An Echelon Media Company
Thursday December 1st, 2022

Sri Lanka cardinal says ‘deal politics’ undermining Easter attack probe

ECONOMYNEXT – The head of Catholic church, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Monday accused Sri Lanka’s government of “deal politics” which he said undermined his faith in the investigation into the Easter Sunday.

Asked if he was satisfied with the progress of inquiries, the Cardinal told reporters at the Archbishop’s House in Colombo that political wheeler-dealing appeared to be obscuring efforts to bring perpetrators to justice.

He referred to the manner in which the government secured the support of Muslim legislators to ensure a two-thirds majority for the 20th amendment and warned that the government should not take him for a fool.

“A few days before seven Muslim MPs voted for the 20th amendment, (former minister) Rishard Bathiudeen’s brother was released from custody…. When I raised this issue, the government said there was no connection (to the 20th amendment)

“But, we saw the way they voted. Especially, to support a person who came to power saying he did not want the votes of Muslims. There is a saying “කොන්ඩය බැඳපු චීනුන්ට කියන්න “ (tell it to the Chinese with a ponytail) Do they think we are “කොන්ඩය බැඳපු චීනු” (Usually a derogatory term referring to a dimwit)

The cardinal said ad hoc arrests and releases will not inspire confidence in the investigations into the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks that killed 269 and wounded over 500 people.

However, he said the church was willing to give more time for the authorities to identify all those behind the attack and bring them to justice.

Asked about the April 21 deadline he had issued earlier for the government to show results or risk Catholics being asked to take to the streets to protest, the Cardinal said it was not a strict deadline, but an aim.

“April 21 was only terminus ad quem,” he said.

He also said that his remarks on Sunday saying that the Easter bombings were not a result of Islamic extremism had been “misunderstood.”

He said Islamic extremism was still very much a threat in the country.

He also said his reference to “political forces” behind the attack was a meant to describe “international” elements and not those in the country.

“Our brethren were attacked not by (Islamic) religious extremism, but by a group that exploited it to use the attackers as pawns in order to strengthen their political power.”

“What we see in this (Easter Sunday attack) is not religious fanaticism or a love for a religion, but the attempts of certain forces to consolidate their position,” he said on Sunday. (COLOMBO, April 19, 2021)

Leave a Comment

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

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

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

Sri Lanka’s inflation eases to 61-pct in November

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s 12-month inflation in the capital Colombo fell to 61 percent in November 2022 from 66 percent in October as price stabilized after interest rates were allowed to go up and the exchange rate was pegged around 360 to the US dollar.

The widely watched Colombo Consumer Price Index fell absolutely 0.5 percent to 242.6 points in November after falling .04 percent in the October.

Food prices fell 1.5 percent after falling 2.0 percent a month earlier. The sub-index containing gas fell 0.5r percent and transport fell 3.6 percent.

But some services continued to go up, as relative prices adjusted to the steep fall in the currency after two years of money printing to suppress rates.

Health costs went up 5.7 percent. Furnishing and routine maintenance rose 0.4 percent.

Sri Lanka’s central bank hiked policy rates to 15.5 percent in April and pulled back on longer term money printing, allowing market rates to go to around 30 percent.

The exchange rater is pegged around 363 rupees with a surrender rule where banks are forced to sell dollars to the central bank for new liquidity.

The ongoing currency and inflation crisis is the worst in the history of the central bank.

Sri Lanka’s Latin America style central bank was set up in 1950 giving powers to the country’s macro-economists the power to mis-target rates, create currency crisis and high inflation. (Colombo/Nov30/2022)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka shares close at one-month high

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka shares closed at one month high on Wednesday gaining for the fourth session on news that government is in talks with ADB and World Bank to get a 1.9 billion dollar loan facility, brokers said.

The main All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed 3.3 percent or 276.02 points higher at 8,651.23, highest index gain in since November 01.

“Investor participation improved on the back of confirmed talks with multilateral and bilateral lenders including world banks and ADB for USD 1.9Bn after IMF board level agreement is reached,” First Capital Market Research said in it’s daily note.

Former Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said in a forum on Monday that the government is in discussion with ADB and World Bank to get loans of 1.9 billion US dollars after a reform program with International Monetary Fund is approved

A policy loan now being discussed with the World Bank may bring around 700 million US dollars, Coomaraswamy told a business forum organized by CT CLSA Securities, a Colombo-based brokerage.

The Asian Development Bank may also give around 1.2 billion US dollars most of which will be budget support, he said.

The market witnessed a turnover of 3.3 billion rupees, higher than this year’s daily average turnover of 2.9 billion rupees. This is the highest turnover generated since October 04.

In the last few sessions market gained after Central bank governor said market rates should eventually ease despite the fears of a domestic debt restructuring as inflation falls, increased liquidity in dollar markets, and the inter-bank liquidity improves.

In the past sessions, the index continued to fall on the speculation of a local debt restructuring although no proper decision has been taken so far.

The market saw a foreign inflow of 39 million rupees. The total net foreign inflow stood at 18.33 billion rupees so far for this year.

The more liquid index S&P SL20 closed 3.4 percent or 89.78 points higher at 2,730.08.

The ASPI has fallen 0.5 percent in November after losing 13.4 percent in October.

It has lost 29.2 percent year-to-date after being one of the world’s best stock markets with an 80 percent return last year when large volumes of money were printed.

Sampath Bank pushed the index up to close at 10.9 percent to 36.6 rupees.

Other top gainers were Browns Investment gained 15.4 percent to close at 7.5 rupees and LOLC gained 9.4 percent to close at 411.3 rupees.(Colombo/Nov30/2022)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka bonds, T-bills ease, overall market dull

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s treasury bonds eased and T-bill yields fell on the speculation on talks with ADB and World Bank to obtain financial aid but the over all market was dull on Wednesday while the Central Bank’s guidance peg remained unchanged, dealers said.

“During the day, secondary market witnessed some buying interest on the back of speculations on yields easing while talks about financial aid from ADB and World Bank further strengthened interest,” First Capital Market Research said in it’s daily note.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2024 closed at 32.00/60 percent on Wednesday, down from 32.30/90 percent on Tuesday.

A bond maturing on 07.07.2025 bond closed at 30.80/31.30 percent up from 30.30/31.25 percent on Tuesday.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 closed at 31.00/30 percent down from 31.10/31.30 percent on Tuesday.

The three-month T-bills closed at 32.30/33.25 percent, down from 32.60/33.00 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank transactions remained unchanged at 363.19 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers between 371.79 and 372.10 for small transactions, data showed.

Buying rates are between 361.79 – 362.00 rupees. (Colombo/Nov 30/2022)

Continue Reading