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Sunday December 3rd, 2023

Sri Lanka CEB makes Rs18.2bn loss up to Aug amid controlled prices : FinMin

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Electricity Board has lost 18.2 billion rupees in the first eight months of 2023, due to controlled prices, the Finance Ministry has said in a report.

CEB revenues were 402 billion in the first eight months of 2023, compared to 172 billion after an initial 66 percent tariff hike given to the agency ahead of an International Monetary Fund program.

The regulator cut the controlled price by 14.4 percent in mid-2023, higher than the 3 percent cut requested by the CEB, triggering an interim tariff hike to win a news staff level agreement from the International Monetary Fund for next year.

The CEB lost 20.8 billion rupees up to August “owing to the delayed and limited tariff which was not adequate to compensate for the significant increase in generation cost,” the Finance Ministry said.

Generation costs had risen 55 percent to 324 billion rupees in the first eight months of 2023, up from 209.4 billion rupees last year amid high fuel and coal prices.

Sri Lanka’s rupee collapsed collapsed from 200 to 360 to the US dollar in 2022 amid inflationary open market operations but appreciated to 330 amid deflationary open market operations from around September 2022 and the lifting of a surrender rule in March 2023.

The CEB also buys fuel at tax plus prices.

Dut to higher interest rates, finance cost had risen to 42.2 billion rupees in the first eight months, from 18.2 billion rupees the previous year.

Cost per unit at selling point had gone up to 45.71 rupees per kilo Watt hour, from 29.17 rupees per kilo Watt hour last year.

The CEB is charging up to 89 rupees from domestic consumers, under regulated tariffs while giving lower tariffs to discriminating customers based on their business activities.

The government is taking some of the liabilities off the books of the CEB adding to the nationals amid losses accumulated.

Long term borrowings fell to 230.6 billion rupees by August 2023, from 396 billion in August 2022.

But, the CEB had unpaid obligations to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, and Independent Power Producers of 212.3 billion rupees as at end of August 2023. (Colombo/Nov20/2023)

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Sri Lanka UGC wants to boost number of IT-related degrees

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s University Grants Commission is of the view to boost the number of Information Technology (IT) related degrees in state universities with an aim to pave the way for a digital economy.

Sri Lanka’shigher education system has been producing more graduates in Arts stream while the degrees in highly demanded IT and other engineering services are being looked at only now.

“We do have a high demand for engineering, science, AI, computer and electronical engineering

studies,” Chairman of University Grants Commission, Sampath Amaratunga, told reporters at aa media briefing on Friday

“However, while avoiding neglecting the humanities, we should develop new IT skills.”

Amaratunga confirmed that a student who studied in any stream could obtain an IT degree, including students who studied in the arts stream.

The UGC data show that out of 18,490 engineering technology stream students who sat for their Advanced Levels (A/L) in 2022, 10634 were eligible for university.

“Even streams like agriculture should be encouraged to use technology,” Amaratunga said. (Colombo/Dec 2/2023)

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Sri Lanka leader inaugurates Climate Justice Forum at COP28 in Dubai

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe launched Climate Justice Forum (CJF) at the ongoing 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) held in Dubai in a move to gather support for vulnerable nations hit by climate-change led disasters.

This year’s climate summit held in Dubai’s EXPO2020 features a raft of issues for countries working to find common ground in tackling climate change, including whether to phase out fossil fuels and how to finance the energy transition in developing countries.

Wickremesinghe inaugurated the Climate Justice Forum at COP28 on Saturday and emphasized the critical importance of addressing climate issues with a sense of justice and equity.

The President had been in talks with many nations vulnerable to climate change disasters including African and South American countries to get their support for the CJF.

The move is to compel advanced and developed countries to look into the poor nations hit by the climate changes and help them to get over economic and debt burdens by either investing more in green energy initiatives or writing off debts to ease financial pressure.

Sri Lanka, which is now facing an unprecedented economic crisis, has seen increasing losses and damages, both human lives and physical properties due to climate change-led disasters like floods, drought, and earth slips.

In his speech at the COP28 forum, Wickremesinghe on Friday said the Climate Justice Forum will provide a platform for constructive and proactive engagements. (Dubai/Dec 2/2023)

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Sri Lanka IMF review goes to executive board on December 12

ECONOMYNEXT – The first review of Sri Lanka’s International Monetary Fund program is scheduled to go the lender’s Executive Board for consideration on December 12.

Sri Lanka officials were expecting the review to be completed in December as soon as official creditors gave their assurances.

According to the notice Sri Lanka had missed one performance criterion and has requested modifications.

Sri Lanka has outperformed on a number of quantity targets including inflation. In addition to quantity PCs there was also one non-accumulation of arrears.

There would also be re-phasing of access. The review was originally expected around September with another review based on December data, leading to September and March disbursements.

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