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Thursday June 1st, 2023

No document handed over to PM at yesterday’s meeting – Chandima

Denying reports that United National Party (UNP) leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe received a letter signed by a majority of his MPs yesterday, backbencher UNP MP Chandima Gamage said Wickremesinghe and presidential hopeful UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa will work together in the run-up to the upcoming presidential election.

The MP said he did not witness a document being handed over to the party leader at the UNP Parliamentary group meeting held yesterday (19), referring to reports that two-third of its MPs had presented a letter to Wickremesinghe urging the party’s Working Committee and Parliamentary group to make a decision on the party’s presidential candidate next week.

Gamage claimed that he was present throughout the duration of the meeting but he did not see nor sign such a document.

“I was present from 3.30pm till the end of the meeting. When I came to the meeting, there were me and two others. Once the meeting ended, I lingered a while since I had something to discuss with the Prime Minister. But I saw no such document behing handed over to him,” he said.

Asked whether there is a clash between the party leader and the deputy leader, Gamage said that there are no clashes with anyone, only different opinions.

“There is no conflict in the party. We will present a presidential candidate in the near future and the two leaders will work together in a Ranil-Sajith combination in the coming days. We previously presented a candidate within 45 days and our candidate won the election,” the MP added.

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Sri Lanka exports down in April, trade deficit up from March, rupee stronger

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s exports fell 12.6 percent from a year ago to 849 million US dollars in April 2023, amid weaker external demand, while imports were down 15.8 percent to 1,431 million Us dollars, central bank data showed.

Exports also fell 1,037 million dollars in March 2023, amid seasonal effects.

The trade deficit expanded to 583 million US dollars in April from 412 million US dollars in March 2023. Imports were at 1431 million US dollars in April from 1,450 million dollars in March.

Imports can pick as tourism, worker remittances and net inflows to government go up.

The rupee continued to appreciate.

“Exchange rate showed a notable appreciation during April 2023 with the continued improvement in liquidity in the domestic foreign exchange market, the discontinuation of the daily guidance on exchange rates,” the central bank said.

Up to April exports were down 9 percent to 3.8 billion rupees and imports were down 28 percent to 5.2 billion rupees and the trade deficit was 1.4 billion rupees.

Investment goods imports were down in April amid a contraction in credit.

“Almost all types of goods listed under the three main investment good categories, namely machinery and equipment, building material and transport equipment, recorded a decline,” the central bank said.

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Sri Lanka President discusses debt restructure, program progress with IMF

ECONOMYNEXT – 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.”

State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayake was also in the meeting.

Secretary of the Ministry of Finance Mahinda Siriwardena, Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe, Deputy Director of the International Monetary Fund Anne Marie Gulde, and Resident Representative IMF in Sri Lanka Sarwat Jahan, attended this event. (Colombo/June01/2023)

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Sri Lanka cuts petrol to Rs318 a litre, kerosene to Rs245

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has cut petrol 92-Octane by 15 rupees to 318 rupees a litre and kerosene by 50 rupees to 245 rupees a litre from midnight May 31, the Ministry of Energy said.

Petrol 95 Octane will be raised by 20 rupees to 385 rupees, and Lanka Super Diesel 4 Star Euro 4 will be raised by 10 rupees to 340 rupees a litre.

Lanka Industrial Kerosene will be cut by 60 rupees a litre to 270 rupees.

Kerosene which is similar to jet fuel is usually the most expensive fuel in international markets followed by diesel and petrol is usually the cheapest.

Kerosene which is substantially cheaper than diesel is also used by buses to cut costs. (Colombo/May31/2023)

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