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Wednesday September 27th, 2023

Sri Lanka to receive 185,000 doses of Sputnik V next week; US-donated AstraZeneca expected

The Sputnik V vaccine contains two slightly different doses – Image credit: Marco Verch/Flickr

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will receive 185,000 doses of the Russian made Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine by next Tuesday (25) with a portion of the 20 million AstraZeneca doses donated to countries by the United States also expected, State Minister Channa Jayasumana said.

Sri Lanka received 15,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine on May 04 and rollout began May 16.

Jayasumana, Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Pharmaceutical Production Supply and Regulation, told reporters today that after the May 25 consignment, a regular supply of Sputnik V can be expected from June onwards until a promised seven million doses have all been delivered.

US President Joe Biden announced that 20 million of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine currently in storage in the US will be donated to the countries around the world. Minister Jayasumana said Sri Lanka is among these countries.

Sri Lanka has given the second dose of AstraZeneca to 292,457 people out of 925,242 who have received their first jab.

Meanwhile the first dose of the China-manufactured Sinopharm vaccine has been administered to 424,823 including Chinese nationals as of today (18). The second dose has been given to 2,435 Chinese nationals who received their first dose weeks before the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) approved it for emergency use in Sri Lanka.

Out of the 15,000 doses of Sputnik V, 14,699 have been administered as of May 17.

Chief Epidemiologist Dr Sudath Samaraweera said the expert’s committees have recommended the vaccines for breast feeding women as well.

“No complications will arise after getting the vaccine and mothers can continue to breastfeed children before and right after receiving the vaccine,” Samaraweera said.

“The vaccine will not affect the milk or its nutrition in any way,” he added.

Obstetrician and gynaecologist and health ministry consultant Dr Pradeep Silva said the ministry’s technical committee has also approved the vaccine for pregnant women.

“However, the vaccine will be given only under the supervision and recommendation of a specialist and with the willingness of the mother,” Silva said.

Guidelines will be issued in the near future for breastfeeding and pregnant women regarding the vaccine, the official said. (Colombo/May 17/2021)

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Sri Lanka rupee opens at 323.50/324.10 to the US dollar, bond yields stable

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee opened at 323.50/324.10 to the US dollar on Wednesday, after closing on Tuesday at 323.70/324.20 to the US dollar, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 was quoted at 15.50/70 percent on Wednesday up from Tuesday’s close at 15.45/65 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 was quoted at 14.50/55 percent from closing at Tuesday at 14.30/55 percent. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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Sinopec to go up to 200 Sri Lanka pumping stations, more possible: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT- China’s Sinopec which has been assigned 150 fuel retail outlets in sri Lanka which were operated by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, has been given the nod to set up another 50 stations, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera has said.

Out of 150 stations, Sinopec has already signed up 145, Minister Wijesekera had said at a dealer convention of the new company.

‘Also we have given them the opportunity to start 50 brand new stations, in locations that may fit the requirements that exists,” Minister Wijesekera said in comments broadcast by Sri Lanka’s Derana Television.

“But it is not necessary to be restricted to 200 fuel stations. If there are any requests made by you we will be open to consideration for agreements with dealers and distributors.”

Minister Wijesekera attended the dealer convention where China’s ambassador to Colombo Qi Zhenhong was also present.

Sinopec was supposed to enter Sri Lanka in 2003 under current President Ranil Wickremesinghe who was then Prime Minister. At the time India’s IOC entered Sri Lanka.

“Under the leadership of the then prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, two companies asked to take part in the retail operations,” Minister Wijesekera said.

“Unfortunately due to the change of government in 2004 the companies could not take part, and due to the political changes and policy changes.

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Sri Lanka making new laws for Colombo financial zone: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is drawing up a new law for Colombo Financial Zone at the Port City and also an economic commission replace the Board of Investment, President Ranil Wickremesinghe ha said.

Sri Lanka wanted to position itself as a central player in the region providing services including legal and dispute resolution. Several new laws were in the cards.

“One is the new legislation which will replace the port city to make it a Colombo financial zone with jurisdiction for offshore activity,” President Wickremesinghe was quoted as saying at a symposium on alternate dispute resolution.

“The new law has been drafted. And we will see the light of day before the end of the year. Secondly, the BOI will be replaced with the Economic Commission. Which is also looking at the resolution of disputes.”

Sri Lanka has set up an Alternate Dispute Resolution Centre in 2018.

Sri Lanka was looking at Singapore as an example and should strive to match or surpass the country except for costs where it should be a competitive advantage, President had said.

There was a void in the region Sri Lanka can fill.

“This is the key lesson to be derived. Furthermore, it is essential for all lawyers and individuals involved in legal services to broaden their perspectives and explore opportunities beyond their current scope,” he said.

Singapore however has monetary stability and has rejected printing money for growth. Sri Lanka on the other runs from one currency crisis to another by cutting rates with printed money for growth (targeting so-called potential output).

Sri Lanka has in a new law legalized printing money for growth in a new monetary law, the very strategy that drove the country into series of currency crises and eventual default, critics have warned.

The Port City however is a dollarized zone, which will be free of ‘monetary policy’ for growth. (Colombo/Sept27/2023)

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