An Echelon Media Company
Saturday May 18th, 2024

Sri Lanka opposition calls SLPP bluff, challenges ruling party to defeat budget

File photo

ECONOMYNEXT – Amid speculation of a widening rift within the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) over its political future, the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) has called the SLPP’s bluff, challenging it to defeat the upcoming budget if they want an election.

Former SJB parliamentarian Mujibur Rahuman said the SLPP can defeat the upcoming budget if they want a parliamentary election.

“If the Rajapaksas want to go for an election, they can defeat the budget. We don’t know if they’ll take that decision,” Rahuman said speaking to reporters.

“What we see is that they talk big outside, but turn into kittens at the sight of President Ranil Wickremesinghe. Those are the Rajapksas that are visible to us,” he said.

SLPP legislator S M Chandrasena said his party will be the “main factor” at future presidential and parliamentary elections, speculation over its internal divisions notwithstanding.

Chandrasena told reporters at the party headquarters Friday November 10 morning that no one can bring the SLPP down.

“Many are slinging mud at the SLPP, claiming the Pohottuwa (party symbol) was what caused the economic crisis and other crises. We know that for years, particularly during the Yahapalana government, the country took 12 billion dollars in loans. With nothing to show for it, as we know,” the MP said.

“So our party cannot be brought down. Our party is the main factor in the election of the next president and also in the formation of the next government,” he added.

Meanwhile, according to National People’s Power (NPP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, the SLPP is in a predicament. Dissanayake said at an event in the US earlier this week that an early parliamentary poll would prove disastrous to the Rajapaksa-led party, so they would have to throw their weight behind President Wickremesinghe at the presidential poll, which would also spell a shift of power to Wickremesinghe’s associates and confidantes in his United National Party (UNP).

The only way for an early parliamentary poll would be for the president to dissolve parliament, which he is unlikely to do, with the upcoming budget also unlikely to be defeated, Dissanayake, who leads the Marxist-Leninist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) said.

Dissanayake currently leads at least one opinion poll on presidential election voting intent. (Colombo/Nov10/2023)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sri Lanka suffers over $138mn foreign outflow from govt bonds in 2024 after rate cuts

ECONOMYNEXT – Foreign investors have dumped 41.6 billion-rupee ($138.6 million) worth of Sri Lanka government securities in the first 20 weeks of 2024, the central bank data showed, after reduction in the key policy interest rates.

The foreign holding in Sri Lanka’s treasury bills and treasury bonds fell to 75.9 billion rupees on the week ended on Friday (17), May 2024, from 117.4 billion rupees on the week ended on December 29.

The central bank rate has reduced the key policy rates by 50 basis points so far in 2024, extending the rates cut by 700 basis points since June last year.

The rupee appreciated 9.1 percent in the first four months, but the gain failed to attract foreign investors amid a dragged debt restructuring negotiation with external private creditors.

Currency dealers said lackluster demand for dollars due to dampened imports with heavy controls, boom in both tourism revenue and remittances have helped to increase the dollar liquidity in the market, leading to the appreciation of the local currency.

The dealers said foreign investors can earn capital gain if they had bought government securities before the appreciation and now the offshore investors might be selling their bonds.

“They are also discouraged by policy rate cut because that will reduce their returns from the rupee bond investments,” a currency dealer said.

The yield in 12-month T-bills has fallen 336 basis points in the first four months of this year, the central bank data showed.

The central bank also reduced the Statutory Reserve Ratio (SRR) of commercial banks by 200 basis points in August last year to boost liquidity in the market with an aim to reduce market interest rates.

Under tough International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditions for its $3 billion loan program, the central bank raised key monetary policy rates in 2022 and last year to bring down inflation which hit over 70 percent in 2022. The inflation has fallen to the lower single digit now.

The rupee has appreciated to around 300 against the US dollar this week from around 330 level early in November. The local currency was at 365 rupees against the US dollar in early 2022. Depreciation causes capital loss for foreign investors. (Colombo/May 18/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka’s ‘Sancharaka Udawa’ tourist fair seeks to involve universities

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s ‘Sancharaka Udawa’ tourism fair kicked off this week to promote interaction between industry stakeholders and relevant Government bodies, including the Tourist Police, and also universities.

“Several universities, including Colombo, Uva Wellasa, Kelaniya, Sabaragamuwa and Rajarata were given free stalls to facilitate student interaction with industry professionals,” Chairman of the Sancharaka Udawa Organising Committee, Charith De De Alwis said in a statement.

The event takes place today (18) at the BMICH and houses stalls for hoteliers, tour and transport services, with a goal of attracting 10,000 visitors.

Organized by the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), the 11th edition of Sancharaka Udawa offers a platform for both B2B and B2C sectors.

“Sancharaka Udawa houses over 170 exhibitors and a footfall of more than 10,000 visitors,” De Alwis said.

This year’s edition will include participants from outbound tourism sectors to facilitate capacity building. The event provides networking opportunities for industry newcomers and veterans.

“The networking platform offers opportunity for small and medium-sized service providers integrating them into the broader tourism landscape. The anticipated outcome is a substantial increase in bookings particularly for regional small-scale tourism service providers.” (Colombo/May18/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka’s CEB sells LTL shares to West Coast IPP for Rs26bn

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Electricity Board has sold shares of an affiliate to West Coast Power Company Limited, an independent power producer giving profits of 25.9 billion rupees in the March 2024 quarter, interim accounts showed.

The sale has been carried out as a transfer.

“Twenty-eight percent (28-pct) of share ownership of CEB within LTL Holding’s equity capital has been transferred to West Coast Power Company Ltd for a total consideration of Rs 26 billion as part of a partial settlement of outstanding dues…” the March interim accounts said.

“This transaction resulted in a net gain of Rs25.9 billion rupees which has been recognized and reflected in the ‘Gain from Share Disposal’ in the individual financial statement in CEB.”

LTL Holdings is a former transformer making unit of the CEB set up with ABB where the foreign holding was sold to its management.

The firm has since set up several IPPs.

West Coast Power operates a 300MW combined cycle IPP in Kerawalapitiya promoted by LTL group liked firms in which both the Treasury and Employees Provident Fund also have shares.

Its operational and maintenance contract is with Lakdhanavi, another private IPP. The firm has been paying dividends.

The capital gain from the transfer of shares helped the CEB post profits to 84 billion rupees for the March 2024 quarter.

CEB reported gross profits of 62.7 billion rupees from energy sales and 30.6 billion rupees in other income and gains in the March 2024 quarter. Other income was only 3.1 billion rupees in last year. (Colombo/May18/2024)

Continue Reading