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Friday August 19th, 2022

Sri Lanka allows imports of specialist fertilizer, micro-nutrients

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has allowed the import of fertilizer mixes and micro-nutrietns for specialist applications including for hydroponic cultivation and floriculture, the President’s office said.

In May the cabinet of ministers approved the import of chelated mineral fertilizer and micro-nutrients and small granules used for horticulture.

Sri Lanka this year banned the import of fertilizer saying they caused diseases and cost up to 400 million US dollars to import.

However other analysts have called for law to curb the expansionary domestic operations (printing money) of the central bank to end forex shortages and restore monetary stability.

Sri Lanka suddenly banned chemical fertilizers, without first releasing a white paper, green paper or doing a public consultation and is now firefighting regime uncertainty with the entire agricultural sector in turmoil.

The ban has been relaxed after introducing national sub HS codes to distinguish between classes of fertilizer. Official spokesmen have claimed that the specialist fertilizer are not ‘chemical’.

Related Sri Lanka to import organic fertilizer for 1.1mn hectares of farmland

The Cabinet has granted approval to the proposal made by the Minister of Agriculture on the 31st of May 2021, to import the plant nutrients which include natural chelated minerals and micro nutrients, the statement said.

“As the above natural chelated minerals and micro matter were already being imported under the HS Code, but currently prohibited by the Gazette Notification No. 2226/48, and in order to grant cabinet approval to the aforesaid Cabinet paper submitted by the Minister of Agriculture, the Gazette Notification No. 2226/48 was amended,” the President’s office said.

“The government states that it has not granted permission to import chemical fertilizers for local agricultural purposes and has not made any changes to the decision taken by the President to use only organic fertilizers for local agriculture and will not make any changes to this decision in the future as well.”

Licenses have been issued for a period of six months under the direct supervision to the institutions registered for protected agriculture in greenhouses and for hydroponics, aeroponics and floriculture to import nitrogen minerals or chemical fertilizers and chelated minerals and nutrients, the statement said.

“The above licenses also permit packets of compound fertilizers containing the three plant nutrients, namely mineral or chemical nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, or capsules containing a mixture of two of them or packets weighing 10kg or less containing such products,” the statement said.

“All these fertilizers are allowed to be imported only by the relevant agencies as per the requirements or under special licenses issued only for limited quantities to suit those requirements.

“In addition, nitrogen extracts (organic) and mineral potassium can be imported, which are not classified as chemical fertilizers.” (Colombo/Aug04/2021)

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Sri Lanka schedules 3-hour power cuts for Aug 20, 21: regulator

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will impose power cuts of up to three hours on Saturday August 20 and Sunday August 21, Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said.

All areas (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V and W) will have power cuts of 1 hours and 40 minutes between 10.30 am and 06.00 pm and 1 hour 20 minutes from 06.00pm to 10.00 pm.

Click here for a detailed schedule.

The state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said supply interruption time and restoration time will vary within 30 minutes as indicated above.

Sri Lanka’s daily scheduled power cuts that were reduced to one hour in July with power generation from hydro power plants contributing more than 50 percent to the main grid reducing thermal power plant use was extended to three hours last week due to a breakdown at the Norochcholai coal power plant.

According to officials, the breakdown happened in Unit 1 of Norochcholai which will take around two weeks to repair.

The Minister of Power & Energy said Unit 2 is undergoing scheduled maintenance work while Unit 3 will continue to operate. West Coast and other fuel power pPlants will be used to manage the supply, the ministry said. (Colombo/Aug02/2022)

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Sri Lanka guidance peg edges T-bond yield edge down

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank transactions edged down on Friday (19), while yields in Treasury bonds picked up slightly and in T-bill remain unquoted in dull trade, a day after the Central Bank announced the policy rates will remain stable, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 01. 06. 2025 closed at 27.95/28.05 percent on Friday, slightly up from 27.90/28.00 percent on Thursday.

No T-bills were quoted on Friday, dealers said.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s central bank announced a guidance peg for interbank transactions further weakened by three cents to 361.00 rupees against the US dollar on Friday from 360.97 rupees.

Data showed that commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers between 368.00 and 370.00 for small transactions.  (Colombo/ Aug 19/2022)

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Sri Lanka records 10 new COVID-19 deaths in 48 hours as case numbers rise

ECONOMYNEXT –  Sri Lanka recorded 10 COVID-19 deaths in the 48 hours from August 17 to 19 taking the country’s pandemic death toll to 16,640, health ministry data showed.

Sri Lanka is experiencing a slight increase in COVID-19 cases with the relaxation of public health restrictions relating to face masks and public gatherings.

Health authorities said the situation will be monitored constantly and have asked the general public to continue to follow basic hygiene measures in order to control the spread of the virus again in the community.

In August alone 2,924 new cases were recorded in Sri Lanka, with 84 deaths attributed to the disease.

So far in 2022, from January onward, health authorities have identified 81,157 patients to date.

Epidemiology unit data showed that 874 patients are currently receiving treatment, out of which 716 are receiving home based care.

The spread of the virus has increased with the use of public transport rising after an easing of a fuel crisis.

Sri Lanka is also facing difficulties in securing essential medicine supplies for the health sector due to a forex shortage.

Health officials said if the number of COVID-19 patients rise to a level the health sector cannot manage,  with the added issues of fuel and medical shortages, the health system might collapse.

“It is the responsibility of us all. There is no use trying to forcibly control people. We all have the responsibility to reduce or stop the spread of the virus before it gets out of control. We have been living with it for the past two years,” Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr Hemantha Herath said. (Colombo/Aug19/2022)

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