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Monday April 15th, 2024

Parliament should follow Covid 19 Regulations and postpone 20A debate – Opposition

Opposition lawmakers protest constitutional amendments in Sri Lanka on Sep 23, 2020

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s Parliamentary Opposition is demanding that sittings of the Legislature be conducted according to Regulations imposed on gatherings by the government last week in the face of the second wave of Covid 19 infections.

The Chief Opposition Whip, Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Member of Parliament Lakshman Kiriella in a letter to the Speaker has pointed out that in Parliament the seating between legislators “violates the Regulations Gazetted by the government as the distance between Members is less than that stipulated in the Regulations.”

“It will be a bad example to set to the country if the place laws are made is seen to be breaking the law,” Kiriella wrote.

This will require the postponement of the debate over the controversial 20th Amendment to the Constitution which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 21, which the government appears to want to steamroller through the Legislature as popular opinion against it gathers momentum.

The 20A takes power away from Parliament and the Prime Minister and gives it to the President.

Meanwhile, the SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara says the government should
conduct PCR tests for all MPs prior to the parliament sittings this week.

Speaking to reporters this morning, Madduma Bandara said that although the new regulations state to maintain one-meter distance between individuals, there is only about half meter distance between the seats of two MPs in the parliament.

“The government is trying to create a dictatorial law by breaking the law in the very same place where laws are made,” he said.

Further, he said if the Speaker or the government fails conduct PCR tests on every MP before parliament sittings, the whole parliament would be forced to close for months even if one MPs gets infected with the virus as a lot of MPs associate with the people in their electorates.

The Opposition also said that the government has been slow to bring regulations to bear with regard to restrictions imposed on the people with regards to the pandemic. Other countries had the laws in place by May, but this government brought them only this month. (Colombo, October 19, 2020)

Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe

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Sri Lanka to discuss two contentious points with bondholders: report

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka and sovereign bondholders are to discuss two matters in the near future which the two sides failed to reach agreement at March talks in London, a media report quoting a top aide to President Wickremesinghe as saying.

Sri Lanka and bondholders had discussed four matters on restructuring international sovereign bonds in late March and agreement had been reached on two, President’s Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayake was quoted as saying on state-run ITN television.

A restructuring proposal by bondholders was not in line with IMF requirements, and Sri Lanka had sent a counter proposal, he said.

The matters will be discussed at round of talks in the near future.

Sri Lanka was optimistic of reaching an agreement with the bondholders before June, officials have said.

According to matters already in the public domain, sovereign bond holders are keen to get a bond tied to dollar gross domestic product, as they feel IMF growth projections are too low.

In past re-structuring so-called value recovery instruments, a type of warrant, gave their owners extra payments if a country did better than expected and were tied to items like oil prices.

Bondholders had initially proposed bond which would have a lower hair cut initially, and it will have additional hair cuts if growth is low (about 3.1 percent) as projected in an IMF debt sustainability analysis. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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BIMSTEC Secretary General visits Sri Lanka, discusses regional cooperation

ECONOMYNEXT – The Secretary General of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), discussed measures to enhance regional cooperation, during his visit to the island last week.

Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, Secretary General of BIMSTEC visited Sri Lanka from 07 – 12 April 2024, following his assumption of office as Secretary General of BIMSTEC in January this year.

The Secretary General “met with senior officials of relevant Ministries/Agencies to discuss measures to enhance regional cooperation under various BIMSTEC initiatives,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Several BIMSTEC countries have bilateral trade agreements, such as Sri Lanka and India, Thailand and Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, but no collective regional agreement to enable intra-regional leverage.

During the visit, Secretary General Pandey held discussions with Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and paid courtesy calls on the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Secretary General Pandey participated at an event on “Regional Cooperation through BIMSTEC” organized by the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKI) on 9 April. (Colombo/April15/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 299.00/10 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 299.00/10 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Monday, from 298.50/55 on Wednesday, dealers said, while bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed stable at 11.30/35 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed stable at 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed at 12.10/20 percent up from 12.10/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed stable at 12.20/40 percent. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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