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Saturday April 20th, 2024

Sacking pro-SJB members from the UNP “was long overdue” – Asst. Leader RaviK

ECONOMYNEXT – With a week to go for the elections, the United National Party (UNP) and the breakaway Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) fired barbs at each other after the UNP Working Committee sacked 115 party-men for supporting the SJB at the elections, yesterday.

A statement from the UNP said that it had expelled “54 members who obtained nomination under the SJB for the 2020 General Election. A further 61 Local Government members from the UNP were also expelled for not supporting the party during the ongoing election campaign.”

The UNP’s Assistant Leader and leader of the party’s Colombo District group Ravi Karunanayake told EconomyNext that the sacking was “long overdue.”

He pointed out that the SJB had gone to court to retain their membership in the UNP.

“They got a knock on the head in District Court and when they went to the Appeal Court they were fined Rs 25, 000,” he told EconomyNext in an interview.

“We were waiting to do the right thing, once they lost the cases, it was timely and to make sure everything was done legally before we expelled them,” he said.

“It is a fait accompli, they cant be members of two parties, they were trying to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds,” Karunanayake said. “This will now put a stop to that.”

Asked whether there was confusion among the long-time UNP supporters, as the SJB members also claim to be from the Grand Old Party, Karunanayake said “that is the irony. They are scolding the Elephant and hugging its tail.”
A senior member of the SJB said that they went to court against the efforts to expel their supporters from the UNP “to protect Local Government representatives who are working for us.”

The SJB shot back accusing the UNP Leader, former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of “directly supporting the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna” by his actions.

In a statement, the party said Wickremesinghe has either expelled or caused hundreds of supporters and political leaders to leave the UNP so that he and a “group of friends” could hang on to the party leadership.

The SJB charged Wickremesinghe of killing off internal party democracy in the UNP and that the expulsions were a clear indication that the former PM “has a deal with the government to bring them to power.” (Colombo, July 29, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana




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Sri Lanka discussing giving extra land, water for Chinese oil refinery

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is in discussions with China’s Sinopec to give extra land and assure water supplies after the company decided to expand the capacity of a planned oil refinery in Hambantota, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

“There are concerns on how the water supply is going to be provided for the refinery,” Minister Wijesekera told reporters Friday.

The refinery will need more land and also revise conditions in a Board of Investment agreement, he said.

Read more
Sinopec to double capacity of new refinery in Sri Lanka’s Hambantota

Recommendations and decisions from Sri Lanka’s side had already been sent and Sinopec is expected to revert back in May.

“We are hoping to sign the agreement once everyone has agreed,” Wijesekara said.

The principle agreements are expected to be signed by June, he said.

The refinery could sell up to 10 percent of its output in the domestic market.

“There is no commitment by the government to purchase anything,” Minister Wijesekera said. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 302.00/50 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 302.00/50 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Friday, down from 301.50/302.00 a day earlier, dealers said.

There was increased demand for dollars after the central bank bought 715 million dollars from forex markets. In the previous two months it was buying on average about 200 million US dollars, leaving market participants and bank in a ‘oversold’ position.

There were some official dollars sales Friday dealers said.

READ Sri Lanka rupee quoted wide to US dollar as peg inconsistencies flare up

Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 11.30/40 percent down from 11.35/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.95/12.05 percent up from 11.90/12.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed stable at 12.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed stable at 12.30/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed stable at 12.40/50 percent. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close down, banks trade down

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Friday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed down 0.38 percent, or 44.80 points, at 11,753; while the S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.53 percent, or 18.46 points, at 3,456.

Turnover was at 1.4 billion. The diversified financials (Rs366mn) and banks (Rs266mn) sectors continued to see selling pressure.

“This was possibly due to uncertainty around the bond discussions,” market participants said.

With the exception of Sampath Bank Plc (up at 77.50) all other banks traded down in the day. Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc was down at 104.50, Hatton National Bank Plc was down at 188.50, and DFCC Bank Plc was down at 77.00.

LOLC Finance Plc saw the most trades and closed up at 6.40. Another LOLC company, Browns Investments Plc, also saw high traded volumes and closed up at 5.60.

Softlogic Capital Plc was up at 7.00, and Softlogic Holdings Plc was up at 11.20. A trading suspension imposed on SHL.N0000 was lifted effective today as the company submitted the annual report for the year ended 31st March 2023.

However, shares of the Company will remain in the Watch List “due to Qualified Audit Opinion and Emphasis of matter on going concern in the Independent Auditor’s Report in the Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31st March 2022.”

Dialog Axiata Plc, which announced its merger with Bharti Airtel Thursday, saw its share price close up at 11.90.

“There was some traction on index heavyweights,” market participants pointed out.

Top contributors to the APSI included Aitken Spence Plc (up at 134.50), Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc (up at 1,245.25, and Lion Brewery (Ceylon) Plc (up at 1,048.50).

There was a net foreign inflow of 5 million. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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