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Monday December 4th, 2023

Sri Lanka to reduce power cut duration from April 18 as rains start – PUCSL

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is expected to reduce power cuts from April 18 due to availability of more fuel, coal and water to generate power though there will still be blackouts as part of a measure to manage the resources for longer term, a top official said.

The country has decided for uninterrupted power supply April 13 to 15 during the two-day Sinhala-Tamil new year followed by Good Friday.

However, there will be a 2 hour and 15 minutes power cut on April 16 and 17 from 8 am to 5 pm which would further be reduced from April 18.

“The power cuts can be reduced because we have enough resources from the three main power generator sources – fuel, coal and water,”  Janaka Ratnayake, Chairman of Public Utilities Commission of
Sri Lanka told at a media briefing on Monday (11).

“There is no issue with coal, we have an adequate amount at the moment. There are arrangements to pay for five shipments, and the Central Bank will support us in that. So using these three sources, there is a large possibility for the power cuts to decrease from the 18th onwards.”

He said they are getting the required supply of diesel from the state-run fuel retailer “the CEYPETCO in a systematic way and
adequate manner.”

Sri Lanka has started getting its monsoon rains which would often continue till August.

According to PUCSL the island’s reservoirs had dropped to 20 percent in the past weeks but now they have been filled up to 50 percent.

However, the commission does not want to stop power cuts entirely as it saves resources better and mange it for longer term.

“Our hope is that from the 18th, we will be able to manage the situation without long power cuts,” Ratnayake said.

“Our plan is to use the rainfall received from the monsoon in place of oil, as that can run out, and minimizing the power cuts,” said PUCSL chief who said 367 MW of power can be generated from reservoirs at the moment and during the rainy season if often generates 15 MW per day.

“Especially around May, when the rains increase, we can improve on the situation and increase the amount of water held in the reservoirs. So if we are able to do that, we can manage the other sources of
energy and get out of this situation,” Ratnayake said.

“Because of the power cuts, the PUCSL have said they have approximately 1,700 to 2,000 megawatts of power per day. We can manage that. The government offices are also on holiday, therefore the commission hopes to manage the situation.”

“We hope to go for a long term plan by using all sources of power systematically. We can use up all the water in 2-3 days and provide electricity, but while we are getting good levels of rainfall, we want to
manage the resources over the next couple of months,” Ratnayake explained.

“I think the current situation came about because there were power cuts that lasted more than twelve hours, which affected all strata of society. The only way to manage the situation favorably is to minimize
the cuts within the next 2-3 months. (Colombo/April11/2022)

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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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