in the United States can be prevented from returning to the U.S. for up to 10 years.”

“The U.S. values our continued partnership with the government, military, and people of Sri Lanka, and will continue to provide generous humanitarian assistance, ongoing development assistance, and military training during this difficult time.”

The former U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro, re-named P-627 after its handover to Sri Lanka could house over 180 personnel on board. It was undergoing a re-fit before coming to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan military personnel had been travelling to the US with increased co-operation between the two countries.

The missing sailors were part of a 50-member Navy contingent to take part in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2022, hosted by the US Pacific Fleet and they left on June 4 for Australia from the Bandaranaike International Airport by a special flight arranged by Royal Australian Air Force, another defence source said.

In Australia they underwent underwent a two weeks acclimatization program before they left to the US, . The RIMPAC Exercise 2022 is being held from June 29 to August 04. (Colombo/July 27/2022)

Comments (2)

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  1. sacre blieu says:

    Not surprised. When the top officials are having the best while those at the bottom are scraping the barrel. These ships are very old and even the repairs will cost a fortune. Knowing how government spending is now a joke.

  2. Kadija says:

    A bureaucratic shame added to the list of Sri Lankan downfalls. They are supposed to be nation’s security forces. This shows there is no integrity & honesty in Sri Lankans. I am ashamed of my own country.

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

  1. sacre blieu says:

    Not surprised. When the top officials are having the best while those at the bottom are scraping the barrel. These ships are very old and even the repairs will cost a fortune. Knowing how government spending is now a joke.

  2. Kadija says:

    A bureaucratic shame added to the list of Sri Lankan downfalls. They are supposed to be nation’s security forces. This shows there is no integrity & honesty in Sri Lankans. I am ashamed of my own country.

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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