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Friday March 1st, 2024

Patel takes five wickets as Sri Lanka reach 227 for seven

Galle, Sri Lanka | AFP | Thursday – Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel became the first New Zealander to claim a five-wicket haul in Galle as the tourists restricted Sri Lanka to 227 for seven at stumps on day two of the first Test on Thursday.

In reply to New Zealand’s first innings total of 249 all out, Sri Lanka were on 143 for two as Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis laid the foundation for a big total.

However a lapse of concentration saw Mendis throw away his wicket in the penultimate ball before tea and they collapsed, losing five wickets for the addition of 18 runs.

From 143 for two, Sri Lanka slumped to 161 for seven before an unfinished 66-run stand for the eighth wicket between Niroshan Dickwella and Suranga Lakmal stopped the rot. Sri Lanka trail New Zealand by 22 runs.

It was the second five-wicket haul in Test cricket for Bombay-born Patel, who was tidy with his length on a track that offered lot of assistance for spinners.

Patel was not afraid to flight the ball even after Mendis completed his 10th Test half-century with a boundary off him.

For the next delivery, the penultimate ball before tea, Mendis attempted to play an expansive drive without much foot work and was caught at first slip by Ross Taylor.

The slide continued after tea with Kusal Perera (1) and Dhananjaya de Silva (5) adding to the misery.

Mathews was dismissed soon after completing his half-century, becoming Patel’s fifth victim.

Then off-spinner William Somerville dismissed Akila Dananjaya for a sixth ball duck.

Lakmal, who had claimed four wickets earlier in the day, then gave solid support to Dickwella as
Sri Lanka fought back. Lakmal was given out caught at slip when he was on nine but he successfully reviewed the decision.

There were some cheeky shots played by Dickwella, who is under pressure to save his place having been overlooked for the World Cup.

Lakmal’s contributions were welcomed as well as Sri Lanka know that chasing anything above 150 on this track is dicey.

Resuming from the overnight score of 203 for five, New Zealand were knocked out for 249 losing their last five wickets for 46 runs.

Lakmal claimed the four wickets to fall on day two while Tim Southee was run out.

Akila Dananjaya finished with five wickets, with all his wickets coming on day one.
 

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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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