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Monday April 15th, 2024

Sri Lanka expects to tap tourism niche, trade with India ferry service

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is expecting widen tourism and trade links with the start of a ferry service between the two countries from April 29, which is cheaper than air travel and has a higher baggage allowance officials said.

Sri Lanka’s Ports Ministry has started to build a passenger terminal in Kankasanthurai (KKS) port in the northern Jaffna peninsula with the help of the Sri Lanka Navy at a cost of 144 million rupees to support the ferry service.

The ferry service will operate between KKS and Karaikal Port in Pondicherry, India.

“There are private ferry owners who operate the services, and at the moment, there only three ferry operators,” Viraj Abeysinghe, the Media Secretary of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation, told Economy Next.

“However, we, as a ministry, provide infrastructure facilities only. A ferry will carry 150 passengers at a time and will take around a 4-hour journey from Karaikal Port to KKS Port.”

The charges will start from 50 US dollars per passenger for a one-way trip, which is roughly around 16,075 rupees, and a baggage allowance of 100 kilos will be permitted.

The charges will start from 50 US dollars per passenger for a one-way trip, which is roughly around 16,075 rupees, and a baggage allowance of 100 kilos will be permitted.

“The ferry service will cater to a different sector of the market because it is going to be cheaper than traveling by air,” Priyantha Fernando, Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, told Economy Next.

“So we are opening up to a different segment of the market, and it will definitely make a positive contribution.

“This will definitely help tourism, and it will also help commercial activity because the baggage allowance is much greater, and there will be trade taking place between India and Sri Lanka.”

Entrepreneurs from Sri Lanka and India are encouraged to join this opportunity.

The service will also open up the way for export and imports for cheaper prices, which can indirectly benefit the country, he said. (Colombo/Apr21/2023)

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Sri Lanka to discuss two contentious points with bondholders: report

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka and sovereign bondholders are to discuss two matters in the near future which the two sides failed to reach agreement at March talks in London, a media report quoting a top aide to President Wickremesinghe as saying.

Sri Lanka and bondholders had discussed four matters on restructuring international sovereign bonds in late March and agreement had been reached on two, President’s Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayake was quoted as saying on state-run ITN television.

A restructuring proposal by bondholders was not in line with IMF requirements, and Sri Lanka had sent a counter proposal, he said.

The matters will be discussed at round of talks in the near future.

Sri Lanka was optimistic of reaching an agreement with the bondholders before June, officials have said.

According to matters already in the public domain, sovereign bond holders are keen to get a bond tied to dollar gross domestic product, as they feel IMF growth projections are too low.

In past re-structuring so-called value recovery instruments, a type of warrant, gave their owners extra payments if a country did better than expected and were tied to items like oil prices.

Bondholders had initially proposed bond which would have a lower hair cut initially, and it will have additional hair cuts if growth is low (about 3.1 percent) as projected in an IMF debt sustainability analysis. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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BIMSTEC Secretary General visits Sri Lanka, discusses regional cooperation

ECONOMYNEXT – The Secretary General of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), discussed measures to enhance regional cooperation, during his visit to the island last week.

Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, Secretary General of BIMSTEC visited Sri Lanka from 07 – 12 April 2024, following his assumption of office as Secretary General of BIMSTEC in January this year.

The Secretary General “met with senior officials of relevant Ministries/Agencies to discuss measures to enhance regional cooperation under various BIMSTEC initiatives,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Several BIMSTEC countries have bilateral trade agreements, such as Sri Lanka and India, Thailand and Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, but no collective regional agreement to enable intra-regional leverage.

During the visit, Secretary General Pandey held discussions with Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and paid courtesy calls on the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Secretary General Pandey participated at an event on “Regional Cooperation through BIMSTEC” organized by the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKI) on 9 April. (Colombo/April15/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 299.00/10 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 299.00/10 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Monday, from 298.50/55 on Wednesday, dealers said, while bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed stable at 11.30/35 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed stable at 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed at 12.10/20 percent up from 12.10/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed stable at 12.20/40 percent. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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