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Saturday May 18th, 2024

Out, then not out; Sri Lanka Speaker retracts his own statement on president’s whereabouts

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena retracted his own statement on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s whereabouts after saying the embattled leader left the country and is now in a nearby country.

Abeywardena, who is now tipped to be the acting president once Rajapaksa resigns on Wednesday, told BBC World Service that he is staying “somewhere outside…in a nearby country”.

“He will come back on Wednesday, he will be there. He told me that he will be stepping down on July 13.”

He later said for security reasons he could not divulge the exact location of the president.

However, within a few hours, Abeywardena retracted his statement and said he had mistakenly told the BBC.

“President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa is still in the country. I made a mistake in the (BBC) interview,” Speaker Abeywardena told ANI in a telephone call

Yapa’s statement raised concerns internationally as many countries wanted to know if any country has given Rajapaksa asylum as he fled the country before tens of thousands of protesters stormed into the president’s official house on Saturday (09).

The protesters had been demanding for Rajapaksa’s resignation for the past three months for his failure to ensure essential supplies amid a financial crisis.

The concerns were raised after an Indian ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Subramanian Swamy in his twitter feed said India must give military, if Rajapaksa requests.

“Both Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksha were elected in a free election with thumping majority. How can India allow a mob to overturn such a legitimate election? Then no democratic country in our neighbourhood will be safe. If Rajapaksa wants India’s military help we must give,” he said.

The Indian High Commission Colombo, however, said it “would like to categorically deny speculative reports in sections of media and social media about India sending her troops to Sri Lanka. These reports and such views are also not in keeping with the position of the Government of India.” (Colombo/July 11/2022)

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  1. R.A.Ratwatte says:

    So this Joker is going to be President ? This looks like a from the frying pan into the fire situation.

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  1. R.A.Ratwatte says:

    So this Joker is going to be President ? This looks like a from the frying pan into the fire situation.

Sri Lanka’s ‘Sancharaka Udawa’ tourist fair seeks to involve universities

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s ‘Sancharaka Udawa’ tourism fair kicked off this week to promote interaction between industry stakeholders and relevant Government bodies, including the Tourist Police, and also universities.

“Several universities, including Colombo, Uva Wellasa, Kelaniya, Sabaragamuwa and Rajarata were given free stalls to facilitate student interaction with industry professionals,” Chairman of the Sancharaka Udawa Organising Committee, Charith De De Alwis said in a statement.

The event takes place today (18) at the BMICH and houses stalls for hoteliers, tour and transport services, with a goal of attracting 10,000 visitors.

Organized by the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), the 11th edition of Sancharaka Udawa offers a platform for both B2B and B2C sectors.

“Sancharaka Udawa houses over 170 exhibitors and a footfall of more than 10,000 visitors,” De Alwis said.

This year’s edition will include participants from outbound tourism sectors to facilitate capacity building. The event provides networking opportunities for industry newcomers and veterans.

“The networking platform offers opportunity for small and medium-sized service providers integrating them into the broader tourism landscape. The anticipated outcome is a substantial increase in bookings particularly for regional small-scale tourism service providers.” (Colombo/May18/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s CEB sells LTL shares to West Coast IPP for Rs26bn

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Electricity Board has sold shares of an affiliate to West Coast Power Company Limited, an independent power producer giving profits of 25.9 billion rupees in the March 2024 quarter, interim accounts showed.

The sale has been carried out as a transfer.

“Twenty-eight percent (28-pct) of share ownership of CEB within LTL Holding’s equity capital has been transferred to West Coast Power Company Ltd for a total consideration of Rs 26 billion as part of a partial settlement of outstanding dues…” the March interim accounts said.

“This transaction resulted in a net gain of Rs25.9 billion rupees which has been recognized and reflected in the ‘Gain from Share Disposal’ in the individual financial statement in CEB.”

LTL Holdings is a former transformer making unit of the CEB set up with ABB where the foreign holding was sold to its management.

The firm has since set up several IPPs.

West Coast Power operates a 300MW combined cycle IPP in Kerawalapitiya promoted by LTL group liked firms in which both the Treasury and Employees Provident Fund also have shares.

Its operational and maintenance contract is with Lakdhanavi, another private IPP. The firm has been paying dividends.

The capital gain from the transfer of shares helped the CEB post profits to 84 billion rupees for the March 2024 quarter.

CEB reported gross profits of 62.7 billion rupees from energy sales and 30.6 billion rupees in other income and gains in the March 2024 quarter. Other income was only 3.1 billion rupees in last year. (Colombo/May18/2024)

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Sri Lanka mulls mandating prices for shopping bags in supermarkets

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka may end the practice of supermarkets giving free shopping bags, as part of efforts to contain plastic use according to deliberations at a parliamentary committee following a supreme court decision.

Sri Lanka’s courts many years ago barred supermarkets from charging for plastic bags from customers after activists went to court.

However a Supreme Court ruled in March this year to overturn that.

The parliament Sectoral Oversight Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development said it could not reverse the gazette issued under the Consumer Affairs Authority Act until it had received a copy of the ruling.

The committee said the ruling might prompt shoppers to bring their own bags, which would lead to a reduction in polythene waste.

It may only apply to supermarkets and not to smaller merchants, however. (Colombo/May18/2024)

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