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Thursday June 1st, 2023

Sri Lanka expects 4.0-4.5-pct growth in 2020, inflation 4-pct: CB Governor

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is expecting 4.0 to 4.5 percent economic growth in 2020 and inflation below 4.0 percent and a higher 6.5 percent growth in the medium term with better policies Central Bank Governor W D Lakshman said.

Sri Lanka’s growth has fallen sharply in 2019, after the collapse of the rupee currency in 2018 and a suicide bombings in April. Second quarter output growth was 1.6 percent.

Director of Economic Research Chadranath Amarasekara said growth is likely to be around 2.7 to 2.8 percent in 2019.

“We expect economic growth to accelerate to around four to 4.5 percent and inflation to remain below 4 percent in year 2020,” Lakshman told reporters after his maiden monetary policy meeting.

“Beyond 2020 with necessary reforms, annual growth is expected to accelerate to over 6.5 percent while inflation will be managed between 4 to 6 percent.”

Sri Lanka has sharply cut taxes to reduce the burden of the state on the people, and has said spending will be curtailed in an almost classical liberal policy of ‘state austerity’.

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Sri Lanka GDP growth 1.6-pct in 2019 second quarter

Income taxes have been cut to a maximum of 18 percent in the style of a flat or proportionate tax demanded by Western libertarians.

The last administration changed a 16 percent proportionate tax to a socialist style progressive tax of up to 24 percent.

However concerns remain over how spending will be managed in the first few months of 2020 as private credit recovers and whether monetary stability can be maintained.

The central bank has held rates at 8.00 and 7.00 percent. The agency however is printing money at around 7.50 percent to generate excess liquidity at the moment. (Colombo/Dec27/2019)

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  1. observation says:

    Unrealistic. Will be less than 3.5

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  1. observation says:

    Unrealistic. Will be less than 3.5

Sri Lanka cuts petrol to Rs318 a litre, kerosene to Rs245

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has cut petrol 92-Octane by 15 rupees to 318 rupees a litre and kerosene by 50 rupees to 245 rupees a litre from midnight May 31, the Ministry of Energy said.

Petrol 95 Octane will be raised by 20 rupees to 385 rupees, and Lanka Super Diesel 4 Star Euro 4 will be raised by 10 rupees to 340 rupees a litre.

Lanka Industrial Kerosene will be cut by 60 rupees a litre to 270 rupees.

Kerosene which is similar to jet fuel is usually the most expensive fuel in international markets followed by diesel and petrol is usually the cheapest.

Kerosene which is substantially cheaper than diesel is also used by buses to cut costs. (Colombo/May31/2023)

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Sri Lanka opposition slams purported licence-cancelling broadcast authority

ECONOMYNEXT – A purported Broadcast Authority in Sri Lanka that will allegedly have the power to cancel licenses issued to the media have come under criticism from the opposition.

Opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) legislator and lawyer M A Sumanthiran told reporters on Wednesday May 31 that the bill on the establishment of this statutory body, if enacted, could violate several fundamental rights including the people’s right to information.

“Everyone knows that there have been many attempts in recent times to impose constraints on people’s right to information. This authority will decide which information is true and whether it can be broadcast,” he said.

The proposed act will also empower the authority to cancel broadcast licenses of those who already hold them, said Sumanthiran.

The MP said that a similar attempt to bring in such legislation in 1997 was thwarted after then opposition United National Party (UNP) MP Gamnii Athukorala challenged it in the Supreme Court, which determined on May 05 that year that the bill would need a referendum in addition to a two-thirds majority in parliament for it to become law.

“The Supreme Court determined that it went against Article 10 of the Constitution,” said Sumanthiran.

“What we can see is that this violates several fundamental rights, so we strongly oppose this bill.

“It’s not just the media, but the people’s right to information is also challenged by this,” said Sumanthiran.

Main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Harsha de Silva said the purported bill is undemocratic.

“If these people are given the power to cancel a license – this isn’t objective, it’s subjective, meaning four or five people will decide this,” said the MP.

Authorising a person to censor the content of a broadcast channel would be wholly undemocratic, he said.

“They tried to do this through the Counter Terrorism Act but failed, so it seems they’re now trying to bring it in with this,” said de Silva.

“We see it as a death blow to democracy,” he said, urging the government not to go ahead with it.

“If not, we will oppose it vehemently and fight for the people’s democratic rights,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) said that, while it supports media freedom, the abuse of that freedom cannot be permitted.

SLPP general secretary and MP Sagara Kariyawasam told reporters on Wednesday that some media organisations abused their freedom to make false allegations against the party leadership.

“We are of the firm stand that the media must be independent and that that independence must be facilitated, but if anyone abuses media freedom as a sort of freedom of the wild ass, measures must be taken against that too,” said Kariyawasam.

“We saw how that freedom was enjoyed in the recent past making allegations with no basis. We saw how there were severe allegations made through the media that the Rajapaksas had engaged in thievery,” he said.

The MP claimed that the people voted in the UNP-led Yahapalana government in 2015 to investigate these allegations.

“But that government realised that there wasn’t even a single incident,” he said. (Colombo/May31/2023)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 290.25/75 to dollar, bond yields steady

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 290.25/75 against the US dollar in the spot market on Wednesday, while bond yields were steady, dealers said.

The rupee opened at 293.25 /294.00 to the US dollar on Tuesday.

A bond maturing on 01.09.2027 closed at 26.70/90, following a steady from the open at 26.50/80 on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka’s rupee is appreciating amid negative private credit which has reduced outflows after the central bank hiked rates and stopped printing money. (Colombo/ May 30/2023)

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