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Wednesday February 1st, 2023

Private buses on strike in Sri Lanka over fuel issue, fare revision

Sri Lanka’s private bus service will be unable to function at normal levels until a solution for the fuel crisis is proposed

ECONOMYNEXT – Private bus operators in Sri Lanka are on strike in several parts of the island, limiting their services to 10 percent of the usual capacity, in protest of not receiving adequate fuel.

Chairman of Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) Gemunu Wijeratne confirmed the strike.

Meanwhile, another bus owner’s association is on a separate strike protesting a fare revision, he told EconomyNext on Friday August 05.

“Today around 10 percent or 1,000 to 1,500 buses will operate in areas where they can find fuel. Around 10,000 buses still cannot be added to the service due to lack of fuel,” said Wijeratne.

“In most areas including parts of the southern province, Madirigiriya and some areas in the Kurunegala district, buses are not operating because they cannot find fuel for transport. In the southern province most buses have not been operating for the past two days,” he said.

On Thursday, National Transportation Commission (NTC) Director General Nilan Miranda said fuel was being given to privately owned long distance transport buses at the Makumbura Multimodal Centre continuously and from Friday onwards long distance buses would be issued diesel from the Bastian road bus station in Colombo.

Miranda said long distance buses will be given around 125-150 litres of diesel at a time.

On Friday, at an inspection tour at the Bastian road bus station said Miranda said fuel will be given only for long distance buses scheduled to operate and asked bus owners to continue their service without inconveniencing the public.

For short distance buses, he said, fuel will be supplied at Sri Lanka Transportation Board (SLTB) fuel station, though he acknowledged that this has not been done properly.

“As promised, fuel is issued to long distance buses on Bastian road. That’s fine for long distance buses, but this issue is with the short distance buses,” said Wijeratne.

A discussion was held in this regard with officials of the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and a pledge was made to resolve the issue by next week, he said.

“The CPC chairman said he he will look into the matter and will come up with a system to issue diesel starting next week,” said Wijeratne.

Meanwhile, Sajitha Wijithakumara, the Chairman of Inter Provincial Bus Owners Association, said inter-provincial buses will not operate until the decision to revise bus fares by 11.14 percent is not withdrawn.

“When the diesel price has reduced only by 10 rupees, they have reduced the bus fare by 11.4 percent. We are asking that they reverse the decision immediately and give the maximum amount for buses for transportation and we will continue the service,” Wijithakumara told the privately owned Derana TV on Friday. (Colombo/Aug05/2022)

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Sri Lanka bond yields down at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were down at close following a bond auction on Wednesday, dealers said while a guidance peg for interbank transactions remained unchanged.

“The rates were steady at the auction,” a dealer said.

“This can be a signal to the market saying the rates will go down in the future.”

A bond maturing on 01.07.2025 closed at 32.40/60 percent, down from yesterday’s 32.60/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2027 closed at 29.10/35 marginally down from yesterday’s 29.20/75 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank US dollar transactions remained unchanged at 362.14 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers at 371.38 rupees on Friday, data showed. (Colombo/Feb 01/2022)

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Sri Lanka bill auction hits pothole after 2025 bond spike

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka sold only 45 billion rupees in Treasury bills at Wednesday’s auction after offering 120 billion rupees, data from the state debt office showed, amid market confusion over a spike in a two year bond at an earlier action.

30.1 billion rupees of 3-month bills were sold at 29.91 percent, unchanged from a week earlier after offering 60 billion rupees for auction.

5.1 billion rupees of 6-month bills were sold at 28.72 percent, flat after offering 30 billion.

10.3 billion rupees of 12-month bills were sold at 27.72 percent after offering 30 billion.

Phase II subscriptions have been opened.

The market was foxed after the 2025 bonds were accepted at sharply higher yield than market on January 30, dealer said.

There was further confusion as the there was an outright purchase of 2025 at around 29 percent earlier in January.

Some investors speculated that the authorities were trying to drive more buyers towards short end bonds as bill volumes were getting larger. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)

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Sri Lanka services exports down 5.9-pct in 2022

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s services exports were estimated to have fallen 5.9 percent to 1,876.3 million US dollars, the island’s Export Development Board said.

Services exports estimated is made up of ICT/BPM, construction, financial services, transport and logistics.

There are more than 500 ICT companies, the EDB said.

Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports were up 4.6 percent to US dollars 13.1 billion dollars in 2022 from 2021.

Sri Lanka’s goods exports are slowing amid lower growth in Western markets. (Colombo/ Feb 01/2023)

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