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Saturday March 2nd, 2024

SJB accuses govt of halting repatriations to keep COVID 19 numbers low

ECONOMYNEXT- The Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) is saying that the government is delaying the repatriation of Sri Lankans abroad in order to keep the numbers of Sri Lankans infected by COVID 19 low.

Former MP Tissa Attanayake told reporters this morning, June 15, that the government was treating these migrant workers unfairly.

Attanayake pointed out these workers bring in a huge amount of money to the country.

“It is not the numbers that are important to us but to help them,”

He said that during the last Presidential election these migrant workers were brought back to Sri Lanka to vote and were welcomed at the airport and hailed as heroes.

Further, he said the majority of the Sri Lankan migrant workers in the Middle-East especially Kuwait are illegal immigrants without a visa and they are the ones suffering the most from the current situation as they are out of their jobs.

“The government does not have any plan to save them, they have completely forgotten these people, they will speak about ‘Rata Viruwo’ only for their advantage.”

Last week Cabinet Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that the government has had to delay the process of repatriating Sri Lankans abroad because the capacity of the hospitals to accommodate COVID 19 patients is being stretched due to the high number of people afflicted with the disease among the returnees.

But he said that the government is giving priority to bring back all the Sri Lankans who want to return.

Meanwhile, Director General of Health Services Dr Anil Jasinghe said yesterday that 7000 Sri Lankan expatriates who had requested to be repatriated have returned to the island so far.

Also, he said that the rest who wish to come back to Sri Lanka will be repatriated on alternate days, according to the capacities of state hospitals and quarantine centres in the country as advised by the President. (Colombo/June15/2020)


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Sri Lanka eyes SOE law by May 2024 for better governance

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is planning to pass a Public Commercial Business (PCB) Act improve governance of state-owned enterprise by May 2024 as part of an anti-corruption efforts following an International Monetary Fund assessment.

Sri Lanka’s state enterprises have been used by politicians to give ‘jobs of the boys’, appropriate vehicles for personal use, fill board of directors and key positions with henchmen and relatives, according to critics.

Meanwhile macro-economists working for the state also used them to give off-budget subsides or made energy utilities in particular borrow through supplier’s credits and state banks after forex shortages are triggered through inflationary rate cuts.

The government has taken billons of dollars of loans given to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation from state banks.

There have also been high profile procurement scandals connected to SOEs.

An SOE Reform Policy was approved by Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers in May 2023.

The Public Commercial Business (PCB) Act has now been drafted.

A holding company to own the SOEs will be incorporated and an Advisory Committee and Board of Directors will be appointed after the PCB law is approved, the statement said. (Colombo/Mar01/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 308.80/90 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 308.80/90 to the US dollar Friday, from 309.50/70 on Thursday, dealers said.

Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed at 10.65/75 percent up from 10.50/70 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.05 percent from 11.90/12.10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 12.15/35 percent down from 12.20/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.25/40 percent up from 12.30/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 12.30/45 percent down from 12.35/50 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.50/13.00 percent from 12.55/13.00 percent. (Colombo/Mar1/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.37-pct, Expo to de-list

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up 0.37 percent on Friday, and SG Holdings, the parent company of Expolanka Holdings Plc, said it was taking the company private.

Expolanka is the largest listed company on the Colombo Stock Exchange.

“Expolanka Holdings PLC has, at the Board Meeting held on 1st March 2024, considered a request from its principal shareholder and resolved to initiate the de-listing of the Company’s shares from the Official List of the Colombo Stock Exchange subject to obtaining necessary shareholder approval and regulatory approvals,” the company said in a stock exchange filing.

As per arrangements with SG Holdings Global Pte Ltd, the Company’s majority shareholder, it will purchase its shares from shareholders who may wish to divest their shareholding in the Company at a purchase price of Rs 185.00 per share. The share closed up at 150.50.

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.37 percent, or 39.47 points, at 10,691; while the S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.64 percent, or 19.59 points, at 3,037.

Turnover stayed above the 1 billion mark for the sixth consecutive day, registering 1.4 billion.

Crossings in Melstarcorp Plc (135mn) up at 89.50, Hatton National Bank Plc (64mn) up at 158.00, Hemas Holdings Plc (53mn) up at 75.00 and Central Finance Company Plc (26mn) up at 103.50, added significantly to the day’s turnover.

“The upward trend is continuing, with more retail buying also coming in, the number of trades was more than 10,000 today,” a market participant said. “Investors are looking for undervalued stocks and buying in quantities.” (Colombo/Mar1/2024).

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