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Tuesday January 31st, 2023

Sri Lanka President vows to punish Bondscammers and Easter attack planners

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Independence Day celebrations in Colombo Feb 4, 2021

ECONOMYNEXT – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is vowing to punish those who are responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks and the Bonds Scam.

In his Independence Day address this morning February 4, he said he has “advised the Attorney General’s Department to swiftly act upon matters that have caused great concern to the public, such as the Easter Sunday Attacks and the Central Bank scam.”

He added that reforms required to prevent attacks such as the Easter Sunday blasts will be carried out.

“I have now received the final report of the Presidential Commission appointed to inquire into the Easter Sunday Attacks. I have already given instructions to implement its recommendations,” he said in the nationally televised address from Independence Square in Colombo.

“Simultaneously, taking into account the recommendations of the previous Parliament’s Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security, action will be taken against all parties involved in this tragedy. We will not allow those responsible for designing and enabling this tragedy to escape justice. We will never allow extremism to raise its head again, in this country” the President said.

The ceremony itself was smaller than usual with a shorter parade and the guest list cut by half.
The main elements of the celebration, however, remained with the Armed Forces and Police march-past the Air Force fly by, a 21-gun salute and cultural displays.

In his speech, the President alluded in part to criticism coming at Sri Lanka from international commentators as well as Human Rights organisations.

He said he is a Sinhala Buddhist leader but he governs Sri Lanka within the Buddhist philosophic tradition “of peaceful coexistence which gives due respect to all religions and ethnicities, every person in this country irrespective of his or her ethnic or religious identification has the right to enjoy the freedom as equals under the nation’s legal framework.”

He accused “traitorous elements” of banding together “to marshal domestic and foreign forces against the leadership that upholds the indigenous way of life and the country’s sovereignty. Such elements mislead the public through false propaganda in a subtle way. I request the people of our nation to always think critically before acting. If people make assessments based on facts and take decisions only after finding out the truth, no one will be able to mislead the public,” he said.

President Rajapaksa also expressed confidence about the Covid 19 vaccination program that is on-going.

“Several countries have by now successfully developed vaccines for the COVID-19 virus. I have requested the leaders of India, China and Russia to support Sri Lanka to swiftly obtain these vaccines,” he said.

“This matter has also been discussed with the World Health Organization. Accordingly, we have obtained one vaccine and have already started our vaccination programme. This vaccination programme will be carried out without any disruption” he added.

At a time when the entire world is in crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our country has had to face many challenges. For more than a year, the pandemic has posed serious obstacles to carrying out the development activities and for people of our country to lead a normal life, the President said. (Colombo, February 4, 2021)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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  1. Azour Junaid says:

    Nandasena Gothabaya Rajapakse the President sspeaks about discussing with the WHO re the Covid-19 vaccine etc, what about the WHO’s recommendations in disposing of Covid-19 victims. Cremating them against the wishes of the family. Come on do the right thing Mr President.

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  1. Azour Junaid says:

    Nandasena Gothabaya Rajapakse the President sspeaks about discussing with the WHO re the Covid-19 vaccine etc, what about the WHO’s recommendations in disposing of Covid-19 victims. Cremating them against the wishes of the family. Come on do the right thing Mr President.

Sri Lanka shares down for 2nd day as tax hike, delay in Chinese debt assurance weigh

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares edged down on Tuesday as worries over delay in financial assurances from China which is mandatory for a $2.9 billion dollar IMF loan and rise in protests against tax hike kept investors in check, analysts said.

The main All Share Price Index (ASPI) edged down by 0.28 percent or 24.62 points to 8,865.05. It fell for the second session after hitting more than three-month high.

“The market is looking for more macro cues because of faster Chinese debt assurance was expected. The market is also hit by fall in corporate earnings due to high taxes,” an analyst said.

China has given an initial response on debt re-structuring to Sri Lanka though analysts familiar with the process say it is not a ‘hard assurance’ sufficient for the IMF program to go through.

The International Monetary Fund is working with China on extending maturities of Chinese loans to defaulted countries like Sri Lanka, as there is resistance to hair-cuts, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told reporters on January 14.
The earnings for first quarter are expected to be negative for many corporates with higher taxes and rising costs. However, investors had not expected earnings to be low in the December quarter because of year end pick ups on heavy counters, the analyst said.
Earnings in the second quarter of 2023 are expected to be more positive with the anticipation of IMF loan and possible reduction in the market interest rates as the tax revenue has started to generate funds.

However, the central bank said the IMF deal is likely in the first quarter or in the first month of the second quarter.

The most liquid index S&P SL20 dropped by 0.64 percent or 17.74 points to 2,764.51 points.

The central bank has said it could cut interest rates in future when the country sees fall in inflation, which has already started decelerating.

The market saw a turnover of 1.7 billion rupees, slightly lower than the month’s daily average of 1.8 billion rupees and while being significantly lower than 2022’s daily average turnover of 2.9 billion rupees.

The bourse saw a net foreign inflow (NFI) of 93 million rupees extending the net offshore buying to 413 million rupees so far this year.

Top losers were LOLC, Royal Ceramics Limited and Hayleys. (Colombo/Jan31/2023)

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Sri Lanka exports fall in December as global recession weighs

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports earnings fell 9.7 percent in December year-on-year as the island nation saw a drop in buying from its key export destinations which are facing a looming recession after the Russia-Ukraine war.

The earnings from the merchandise exports recorded $1.04 billion  in December 2022 compared to the same month in the previous year as per the data released by the Sri Lanka Customs.

“This was mainly due to the decrease in export earnings from Apparel & Textiles, Tea, Rubber based Products, and Coconut based Products, Food & Beverages, Spices & Essential Oils and Fisheries products,” the Export Development Board (EDB) said in a statement.

“The reason for this decline was due to the ongoing recession in major markets due to rising cost of production, energy etc. Imports declined sharply due to inflation and demand for goods and services are reduced.”

However, Sri Lanka saw a record export earning of $13.1 billion in 2022 due to increased demand in the key exports throughout the year

Earnings from all major product sectors except Electrical & Electronic components as well as Diamonds, Gems & Jewellery fell in December.

Exports of Apparel & Textiles decreased by 9.6 percent to $480.3 million in December 2022.  Export earnings from Tea fell by 3 percent to $107.3 million, Rubber and Rubber Finished products dropped 20.3 percent to $74.5 million,

However, export earnings from the Electrical & Electronics Components increased by 16.18 percent to $42.9 million in December 2022, while Diamond, Gems & Jewelry jumped 35.7 percent to $30.8 million. (Colombo/Jan31/2023)

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Sri Lanka records over 6,000 dengue cases in first three weeks of January

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka recorded over than 6,000 dengue cases in the first three weeks of January 2023 after a spell of heavy monsoon rain though a drop in cases is likely from February, officials said.

Health officials identified 6,204 dengue patients by January 22, up from 5,793 recorded in the corresponding period last year.

“A rise in cases can be observed in the November-January period with the heavy rain due to the northeast monsoon,” an official from the National Dengue Control Unit told EconomyNext.

Of all reported cases, 46.3 percent were from the Western Province, official reports showed.

Akuressa, Batticaloa, Eravur, Trincomalee, Madampe, Badulla, Eheliyagoda, Kegalle, Kalmunai North and Alayadivembu MOH areas were identified as high-risk areas for dengue during the third week of January by the health officials.

“We are expecting a decline in dengue cases soon. The Western province is always in the top position with the highest number of dengue cases. Apart from that, we are seeing a higher number of cases during this period in areas like Puttalam, Jaffna districts. A certain number of cases have also been recorded in the Kandy district,” the official said.

“Usually the cases peak in December, but they decline by February. This year, too, we are facing this scenario. There is an increase of dengue during the months of November, December and January”.

Due to the economic situation in the country, the Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) in an earlier report said, diesel and pesticides are not being provided by the ministry.

However, rejecting the allegation, the official from the NDCU said the government has provided enough funds for get the necessary pesticides but it is being used according to a scientific method to avoid building a resistance in the dengue mosquito.

“The recommendation is to do the fogging if there is a dengue outbreak or if there are few patients reported from the same locality.

“If you use this pesticide haphazardly, the mosquitos will develop resistance against it,” the official said, adding that there are adequate stocks of the chemical available. (Colombo/ Jan 31/2023)

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