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Tuesday April 16th, 2024

Sri Lanka president to be common, independent candidate at poll: UNP

ECONOMYNEXT — President Ranil Wickremesinghe will contest Sri Lanka’s upcoming presidential election as an independent candidate backed by a broad alliance, according to Labour Minister Manusha Nanayakkara.

The minister said speaking at an event that Wickremesinghe’s candidacy will be a neutral one not representing any one party.

“President Wickremesinghe will contest as an independent national candidate on a common platform where people representing all parties, ethnicities and religions as well as people with diverse views can come together, and once again become president of this country,” said Nanayakkara.

Former parliamentarian P Harrison, a spokesman for Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP), made the bold claim that he will get 10 million votes at the presidential poll due to be held between September 17 and October 17.

Harrison also took a shot at the leftist National People’s Power (NPP) led by the Marxist-Leninist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), which according to at least one voting intention poll is far ahead of any other contender including the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB).

“The  JVP thinks that their 3 percent has climbed up to 80 percent. For that to happen, all of us will have to vote for them. That is not the case. If you take the whole country, at the most, the 3 percent will go up to no more than 5 or 10 percent,” said Harrison, referring to the 3 percent of the vote the NPP got at the last two national elections in 2019 and 2020.

Harrison also suggested that Wickremesinghe can expect the support of his apparent rivals.

“He will be the common candidate. A section of the SJB will also join him,” he said.

Predictions of SJB members joining the UNP en masse have so far come to nought, according to MP Chandima Weerakkody who recently joined the main opposition party.

“They said 35 will go, 40 will go, that they will go on March 8. They gave different dates. The UNP held two conventions. Because no one joined the first one, they said it would happen in the second. No one came,” said Weerakkody.

“No one who was elected by the people and does not yield to money will not take such a decision. The UNP is a party that only got 150,000 to 200,000 votes. Can a party like that 7.5 million votes?” he said. (Colombo/Mar29/2024)

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IMF urged Sri Lanka to preserve “hard earned gains” after economic crisis: State FinMin

ECONOMYNEXT – The International Monetary Fund has urged Sri Lanka to preserve the hard earned gains after an unprecedented economic crisis under the global lender’s programme, State Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe said.

The Sri Lankan delegation led by Shehan Semasinghe met Kenji Okamura, the Deputy Managjng Director of the IMF on the first day of the IMF and  World Bank Spring meeting.

“Mr. Okamura commended the Sri Lankan authorities on strong programme implementation and excellent reform progress. He emphasised the need to preserve the hard earned gains Sri Lanka has experienced since the beginning of the IMF programme and continue strong ownership,” the State Minister said in his X (Twitter) platform.

He said the Sri Lankan delegation including Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe and Secretary to the Treasury Mahinda Siriwardana explained the recent socio-economic developments to Okamura.

He also affirmed the IMF top official on the authorities’ commitment to ensuring continuity and consistency of macroeconomic policies and reforms undertaken under the programme. (Colombo/April 16/2024)

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Sri Lanka State FinMin meets BCIU in US; discusses post-crisis investment prospects 

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s State Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe met Business Council for International Understanding( BCIU) in Washington on the sideline of the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings late on Monday and discussed investment prospects in the island nation which is gradually recovering from an unprecedented economic crisis.
“Our discussion centered on the potential that Sri Lanka offers for international investors. Explored various sectors, including education, tourism, renewable energy, agriculture and technology, where strategic investments can drive sustainable economic growth and development,” Semasinghe said in his X (Twitter) platform. 
“We reviewed the current macro-economic landscape of Sri Lanka, including recent reforms that have transformed to results. Glad to concluded the forum by marking constructive dialogue and a shared commitment to support the economic development of Sri Lanka.” 
“We thank participants, stakeholders holders and global partners for the significant interest shown in unlocking the full potential of the Sri Lankan economy and fostering greater international understanding and cooperation.” (Colombo/April 16/2024) 
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India allows Sri Lanka to import 10,000MT of onions

ECONOMYNEXT – India has relaxed an export ban allowing 10,000 metric tonnes of onions to be shipped to Sri Lanka, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.

“The exemption for Sri Lanka reiterated India’s Neighbourhood First policy, adding to the Sinhala and Tamil New Year festivities here,” the statement said.

Onion prices went up in Sri Lanka after India and Pakistan banned exports.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade has issued a notice allowing National Co-operative Exports Limited to ship 10,000 MT of onions.

The UAE has also been allowed to import 10,000MT of onions on top of 24,400MT already permitted.

A large Indian and South Asian expat community lives in the UAE. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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