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Friday July 12th, 2024

Sri Lanka teacher salary hike, graduates drive up wage bill in 2023 as other sectors fall

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government salary bill fell to 939 billion rupees in 2023 from 956 billion amid a hiring and wage freeze but provincial council salary costs went up due to teachers and graduates, official data showed.

The central government salary bill fell to 327.29 billion rupees in 2023 down from 367.4 billion rupees in 2022, as retirees were not replaced and wages were frozen.

But the transfers for wages of provincial councils went up 10 percent to 300.2 billion rupees, from 268.8 billion rupees.

“This increase was mainly due to the impact of salary increase given to the Teachers in 2022 and the salaries of the graduates attached to Provincial Councils which were borne by the Provincial Councils Budget in 2023,” the 2023 Final budget report said.

The teacher salary increment in a 2022 budget after teachers was paid in stages in 2022 and 2023.

In 2024, after taxing the public to high levels, a 10,000 rupee salary hike was given to all state workers.

A teacher union has now launched another strike for higher pay.

Sri Lanka has had a practice of giving jobs at public expense to unemployed graduates after the practice was promoted by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and was seized up by the Rata Perata economic policy from 2004.

The state workers and state enterprise cadre is now 1.35 million people.

Defence salaries were only down 2 percent to 217 billion rupees. (Colombo/July10/2024)

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Sri Lanka appoints new Attorney General

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed K A Parinda Ranasinghe PC as Attorney General.

He was appointed in terms of Article 61E (b) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, the president’s media division said.

The new AG received the appointment from President Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat on Friday.

He fills the post after the retirement of former Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes stronger at 301.70/302.00 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed stronger at 301.70/302.00 to the US dollar on Friday, from 302.80/303.00 to the US dollar on Thursday, dealers said, while bond yields were up.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.90/11.00 percent, up from 10.85/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2027 closed at 11.75/80 percent, up from 11.80/88 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 closed at 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.10/30 percent, up from 12.15/25 percent. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close up, muted activity

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

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.35 percent, or 41.71 points, at 11,843; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed up 0.56 percent, or 19.20 points, at 3,454.

Turnover was low at 653 million.

“The market picked up a bit from yesterday but it’s still below the psychological 12,000 mark,” Softlogic Stockbrokers said.

“Local retail participation drove the market predominantly.”

John Keells Holdings Plc brought in Rs109mn to the turnover, and the share closed flat at 194.50.

Melstacorp Plc contributed in Rs104mn to the turnover, and the share closed flat at 85.00.

Sentiment around the banking counters was mostly negative. Sampath Bank Plc closed down at 77.00, closed flat at 101.25, and Hatton National Bank Plc closed flat at 195.25.

The top contributors to the ASPI were Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc (up at 103.50), Bukit Darah Plc (up at 397.00), and Hayleys Plc (up at 101.00).

Foreign participation remained low as well. There was a higher net foreign outflow of 101 million.

“Foreign selling was seen on John Keells Holdings, and banking counters; Hatton National Bank Plc (down at 195.00), Pan Asia Banking Corporation Plc (down at 20.70), and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc.

There was selective foreing interest on the diversified financials sector, particularly in companies that had vehicle leasing portfolios. “We think this might be due to the news of the vehicle import ban possibly ending.”

LOLC Holdings Plc closed up at 440.50, People’s Leasing and Finance Plc closed up at 12.20.

Softlogic Holdings Plc which announced the date of its rights issue, closed up at 8.50. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

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