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Tuesday April 23rd, 2024

Sri Lanka president took on task of stabilising economy, must now restructure debt: Patali

FILE PHOTO – Patali Champika Ranawaka

ECONOMYNEXT — Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s claim that he alone took on the responsibility of stabilising the economy is valid, according to opposition MP Patali Champika Ranawaka who said the president now faces the challenge of restructuring external debt by June.

“[President Wickremesinghe] said ‘I have a bigger responsibility than holding elections. I have the responsibility of restructuring the country’s debt and stabilising the economy’. Now he has a challenge facing him. Domestic debt was restructured last year. He now has the challenge of restructuring external debt before June,” Ranawaka said speaking at an event on Sunday March 31.

“If he said local government elections would not be held because the economy has to be stabilised, he now has to restructure the debt before June. His responsibility i restructuring external debt by June and stabilising the country. That’s why he said “I took on this responsibility, no one else did”. All true. We expect him to fulfill his next obligation,” he said.

The opposition MP said that whoever wins Sri Lanka’s next presidential election will definitely dissolve parliament and hold parliamentary elections no sooner than he or she is elected.

“If there is a president in October, there will be an election in November,” he said.

Ranawaka made similar remarks previous week, when he said President Wickremesinghe must decide between sending the Rajapaksas back to parliament and restructuring debt by June to stabilise the country for the next decade.

Speaking to reporters, Ranawaka said Basil Rajapaksa, the ideologue of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), is well aware that his party cannot come into power through the presidential due to be held between September 17 and October 17 this year.

“Basil knows the Rajapaksas can’t come into power again through this election, so he’s trying to see if they can somehow hold a general election before that and enter parliament,” said Ranawaka.

“The president must decide what’s important, whether to send five Rajapaksas to parliament or to speak to our creditors and restructure our external debt by June and stabilise the country for the next decade,” he said. (Colombo/Apr01/2024)

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Iran President to open Sri Lanka $514mn irrigation, hydro power project

MULTIPURPOSE: Uma Oya multipurpose development project is the largest since the end of the Mahaweli projects.

ECONOMYNEXT – Iran President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi will inaugurate an irrigation and hydropower project that was designed and built by Iranian engineering firm and was also initially financed before international sanctions hit the project.

The Uma Oya (River) project will irrigate 4,500 acres of new agricultural land, generate 290 Gigawatt hours of electricity and also provide drinking water, a government statement said.

Sri Lanka had awarded an engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) to Iran’s FARAB engineering group to design and construct the 514 million dollar multipurpose project in 2010.

The project was funded until 2013 with a million US dollar credit from the Export Development Bank of Iran but international sanctions prevented the country from continuing financing, a government statement said.

The project continued with funding from Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka had since repaid 19.3 million dollars of the credit and 35.2 million remains outstanding.

The Uma Oya project has a 120MW of hydro power generators, which can generate 290 Giga Watt hours of energy.

Each year 145 million cubic metres of water will be taken from Uma Oya to the Kirindi Oya river valley after generating electricity in an underground power station.

It will irrigate 1,500 hectares of existing agricultural and 4,500 hectares of new land in the Moneragala district, where crops can be cultivated in both the Maha and Yala seasons.

About 39 million cubic meters of water will be used for drinking and industrial purposes.

Two reservoirs built at Dyraaba and Puhulpola in Uma Oya basin is connected by a 3.98 kilometre conveyance tunnel and water is taken through a 15.2 kilomtre headrace tunnel to an underground power station. A tailrace tunnel takes water from the power station to the Kirindi Oya basin.

The project was originally expected to be completed in 2015, but due to financing delays and later water leaking into the headrace tunnel and the Covid pandemic had delayed it. The project completion date was extended to March 31, 2024 and defect liability date to March 31, 2025.

(Colombo/April23/2024 – CORRECTED Iran President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi will inaugurate an irrigation and hydropower project that was designed and built by Iranian engineering firm.)

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Sri Lanka state oligopoly allowed to import some black gram

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has allowed the import of some black gram, by three state agencies, according to a gazette notice issued under the hand of President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Import licenses will be given for 2,000 metric tonnes of the seed classified under HS Code 7312.31.22 and 29.

Sri Lanka State Trading Corporation, National Food Promotion Board and Sri Lanka Hadabima Authority is to be given import licenses.

Traders have resorted to smuggling some types of black gram (ulundu) mis classified as chick peas, to get over high taxes and import restrictions.

Tamil legislators have also protested the import controls, which they go into several key ethnic foods they consume. (Colombo/Apr23/2024)

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Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry consular division shifted to Battaramulla

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry said it consular division would be shifted to the Suhurupaya building in Subuthipura, Battaramulla from May 02, 2024.

Document authentication services provided by the Consular Affairs Division in Colombo will be suspended on 29 and 30 April 2024 held transfer the Electronic Document Authentication System (e-DAS) to the new premises at Suhurupaya.

Urgent applications for authentication to the Consular Division in Colombo, or any Regional Consular Offices by 4.15 pm on 26 April 2024, the Foreign Ministry said.

Regional Consular Offices in Jaffna, Trincomalee, Kurunegala, Kandy and Matara will remain open to accept applications.

Authenticated documents will be delivered to the applicants only on Thursday, 02 May 2024.

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