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Thursday June 20th, 2024

Sri Lanka opposition JVP raise concerns over organic fertilizer imports from China

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s plans to import 63 million US dollars of organic fertilizer from a China based company after a ban on chemical fertilizer could be risky if they contain harmful micro-organisms and if they are made from municipal waste, a legislator warned.

Sri Lanka has banned the import of agro-chemicals as money printing triggered forex shortages and agrochemicals made people sick.

Opposition Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna said the government at first said they would produce organic fertilizer in Sri Lanka, and that farmers would be compensated for crop losses from money saved from a chemical fertilizer subsidy.

“But what happened was, after stopping the local production of fertilizers, a tender was placed to buy fertilizers with 17 percent nitrogen,” Vijitha Herath told parliament.

“The suppliers said they can’t find fertilizers with 17 percent nitrogen. Therefore, this cannot be done. All importers withdrew except one.

“This one does not intend to import the requested fertilizers, but fertilizers that only have 5-8 percent nitrogen.”

He said, a company called Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group, a China based company, had now got a 63 million US dollar contract to supply organic fertilizer.

Herath questioned what the organic fertilizer was made of warning that municipal waste fertilizer could contain harmful residues.

He said a sample was brought and supposedly tested and found to contain Erwinia bacteria through the government had said organic fertilizer was supposed to be sanitized or sterilized.

Some species of Erwinia bacteria are plant pathogens which destroy crops.

Herath said now claims were made that the sample was wrong.

In May 2021 Hearth fired what appeared to be a conspiracy theory that authorities had banned chemical fertilizer so that interested parties could import organic fertilizer from China which could be harmful.

Environmentalists then warned that organic fertilizer from animal or plant waste could contain harmful pathogens.

Sri Lanka has subsidized chemical fertilizer and promoted their excessive use since it became an election issue in 2004. (Colombo/Sept21/2021)

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Sri Lanka shares debt management experience at global forum

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has shared its experiences at a forum on debt management to “provide lessons for others”, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe has said.

Semasinghe spoke on “The Role of Debt Management in Navigating Crises” at the 14th Debt Management Facility (DMF) Stakeholders’ Forum, in Livingstone, Zambia.

“I shared the experiences of Sri Lanka which can provide valuable lessons for others and explored the critical elements of capacity building and sound institutional practices in managing debt, particularly in the context of economic challenges,” Semasinghe said on X (twitter).

“Sri Lanka’s experience demonstrates that effective debt management is not just about managing numbers but also about building robust institutions and capacities.”

The journey underscores the importance of transparent, accountable governance and the need for international support and cooperation in times of crisis, he said.

“Sri Lanka prioritized addressing gaps in public debt management by drafting a consolidated Public Debt Management Act, ensuring clarity and legal robustness and establishing a centralized Public Debt Management Office with operational autonomy.

“The role of debt management in navigating crises is multifaceted and critical. Further, by investing in capacity building, adhering to sound institutional practices, and strategically managing debt restructuring and liability operations, countries can better withstand economic shocks and pave the way for sustainable recovery.”

Developing countries face severe debt distress as they are more vulnerable to external shocks, Semasinghe said, and “managing global debt requires coordinated international efforts on debt restructuring where necessary, timely fiscal policy adaptation and help sustainable economic growth.”

The state minister also pointed out the financial impact of climate change was an emerging challenge, as countries need investment to mitigate and adapt to climate impacts, “especially through non-debt creating inflows, which would require private capital mobilization.” (Colombo/Jun20/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes stronger at 305.10/30 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed stronger ahead of the long weekend at 305.10/30 to the US dollar on Thursday, up from 305.40/55 to the US dollar Wednesday, dealers said, while some bond yields edged up.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.45/80 percent, up from 10.35/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 11.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.00/15 percent, up from 11.95/12.35 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.12.2031 closed at 12.05/25 percent.

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Sri Lanka stocks close up, JKH trade pushes turnover

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Thursday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.19 percent, or 23.11 points, at 12,249; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed up 0.15 percent, or 5.33 points, at 3,610.

Turnover was 2 billion. Nearly half of this (Rs980mn) came from a crossing on John Keells Holdings Plc. The share closed down at 202.00.

“There were several crossings today which pushed turnover,” market participants said.

“Institutions and high net-worth activity drove the market, while the retail investors we feel are still about uncertain and adopting a wait-and-see approach.”

Melstacorp Plc was among the companies that saw active volumes (Rs194mn) in the day. The share closed up at 87.10.

Top contributors to the index included TeeJay Lanka Plc (up at 41.70), Sampath Bank Plc (up at 79.50), Hatton National Bank Plc (down at 201.00). Hayleys Plc (up at 105.00) and its subsidiary Hayleys Fabric Plc (up at 46.60) were also positive contributors. (Colombo/Jun20/2024)

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