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Tuesday June 18th, 2024

Sri Lanka court extends former CB governor’s travel ban until July 25

ECONOMYNEXT – A Sri Lankan court extended travel ban on former central bank governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal until July 25 as he failed to appear in the court on Monday when his alleged misappropriation case was taken, a lawyer said.

The Colombo Magistrate Court extended the travel ban that was originally issued on April 7, preventing Cabraal from leaving the country until July 25.

The travel ban was initially issued after political activist Ranjith Keerthi Tennakoon filed the case citing Cabraal’s failure to disclose his relationship to some primary bond market stakeholders when he was the central bank governor in his first tenure from 2006-2015.

“He did not appear today as well. We told the court that he was acting as if he is above the law. So the next case hearing was fixed for July 25 and we did not object it as his travel ban also was extended until that day,” Maithri Gunaratne, a lawyer appeared on behalf of the petitioner told Economy Next.

Among six charges filed by Tennakoon against Cabraal was that Cabraal had incurred a 10.04 to 10.06 billion rupee loss to the government during his 2006-2015 tenure as the governor of the central bank.

Cabraal was not immediately available for comment.

He was reappointed as central bank governor in mid-September last year when the signs of an economic crisis first appeared.

Cabraal strongly opposed calls to seek International Monetary Fund (IMF) assistance in addressing the financial crisis, and kept interest rates artificially low and controlled the exchange rate against US dollars amid excess money printing.

The policy failure later created a severe shortage of dollars and the rupee has fallen nearly 80 percent since the currency was floated on March 07.

Cabraal resigned from the post on April 04 after the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peremuna (SLPP) government’s entire cabinet resigned the previous day. (Colombo/May 23/2022)

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Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber links up with Gujarat Chamber

ECONOMYNEXT – The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has signed an agreement with the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) to increase trade cooperation between India and Sri Lanka.

The MOU was signed by CCC CEO Buwanekabahu Perera, SGCCI President Ramesh Vaghasia, in the presence of Dr Valsan Vethody, Consul General for Sri Lanka in Mumbai, India.

“With the signing of the MoU, … the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and SGCCI aim to facilitate trade between the two countries via initiatives such as trade fairs and delegations, business networking events, training programmes,” the Ceylon Chamber said in a statement.

“This partnership will open doors for Sri Lankan businesses to explore opportunities in Surat’s dynamic market and enable the sharing of expertise and resources between the two regions.”

Established in 1940, SGCCI engages with over 12,000 members and indirect ties with more than 2,00,000 members via 150 associations. It promotes trade, commerce, and industry in South Gujarat.

The region’s commercial and economic centre Surat has risen to prominence as the global epicenter for diamond cutting and as India’s textile hub, and is ranked the world’s 4th fastest growing city with a GDP growth rate of 11.5%

Surat’s economic landscape is vibrant and diverse. As India’s 8th largest and Gujarat’s 2nd largest city, it boasts the highest average annual household income in the country.

The nearby Hazira Industrial Area hosts major corporations like Reliance, ESSAR, SHELL, and L&T. (Colombo/Jun18/2024)

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Sri Lanka telecommunications bill some clauses ruled unconstitutional by SC: Speaker

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has found a number of clauses in a proposed amendment to the Telecom Telecommunications Amendment bill unconstitutional, speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana said.

“Clause No 8, proposed section 9A 2 of the bill is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution, however this inconsistency shall cease if word ‘may’ will be replaced with word ‘shall’ as set out in the determination of the supreme court.”

“Clause No 9 is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution and only can be passed with special majority required under paragraph 2 of the Article 84. However, the inconsistency shall cease if clause is amended as set out in the determination of the supreme court.

Clause No 12, proposed section 17 10 of the bill is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution and can only be passed with special parliament majority required under Article 84 paragraph 2. However, the inconsistency shall cease if clause is amended as set out in the determination of the supreme court.”

Sections of clauses 13, 18, 20, 33 and 35 were also in violation of the constitution, and could only be passed by a special majority of parliament. (Colombo/Jun18/2024)

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Sri Lanka to exempt one house from imputed rent wealth tax: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will exempt one house from a proposed wealth tax outlined in an International Monetary Fund program, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

About 90 percent of the people’s houses are likely to be exempt from the proposed tax, he said.

“[O]ne house will be exempt from this,” President Wickremesinghe told parliament Monday.

“It is going to have a very high threshold and I do not think the vast majority of the people in this country should even be worried about their house

“Don’t worry your house will be safe.”

The IMF program document however did not mention an exempt on one house, but did mention a threshold.

Taxing houses and thrift in general could have detrimental effects on people’s well-being housing stock and their willingness to remain in the country without migrating, critics say.

Related Sri Lanka to tax imaginary rents on houses under IMF deal

The mechanism of imputed rents was used because rates on houses was assigned to provincial councils and courts could strike it down.

Opposition legislator Harsha de Silva said the Samagi Jana Balwegaya welcomed President Wickremesinghe’s statement. (Colombo/June18/2024)

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