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Monday February 6th, 2023

Prison officials warned not to assist convicted criminals inside the jails

NO ROOM FOR CORRUPTION IN PRISONS – Defense Secretary Kamal Guneratne warns Prison officials of consequences if criminals are mollycoddled/Defense Ministry handout

ECONOMYNEXT- Secretary to the Ministry of Defense Major General (Rtd) Kamal Guneratne has warned Prisons officials to refrain from getting involved in corruption and supporting convicted imprisoned inmates.

“Never let yourself repent on the deathbed that you fed and educated your children with money given by criminals like Wele Suda or Kanjipani Imran,” he told officials he met yesterday a media release issued by the Ministry of Defense said.

The release said that the Secretary said that investigations have “commenced investigations into prisons officials who have links to corruption and to the underworld.”

Guneratne also reminded that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, other government officials and the public were looking forward to seeing a corruption-free and respectable service from the prisons officials.

Moreover, he said although the Prisons Department is functioning under the Justice Ministry, he has a right to get involved in issues related to the department as over 27,000 prisoners in the island-wide prisons were apprehended by the officers who were attached to the Defence Ministry.

“Police officers, including the STF, are taking risks to lives to nab criminals in the country to maintain the law and order,” he added.

He went onto say that the public believes are many good officers and corrupted officers in the Prisons Department and when the President was elected, he had told him that the condition of the Prisons was deplorable and underworld activities and organised drugs smuggling are operated in the prison.

He also added that the State Intelligence Service (SIS) has analyzed thousands of telephone calls that have originated from inside the prisons.

“Today the entire prisons system is being criticized everywhere in the country. If a remanded drug user comes out of the prison after a few months as a drug dealer, there is something radically wrong in the system,” Guneratne said

Meanwhile, he also requested the officials to treat the inmates equally.”Majority prisoners in prisons are innocent. All inmates should be treated equally. When one sleeps uncomfortably on the floor, another cannot sleep on a double layer mattress. Look into their problems, then they will start loving you from their heart,” he said. (Colombo/June19/2020)

Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe

 

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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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