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Thursday February 29th, 2024

Sri Lanka president forced to walk out of parliament amid opposition protest

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has discussed the island nation’s fuel crisis with the Russian President Vladimir Puti

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was in for a rude shock when he made an appearance in parliament where he was greeted by opposition MPs who loudly protested his presence, a day after they asked where he was hiding.

The president was seen walking out as opposition MPs heckled Prime Minister Ranil Wickreemesinghe during a speech.

Wickremesinghe, who was explaining a roadmap for a way out of Sri Lanka’s ongoing economic crisis, said he was ready to step down if opposition National People’s Power (NPP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake could present a viable six-month recovery plan.

This prompted a chorus of “Go home, Gota” from the opposition benches, with the main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) leading the chant, co-opting a popular slogan from Sri Lanka’s youth protest movement against the government.

“When I said I am ready to go home, they are shouting at the president,” said Wickremesinghe sarcastically, openly laughing at the MPs across the aisle.

Before his departure, President Rajapaksa was also seen laughing along with Wickremesinghe at the opposition’s angry protestations.

“If Anura Dissanayaka’s plan is a success, I will resign and with that the cabinet will resign and Anura Kumara will be given the Prime Minister’s position,” said Wickremesinghe.

Wickremesinghe said Dissanayake’s plan can be taken up for debate on July 07 and 08.

“I am certainly not ready to lie to the public. I must tell the truth and if someone has a better plan than us, we must give power to that person, which can only be done through parliament. If we can’t do it, then there will be no future for this country,” he said.

As the protests intensified, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena adjourned the session for 10 minutes, during which President Rajapaksa had vacated the chamber. (Colombo/Jul05/2022)

Comments (2)

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  1. dickie bird says:

    Why did the president walk off. He should not have done so,
    SL got a president they deserved.
    Did the parliamentarians rub the wrong side of Gota ?

  2. Jamis says:

    The opposition has no plan. They just bark from the sidelines. If they had any self-respect, they would support the government in resolving the crisis without just screaming from the sidelines.

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

  1. dickie bird says:

    Why did the president walk off. He should not have done so,
    SL got a president they deserved.
    Did the parliamentarians rub the wrong side of Gota ?

  2. Jamis says:

    The opposition has no plan. They just bark from the sidelines. If they had any self-respect, they would support the government in resolving the crisis without just screaming from the sidelines.

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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