An Echelon Media Company
Thursday April 18th, 2024

Ranil boycotts UNP alliance launch

ECONOMYNEXT – The United National Party’s headlong rush into oblivion looks like it is well underway after Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe boycotted the launch of the UNP-led Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Monday.

Led by Sajith Premadasa, the launch attracted most UNP MPs in Parliament as well as the majority of Provincial Council Members as well as Local Government representatives. The SJB General Secretary former Minister Ranjit Madduma Bandara claimed that “ninety-five per cent” of the UNP MPs were present at the Nelum Pokuna launch.

The UNP’s erstwhile allies signed on to the new formation. They included the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the Tamil Progressive Alliance, Rishad Bathiudeen’s group and two break-away parties from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party as well as the United Left Front.

At today’s event, 12 parties signed documents joining the alliance.

Apart from Wickremesinghe, UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, former Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella, Vajira Abewardene and Sagala Ratnayake were not present.

The break-up which has been months in the making even before last November’s Presidential Election, came to a head, on Sunday when the party Working Committee which had earlier authorized Premadasa to lead an alliance voted not to grant the Elephant Symbol to the formation.

The Symbol that Premadasa contested the Presidential poll, the Swan was also not made available to the alliance by the person holding rights, Shamala Perera. She is a supporter of former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake.

Karunanayake is said to have imposed certain conditions on Premadasa to permit the use of the Swan symbol.

The governing Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has already formed a powerful alliance and has hit the campaign trail.

Coming into the Parliamentary Elections in the after-glow of the massive electoral victory it won in the Presidential election, the SLPP-lead Sri Lanka Podujana Nidahas Sandhanaya (SLPNS) is an almost certain winner.

However, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s party does not want a mere simple majority in Parliament but a two-thirds of the House so that it can re-engineer the Constitution to restore executive powers in the Presidency. (Colombo, March 2, 2020)

–Arjuna Ranawana

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Sri Lanka’s discussions with bondholders constructive: State finance minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan authorities continue to engage all debt restructuring negotiations in good faith, within principles of equitable treatment among creditors, and with maximum transparency within the norms of such negotiations, State Minister of Finance, Shehan Semasinghe has said.

“It is standard practice, when a representative group of bondholders is formed, to entertain confidential discussions with such group and its appointed advisors. In the case of Sri Lanka, the Ad Hoc Group of Bondholders represents holders controlling more than 50% of the bonds, which make them a privileged interlocutor for Sri Lanka,” Semasinghe said on X (twitter).

“It is well understood that given the price sensitive nature of the negotiations, and according to market regulations, discussions with the Group and its advisors are to be conducted under non-disclosure agreements. This evidently restricts the ability of the Government to unilaterally report about the substance of the discussions.

“The cleansing statement, which was issued on the 16th of April, at the conclusion of this first round of confidential discussions with members of the Group, aims at informing the Sri Lankan people, market participants and other stakeholders to this debt restructuring exercise, about the progress in negotiations. It provides the highest possible level of transparency within the internationally accepted practices in such circumstances.

“As informed in this statement, confidential discussions held in recent weeks with bondholders’ representatives proved constructive, building on the restructuring proposals presented by both parties. During the talks both sides successfully bridged a number of technical issues enabling important progress to be made. Sri Lanka articulated key remaining concerns that need to be addressed in a satisfactory manner.

“The next steps would entail further consultation with the IMF staff regarding assessments of the compatibility of the latest proposals with program parameters. Following these consultations, we hope to continue discussions with the bondholders with a view to reaching common ground ahead of the IMF board consideration of the second review of Sri Lanka’s EFF program.”

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Sri Lanka rupee weakens at 301.00/302.05 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 301.00/302.05 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Tuesday, from 299.00/10 on Tuesday, dealers said. 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 at 11.90/12.05 percent up from 11.95/12.00 percent.

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

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.03.2031 closed at 12.30/50 percent. (Colombo/Apr17/2024)

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Sri Lanka Treasury Bill yields down across maturities

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Treasuries yields were down across maturities at Wednesday’s auction with the 3-month yield moving down 7 basis points to 10.03 percent, data from the state debt office showed.

The debt office sold all 30 billion rupees of 3-month bills offered.

The 6-month yield fell 5 basis points to 10.22 percent, with 25 billion rupees of bills offered and 29.98 billion rupees sold.

The 12-month yield dropped 4 basis points to 10.23 percent with 18.01 billion rupees of bills sold after offering 23 billion rupees. (Colombo/Apr17/2024)

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