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Sunday October 1st, 2023

Sri Lanka defends currency at 133.80, bond markets active

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka continued to defend the rupee at 133.80 to the US dollar in the spot market but there were restrictions on forward trading amid sales of bonds by foreign investors, dealers said.

In the forward market there is a ceiling of 133.95 rupee to the greenback by moral suasion for one week, 133.40 for one month and 135.50 on the three months, dealers said.

A state bank which was selling dollars liberally earlier in the week for trade backed transactions was now giving forex for only part of the bid, dealers said.

Excess liquidity which was not mopped up by domestic operations is now falling rapidly with rupees coming in for redemption in forex markets.

Excess liquidity dropped to 86 billion rupees Thursday from 97 billion rupees on June 01, official data showed.

Increased foreign investor selling in rupee bonds was being helped by secondary market liquidity coming from Employees Provident Fund, which among others was buying 7 to 10 year bonds, helped bring yields down, dealers said.

The 6-year bond went up to 8.46/48 percent and closed at 8.38/42 percent.

The 7-year bond moved up to 8.56/60 percent and then closed at 8.52/65 percent, 8-years to 8.80/82 percent and closed at 8.73/75 percent, 9-years moved up to 8.93/95 percent and closed at 8.84/87 percent.

Ten year bonds which rose to 8.98/9.00 percent, dropped to 8.85 levels and closed at 8.88/92 percent, dealers said.

The 30-year bond was quoted 10.20/50 percent.


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Sri Lanka National Christian Council opposes Online Safety Bill

ECONOMYNEXT – The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) in a statement on the Online Safety Bill, said that the existing legal regime is adequate to deal with instances of harmful speech, making it unjustifiable to enact such “stringent laws”.

The Council called upon the government to withdraw the bill immediately.

The body expressed “deep concern” over the proposed bill, detailing its potential to curtail freedom of speech and how, according to the Council, the piece of legislature is inconsistent with the principles of democracy.

“The bill proposes the establishment of an entity named the Online Safety Commission without provisions to guarantee its independence and impartiality,” the statement said.

Chapter 3 imposes restrictions on online communication of certain statements, many of which are vague and overbroad, leaving room for executive control and the curtailing of legitimate criticism and dissent that are basic features of democracy, the statement said.

“The laws granting wide discretion to the executive and its investigative agencies with expansive reach have been misused in the past.”

The Council said that the bill was not drafted with the process of public consultation and discussion, which might have ensured the bill would be less draconian in nature.

“The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka calls upon the government to withdraw this anti-human rights and anti-democratic bill immediately.” (Colombo/Sep30/2023)

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Sri Lanka to implement new vehicle revenue licence issuing system

ECONOMYNEXT – A new system of issuing vehicle licences called eRL 2.0 is to be implemented in 5 provinces, excluding the Western Province, from 3 October onwards.

The new system is to be implemented beginning in the North West, South, North Central, Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces, respectively. The existing vehicle licence issuing system eRL 1.0 will continue to be used in the Western Province.

The issuing of revenue licences islandwide at Department of Motor Traffic head offices and regional branches will be temporarily halted on October 2.

The facility of obtaining vehicle permits online will also be temporarily halted on 6 October till midnight.

The Sri Lanka Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and the Provincial Motor Traffic Departments are working to modernize the current vehicle revenue license issuance system.

The implementation of the new eRL 2.0 system is expected to be an important step in the digitalisation of Sri Lanka. (Colombo/Sep30/2023)

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Sri Lankan Airlines flights cancelled as aircraft grounded

ECONOMYNEXT – State-run SriLankan Airlines has apologized to passengers who were stranded as multiple aircraft were grounded at the same time.

The airline said it has strict procedures which requires aircraft to be grounded when technical issues are discovered.

“Unfortunately, in this case we suffered a number of groundings at the same time,” the airline said.

“We apologize for the disruption and inconvenience caused and assure all our loyal customers that we are working diligently to minimize such occurrences moving forward.”

The airline said it was booking passengers on other airlines while some have been accommodated at hotels. (Colombo/Sept30/2023)

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