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Sunday December 10th, 2023

Sri Lanka parliament must pass inland revenue amendment bill this week: president

ECONOMYNEXT – As the Supreme Court has already determined that Sri Lanka’s new Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill can be passed by a simple majority, parliament must see to it that it is done, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

Wickremesinghe told parliament Wednesday September 06 morning that the matter needs to be finalised by the end of the week.

“The courts have already given its determination. This house now has to pass it,” he said.

However, the bill has to go to either the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) or an advisory committee chaired by Wickremesinghe, prior to be taken up in parliament, he said.

“I haven’t sent it to the advisory committee. The COPF chairman wanted to discuss it. I told my secretary to furnish the COPF with necessary information, and advised the COPF to be liable to any leaks of sensitive information,” said Wickremesinghe.

“If this gets out, it will be damaging to the country. We must finish all this by next week. If not, this will collapse. I say this with seriousness,” he said.

State Minister of Finance Shehan Shemasinghe said at a forum on Tuesday September 04 that parliament expects to begin a debate on a tax hike for pension funds to enable domestic debt restructuring within two days.

The amendment to the income tax law will be debated on Wednesday and voted on Thursday, Semasinghe told a forum organized by CAL, a Colombo-based investment banking group.

President Wickremesinghe also told parliament that Sri Lanka’s domestic debt restructuring  plan will not damage the employees’ provident fund (EFP) as claimed by some quarters.

“There will be no damage to the EPF here. We have agreed to give 9 percent. This figure wasn’t decided by me. Before I became prime minister [in May 2022], Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MPs in this house decided it. It was decided by the SLPP govt. Those MPs are now in the opposition. They’re on the government side too,” said Wickremesinghe.

“Don’t pin that on me. We have to take this forward,” he said.

“The COPF chair must ask the house or committee what their views are. You do that. I won’t interfere,” Wickremesinghe added. (Colombo/Sep06/2023)

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  1. sacre blieu says:

    When a president of a country stands in the way of justice, and consciously, what does it signify?

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  1. sacre blieu says:

    When a president of a country stands in the way of justice, and consciously, what does it signify?

ADB USD200mn loan for Sri Lanka economic stabilization efforts

ECONOMYNEXT – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US 200 million dollar concessional loan to Sri Lanka to help stabilize the country’s finance sector.

The Financial Sector Stability and Reforms Program comprises two subprograms of IS 200 million dollars each, according to a statement by the ADB.

“The program’s overarching development objective is fully aligned with the country’s strategy of maintaining finance sector stability, while ensuring that banks are well-positioned for eventual recovery,” ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Takafumi Kadono was quoted as saying in the statement.

“The expected development outcome is a stable financial system providing access to affordable finance for businesses in various sectors of the economy.”

The ADB statement continues:

“Subprogram 1 targets short-term stabilization and crisis management measures that were implemented in 2023, while subprogram 2 is planned to be implemented in 2024 and focuses on structural reforms and long-term actions to restore growth in the banking sector.

The program will help strengthen the stability and governance of the country’s banking sector; improve the banking sector’s asset quality; and deepen sustainable and inclusive finance, particularly for women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest review, Sri Lanka’s economy is showing tentative signs of stabilization, although a full economic recovery is not yet assured.

The program is a follow-on assistance from ADB’s crisis response under the special policy-based loan that was approved for Sri Lanka in May 2023.

It is aligned with the fourth pillar of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility provided to Sri Lanka to help the country regain financial stability.

It is also in line with the government’s reform agenda, including strengthening the operational independence of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and its designation as the country’s macroprudential authority.

In designing this subprogram 1 loan, ADB has maintained close coordination and collaboration with the IMF to design targeted regulatory reforms for the banking sector—including the asset quality review—and with the World Bank on strengthening the deposit insurance scheme.

“The loan is accompanied by a $1 million grant from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund to provide advisory, knowledge, and institutional capacity building for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and CBSL.”

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Sri Lank in blackout as power grid hit by cascading failure

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka suffered a blackout as Saturday evening as the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board grid was hit by a cascading power failure.

The cascading failure is believed to have been triggered by the failure of the Kothmale-Biyagama transmission line.

“The Ceylon Electricity Board wishes to inform our customers that due to the failure of Kotmale – Biyagama main transmission line, an island wide power failure has occurred,” CEB Spokesman Noel Priyantha said.

“Step by step restorations are underway and it may take few hours to completely restore the power supply.”

With hydro plants running flat out, a outage of the line tends to create a big imbalance in the demand and supply, leading to tripping of more lines and generators.

Lines can trip due to lightening strikes, or equipment failures.

Sri Lanka last suffered a cascading failure in December 2021, due to the failure of the same transmission line.

RelatedSri Lanka power blackout as grid hit by cascading failure

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Sri Lanka to host regional Food and Agriculture Organization conference

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will host the 37th session of the Asia Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), from February 19-22, 2024 in Colombo.

The Conference will bring together agriculture ministers and officials from 46 countries across the region to discuss challenges in food and agriculture.

“The 37th APRC will provide a vital platform for regional collaboration, benefitting the agricultural landscape, fisheries sector and environment of Sri Lanka,” Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said at a press briefing on Friday (8) to announce the conference.

FAO has had an active presence in Sri Lanka for over 40 years. “FAO has supported the country in the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and the development of the fisheries sector for growth and climate resilience,” Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives said.

“The APRC conference will be an opportunity to highlight the innovative approaches introduced in partnership with the government.”

By hosting APRC, Sri Lanka hopes to demonstrate the country’s dedication to the growth of sustainable agriculture, and showcase its commitment to sustainable agricultural development.

The APRC agenda will include a forum on agritourism, especially requested by the Sri Lankan government.

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