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Friday July 12th, 2024

Sri Lanka lawmaking process deficient, avenue for public consultation vital: legislator

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s lawmaking process has no public engagement, including expert consultation which leads to laws with serious shortcomings being passed, a legislator who was a former ministry secretary said.

“We have to create an avenue for the people of the country to enter into the lawmaking process,” Charitha Herath, who was a former ministry secretary, told parliament Tuesday.

“Through a parliamentary caucus or a special committee, we have to create space for the public to engage in the lawmaking process.

“Then some of the wrong things will not happen.”

There were problems in the existing standing orders, he said.

To prepare a new piece of legislation, a concept note is first submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers and it is the sent to legal draftsman.

The drafted bill is then sent to the Attorney General and re-submitted to the Cabinet for approval. Then it is tabled in parliament.

“There is nothing here for a like-minded and known group of people to engage in this process,” he said during a debate on amendments to Sri Lanka’s Telecommunications Act.

“This is a very important thing.”

In some of the laws drawn up in recently the Supreme Court has pointed out pages and pages of errors.

“But those errors related only to conflicts with the constitution or existing law,” Herath said. “But how wrong it is relating to knowledge, business or practices in the rest of the world is not looked into.”

The online safety bill was the best example.

“We were only able to bring objections on the constitutionality of the bill,” Herath said. “But there were serious problems with the content of the Bill.

“There was big problem with the concept of the bill. There was no chance for people who had knowledge about the matter to intervene.

“I believe that we have to work more intelligently on the way we are making laws.”

In the case of the Telecommunications Act amendment, some non-governmental agencies had made contributions later.

Rohan Samarajiva, a former telecom regulator and an expert on the subject had made contributions at the last stage which fortunately had been accepted.

“Professor Rohan Samarajiva is a person who knows about this subject,” Herath said. “He made some very good proposals. The Supreme Court in it determination has agreed to these views. We are very happy about that. That is the way a law like this has to be made.

“As a parliament when a complex subject like this is discussed there has to be a consultative process with people who know about it.” (Colombo/July10/2024)

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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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