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Friday July 12th, 2024

Sri Lanka leader hands over India-funded smart classrooms ahead of election

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe, emulating the island nation’s opposition leader, handed over smart classrooms to Southern Provincial state schools as he is eyeing to contest in a grand independent coalition.

Analysts see the move as a strategy to face a rising support for a similar project implemented by main opposition leader Sajith Premadasa who has been distributing smart classes and relevant equipment for schools across the country with funding he has not disclosed.

President Wickremesinghe distributed the digital equipment under an Indian grant project worth 300 million Sri Lanka rupees ($1 million) for establishing 200 smart classrooms with 2200 smart tablets being provided to school students in Southern Province.

The project aims at equipping 200 schools in the Province with necessary digital tools that would enable them to benefit from digital resources and materials across the globe, the Indian High Commission said in a statement.

The establishment of Smart Classrooms in Southern Province is being implemented under the bilateral High Impact Community Development Project framework which includes 18 grant projects cutting across sectors in all the 25 Districts of Sri Lanka.

The value of the projects stand at around 5.5 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($18.3 million), Indian High Commission said in a statement.

President Wickremesinghe’s Saturday handing over of the smart classrooms in the presence of Indian High Commissioner Santosh Jha comes as the island nation is gearing for the presidential election in the next three months.

Premadasa, the leader of the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) has already distributed around 300 Smart Classrooms worth over 300 million rupees for schools across the country which his aides expect to win him more votes in the upcoming election.

President Wickremesinghe, the leader of center-right United National Party (UNP) which backs liberal policies, has yet to officially declare his candidature for the presidential poll which is likely to be scheduled between September 17 and October 16.

Some informal and non-transparent surveys have suggested that Anura Kumara Dissanayaka, the leader of Marxists Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led National People’s Power (NPP) and Premadasa are leading in terms of popularity followed by Wickremesinhge. (Colombo/July 08/2024)

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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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