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Monday December 4th, 2023

Sri Lanka to purchase organic fertilizer from Chinese firm sued NPQS

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka-based Colombo Commercial Fertilizer Company (CCFC) Ltd. will purchase organic fertilizer from disputed China’s Qingdao Seawin Biotech, CCFC chairman said on Tuesday (11), days after the dispute over a contaminated fertilizer consignment ended with Colombo paying 6.9 million US dollars demanded by the Chinese firm.

Qingdao Seawin Biotech sued Sri Lanka’s National Plant Quarantine Service in November for 8 million US dollars and Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co Ltd demanding 8 million US dollars stating the samples were cleared before the shipment and alleged that the Sri Lankan authorities have not followed proper sample tests.

However, Sri Lankan authorities including Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had to eat their own words and pay 6.9 million rupees last week for Qingdao Seawin Biotech just before the arrival of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Commercial Fertilizer Company Ltd. is one of the two companies that ordered organic fertilizer from Qingdao Seawin Biotech.

“Earlier we had agreements for 90,000 metric tons and first we were to get 20,000 metric tons of fertilizer. We will have to come to an agreement soon about the times that the rest will be shipped, after discussion among the government departments and fertilizer organizations,” Methsiri Wijegunawardhana, President of Colombo Commercial Fertilizer Company told reporters on Tuesday.

“The first shipment will be here by the end of February or early March. The discussions about that will take place soon, and the Ministry will make an official statement about that.”

Wijegunawardhana assured that they will not get the rejected fertilizer but a fresh shipment.

“Just because one lot was rejected does not mean it will all be so and we are giving priority for lab testing.”

Sri Lanka is using independent labs to test the standard of the fertilizer as well as SGS labs in Switzerland for the first time.

He hopes to get the first shipment before the next cultivation season begins between March and April.
In October 2021, Ceylon Fertilizer Company Limited got a court order to block payment to Qingdao Seawin Biotech after a shipment was found to be contaminated on a post-shipment examination.

This resulted in China blacklisting a state-bank.

However this was resolved when Sri Lanka paid the Chinese company 6.9 million dollars on Friday (January 08) for the rejected shipment amid a forex crisis.

This week China removed the Sri Lankan state bank from its blacklist.
Wijegunawardhana said the reason behind the decision to go with the same Chinese company was because Chinese fertilizer has high quality Nitrogen and NPK in the optimum amounts,

“That’s why the Department (of Agriculture) and the relevant organizations have come to that decision.”

Colombo Commercial Fertilizer is a government fertilizer distributor who has so far imported Nano Nitrogen and organic fertilizer from China.

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Sri Lanka stocks close up as some investor interest returns

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Monday, CSE data showed.

The All Share Price Index was up 0.22 percent, or 23.33 points, at 10,743.59.

The S&P SL20 index was up 0.68 percent, or 20.60 points, at 3,067.73.

Turnover was at 708 million. The banks sector contributed 189 million, while the food, beverage and tobacco sector contributed 176 million of this.

Sri Lanka’s stock market has seen some investor interest return after last week’s news that the country had managed an agreement on a debt restructuring deal with an official creditor committee, and foreign funds for some development projects resumed.

Top positive contributors to the ASPI in the day were Sampath Bank Plc (up at 71.50), LOLC Holdings Plc (up at 379.00), and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, (up at 90.90).

There was a net foreign outflow of 52 million.

Citrus Leisure Plc, which announced that its banquet hall and revolving restaurant at the Lotus Tower would launch on or around Dec 9, saw its share price rise to 6.20 rupees. (Colombo/Dec4/2023).

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Sri Lanka rupee closes broadly steady at 328.10/30 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 328.10/30 to the US dollar on Monday, from 328.00/10 on Friday, dealers said.

Bond yields were stable.

A bond maturing on 01.06.2025 closed at 13.70/14.00 percent from 13.70/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 closed at 13.90/14.10 percent from 13.90/14.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 closed at 14.00/14.10 percent from 14.05/10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 14.20/35 percent from 14.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 14.25/45 percent, from 14.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 14.05/40 percent, from 14.00/45 percent. (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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Gov minister highlights abortion rights, sex-ed for children, and Sri Lanka men killing their women

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s legislators have politicized the topics of rape and violence without addressing the elephant in the room, Jeevan Thondaman, Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development said in parliament on Monday (4).

“All the members here are talking about rape. What happens after that? We must talk about abortion rights. That is not something anyone wants to touch on, and that is why we are in this place right now,” Thondaman said.

“Despite alarming statistics on rape and violence, women are often blamed and punished for it. The criminalisation of abortion is a major example of this.”

Sri Lanka has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. According to a 2016 estimate by the Health Ministry, he said, approximately 658 abortions take place a day, and close to 250,000 a year.

“That’s 250,000 women whose lives you are endangering.”

He added that what was needed at this point in time was comprehensive sexual education (CSE) for children and young people.

“Only through CSE in schools will children and young people develop, accurate, age appropriate knowledge attitude and skills; positive values such as respect for human rights, gender equality, diversity and attitude and skills that contribute to a safe, healthy and positive relationship.”

Thondaman pointed out that CSE plays a pivotal role in preparing young people for a world where HIV, AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, and sexual and gender based violence still pose a risk to their well-being.

“CSE basically empowers children take control and make informed decisions freely and responsibly.”

Thondaman also highlighted the findings of a 2021 study (Fatalities_20211109_UNFPA) by the UNFPA and the University of Kelaniya that showed that a majority of women killed in Sri Lanka were murdered by those close to them.

“62 percent of homicides of Sri Lankan women are committed by either an intimate partner, ex-partner or family member. 84 percent are killed in their own homes by someone they know.”

Police and the judiciary have failed Sri Lanka’s women, the minister pointed out.

“Only 5 percent of these cases, between 2013-2017, were ever concluded. Men claim they were provoked, or are of unsound mind or have mental illness: These have been successful defenses. And the Police often express sympathy to this narrative as opposed to the victim’s.”

“We have a history of protecting oppressors.”

It takes 7-10 years for a child rape case to conclude, he pointed out.

Establishment of child courts are needed, he said, as well as several legislative amendments. “The government is working on a new law to reform the domestic violence act, reform of marriage and divorce laws to ensure there is an easier path to divorce: no one should be forced to remain in a marriage that is either abusive or not healthy.” (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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