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Monday April 15th, 2024

Sri Lanka to use vehicles confiscated by Customs for police work

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is planning to hand over vehicles confiscated from the public which are now rotting away at the port for police work, State Minister for Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitya has said.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has instructed that legal barriers that now prevent the handing over of vehicles to police be removed.

“Some of these vehicles which were seized by Customs for violating import regulations have been rusting away for up to seven years,” Minister Siyambalapitiya was quoted as saying after a tour of Hambantota Port.

Sri Lanka police need more vehicles, especially for its work countering drugs, where the use is said to be increasing.

Sri Lanka also plans to set up 111 new police stations.

Sri Lanka police now have about 12,000 vehicles and more than half are over 20 years old, he said.

“These vehicles are not enough for 600 police stations around the country and 111 police stations that are newly established,” he said.

Sri Lanka has arrested more than 6,000 individuals in a crackdown against methamphetamine (ICE) up to October 2022 and seized 377 kilos of the drug, a National Dangerous Drug Control Board (NDDCB) official said.

According to the data issued by the NDDCB Sri Lanka has arrested 67,900 individuals from January to October 2022 period in drug-related charges, a 77.8 percent increase from the same period in 2021.

Of that 67,900. Heroine-related charges came up to 35,765, 25,114 were Cannabis related while 6,728 were ICE-related arrests. (Colombo/ Dec 22/2022)

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Sri Lanka to discuss two contentious points with bondholders: report

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka and sovereign bondholders are to discuss two matters in the near future which the two sides failed to reach agreement at March talks in London, a media report quoting a top aide to President Wickremesinghe as saying.

Sri Lanka and bondholders had discussed four matters on restructuring international sovereign bonds in late March and agreement had been reached on two, President’s Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayake was quoted as saying on state-run ITN television.

A restructuring proposal by bondholders was not in line with IMF requirements, and Sri Lanka had sent a counter proposal, he said.

The matters will be discussed at round of talks in the near future.

Sri Lanka was optimistic of reaching an agreement with the bondholders before June, officials have said.

According to matters already in the public domain, sovereign bond holders are keen to get a bond tied to dollar gross domestic product, as they feel IMF growth projections are too low.

In past re-structuring so-called value recovery instruments, a type of warrant, gave their owners extra payments if a country did better than expected and were tied to items like oil prices.

Bondholders had initially proposed bond which would have a lower hair cut initially, and it will have additional hair cuts if growth is low (about 3.1 percent) as projected in an IMF debt sustainability analysis. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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BIMSTEC Secretary General visits Sri Lanka, discusses regional cooperation

ECONOMYNEXT – The Secretary General of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), discussed measures to enhance regional cooperation, during his visit to the island last week.

Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, Secretary General of BIMSTEC visited Sri Lanka from 07 – 12 April 2024, following his assumption of office as Secretary General of BIMSTEC in January this year.

The Secretary General “met with senior officials of relevant Ministries/Agencies to discuss measures to enhance regional cooperation under various BIMSTEC initiatives,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Several BIMSTEC countries have bilateral trade agreements, such as Sri Lanka and India, Thailand and Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, but no collective regional agreement to enable intra-regional leverage.

During the visit, Secretary General Pandey held discussions with Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and paid courtesy calls on the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Secretary General Pandey participated at an event on “Regional Cooperation through BIMSTEC” organized by the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKI) on 9 April. (Colombo/April15/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 299.00/10 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 299.00/10 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Monday, from 298.50/55 on Wednesday, dealers said, while bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed stable at 11.30/35 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed stable at 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed at 12.10/20 percent up from 12.10/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed stable at 12.20/40 percent. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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