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Sunday February 25th, 2024

Sri Lanka president warns against unlawful anti-government protests

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will weed out any unlawful protest movements such as the Aragalaya (anti-government protests) using the state forces and the Emergency Law while others can demonstrate after obtaining permission from police, President Ranil Wickremesinghe told the parliament.

President Wickremesinghe said he will not give space for movement such as “Aragalaya” a protest early this year that forced to overthrow the government led by former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

“There are plans to initiate another Aragalaya to change the government. But I won’t give space for that. I will get the military and the forces and I will impose State of Emergency,” Wickremesinghe told the parliament on Wednesday (23).

“Anyone has the freedom to protest. But, go to the Police and take the permission and then walk on the roads, shout I am a dictator or I am like Hitler, but just take permission and don’t obstruct traffic,” he said.

From March, Sri Lanka saw a string of anti-government protests that grew into a nationwide protest. It resulted in ouster of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who fled the country and subsequently stepping down paving the way for Wickremesinghe to become the President.

He said a committee will be established to investigate the motive behind the protest and the perpetrators of violence during the protests.

Protests became violent on May 9 after former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s supporters attacked unarmed and peaceful protesters in Colombo. The violence killed at least eight people and left 65 houses belonging to 38 politicians from then ruling nationalist Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) damaged, while 88 vehicles were  damaged, Police data showed.

Wickremsinghe’s house was also burnt on July 9.

He added that although Aragalaya members protested and shouted everyday, they have no one behind them now and that some media also had a hand in the demonstrations.

He said all of them will be investigated. (Colombo/Nov23/2022)

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  1. sacre blieu says:

    He should equally address the fraudsters, corrupt and bribe takers of the same consequences, as the state is spending far too much money on unending court cases and even the legal fraternity know about this and stay silent.

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  1. sacre blieu says:

    He should equally address the fraudsters, corrupt and bribe takers of the same consequences, as the state is spending far too much money on unending court cases and even the legal fraternity know about this and stay silent.

Sri Lanka could get US$500mn from ADB in 2024

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka could receive 500 million US dollars in support from the Asian Development Bank in 2024 based on the progress of policy reforms, Country Director of the Manila-based lender, Takafumi Kadono said.

The ADB expect to go to its Board around March or April with a 100 million US dollar power sector loan subject to the cabinet of ministers of approving a revised electricity reform bill.

A 100 million dollar loan to support SMEs could also be approved in the early part of the year. Sri Lanka is setting up a credit guarantee agency to support credit for small firms.

A 200 million dollar credit for financial sector was also slated for the year. The ADB gave the first tranche of the financial sector policy loan late last year.

A $100mn for the water sector could also be approved later in the year.

Sri Lanka could get around 200 to 300 million US dollars a year at the lowest rate, or concessional ordinary capital resources (COL) rate of 2 percent.

The balance of would come at the ordinary capital resource rate linked to SOFR.

The ADB has also started work on a ‘Country Partnership Strategy’ for Sri Lanka covering the 2024-2028 period, Kadodo said. (Colombo/Feb25/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s multi-aligned foreign policy based on friendship: Min

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s multi-aligned foreign policy is based on friendship to all and enmity to none, its Minister of Foreign Affairs has said.

“Non-alignment means not becoming a bystander. Non-alignment means you are not forced or coerced into a camp to take sovereign decisions… you make your own choices. Whether it is commercial, security, regional or otherwise,” M U M Ali Sabry said on X (twitter).

“I have repeatedly stressed that sovereignty is the right to have your own opinion on what’s right and wrong, and to stand by your principles. Our multi-aligned foreign policy is based on friendship to all and enmity to none,” Sabry was quoting from his speech at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI) Foreign Policy Forum, on the theme ‘Reassessing Non-Alignment in a Polarised World’.

Sri Lanka is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The strategically located island has been increasingly walking a fine line between opposing global factions as it seeks to come out of a financial crisis. (Colombo/Feb24/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank Dec net down on tax provisions

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank of Ceylon reported profits of 6.9 billion rupees from the December 2023 quarter down 21 percent, despite an improvement in net interest income and lower provisions, amid a change in tax provisions.

Pre-tax profits were 8.89 billion rupees up from 2.4 billion rupees. There was a 6.4 billion tax reversal last year compared to a 1.7 billion rupee tax charge this year.

Commercial Bank reported earnings of 5.26 rupees for the quarter. For the year to December 2023 earnings were 16.07 rupees per share on total profits of 21.1 billion rupees, down 11.3 percent.

Net fee and commission income was down 1.2 percent to 6.1 billion rupees.

Net interest income went up 16.8 percent to 25.5 billion rupees, with interest income rising marginally by 1.3 percent to 73.0 billion rupees and interest expense falling 5.45 percent to 47.5 billion rupees.

Loans and advances to customers grew 4.06 percent to 1.17 billion rupees in the year to December. Debt and other financial instruments fell 10.5 percent to 649 billion rupees.

Financial assets measured and fair value through other comprehensive income was at 287 billion rupees, up from 117 billion rupees.

Impairment charges were 13.1 billion rupees, down from 19.6 billion rupees last year.

Gross assets were up 6.45 percent to 2.36 billion rupees. Net assets were up 5.51 percent to 214 billion rupees. (Colombo/Feb24/2024)

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