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Thursday December 1st, 2022

Sri Lanka opposition leader asks fresh probe into Easter attack

St Sebestian’s Church in Katuwapitiya minutes after the blast on Easter Sunday 2019/ WhatsApp image

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s opposition leader Sajith Premadasa urged a fresh probe into Easter Sunday attack involving Catholic leaders who have raised concerns over the previous investigations.

A presidential commission had found lapses in government intelligence allowing local Islamist extremist stage suicide attack without any resistance three years back.

However, the government has failed to implement the recommendations by the Presidential panel and leader of Catholic church Cardinal Malcom Ranjith has raised doubts over the government’s genuine efforts in finding the people behind the attack.

“I propose the government start a new investigation. Appoint renowned people for this investigation, opposition and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) leader Sajith Premadasa told parliament.

“Appoint members in a way that the catholic people are being represented. Appoint in a way that Cardinal also is involved. Involve the catholic church for this. Because they are the ones who suffer the most,” he said.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa-led Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) in the run up to 2019 presidential election promised to probe the Easter Sunday attack and punish those who are behind the attack.

However, Malcom Ranjith has criticized the government over the delay of justice for the Easter attack victims and demanded the release of large number of volumes of the presidential commission reports. The government released the reports in February.

Malcom Ranjith has complained about the delay of justice for the victims to Vatican and the United Nations Human Rights Council and has said the attack was part of a bigger “political conspiracy” to bring a certain party to power. (Colombo/April 21/2022)

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  1. C Pinto says:

    Good. Investigate the incompetence of the UNP government which included Premadasa in handling national security in preventing the attack. Cannot pass the buck and take up responsibility.

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  1. C Pinto says:

    Good. Investigate the incompetence of the UNP government which included Premadasa in handling national security in preventing the attack. Cannot pass the buck and take up responsibility.

Sri Lanka China-backed port to welcome second cruise ship

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s China-backed Hambantota Port said it was getting ready to welcome MV Azamara Quest, a cruise ship, as another passenger vessel departed.

Mein Schiff 5, operated by TUI had departed Hambantota International Port for Pulau Penang Island, Malaysia on November.

“As well as being her maiden call at the port, Mein Schiff 5 is the first passenger cruise ship to call at the port since the pandemic began,” said Johnson Liu, CEO of Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) said in a statement.

“It was undoubtedly a great boost for the tourist economy in the south when the vessel called at the Hambantota International Port.”

Mein Schiff 5’s passengers had also visited the Bundala National Park, Hambantota Botanical Gardens, Galle and Kataragama.

Passengers had explored Hambantota by tuk-tuk, while others had enjoyed the beaches in the Shangri La Hotel, the port said.

MV Azamara Quest will arrive in Hambanota on on December 05. (Colombo/Dec01/2022)

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Sri Lanka’s shares gain in mid market trade

EXONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s shares gained in mid market trade on Thursday (1), pushed up by strong positive sentiments on interest rates easing in line with inflation and speculation on government to hold talks with multilateral creditors ADB and World Bank for a possible loan facility.

Market has continued to gain for the past four sessions.

“Shares were moving on positive strong sentiments flowing in from yesterday (30), we are seeing a rally in the hotels, while the retail favorites such as LIOC and Expolanka,” analysts said.

Positive investor sentiments have been established, from positive comments from the Governor of the Central Bank over market rates eventually seeing an ease despite the fears of a domestic debt restructuring as inflation falls, increased liquidity in dollar markets, and the inter-bank liquidity improves.

Analysts further stated that, Treasury related stocks are also activated due to downward movements in yield.

All Share Price Index (ASPI) gained by 1.4 percent or 123.41 points to 8,774.64, while the most liquid share gained by 1.31% or 35.68 points to 2,765.

The market generated a turnover of 1.6 billion rupees at 1130 hours. (Colombo/Dec1/2022)

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Sri Lanka electricity losses from overpriced fuel, no tariff hike considered: regulator

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Electricity Board’s high operating costs are partly due to excessive prices paid for fuel and no tariff hike is being considered, Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, Janaka Ratnayake said.

The CEB itself does not buy fuel but depends on state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and Lanka Coal, another state firm to buy fuel. Both firms are periodically caught in procurement scandals.

“They are paying about 385 plus rupees per litre for furnace oil,” Ratnayaka told EconomyNext.

“That is too much. From the global market we can buy it to much lower price. It can be imported below 200 rupees,”

“I ask the government to take the necessary steps to create a system to import furnace oil, like they did for fuel, to be imported at the lower price levels. If that happens, we can go without going for a price hike.”

Sri Lanka’s CEB generally gets furnace oil and residual oil from the domestic refinery and usually do not import furnace oil.

The refinery however is not regularly operating due to inability to get crude amidst the worst currency crisis in the history of the island’s intermediate regime central bank.

Ratnayake had earlier brought to light import costs of the CPC.

Pushing for operations efficiency of the CEB is a role of the regulator. Regulating costs based on global benchmark prices to push for procurement efficiencies is a standard practice. However the PUCSL is not the official regulator of the petroleum sector.

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Sri Lanka power tariff revisions sought in Jan and July: Minister

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera told parliament that cabinet approval was sought to twice yearly tariff hikes in January and July of each year.

No Electricity tariff hikes are being considered yet, Ratnayake said.

Wijesekera blamed the regulator as well as successive administrations for not regularly revising power prices and pushing the sector into crisis.

In Sri Lanka activists had also blocked cheap coal power. (Colombo/Dec01/2022)

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