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Monday February 6th, 2023

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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Comments (2)

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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 to address SME tax problems at first opportunity: State Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Problems faced by Sri Lanka’s small and medium enterprises from recent tax changes will be addressed at the first opportunity, State Minister for Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said.

Business chambers had raised questions about hikes in Value Added Tax, Corporate Income Tax and the Social Security Contribution Levy (SSCL) that’s been imposed.

It should be explored on how to amend the Inland Revenue Act, Siyamabalapitiya said, adding that the future months should be considered as a period where the country is being stabilized.

Both the VAT and SSCL are effectively paid by customers, but the SSCL is a cascading tax that makes running businesses difficult.

In Sri Lanka SMEs make up a large part of the economy, accounting for 80 per cent of all businesses according to according to the island’s National Human Resources and Employment Policy.

(Colombo/ Feb 05/2023)

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Sri Lanka revenues Rs158.7bn in Jan 2023 up 51-pct

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government revenues were 158.7 billion rupees in January 2023 but expenditure and debt service remained high, Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.

In January 2022 total revenues were Rs104.5 billion according to central bank data.

Sri Lanka’s tax revenues have risen sharply amid an inflationary blow off which had boosted nominal GDP while President Ranil Wickremesinghe has also raised taxes.

Departing from a previous strategy advocated by the IMF expanding the state and not cutting expenses, called revenue based fiscal consolidation, he is attempting to do classical fiscal consolidation with spending restraint.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has presented a note to cabinet requesting state expenditure to be controlled, Gunawardana told reporters.

State Salaries cost 87.4 billion rupees.

Pensions and income supplements (Samurdhi program) were29.5 billion rupees.

Other expenses were 10.8 billion rupees.

Capital spending was   21 billion rupees.

Debt service was 377.6 billion rupees for January which has to be done with borrowings from Treasury bills, bonds and a central bank provisional advance of 100 billion rupees, Gunawardana said.

Interest costs were not separately given. (Colombo/Feb05/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Tea prices down for second week

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Tea prices fell for the second week at an auction on January 31, with teas from all elevations seeing a decline, data showed.

“In retrospect, the decline in prices would be a price correction owing to the overall product quality and less interest from some key importers due to the arrival of cargo at destinations ahead of schedule,” Forbes and Walker tea brokers said.

The weekly sale average fell from 1475.79 rupees to 1465.40 rupees from a week ago, according to data from Ceylon Tea Brokers.

The tea prices are down for two weeks in a row.

High Growns

The High Grown sale average was down by 20.90 rupees to 1380.23 rupees, Ceylon Tea Brokers said.

High grown BOP and BOPF was down about 100 rupees.

“Ex-Estate offerings which totalled 0.75 M/Kg saw a slight decline in quality over the previous week” Forbes and Walker said.

OP/OPA’s in general were steady to marginally down.

Low Growns

In Low Grown Teas, FBOP 1 was down by 100 rupees and FBOP was down by 50 rupees while PEK was up by 150 rupees.

The Low Growns sale average was down by 8.55 rupees to 1547.93 rupees.

A few select Best BOP1s along with Below Best varieties maintained.

OP1                     Select Best OP1’s were steady, whilst improved/clean Below Best varieties maintained.   Others and poorer sorts were easier.

PEKOE                 Well- made PEK/PEK1s in general were steady, whilst others and poorer sorts were down.

Leafy and Semi Leafy catalogues met with fair demand,” Forbes and Walker brokers said.

“However, the Small Leaf and Premium catalogues continued to decline.

“Shippers to Iran were very selective, whilst shippers to Türkiye and Russia were fairly active.”

This week  2.2 million Kilograms of Low Growns were sold.

Medium Growns

Medium Grown BOP and BOPF fell by around 100 rupees

The Medium Growns sale average was down by 33.40 rupees to 1199.4 rupees.

“Medium CTC teas in the higher price bracket witnessed a similar trend, whilst teas at the lower end were somewhat maintained subject to quality,” Forbes and Walker brokers said.

“Improved activity from the local trade and perhaps South Africa helped to stabilize prices to some extent.”

OP/OPA grades were steady while PEKOE/PEKOE1 were firm, while some gained 50-100 rupees at times.

Well-made FBOP/FBOPF1’s were down by 50-100 rupees per kg and more at times.

(Colombo/Feb 5/2023)

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