An Echelon Media Company
Friday July 12th, 2024

Sri Lanka denies $10mn election funding by VFS Global over visa deal

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Public Security Minister Tiran Alles denied that VFS Global, a company linked to the island’s high priced visa fee controversy, had made a 10 million dollar campaign contribution for upcoming elections.

“I saw something that VFS had given 10 million dollars for President Wickremesinghe’s election campaign,” Minister Alles told reporters Monday.

“I also saw today that Sajith Premadasa had demanded money to stop talking about it. These are both wrong.

“Doing these things will not help the country. I am asking to tell the truth to educate the public.

“I do not take even 5 cents from anyone. The people in the country know that.”

Premadasa in an post on May 04 alleged that the “only logical explanation is absolute corruption” for the visa deal.

Sri Lanka’s 50 dollar visa fee went up to 100 dollars with the shift to IVS-GBS-VFS Global, a private contractor, which is also operating a complicated online interface, seeking twitter handles of tourists.

The private firm is charging an 18.5 dollar fee on top of the government charge, and a 5 to 7 dollar ‘convenience fee’ on top of that.

Opposition legislator Harsha de Silva, who is also chair of the Committee on Public Finance, has called for a parliamentary investigation to find out how the fees the monopoly is charging are arrived at.

Sri Lanka opposition calls for investigation into IVS-VFS Global tourist visa monopoly profits

The 18.5 dollar fee adds up to about 40 million dollars for the projected 2.3 million tourists for 2024, and the convenience fee another 11 to 12 million dollars, depending on how many South Asian visitors come who get a cheaper visa.

However the travel trade has warned that the visa fees are higher than competition in East Asia.

Related Sri Lanka may miss tourism target over IVS-GBS-VFS visa fees, complex forms, President told

The earlier 50 dollar fee was also higher than several East Asian countries, but the website was extremely user friendly and was described as painless in top travel reviews. (Colombo/May06/2024)

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Your email address will not be published.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Your email address will not be published.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 appoints new Attorney General

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed K A Parinda Ranasinghe PC as Attorney General.

He was appointed in terms of Article 61E (b) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, the president’s media division said.

The new AG received the appointment from President Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat on Friday.

He fills the post after the retirement of former Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka rupee closes stronger at 301.70/302.00 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed stronger at 301.70/302.00 to the US dollar on Friday, from 302.80/303.00 to the US dollar on Thursday, dealers said, while bond yields were up.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.90/11.00 percent, up from 10.85/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2027 closed at 11.75/80 percent, up from 11.80/88 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 closed at 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.10/30 percent, up from 12.15/25 percent. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka stocks close up, muted activity

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Friday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.35 percent, or 41.71 points, at 11,843; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed up 0.56 percent, or 19.20 points, at 3,454.

Turnover was low at 653 million.

“The market picked up a bit from yesterday but it’s still below the psychological 12,000 mark,” Softlogic Stockbrokers said.

“Local retail participation drove the market predominantly.”

John Keells Holdings Plc brought in Rs109mn to the turnover, and the share closed flat at 194.50.

Melstacorp Plc contributed in Rs104mn to the turnover, and the share closed flat at 85.00.

Sentiment around the banking counters was mostly negative. Sampath Bank Plc closed down at 77.00, closed flat at 101.25, and Hatton National Bank Plc closed flat at 195.25.

The top contributors to the ASPI were Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc (up at 103.50), Bukit Darah Plc (up at 397.00), and Hayleys Plc (up at 101.00).

Foreign participation remained low as well. There was a higher net foreign outflow of 101 million.

“Foreign selling was seen on John Keells Holdings, and banking counters; Hatton National Bank Plc (down at 195.00), Pan Asia Banking Corporation Plc (down at 20.70), and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc.

There was selective foreing interest on the diversified financials sector, particularly in companies that had vehicle leasing portfolios. “We think this might be due to the news of the vehicle import ban possibly ending.”

LOLC Holdings Plc closed up at 440.50, People’s Leasing and Finance Plc closed up at 12.20.

Softlogic Holdings Plc which announced the date of its rights issue, closed up at 8.50. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

Continue Reading