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Friday July 12th, 2024

Sri Lanka ‘free’ visa costs US$21.61 under VFS Global deal: legislator

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s ‘free’ visas issued to several countries are being charged 21 US dollars by VFS Global, a private contractor hired without competitive tender, opposition legislator Nalin Bandara said.

“Visa cost is zero. Then here is a service free of 18.50 for a free visa,” Bandara told parliament Wednesday. “There is another charge for 3.11 dollars.

“So they are taking 21.65 dollars for a gratis visa when a tourist comes to Sri Lanka. When we go to Singapore we get a free visa. So nothing is charged from us. Not a single dollar is charged as a service fee.”

Bandara claimed companies have been incorporated in the UAE to do the deal with Sri Lanka.

He queried whether the money went to account in Dubai.

Bandara questioned why the deal was given to VFS Global when Mobitel had offered to do the system for 1 dollar.

“A massive game is being played,” Bandara said. “This government has a life of 4 months. Are they going to collect money in their death?”

A double entry visa that used to cost 50 dollars in Sri Lanka which was issued through user-friendly website, initially went up to 100.77 dollars after the VFS Global deal.

According to a report compiled by an additional secretary VFS Global was projected to earn 841 dollars from the deal in the next 10 year, Bandara said.

RELATED Sri Lanka VFS Global 12-year visa deal worth $840mn: legislator

This week after tourism minister Harin Fernando reportedly threatened to resign, a single entry visa was promised for 50 dollars.

But complex VFS Global website remains in place. (Colombo/May08/2024)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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