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Wednesday February 28th, 2024

Sri Lanka President wants more women participating in decision making

ECONOMYNEXT – Women contribute significantly to Sri Lanka’s economy and the government is committed to increasing women’s representation in parliament and their participation in decision making, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a women’s day message recognising their support in rebuilding a collapsed economy.

In a statement issued Wednesday March 08 morning, Wickremesinghe said the establishment of a National Women’s Commission as an independent body through an Act of Parliament has been envisaged, while the need to appoint an Ombudswoman has also been recognised.

“The Government is further committed to increasing women participation in management and political decision-making, and therefore has implemented a comprehensive program to secure an increase of women’s representation not only in Parliament, but also in the public and private sectors,” he said.

“In addition, the measures required to present to Parliament, the Act on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment have already been initiated. It is also envisaged for a National Women’s Commission to be established as an independent body through an Act of Parliament. Further, the need to appoint an Ombudswoman as well as women to Directorate Boards in the fields of plantations and apparel have been recognised.”

Wickremesinghe, who once held the portfolio of women’s affairs, said the government has already implemented plans to empower women with required skills based on equality, in order to broadly contribute to the country’s economy.

In December 2022, President Wickremesinghe proposed a new bill on gender equality and women’s empowerment to be submitted to parliament. In Sri Lanka, critics say violence against women is not dealt with with the seriousness it demands.

Despite the island nation being the first country to produce the first woman prime minister and president, very few women join active politics despite more than half of the population being women.

There are also only a handfuls of women at the higher levels of top corporates.

Sri Lanka has only 12 lawmakers in the 225-member legislature. Most women politicians complain that their party leadership do not provide them them opportunities they deserve.

Wickremesinghe’s last 2015-2019 government enacted a law to mandatorily allocate 25 percent of the local government seats to women from 2018 local government polls. However, no women were given opportunities for decision making.

In his 2023 women’s day message, he said: “I extend warm greetings on this International Women’s Day, being confident of the support of the female generation of this country in its entirety, in order to facilitate the government’s new reform program in rebuilding the country’s collapsed economy and create a successful ‘Developed Nation in 2048’. (Colombo/Mar08/2023)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 310.00/15 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 310.00/15 to the US dollar Wednesday, from 310.25/50 on Tuesday, dealers said.

Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed at 10.60/80 percent from 10.60/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.00 percent up from 11.80/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.03.2028 closed stable at 12.00/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.20/50 percent from 12.25/50 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed stable at 12.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2031 closed at 12.55/75 percent down from 12.60/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.50/90 percent down from 12.55/13.00 percent. (Colombo/Feb28/2024)

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Sri Lanka Treasuries yields edge up after steep fall

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Treasury bill yields edged up across maturities at Wednesday’s auction with the 3-month yield up 09 basis points to 9.87 percent, data from state debt office showed.

The debt office sold 27.5 billion rupees of 3-month bills after offering 35 billion rupees.

The 6-month yield rose 09 basis points to 9.95 percent with 37.23 billion rupees of bills sold, after offering 47.5 billion rupees.

The 12-month yield went up 03 bis points to 10.05 percent, with 39.5 billion rupees of bills sold and 40 billion rupees offered.

Sri Lanka’s Treasuries yield have come down sharply in recent weeks.

The trend was partly helped by some banks which were earlier not buying into bills, starting to buy them.

Deposit in the central banks overnight window (private sector sterilization) has come down from around 200 billion to around 130 billion rupees in recent weeks.

Sri Lanka’s central bank in the past have triggered currency crises and eventual high corrective rates by not allowing Treasury bill yields to move when up private credit picks up and buying them into the balance sheet.

The resulting forex problems are then blamed on budget deficits (politicians) and current account deficits (mainly imports of the public usually petroleum, gold or cars).

The central bank can still buy Treasury bills outright from banks, term or overnight to inject money, alter rupee reserves of banks and encourage them to overtrade and trigger forex shortages, confidence shocks, capital flight and a second default, critics say.

The central bank recently lifted counterparty limits of standing facilities, which are given at the policy rate without a penalty unlike in countries with greater monetary stability.

In recent weeks the central bank has oversold bills outright and injected money long term and short term, though so far overall net injections have been deflationary. (Colombo/Feb28/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close up, retail activity coming in

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Wednesday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed up 55.29 points, or 0.52 percent at 10,678; while the S&P SL20 Index closed up at 3,056 points, up 0.06 percent, or 1.73 points.

Turnover was at 1.2 billion.

Market participants said that “retail activity is also picking up.”

Hemas Holdings Plc saw large volumes being traded, contributing 90 million to the day’s turnover. The share closed up at 75.00.

Kapruka Holdings Plc announced that it had purchased 197,015 ordinary voting shares of its subsidiary Kapruka e-Commerce (Pvt) Ltd for 13.2 million rupees at 67 a share. The proceeds will be used by Kapruka e-Commerce “to fulfill the IPO objective of launching Kapruka Partner Central, the company said. The share closed down at 6.80.

E B Creasy and Company Plc announced a disposal of investment in its subsidiary, Lanka Special Steels Limited (LSSL) in accordance with the restructuring process of the E B Creasy Group. The Board resolved “to divest its 100% stake represented by 2,138,657 shares in its subsidiary Lanka Special Steels Limited (LSSL), to subsidiary company Laxapana Batteries PLC (Laxapana) for a total consideration of Rs694mn which will be settled in installments. Shares of E B Creasy and Company Plc closed up at 22.00.

Sectors that attracted investor interest were Capital Goods (376mn), Food, Beverage and Tobacco (181mn), and Banks (166mn).

Positive contributors to the indices in the day included Hayleys Plc (up at 82.00), Chevron Lubricants Lanka Plc (up at 104.00), Vallibel One Plc (43.30), and Cargills (Ceylon) Plc (up at 349.75) whose Chairman Ranjith Paige donated 3 million rupees to the ‘Children of Gaza Fund’ earlier today. (Colombo/Feb28/2024).

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