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Tuesday December 5th, 2023

Sri Lanka hikes controlled prices of 61 drugs amid shortages and rupee fall

ECONOMYNEXT –  Sri Lanka’s National Medicine Regulatory Authority (NMRA) on has approved a price hike for 61 medicines as import costs continued to increase due to rapid rupee depreciation.

NMRA Chairman Rasitha Wijewantha said the price hike recommendations were sent to the Ministry of Health on Monday and a final decision will be announced by Minister Channa Jayasumana in the coming days.

“We have an obligation to recommend prices, but it’s the Ministry of Health that has to implement them,” Wijewantha told EconomyNext on Monday (25).

Wijewantha refused to divulge the recommended rate of increase.

A recent price increase of 29 percent for medicines was approved on March 12 after importers requested the regulator to increase the prices following a sudden devaluation of the rupee after the central bank let the rupee float.

Wijewantha said, because of the continued devaluation of the rupee, importers have again asked to increase prices to cover import costs.

The central bank’s indicative spot was quoted at 334.8 rupees against the US dollar on Monday while commercial banks quoted the rupee at 330/345 for telegraphic transfers up from 327.5/339.99 last Friday (22).

Due to depletion of foreign exchange in the country, importers have been struggling to open letters of credit from commercial banks from mid-February onwards.

Sri Lanka is already experiencing a drug shortage in the country and according to Health Minister Jayasumana, by April 19, 14 lifesaving drugs, 646 essential drugs and 486 non-essential drugs were running out along with 8,442 medical equipment.

Hospitals around the country have been advised by the Ministry of Health to limit surgeries to emergency and essential procedures and to postpone any routine surgeries until further notice. (Colombo/Apr25/2022)

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Sri Lanka finding ways to clear 1.1mn pending cases: Justice Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is taking a series of steps to speed up 1.1 million pending court cases and encourage alternative dispute solving mechanisms, Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe said.

“The delay in court cases is a serious problem,” Minister Rajapakshe told a briefing at the President’s Media Centre.

“We have already taken several steps to expedite cases.”

There were 5,680 cases in Supreme Court, 4,054 in the Court of Appeal, 6,168 in the High Court of Civil Appeal, 8,363 in the Commercial High Court, 28,000 in the High Court, 254,000 in District Courts and 791,000 in Magistrates Courts.

In 2015, only 49 percent of complaints to mediation boards were resolved. Following reforms, the ratio has been increased to 70 percent.

The value of disputes going to mediation board has been raised to one million rupees from 500,000 rupees.

To solve land problems in the post-war period, special mediation boards on property was set up in the North and the East.

Mediation boards on property will be set up in another 16 districts.

Commercial High Courts were increased to four from three.

Another Commercial High Court will be set up in the future. The consideration of cases that can go to a High Court was raised from 4 million rupees to 10 million rupees.

A commercial dispute resolution law will be introduced next January.

A small claims court has been established.

Case involving disputes below 2 million rupees can be directed to small claims court.

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Sri Lanka stocks close up as some investor interest returns

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Monday, CSE data showed.

The All Share Price Index was up 0.22 percent, or 23.33 points, at 10,743.59.

The S&P SL20 index was up 0.68 percent, or 20.60 points, at 3,067.73.

Turnover was at 708 million. The banks sector contributed 189 million, while the food, beverage and tobacco sector contributed 176 million of this.

Sri Lanka’s stock market has seen some investor interest return after last week’s news that the country had managed an agreement on a debt restructuring deal with an official creditor committee, and foreign funds for some development projects resumed.

Top positive contributors to the ASPI in the day were Sampath Bank Plc (up at 71.50), LOLC Holdings Plc (up at 379.00), and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, (up at 90.90).

There was a net foreign outflow of 52 million.

Citrus Leisure Plc, which announced that its banquet hall and revolving restaurant at the Lotus Tower would launch on or around Dec 9, saw its share price rise to 6.20 rupees. (Colombo/Dec4/2023).

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Sri Lanka rupee closes broadly steady at 328.10/30 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 328.10/30 to the US dollar on Monday, from 328.00/10 on Friday, dealers said.

Bond yields were stable.

A bond maturing on 01.06.2025 closed at 13.70/14.00 percent from 13.70/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 closed at 13.90/14.10 percent from 13.90/14.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 closed at 14.00/14.10 percent from 14.05/10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 14.20/35 percent from 14.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 14.25/45 percent, from 14.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 14.05/40 percent, from 14.00/45 percent. (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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