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Sunday February 25th, 2024

Sri Lanka online firewood sale on fire as price controls create LPG shortage

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka online retailer Kapruka.com is doing a roaring business on firewood an official said, as a cooking gas shortage created was created by the island’s main price control agency.

Listed under home category, grocery sub category, and cleansers kapruka.com is selling a bundle of 5 kg cinnamon firewood at 140 rupees ($0.66) while a mud stove and bundle of 5 kg fire wood is offered at 390 rupees.

“It’s real. People are buying this plus clay stoves as a backup or ‘just in case’ fears,” Kapruka.com’s founder and chairman Dulith Herath told EconomyNext while forwarding a picture which showed that 1,447 bundles of firewood have been already sold and only 124 bundles were in stock.

Separately in his facebook page he said: “Never imagined we’ll be selling firewood online. but it’s actually selling.”

The firewood is labled daramitiya (bundle of wood in Sinhalese), the words which most Sri Lankans recognize the product whose usage has been on the decline with the increasing gas stove usage.

Before Sri Lanka privatized the Colombo Gas Company to Shell Gas, which was a state enterprise with rusty cylinders which were only available in a few locations and shortages were frequent, people used wood stoves for cooking.

Bullock carts used to go around selling daramitiyas.

Kapruka in its website said the firewood stock will be delivered islandwide within 24 hours.

The new online firewood sale comes after the country witnessed days of queues across the country following the liquid petroleum gas shortage after the Consumer Affairs Authority denied Laufgs Gas a price increase as petroleum prices went up and the rupee fell amid money printing.

Following the severe shortage, the CAA last week allowed a part increase but since then the rupee has fallen further and butane and propane prices have also gone up.

The government, however, maintained the price of Litro gas, which has a market share of around 80 percent. ($1 = 211 Sri Lankan rupees) (Colombo/Aug17/2021)

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Sri Lanka could get US$500mn from ADB in 2024

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka could receive 500 million US dollars in support from the Asian Development Bank in 2024 based on the progress of policy reforms, Country Director of the Manila-based lender, Takafumi Kadono said.

The ADB expect to go to its Board around March or April with a 100 million US dollar power sector loan subject to the cabinet of ministers of approving a revised electricity reform bill.

A 100 million dollar loan to support SMEs could also be approved in the early part of the year. Sri Lanka is setting up a credit guarantee agency to support credit for small firms.

A 200 million dollar credit for financial sector was also slated for the year. The ADB gave the first tranche of the financial sector policy loan late last year.

A $100mn for the water sector could also be approved later in the year.

Sri Lanka could get around 200 to 300 million US dollars a year at the lowest rate, or concessional ordinary capital resources (COL) rate of 2 percent.

The balance of would come at the ordinary capital resource rate linked to SOFR.

The ADB has also started work on a ‘Country Partnership Strategy’ for Sri Lanka covering the 2024-2028 period, Kadodo said. (Colombo/Feb25/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s multi-aligned foreign policy based on friendship: Min

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s multi-aligned foreign policy is based on friendship to all and enmity to none, its Minister of Foreign Affairs has said.

“Non-alignment means not becoming a bystander. Non-alignment means you are not forced or coerced into a camp to take sovereign decisions… you make your own choices. Whether it is commercial, security, regional or otherwise,” M U M Ali Sabry said on X (twitter).

“I have repeatedly stressed that sovereignty is the right to have your own opinion on what’s right and wrong, and to stand by your principles. Our multi-aligned foreign policy is based on friendship to all and enmity to none,” Sabry was quoting from his speech at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI) Foreign Policy Forum, on the theme ‘Reassessing Non-Alignment in a Polarised World’.

Sri Lanka is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The strategically located island has been increasingly walking a fine line between opposing global factions as it seeks to come out of a financial crisis. (Colombo/Feb24/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank Dec net down on tax provisions

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank of Ceylon reported profits of 6.9 billion rupees from the December 2023 quarter down 21 percent, despite an improvement in net interest income and lower provisions, amid a change in tax provisions.

Pre-tax profits were 8.89 billion rupees up from 2.4 billion rupees. There was a 6.4 billion tax reversal last year compared to a 1.7 billion rupee tax charge this year.

Commercial Bank reported earnings of 5.26 rupees for the quarter. For the year to December 2023 earnings were 16.07 rupees per share on total profits of 21.1 billion rupees, down 11.3 percent.

Net fee and commission income was down 1.2 percent to 6.1 billion rupees.

Net interest income went up 16.8 percent to 25.5 billion rupees, with interest income rising marginally by 1.3 percent to 73.0 billion rupees and interest expense falling 5.45 percent to 47.5 billion rupees.

Loans and advances to customers grew 4.06 percent to 1.17 billion rupees in the year to December. Debt and other financial instruments fell 10.5 percent to 649 billion rupees.

Financial assets measured and fair value through other comprehensive income was at 287 billion rupees, up from 117 billion rupees.

Impairment charges were 13.1 billion rupees, down from 19.6 billion rupees last year.

Gross assets were up 6.45 percent to 2.36 billion rupees. Net assets were up 5.51 percent to 214 billion rupees. (Colombo/Feb24/2024)

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