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Sunday June 23rd, 2024

Sri Lanka Agri minister frowns at groups stopping “monkey business” with China

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka ‘s Agricultural Minister criticized the move by environmental groups to stop proposed “monkey business” with a Chinese firm through a court order and demanded the same groups to find a solution for crop damage by the animal.

Sri Lanka made global headlines when Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said he was in discussion with a Chinese firm to export 100,000 monkeys for some zoos in China.

Thirty petitioners including some environmental organizations filed action in the Court of Appeal against the statement made by Amaraweera regarding the exporting of toque macaque monkeys to China. On June 26, the Attorney General stated that the Department of Wildlife and Conservation had issued instructions mentioning that they would not be taking steps to export the monkeys to China.

Amaraweera wanted to export toque macaque monkeys because of excess crop damage caused by them.

“We have to ask about the damage by monkeys from those (environmental organizations),” Amaraweera told a media briefing in Colombo on Monday (17) when asked about the crop damaging monkeys.

He said with the monkey exporting story, Sri Lanka got requests from many other countries to provide them the crop damaging animals as well.

“But unfortunately there are organizations which are based in Colombo and receive dollars from foreign countries. They have now stopped the move by going to the court,” the minister said.

“But there is significant crop damage. If we get an opportunity tomorrow, we are ready to act on the idea. This is not something I should only do. Many ministries should get together and do this. From our side, I suggest somehow either by sending them to other countries or through any other means, control them.”

He said the Chinese company in writing asked for 100,000 toque macaque monkeys in several batches and the first batch was to consist of 2000.

“It is for the zoos and they have around 20,000 zoos. But a lot of environmental organizations in our countries started to shout that this was to eat monkey’s brain and meat. They influenced China, its embassy here, protested and did all sorts of things. While we were trying to verify the company, they have also gone to the courts. The court has now stopped it.”

Export of wild animals is banned by Sri Lanka, but the government earlier this year removed several species, including monkeys, from a protected list allowing farmers to kill them because of excess crop damage.

Sri Lankan authorities have estimated the monkey population at two to three million in the South Asian nation of 22 million people. Monkeys are considered pests by farmers.  (Colombo/July 17/2023)

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  1. Priyankara Nanayakkara says:

    if the Minister wants to export Monkeys to China due to crop damage, then he also should start exporting Elephants to avoid crop damages?
    Minister should be educated that monkeys are sent to China for food and how come India and other countries sustain the crops with these primates.
    we need educated people to run the country. it is an insult to our Intelligence

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Priyankara Nanayakkara says:

    if the Minister wants to export Monkeys to China due to crop damage, then he also should start exporting Elephants to avoid crop damages?
    Minister should be educated that monkeys are sent to China for food and how come India and other countries sustain the crops with these primates.
    we need educated people to run the country. it is an insult to our Intelligence

India supports Sri Lanka Coast Guard to boost maritime security

ECONOMYNEXT – India has given 1.2 million US dollars’ worth spare parts to Sri Lanka’s Coast Guard to be used in a vessel also gifted to the Indian Ocean Island on an earlier occasion, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.

“Handing over of the large consignment of spares symbolizes India’s commitment to support capability building towards addressing the shared challenges of Maritime Security in the region,” the Indian High Commission said

The spare parts were brought to Sri Lanka on the Indian Coast Guard Ship Sachet, an offshore patrol vessel that was on a two-day visit to the island.

The spares were formally handed over to the Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ship Suraksha which was gifted to Sri Lanka in October 2017 by India.

India has gifted spare parts for the ship in June 2021 and April 2022 and also provided assistance in refilling of Halon cylinders in January 2024. (Colombo/June23/2024)

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Sri Lanka Water Board makes profits, tax-payers inject Rs28bn

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run National Water Supply and Drainage Board has made a profit of 5.2 billion rupees in the year to December 2023, after a tariff increase despite not getting money for 25 percent of its water it pumps out.

Total revenues went up to 61.8 billion rupees in 2023 from 35.4 billion rupees, a Finance Ministry report said.

Water revenue surged to 58.5 billion rupees from 33.1 billion rupees, cost of sales also went up to 32.8 billion rupees from 23.14 billion rupees, helping boost gross profits from 12.3 billion rupees to 29.0 billion rupees.

Finance costs surged to 14.9 billion rupees from 3.9 billion rupees,

NSWD reported net profits of 5.2 billion rupees for the year, against a loss of 2.7 billion rupees a year earlier.

The Treasury had given 28 billion rupees from tax payer money to settle loans.

During the Rajapaksa administration, macroeconomists who ran the Finance Ministry made state enterprises borrow money from banks through Treasury guarantees listing them as ‘contingent liabilities’, claiming they were ‘off balance sheet’.

The Road Development Authority, which had no revenues to speak of borrowed large amounts of money from banks which were listed as ‘contingent liabilities’ though they were a responsibility of the state from day one, allowing macroeconomists to understate both the budget deficit and national debt, critics say.

The water tariffs were raised by 81 percent after macroeconomists printed money to supress interest rates for flexible inflation targeting/potential output targeting. The currency collapsed after macroeconomists tried to float the rupee with a surrender rule in place.

Non-revenue water for which no money is collected was 25.2 percent. The agency was supposed to reduce non-revenue water. In some districts religious establishments are responsible for non-revenue water, according to an official who said it on condition of anonymity.

The water board is also unable to collect money from some services like common toilets for underserved communities. (Colombo/June23/2024 – Update II)

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Sri Lanka will expedite Indian projects: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will expedite Indian-backed projects in the island, President Ranil Wickremesinghe told Indian business people after a visit by Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar this week.

“I discussed with Prime Minister Modi the need to accelerate the joint program that we have decided, agreed on. So the major ones are identified, and Foreign Minister Jaishankar came down today [20] to have a discussion. Now this will show the new path we are taking,” president Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

“It won’t be individual projects. We’ve discussed a fair number of them. First is the grid interconnection between Sri Lanka and India, so that sustainable energy can be transmitted to India.

“We have the Sampur solar power project, which is a Government to Government (G2G) project, and a three island project, which is where we hope the ground breaking can take place in July,” he told Indian business people at the 31st All India Partner’s Meet 2024 (AIPM 2024), held at ICT Ratnadipa in Colombo.

The AIPM 2024 which was organised by KPGM Sri Lanka and India provided a platform for both countries to reaffirm their commitment to collaborative projects that promise to redefine bilateral relations and propel socio-economic growth.

“It’s a great pleasure and a privilege to have you in Sri Lanka, in Colombo, holding this meeting. It shows on one hand the close friendship that our two countries have, and on the other hand, the confidence that you have in Sri Lanka.

“Having now survived two difficult years, I must acknowledge that this was possible because India gave us a loan of $3.5 billion. All that will be repaid.”

Cooperation between the two nations needed to be enhanced, particularly in the energy sector, aiming to foster new development for the Northern region, Wickremesinghe said.

“We are looking at developing Palk Straight for wind energy and solar energy, both countries to get together and have a large farm for solar energy, for renewable energy. It also means that we will have a new economy for the northern province, which was worst affected by the war.”

Several Indian-backed projects in Sri Lanka have stalled due to protests from some parties, with some going to courts.

India is helping expand the Kankesanturai port, and is discussing development of the Palali and Colombo airports.

The National Livestock Development Board of Sri Lanka, in collaboration with India’s Amul Dairy Company, is involved in a project to enhance liquid milk production in the country.

The two nations are also considering establishing land connectivity.

Discussions have also taken place regarding expediting the Trincomalee Development Project, which encompasses industrial investment zones and tourist areas.

“Plans are underway to construct a multi-product oil pipeline from Nagapatnam to Trincomalee, pending the final observation report. Trincomalee is poised to become a hub for oil refining, with the development of ports and investment zones, transforming Trincomalee Port into a significant hub on the Bay of Bengal.

“Today, the entire East Coast is being opened up for tourism, with additional land earmarked for hotels in Galle and southern areas. Moreover, there are plans to establish more investment zones across the country, alongside expanding our professional training programs. In these endeavours, we are collaborating closely with India.” (Colombo/Jun22/2024)

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