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Thursday February 29th, 2024

Sri Lanka President emails resignation from Singapore

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s embattled president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has fled the country fearing for his life, has sent his resignation letter via email to Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, the Speaker’s office said.

However, an official announcement was delayed until the Speaker’s office re-checked the authenticity and legality.

Rajapaksa, who fled the country and flew to Male in an Air Force flight on Wednesday early morning was expected to send the letter later on the same day. However, it was delayed as Rajapaksa, was not able to reach his “final destination”, his close allies have told Economy Next.

The letter was sent via email to the Speaker and an official who is aware of the matter said they are checking the legality of the latter and if such letter could be sent via email.

“The Speaker has received the resignation latter of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa via the office of Sri Lankan embassy in Singapore,” Speaker’s Media Secretary Indunil Abeywardena said in a tatement.

“After clarifying the accuracy and finalising the legality of the letter, the speaker will officially announce with regard t this by tomoorow.” 

However, a government source said the original letter would be handed over to the Speaker through a key official of Rajapaksa staff.

Rajapaksa sent the letter after he reached Singapore late on Thursday from Maldives, flying in a Saudi Arabian Airline. His stay in Maldives was facilitated by the Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration in Maldives with its Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed personally visiting to the Male airport to receive him amid many Sri Lankans living in Male protested against the move.

“President GR has resigned. I hope Sri Lanka can now move forward,” Nasheed tweeted.

“I believe the President would not have resigned if he were still in Sri Lanka, and fearful of losing his life. I commend the thoughtful actions of the Govt of Maldives. My best wishes to the people of Sri Lanka. ”

Rajapaksa was forced to flee after tens of thousands of protesters stormed into his official residence on Saturday (09). The protesters had demanded his resignation for his policy failures after his government printed trillions of rupees which eventually caused Balance of payment crisis, dollars shortage and steep decline in foreign currency reserves.

The lack of dollars later led to shortage of essentials like food, medicine, cooking gas, and essential foods including milk powder. His policy on overnight chemical fertilizer policy ban led to a food shortage and the island nation is facing a looming food shortage.

It was not immediately clear if Rajapaksa would request for political asylum in any foreign country. Singapore government confirmed his entry into city nation.

“In response to media queries, it is confirmed that Mr Rajapaksa has been allowed entry into Singapore on a private visit,” the Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

“He has not asked for asylum and neither has he been granted any asylum. Singapore generally does not grant requests for asylum.”

Sources close to the president have said he was aiming for a country in the Middle East. (Colombo/July 14/2022)

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  1. mohamed Sulaiman says:

    Now he might change his religion;Because he doesnt deserve to be Buddhist.

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  1. mohamed Sulaiman says:

    Now he might change his religion;Because he doesnt deserve to be Buddhist.

Sri Lanka’s RAMIS online tax collection system “not operatable”: IT Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s online tax collection system RAMIS is “not operatable”, and the Ministry of Information Technology is ready to do for an independent audit to find the shortcomings, State IT Minister Kanaka Herath said.

The Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS) was introduced to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) when the island nation signed for its 16th International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme in 2016.

However, trade unions at the IRD protested the move, claiming that the system was malfunctioning despite billions being spent for it amid allegations that the new system was reducing the direct contacts between taxpayers and the IRD to reduce corruption.

The RAMIS had to be stopped after taxpayers faced massive penalties because of blunders made by heads of the IT division, computer operators and system errors at the IRD, government officials have said.

“The whole of Sri Lanka admits RAMIS is a failure. The annual fee is very high for that. This should be told in public,” Herath told reporters at a media briefing in Colombo on Thursday (29)

“In future, we want all the ministries to get the guidelines from our ministry when they go for ERP (Enterprise resource planning).”

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government said the RAMIS system will be operational from December last year.

However, the failure has delayed some tax collection which could have been paid via online.

“It is not under our ministry. It is under the finance ministry. We have no involvement with it, but still, it is not operatable,” Herath said.

“So, there are so many issues going on and I have no idea what the technical part of it. We can carry out an independent audit to find out the shortcomings of the software.”

Finance Ministry officials say IRD employees and trade unions had been resisting the RAMIS because it prevents direct interactions with taxpayers and possible bribes for defaulting or under paying taxes.

The crisis-hit island nation is struggling to boost its revenue in line with the target it has committed to the IMF in return for a 3 billion-dollar extended fund facility. (Colombo/Feb 29/2024) 

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Sri Lanka aims to boost SME with Sancharaka Udawa tourism expo

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is hosting Sancharaka Udawa, a tourism industry exhibition which will bring together businesses ranging from hotels to travel agents and airlines, and will allow the small and medium sector build links with the rest of the industry, officials said.

There will be over 250 exhibitors, with the annual event held for the 11th time expected to draw around 10,000 visitors, the organizers said.

“SMEs play a big role, from homestays to under three-star categories,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman, Chalaka Gajabahu told reporters.

“It is very important that we develop those markets as well.”

The Sancharaka Udawa fair comes as the Indian Ocean island is experiencing a tourism revival.

Sri Lanka had welcomed 191,000 tourists up to February 25, compared to 107,639 in February 2023.

“We have been hitting back-to-back double centuries,” Gajabahu said. “January was over 200,000.”

The exhibition to be held on May 17-18, is organized by the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators.

It aims to establish a networking platform for small and medium sized service providers within the industry including the smallest sector.

“Homestays have been increasingly popular in areas such as Ella, Down South, Knuckles and Kandy,” SLAITO President, Nishad Wijethunga, said.

In the northern Jaffna peninsula, both domestic and international tourism was helping hotels.

A representative of the Northern Province Tourism Sector said that the Northern Province has 170 hotels, all of which have 60-70 percent occupancy.

Further, domestic airlines from Colombo to Palali and the inter-city train have been popular with local and international visitors, especially Indian tourists. (Colombo/Feb29/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 309.50/70 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 309.50/70 to the US dollar Thursday, from 310.00/15 on Wednesday, dealers said.

Bond yields were slightly higher.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed at 10.50/70 percent down from 10.60/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.10 percent from 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 12.20/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.30/45 percent up from 12.20/50 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 12.35/50 percent up from 12.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.55/13.00 percent up from 12.50/90 percent. (Colombo/Feb29/2024)

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