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Sri Lanka ‘Caa1’ sovereign rating on downgrade review by Moody’s

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s ‘Caa1’ sovereign rating has been place on review for downgrade by Moody’s citing weak external position and decreasing institutional strength.

“The decision to place the ratings under review for downgrade is driven by Moody’s assessment that Sri Lanka’s increasingly fragile external liquidity position raises the risk of default,” Moody’s said in a statement.

“This assessment reflects governance weaknesses in the ability of the country’s institutions to take measures that decisively mitigate significant and urgent risks to the balance of payments.

The full statement is reproduced below:

Rating Action: Moody’s places Sri Lanka’s Caa1 rating under review for downgrade
19 Jul 2021

Singapore, July 19, 2021 — Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) has today placed the Government of Sri Lanka’s Caa1 foreign currency long-term issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings under
review for downgrade.

The decision to place the ratings under review for downgrade is driven by Moody’s assessment that Sri Lanka’s increasingly fragile external liquidity position raises the risk of default. This assessment reflects governance weaknesses in the ability of the country’s institutions to take measures that decisively mitigate significant and urgent risks to the balance of payments.

Although the government has secured some financing, mainly from bilateral sources, its financing options remain narrow with borrowing costs in international markets still prohibitive. Absent large and sustained capital inflows through a credible external financing strategy, Moody’s expects Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves to continue declining from already low levels, further eroding its ability to meet sizeable and recurring external debt servicing needs, and increasing balance of payment risks. Extremely weak debt affordability — with interest payments absorbing a very large share of the government’s very narrow revenue base — compounds the debt repayment challenge.

The rating review will focus on assessing whether the sovereign is able to use a period of time provided by its current foreign exchange reserves and bilateral arrangements to implement measures that widen and increase its financing sources for the medium term, and thereby avoid default for the foreseeable future.

Sri Lanka’s foreign currency country ceiling has been lowered to Caa1 from B3, while the local currency country ceiling remains unchanged at B1. The three-notch gap between the local currency ceiling and the sovereign rating balances relatively predictable institutions and government actions against the low and declining foreign exchange reserves adequacy that raises macroeconomic risks as well as the challenging domestic political environment that weighs on policymaking.

The three-notch gap between the foreign currency ceiling and local currency ceiling takes into consideration the high level of external indebtedness and the risk of transfer and convertibility restrictions being imposed given low foreign exchange reserves adequacy, with some capital flow management measures already imposed. These ceilings typically act as a cap on the ratings that can be assigned to the obligations of other entities domiciled in the country.

RATINGS RATIONALE / FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE OR DOWNGRADE OF THE RATINGS RATIONALE FOR INITIATING THE REVIEW FOR DOWNGRADE

Sri Lanka’s low and declining foreign exchange reserves adequacy, limited and narrowing set of external financing options for the government, and the extremely large share of government revenue taken up by
interest payments raises the risk of debt default. The increasing fragility of the situation and continued worsening of credit metrics without decisive actions are indications that institutional credibility and effectiveness have weakened compared with Moody’s prior assessment. In contrast to the urgency of the situation — and notwithstanding the government’s stated commitment to repay its debt — Moody’s expects a credible and durable financing strategy to only materialise over a number of years.

Meanwhile, Moody’s expects the coverage by foreign exchange reserves of external repayments to continue
falling from already low levels. As of the end of June, Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves (which in Moody’s definition exclude gold and Special Drawing Rights) amounted to just around $3.6 billion, down 30% since the start of the year and insufficient to cover the government’s annual external debt repayments alone of around $4-5 billion over the next 4-5 years.

Taking into account plausible projections for the balance of payments, the country’s foreign exchange reserves will fall further over the next 2-3 years, unless Sri Lanka manages to markedly raise capital inflows.

Moody’s baseline scenario assumes that the government and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) will
continue to secure some foreign exchange resources and financing support through a combination of projectrelated multilateral loans, official sector bilateral assistance including central bank swaps, commercial bank loans, and the divestment of some state-owned assets — albeit at a relatively slow pace.

Measures introduced by CBSL, such as the required sale of a share of all inbound remittances and export proceeds to the central bank, will also generate additional reserves, while capital flow management measures restricting imports and outbound remittances and investment will help retain some foreign exchange resources in the country.

These measures can only shore up reserves temporarily and marginally; they also come at a cost to the economy.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s current account deficit is likely to remain stable and relatively narrow compared to peers at around 1-2% of GDP over the next few years, with the gradual recovery of the tourism sector partly hampered by the ongoing wave of infections and border restrictions. Foreign direct investment has the potential to pick up with the development of the Colombo Port City and the government’s privatisation plans, although amounts are likely to increase only gradually over time.

By contrast, Moody’s does not assume that the government will enter into programme-based financing facilities with multilateral development partners at this stage, which significantly narrows its external financing options.

Furthermore, while the government has historically relied on international market access to finance its fiscal deficits and external repayment needs, borrowing costs remain prohibitive with Sri Lanka’s government bond spreads to US Treasuries still very wide at more than 1600 basis points, compared to around 500 basis points before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sri Lanka’s long-standing fiscal weaknesses complicate the government’s policy choices. Moody’s expects Sri Lanka’s economy to grow by around 3.5% this year, taking into account less stringent pandemic-containment measures compared to last year. Economic growth is likely to accelerate further next year on base effects and the reopening of borders, providing some boost to government revenue.

However, even with some revenue increases, Moody’s estimates that the government’s fiscal deficit will remain wide at around 9.5-10% of GDP this year and average 8.5% over the next two years. In turn, the government’s debt burden will likely rise further to around 110% of GDP over 2022-23, from around 100% at the end of 2020 and around 87% in 2019.

Extremely weak debt affordability magnifies debt repayment risks. Interest payments exceeded 70% of
government revenue in 2020 and will likely remain around 60-70% over the next few years — highest across sovereigns that Moody’s rates by some distance — even as revenue rebounds from very low levels. Indeed, government revenue is likely to remain around 10% of GDP over the next few years, unless the government’s efforts to enhance tax administration and impose special taxes can sizeably and durably expand its revenue base.

While domestic resources have been sufficient so far to finance the government’s wider deficit in local
currency, limited fiscal resources impose difficult policy choices to rationalise social spending and
development expenditure, if interest payments continue to be prioritised.

Given very weak credit metrics, there is material risk that falling reserves precipitate a crisis of confidence, involving a negative spiral of a rapidly depreciating exchange rate, rising inflation, higher domestic interest rates, higher debt payments in local currency terms, and a weaker domestic economy. In this scenario, default risk would increase sharply. Conversely, the sovereign’s track record at securing some financing options, from foreign and domestic investors, may keep such an adverse scenario at bay for some time.

The rating review will focus on assessing whether the sovereign is able to use a period of time provided by its current foreign exchange reserves and bilateral arrangements to implement measures that widen and increase its financing sources for the medium term, and thereby avoid default for the foreseeable future.

ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL, GOVERNANCE CONSIDERATIONS

Sri Lanka’s ESG Credit Impact Score is highly negative (CIS-4), reflecting its highly negative exposure to environmental and social risks. Ongoing challenges to institutional and policy effectiveness constrain the government’s capacity to address ESG risks.

The exposure to environment risk is highly negative (E-4 issuer profile score). Variations in the seasonal monsoon can have marked effects on rural household incomes and real GDP growth: while the agricultural sector comprises only around 8% of the total economy, it employs almost 30% of Sri Lanka’s total labour force.

Natural disasters including droughts, flash floods and tropical cyclones that the country is exposed to also contribute to higher food inflation and import demand. Moreover, ongoing development projects to improve urban connectivity have increased the rate of deforestation, although the country continues to engage development partners to preserve its natural capital, such as its mangroves.

The exposure to social risk is highly negative (S-4 issuer profile score). Balanced against Sri Lanka’s relatively good access to basic education, which has continued to improve throughout the country in the post-civil war period, are weaknesses in the provision of some basic services in more remote and rural areas, such as water, sanitation and housing.

As the country’s population continues to grow, the government will face greater constraints in delivering high-quality social services and developing critical infrastructure amid ongoing fiscal
pressures.

The influence of governance is highly negative (G-4 issuer profile score). While international surveys point to stronger governance in Sri Lanka relative to rating peers, including in judicial independence and control of corruption, institutional challenges remain, particularly in the pace and effectiveness of reforms.

Domestic political developments also tend to weigh on fiscal and economic policymaking.

The ratings would likely be confirmed at their current level if the risk of external debt default were to diminish materially and durably. This could stem from the government demonstrating its capacity to use short-term financing sources as a means to gain time to secure a medium-term external financing strategy that maintained a manageable cost of debt, and a faster and more sustained buildup in non-debt creating foreign exchange inflows.

Additionally, likely implementation of fiscal consolidation measures, particularly greater
revenue mobilisation, that pointed to a material narrowing of fiscal deficits in the next few years and
contributed to lower annual borrowing needs, would also support a confirmation of the rating.
The rating would likely be downgraded in a status quo scenario where the financing of Sri Lanka’s large
external debt repayments remained uncertain while foreign exchange reserves adequacy still looked likely to continue deteriorating.

GDP per capita (PPP basis, US$): 13,215 (2020 Actual) (also known as Per Capita Income)

Real GDP growth (% change): -3.6% (2020 Actual) (also known as GDP Growth)

Inflation Rate (CPI, % change Dec/Dec): 4.6% (2020 Actual)

Gen. Gov. Financial Balance/GDP: -11.1% (2020 Actual) (also known as Fiscal Balance)

Current Account Balance/GDP: -1.3% (2020 Actual) (also known as External Balance)

External debt/GDP: 61.0% (2020 Actual)

Economic resiliency: ba2

Default history: No default events (on bonds or loans) have been recorded since 1983.

On 14 July 2021, a rating committee was called to discuss the rating of the Sri Lanka, Government of.

The main points raised during the discussion were: The issuer’s economic fundamentals, including its economic strength, have not materially changed. The issuer’s institutions and governance strength, have materially decreased. The issuer’s fiscal or financial strength, including its debt profile, has not materially changed. The issuer’s susceptibility to event risks has not materially changed.

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Widespread support for Sri Lanka debt workout, reform progress at IMF/WB meet: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – There was widespread support for Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring and acknowledgement of progress made under an International Monetary Fund program, at meeting of the fund and World Bank, State Minister for Finance Shehan Semasinghe said.

“The strides made in our economic recovery and financial stability have been acknowledged as significant advancements towards our country’s prosperity by our stakeholders and international partners,” Minister Semasinghe said in an x.com (twitter) post after attending the meetings.

“Further, it was heartening to note the widespread appreciation and support for Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to reaching the restructuring targets and confident of smooth progress in the continued good-faith engagements for a speedy debt resolution that will ensure debt sustainability and comparability of debt treatment.”

Sri Lanka ended a first round of talks with sovereign bondholders in March without striking a deal but some agreement on the basis for a deal.

An initial deal with bilateral creditors have been reached, but they may be awaiting a deal with private creditors to sign formal agreements.

International partners have appreciated reforms made under President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minister Semasinghe said.

“It was great to engage in productive bilateral discussions with all of whom appreciated the recent economic developments, progress in debt restructuring, strengthening of tax administration, and ongoing governance reforms,” he said.

Sri Lanka’s rupee has been allowed to re-appreciate by the central bank amid deflationary monetary policy, bringing tangible benefits to people in the form of lower energy and food prices, unlike in past IMF programs.

Electricity prices were cut as a strengthening currency helped reduce the cost of coal imports.

Related Sri Lanka central bank mainly responsible for electricity price cut

The currency appreciation has also allowed losses to the Employment Provident Fund imposed to be partially recouped, helping old workers near retirement, as well as raising disposable incomes of current wage earners on fixed salaries.

Related Sri Lanka EPF gets US$1.85bn in value back as central bank strengthens rupee

The IMF, which was set up after World War II to end devaluations seen in the 1930s after the Fed’s policy rate infected other key central banks, started to actively encourage depreciation after a change to its founding articles in 1978 (the Second Amendment).

The usefulness of money as a store of value, or a denominator of current and future values then decline, leading to loss of real savings, real wages and increases in social unrest.

Before that, members who devalued more than 10 percent after printing money for growth or any other reason, faced the threat of suspension from the organization as punishment.

Sri Lanka’s rupee has appreciated to around 300 to the US dollar now from 370 after a surrender rule was lifted in March 2023.

But there is no transparency on the basis that economic bureaucrats are allowing the currency to gain against the US dollar (the intervention currency of the central bank).

The rupee is currently under pressure, despite broadly prudent monetary policy, due to an ‘oversold position’ in the market after recent appreciation made importers and banks to run negative open positions as the usefulness of the currency as a denominator of future value declined with sudden strenghtening. (Colombo/Apr21/2024)

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Sri Lanka choices recalled in Vietnam debate on monetary and fiscal options to target output

FIRST SIGNS: Fuel queues and shortages were developing in Vietnam in 2022 with a BOP deficit of $15.6bn in 3Q when rates were hiked to stop inflationary sterilization. Photo/Vietnamnet.vn

ECONOMYNEXT – Vietnam can grow 6.0 percent in 2024, with ‘policy support’ but there is a debate whether it should be done through fiscal (widening deficits/worsening debt or state spending) or monetary means, a top International Monetary Fund official said.

The IMF projects 6.0 percent growth for Vietnam in 2024 “as it rebounds from a challenging 2023,” Krishna Srinivasan, Director of the Asia and Pacific Department told reporters during the Spring Meetings in Washington.

Western Statism

“Now, in the case of Vietnam, I would say that there’s an issue about policy mix, whether you could get more support from the fiscal and rely less on monetary,” Srinivasan said.

“So there is an issue of policy mix which we’re talking, which we’ve been engaging the authorities with.

“I would say that policy support should be more favorable and that should, and along with external demand, help raise growth to 6 percent.”

Sri Lanka used both fiscal and monetary mix to boost growth from December 2019, triggering an external default two and a half years later.

Vietnam’s forex reserves fell below 3 months of imports in 2022 after the State Bank kept policy rates down by inflationary sterilization of forex market interventions.

The currency was then stabilized with rapid fire rate hikes and credit controls to dial back inflationary policy, just as long fuel ques started to form at petrol sheds, with angry riders already hit by rising prices due to Dong weakness. 
The return to market interest rates averted wider social unrest from being triggered by depreciation and further losses at state energy utility EVN, due to fixed prices amid soaring coal prices.

The State Bank of Vietnam later cut rates and relaxed credit controls as the BOP shifted to a surplus.

The government has since cut value added taxes. Public sector salaries are set to rise further this year, possibly as much as 30 percent, after earlier wage restraint. (Related Link: Public employee’s salaries to increase by 30 per cent from July 1: Minister)

State Driven Growth Options

The IMF also said in an Article IV consultation report released in October 2023, that fiscal metrics should be effectively undermined for ‘growth’ but more through income redistribution, and possible support for a fallout from a weak property sector.

Some Vietnamese property companies are reeling from expansion during earlier low rates and Covid-linked construction delays, which could also hit banks.

“Building on successful fiscal consolidation in recent years, there is fiscal space to provide further support,” an IMF Article IV consultation report released in October 2023 said.

“The government could scale up social safety nets that would boost growth and protect the most vulnerable households.

“Given the slowdown and the constraints faced by monetary policy, going forward, fiscal policy can take a leading role in supporting aggregate demand.

“For instance, the government could scale up social safety nets—and consider cash transfers to provide swift relief to poorer households.

“If the current turmoil proves more damaging to the economy and the financial sector, targeted support could be considered, including to help real estate developers restructure.”

Dong on thin ice

In 2023, Vietnam’s balance of payments was only marginally in surplus by 1 to 3 billion dollars a quarter, indicating that credit was still resilient after a successful ‘soft-landing’, and any further shocks from macro-economists can destabilize the external sector easily.

In the fourth quarter of 2024, Vietnam’s BOP was only 2.4 billion dollars in surplus.

Any extra spending or tax cuts which boosts the deficit due to attempts to engage in ‘macro-economic policy’ and expand government borrowings would lead to money printing under a fixed policy rate, reversing gains made by the State Bank over 2023, and pushing the Dong down, analysts say.

Western macro-economists believe that expanding government action (through the Treasury or central banks) to tinker with ‘aggregate demand’ can boost growth numbers instead of giving a chance for people and businesses to engage in real production of goods and services by providing monetary stability.

Collapsing currencies and external imbalances are then blamed on ‘current account deficits’ and ‘structural deficiencies’.

Such Keynesian and post-Keynesian beliefs have worsened since quantitative easing was normalized in the US after the Great Recession and ‘stimulus’ re-captured Western media attention despite the hard lessons of the 1960s and 1970s, critics say.

In Sri Lanka, the IMF taught a central bank that had already busted the currency from 4.70 to 131 to the dollar to calculate ‘potential output’ just as the country was barely recovering from a 30-year civil war.

Sri Lanka defaulted within 7 years of ‘data driven monetary policy’ (flexible inflation targeting with output gap targeting) and three currency crises later in peacetime amid increasingly aggressive macro-economic policy as consecutive stabilization programs reduced growth numbers.

Aggressive Macro-economic Policy

After using higher deficits and inflationary rate cuts in 2015 amid low inflation, inflationary rate cuts despite tax hikes in 2018 (fiscal policy is tight therefore monetary has to be loose mantra), macro-economists took a proverbial Keynesian bull by the horns and cut both taxes and rates from December 2019 saying there was a ‘persistent output gap’.

Related Sri Lanka fiscal stimulus to close output gap

Analysts say there is no real choice between monetary or fiscal deterioration to achieve macroeconomic policy desires of interventionists, in a country with a bureaucratic interest rate.

A policy rate, unless hiked, will automatically result in inflationary monetary operations as domestic credit picks up, irrespective of whether it is driven by private or state credit.

Any so-called ‘fiscal support’ can only be given without harming the exchange rate in a country that has a reserve collecting central bank with a policy rate, by liquidating any sovereign wealth funds or borrowing abroad and pushing up net external debt, analysts say.

By worsening external net debt levels, desires of macro-economists can be satisfied without harming monetary stability and the living standards of the population in general or nutrition of the children of the poorest sections of society by so-called exchange rate flexibility or debasement.

In Sri Lanka, potential output is now written into a brand new IMF-backed monetary law even before the first default workout is complete. Potential output is mentioned in every monetary policy statement, not stability. (Colombo/Apr20/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings: A Preventable Tragedy

ECONOMYNEXT – Five years on, Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday bombings has left us with more questions than answers.

Both the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government and now the Ranil Wickremesinghe tenure has been shown up poorly in terms of ensuring the masterminds and those who failed to prevent the bombings are bought to book.

As one sifts through various reports and discussions on the Easter Sunday bombings which took the lives of 315 and injured at least 600, one must, as Sunanda Deshapriya, activist and investigative journalist told a webinar recently, ask whether that tragedy was preventable.

If it was, then why was it not?

The webinar was organised by the Solidarity Movement for Justice and Truth (SMJT).

One interesting fact that investigators discovered, Deshapriya said, was that a phone number used by one of the bombers, was amongst a series used by the infamous ‘Tripoli Brigade’ that is alleged to be behind the Lasantha Wickrematunga murder.

This brings up the question whether the Easter bombers were connected to these covert groups within the Armed Forces which some observers have blamed for a number of violent incidents.

There were other questionable events. In an interview with TNL in 2023 former CID Head, Ravi Seneviratne claimed that though the visit to Vanathavilluwa by his officers investigating the destruction of Buddhist statues in Mawanella, was not public knowledge, the military intelligence had turned up there.
Deshapriya says, “We have to ask who ordered the MI to go there.”

In his interview, Seneviratne also said that Zaharan, the leader of the Thowheed Jamat that carried out the Easter bombings, first came to their attention in January 2019. They received tips of Zaharan’s whereabouts from civilians he said, and those were always that he had been sighted in various locations in the East.

However, following the Easter attacks the CID had realised that while they were looking for Zaharan in the East, he had been moving around in Wattala, Negombo, Mount Lavinia and Panadura. He alleged that while Zaharan seemed to have been secure in these areas, the CID had had no inkling of it.

The CID has informants everywhere, so why were they not aware that Zaharan was living in the Western Province, he asks.

SSP Shani Abeysekara is on the record as saying that the Intelligence operatives had “deliberately mislead the CID.”

Evidence indicates that former head of State Intelligence, DIG Nilantha Jayawardena, had wiped out his phone and laptop prior to handing them over the investigators.

“Why did he do that? When did he do that? What did it contain? There are many secrets about the Easter Sunday attacks that are yet to be revealed,” Deshapriya said.

He also states that “there are also many holes in Azad Maulana’s story on Channel 4.”

Despite these discrepancies, Deshapriya says that the volume of information about Zaharan available to the Security Forces, particularly the intelligence arm was quite substantial.

The bombings and the aftermath, the hysteria around the need to save the country and future generations, the demonization of the Muslim community all pointed to one goal; a regime change. Those fighting these past five years to bring the masterminds to book must also now, determine whether that heinous deed was intentional.

The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) and the Commission of Inquiry (COI), both appointed to examine the events leading to the Easter attacks, concluded that if the Indian intelligence reports had been acted on, the bombings on April 21, 2019, could have been avoided, the report noted.

On April 19, the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) released a report titled, ‘5 Years Since Easter Sunday Attacks: Still Awaiting Justice,” where it says that “various committees were appointed to collect evidence and provide a report of the findings.

‘A Presidential commission, a Presidential committee, and a Parliamentary Select Committee were appointed to investigate the Easter Sunday Attacks. The report produced by the Presidential Committee was not published while the Parliamentary Select Committee’s report was fully published, and the Presidential Commission report was partly published.

On 26th January 2023, the Right to Information Commission directed the Presidential Secretariat to make the presidential committee report public before 9th February 2023 after hearing an appeal filed by CSR. However, none of the major recommendations in the published reports have been implemented to deliver justice for the victims.”

“The reports reveal that authorities had sufficient time and enough intelligence to act on the suspicions and prevent the incident. SIS Director received intelligence reports from India on the 4th and 5th of April 2019 and again two reports on the 20th of April describing the possibility of the attack, naming the suspects, and the urgency of the terror attack.

Additionally, there was a dry run conducted five days before the bombings where a motorcycle was blown up using a remote-controlled device in Zaharan’s home base, and although the SIS learnt of the incident the next day, even after intelligence reports stated that Zaharan was planning a terror attack, proper investigations into this matter did not take place.

The amount of information that was received prior to the attack and the lack of action, investigation, and implementation of safety measures inevitably raised questions as to who was actually behind the attacks” CSR said.

“A less dysfunctional government might have still failed to connect incoming intelligence with the information on Zaharan in Sri Lankan police files, but it would have tried much harder,” it added.
The report goes on to note the lapses made by the Sri Lanka government’s leaders.

“Regardless of the number of intelligence reports both by the U.S and India, that had warned about imminent attacks targeting churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe both acted out of gross ignorance. Even, at the time the unfortunate incident has happened, the executive president Mr. Sirisena was out of the country and returned a considerable time after the incident.”

Fr. De Silva also asks as to how the Police would conduct an impartial inquiry into the role of the various personnel who were holding powerful positions at the time and still continue to do so.

Gen Salley remains as head of Intelligence. The DIG in charge of the area where the Katuwapitiya church is situated in that period was Deshabandu Tennekoon, who is now the Inspector General of Police. DIG Nilantha Jayawardene who was the Intelligence chief is now Senior DIG Administration, a post second only to the IGP.

“In seeking justice how can we engage with these leaders in power who are themselves accused of complicity in these incidents,” asks Fr. De Silva. “We are doubtful we can get justice without a change in the people holding office.”

As election fever hots up, the main opposition political parties are jostling with each other promising to bring the masterminds of the Easter attacks to book, under their regimes. Both the SJB and the JVP led NPP have put out official statements on the course of action they would take if elected to power.

Speaking at a zoom discussion organised by the Australia Sri Lanka Forum for Justice for Easter Victims on April 17, SJB’s Eran Wickremaratne said his party would introduce amendments to existing structures, to create an Independent Public Prosecutors Office to handle such cases.

The SJB plans to establish a permanent office with members of Scotland Yard and the FBI to work alongside local investigators to bring closure to the Easter tragedy, he said.

Meanwhile, the JVP led NPP presented a 7 point plan which would address the inaction of the authorities, and take legal action against all those directly and indirectly involved in the Easter Sunday bombings.
Both political parties have presented their proposals to Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith. Let’s hope they are not mere election promises!

The Easter Sunday victims have been political pawns these past five years, just as the many others who lost family members in the various conflicts the country has been through.
They too, are still awaiting justice.

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