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Monday December 5th, 2022

Sri Lanka govt leaders criticized over Facebook frame with national flag 

#GoHomeGota protest in front of Sri Lanka’s Presidential Secretariat

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government politicians who have been asked to resign are under fire from frustrated protesters on social media after close allies of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa added the national flag on their Facebook profile frame.

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis has now turned into a political crisis after a March 31 protest turned violent near President Rajapaksa’s private residence followed by people defying his curfew order despite State of Emergency and social media ban.

In solidarity with protests against the government for its economic mismanagement, thousands of Sri Lankans added a Facebook frame to their profile picture with the national flag.

On April 6, a sleuth of government ministers including the President and the Prime Ministers have added the frame to their Facebook profiles too.

This frame has also been a significant association with the protest slogan #GoHomeGota, a slogan made popular on social media platforms before the protests grew on a mass scale on March 31.

Protests have spread across the country and political analysts say the agitations are intensifying.

Sri Lankan Facebook users responded negatively to Rajapaksa and his close allies’ move to include the national frame.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the most popular leader Sri Lanka has ever had, got over 15,000 laugh reactions and 7,700 angry reactions to his picture with many commenting “Rest in Peace”.

His son Namal Rajapaksa, the country’s Sports, Youth and Digital technology minister was cursed for ruining and looting the country.

A comment from Raveesha Sathsarani said, “This is our national flag!!!. Don’t steal even it and save it for us. They have taken people’s pain and hard work as a joke. �� ��
#gohomerajapaksas #GotaGoHome2022 #GoHomeGota #SaveSriLanka.”

Dishan Rajarathnam in his comment said “We are fighting against the most corrupted family in SriLanka ������”

Manomi Jayawardena: “ජාතික කොඩියවත් ඉතුරු කලොත් නේද හොද….(Wouldn’t it be better to leave at least the national flag….)

Kasun Bandara Weerakoon: “Go when you are told to go…. And there are more… I’m done with you people….. There is no point in trying again……. The few who took advantage are struggling… But the majority of the country doesn’t like you….. Go away without any more sins…… It’s hard to live….. This is more than enough…… Don’s destroy our future any more…….”

(යන්ට කිව්වම පලයංකෝ….තවත් ඉන්නෙ…උබල මිනිසුන්ට එපාවෙලා ඉවරයි…..ආයෙ
දැගලුවට වැඩක් නෑ…….වාසිගත්ත ටික දෙනෙක් දගලයි…ඒත් උබලට රටේ බහුතරයක් කැමති
නෑ…..තවත් පවුනොදී පලයං……ජීවත් වෙන්න අමාරුයි…..මේ ඇති හොදටම……අපෙ අනාගතේ
තවත් විනාස කරන්න එපා……)

Keheliya Rambukewella, the former cabinet spokesperson too was flooded with similar comments. One commentator on Rambukwella’s profile said the people’s struggle has become a joke to them.

Ranjika Damayanthi, “මුන්ට විහිළුවක් වෙලා මිනිස්සු දුක් විදින එක ����������”

Although the country’s President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa too used the frame, he has restricted the comments on his profile yet over 33,000 had laugh reacted to the picture with 15,000 “angry” reactions.

In the ongoing protests in the past seven days, the President has been called a Pissek (mad man), a murderer and a gobbayā (a local slang for a useless person). (Colomb0/April 08/2022)

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Time right for elections, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna ready to face any poll: Basil

File photo: SLPP national organiser Basil Rajapaksa

ECONOMYNEXT — The time has come for an election in Sri Lanka and the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) is ready to face any election, SLPP national organiser Basil Rajapaksa said, dismissing claims that the party has come to fear elections in the face of growing unpopularity and increased factionalisation.

Speaking to reporters at an event held in Colombo Monday December 05 morning to mark the fourth anniversary of the party’s media centre, Rajapaksa handwaved off assertions that the SLPP has splintered in the wake of the mass protests that ousted his brother and former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

“No, our party hasn’t fragmented, not the way this cake was cut,” he said, pointing to the cake that was cut to celebrate the media centre’s anniversary.

“There may be some [dissenters], but we are with the people,” said Rajapaksa.

Political analysts, however, note that the once mighty SLPP has indeed fractured to at least four or five distinct factions. One group, according to party sources, is with President Ranil Wickremesinghe who is keen to involve younger SLPP legislators in his economic reform agenda. The second is with former Media Minister Dullas Alahapperuma who launched an unsuccessful bid for the presidency and was roundly defeated by Wickremesinghe at the July 19 presidential vote in parliament. The third group now sits as independent MPs in parliament, while a fourth faction are with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the SLPP patriarch.

There is another group that remains loyal to Basil Rajapaksa, though all but one SLPP legislator voted for the 21st amendment to the constitution that prohibited dual citizens from entering parliament. Rajapaksa, a dual citizen with US passport, recently returned to the island after a private visit to his second home.

The former finance minister, who resigned after a wave of protests that demanded his departure along with that of his presidential brother, for their alleged role in Sri Lanka’s prevailing currency crisis, the worst in decades, was in a jovial mood at the anniversary event on Monday and was seen heartily indulging reporters who were throwing loaded question after loaded question at him.

Asked about future plans of the SLPP, Rajapaksa quipped that they couldn’t be revealed to the media at this stage.

“However, time has come for an election. It’s difficult to say how it will be at present, but as a party, we’re ready to face any election,” he said.

Rajapaksa’s apparent confidence in facing an election is in direct contrast to speculation that the SLPP is banking on President Wickremesinghe’s refusal to dissolve parliament anytime soon. Opposition lawmakers have accused Wickremesinghe of providing sanctuary and promising security to the deeply unpopular party by not calling early elections.

“We have won every election we faced so far. We are thankful to the Sri Lankan people for that. If we were unable to meet their expectations 100 percent, we regret that. We will correct any shortcomings and will work to fulfill the people’s aspirations,” said Rajapaksa.

Asked if he is going to remain in active politics despite the blanket ban on dual citizens, the former minister said, again with a chuckle: “Active politics… well, I’m not in governance anymore. Governance [for me] has been banned by the 21st amendment. So no, I’m not in governance, but I am in politics,” he said.

Pressed about possibly entering parliament again, he said: “How can I?”

Nor is Rajapaksa saddened by the development, he claimed. “No, I’m happy about it,” he said.

The former two-time finance minister, noted for his clash of views with Wickremesinghe when the latter was invited by then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for a round of discussions on economic recovery, was cautiously complimentary when asked about the new president. It was the SLPP’s backing that guaranteed Wickremesinghe his lifelong ambition.

“I think that selection was the correct one. We have maintained from the start that all of us in government or opposition must be able to freely engage in politics,” he said, referring to assurances that the president has purportedly given SLPP parliamentarians that they will not face the kind of retaliatory mob violence that engulfed the nation on May 09 after alleged SLPP goons attacked peaceful anti-government protestors in Colombo.

A reporter asked if Rajapaksa believes the incumbent president is capable of taking the country on the right path to recovery?

“The first task was accomplished, by allowing us to engage in politics and to get on the streets. There are economic and other issues, and we have high hopes that they will be resolved,” he said. (Colombo/Dec05/2022)

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Sri Lanka proposed power tariff not to recover past losses: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – The government has not proposed a power tariff increase to recover past losses, Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera in response to a statement attributed the head of the power regulator commission.

“The proposal that was presented was for an automatic cost reflective tariff mechanism to be implemented to supply uninterrupted power & to recover the current cost of power supply,” Minister Wijesekera said in message.

“Govt has not proposed to recover past loses of CEB from a tariff revision…”

The cabinet of ministers had given the nod tariff revisions twice a year to prevent large losses from building up as in the past.

The Public Utilities Commission has disputed costs protected for the power utility saying the petroleum utility was keeping large margins in selling fuel.

The government in a budget for 2022 also proposed to tax surcharge to recover losses.

The regulator also disputed power demand forecasts.

Also read; Sri Lanka regulator disputes CEB costs, demand projections for 2023

The PUCSL cannot increase tariffs to recover past losses, Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said. (Colombo/Dec05/2022)

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Sri Lanka’s shares gain in mid market trade

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares edged up in mid day trade on Monday (05), continuing the positive run for seven straight sessions on news over a possible debt restructuring from Paris Club, analysts said.

All Share Price Index gained by 0.69% or 60.10 points to 8,829, while the most liquid shares gained by 0.96% or 26.59 points to 2,801.

“The market was pushed up over the news of a potential 10 year debt moratorium,” analysts said.

The Paris Club group of creditor nations has proposed a 10-year debt moratorium on Sri Lankan debt and 15 years of debt restructuring as a formula to resolve the island nation’s prevailing currency crisis. 

Related – Paris Club proposes 10-year moratorium in 15-year Sri Lanka debt re-structure: report

The market generated a revenue of 2.1 billion rupees.

Top gainers during 1130 hours were Expolanka, Browns Investment and LOLC.  (Colombo/Dec05/2022)


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