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Sunday September 24th, 2023

Sri Lanka discusses electricity financing with UN official

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s power minister met with a UN official to discuss financial assistance and green financing available for renewable energy.

Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera met with United Nations Resident Coordinator to Sri Lanka, Marc-André Franche at the Ministry of Power and Energy this morning (18).

“We discussed about the government policy and plans on renewable energy, electricity sector reforms structure, financial assistance and green financing available for renewable energy, a mechanism to assist low income families to set off electricity costs,” Wijesekera said on X (formerly known as Twitter).

Currently, the country’s electricity generation mix is made up of 46.43% renewable resources (hydro, wind, solar, biomass) and 53.57% fossil fuel (coal, oil).

The government’s new policy guideline mentions achieving 70 percent of renewable energy generation by 2030, no capacity addition of coal power plants and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Sri Lanka’s government is in the middle of restructuring the State-owned Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).

Last week Wijesekera met representatives of 35 CEB trade unions to discuss the ongoing electricity sector reforms.

“Briefed the union members on the progress of the reforms of the electricity sector, structure of the new proposed electricity act, transition timelines, human resource management and transfer plans, employee benefits and pensions, assistance received from the development agencies, establishment of the reform secretariat, establishment of successor companies, Wijesekera said.

Wijesekera also met with senior management of the CEB to detail the proposed structure for the electricity sector, establishment and role of the reform secretariat, transition timeline, transfer plans of employees and assets, and the establishment of successor companies to take over generation, transmission and distribution.

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Sri Lanka India industrial zone around Trinco, maritime links mooted

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ports Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva had highlighted the desire of both the Governments to work closely to develop the industrial zone at Trincomalee, after accepting an invitation to participate in a maritime summit.

The Global Maritime India Summit (GMIS) will be held in India from October 17-19, 2023 at Mumbai where Sri Lanka has been invited at a partner country.

At a curtain raiser event on September 22, India’s High Commissioner in Colombo, Gopal Baglay had said both countries were working on enhancing sea connectivity according to a vision document launched during a recent visit of the President of Sri Lanka to India.

Minister de Silva will lead a delegation from Sri Lanka to the summit.

Secretary to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India, T K Ramachandran said the Global Maritime India Summit aims strengthen the Indian maritime economy by promoting global and regional partnerships and facilitating investments.

The event will give an opportunity to the Government of Sri Lanka to attracting greater investment from India in development of its maritime infrastructure, Ramachandran said.

It will also facilitate greater business to business interactions. (Colombo/Sept24/2023)

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Sri Lanka brings back import para tariff on milk

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has brought back an import para tariff called the Ports and Airports Levy, to several grades of milk powder.

Milk powder has been removed from a list of PAL exemptions, making them liable for a 10 percent tax.

The PAL para tariffs are also a contentious issue in terms of export competitiveness, and the government has previously given undertakings that they will be eliminated.

Trade freedoms of the poor figure in an IMF/World bank reform program with the governments.

Milk is a protein rich food, in a country where children of poor families are facing stunting and malnutrition.

Economic nationalism is seen at high levels in food, with several businessmen are pushing for trade protection, amid an overall autarkist (self-sufficiency) ideology, going directly against policies followed in East Asia, which the same as hold up as examples.

Sri Lanka keeps dairy product prices up ostensibly to bring profits to a domestic dairy company and farmers.

Sri Lanka also keeps maize prices up, ostensibly to give profits to farmers and collectors. (Colombo/Sept22/2023)

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Sri Lanka govt warns liquor manufacturers: pay defaulted tax or lose licence

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka government which is struggling to raise the state revenue despite   higher taxes, has warned liquor manufacturers to pay defaulted taxes or lose their licence.

The government is now getting tough with past tax defaulters amid concerns over falling short of this year’s revenue target agreed with the International Monetary Fun (IMF).

“Liquor manufacturing firms owe us 660 crore rupees (6.6 billion rupees),” Siyambalapitiya told  reporters on Thursday (21).

“Most of this or around a third is the only excise tax amount to be paid. The rest is penalty. If a liquor manufacturer does not pay on time, we impose a penalty of 3 percent per month This means 36 percent (penalty) per annum,” he said.

“We have given them deadline to repay the basic excise taxes. If they don’t pay, we will cancel their licence.”

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government committed an ambitious revenue target among many other reforms to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in return to a $3 billion loan package.

However, the revenue could face a short fall of 100 billion rupees, State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya has said.

A new Central Bank Act also has legally prevented the government of printing money at its discretion as  in the past.  (Colombo/September 24/2023)

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