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Sunday December 3rd, 2023

Sri Lanka’s Colombo port to use bicycles amid assurances of fuel and power

HUMAN POWER: Sri Lanka’s Colombo port given 100 bicycles amid currency crisis

ECONOMYNEXT – State-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority has received assurances of continued electricity supply and  ample fuel for operations and 100 bicycles have been available people to get around, officials said.

SLPA Chairman Prasantha Jayamanna said the port had long-standing mechanisms to cope with crises.

Colombo Port was one of the few in the region that remained open during the Coronavirus crises.

Sri Lanka is now facing the worst currency crisis triggered by the island’s intermediate regime central bank in its 72-year-old history and with inflation soaring and the currency plunging in a botched float which had failed to eliminate forex shortages as interventions and money printing continues.

Sri Lanka has is facing power cuts and fuel shortfalls due to forex shortages.

The port had continued to operate throughout the crisis and work had only been disrupted only when a curfew was imposed on May 9th, officials said.

The Ceylon Electricity Board had given assurances that the port, airport and hospitals are priority areas to which power would not be cut.

“We were reliably told that there is sufficient coal for generation until October. If necessary, we can import our own heavy fuel oil to generate power for the port,” Romesh David, who heads privately run South Asia Gateway Terminals said.

The port had enough fuel at the moment and there was also an arrangement for workers to get fuel.

There were three filling stations within the port and it was a customer of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and also Lanka IOC, officials said.

The Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents (CASA) has gifted 100 bicycles to the port amid the fuel crisis for internal use.

SLPA was now building a bicycle track which is now nearing completion. (Colombo/May31/2022)

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Sri Lanka UGC wants to boost number of IT-related degrees

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s University Grants Commission is of the view to boost the number of Information Technology (IT) related degrees in state universities with an aim to pave the way for a digital economy.

Sri Lanka’shigher education system has been producing more graduates in Arts stream while the degrees in highly demanded IT and other engineering services are being looked at only now.

“We do have a high demand for engineering, science, AI, computer and electronical engineering

studies,” Chairman of University Grants Commission, Sampath Amaratunga, told reporters at aa media briefing on Friday

“However, while avoiding neglecting the humanities, we should develop new IT skills.”

Amaratunga confirmed that a student who studied in any stream could obtain an IT degree, including students who studied in the arts stream.

The UGC data show that out of 18,490 engineering technology stream students who sat for their Advanced Levels (A/L) in 2022, 10634 were eligible for university.

“Even streams like agriculture should be encouraged to use technology,” Amaratunga said. (Colombo/Dec 2/2023)

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Sri Lanka leader inaugurates Climate Justice Forum at COP28 in Dubai

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe launched Climate Justice Forum (CJF) at the ongoing 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) held in Dubai in a move to gather support for vulnerable nations hit by climate-change led disasters.

This year’s climate summit held in Dubai’s EXPO2020 features a raft of issues for countries working to find common ground in tackling climate change, including whether to phase out fossil fuels and how to finance the energy transition in developing countries.

Wickremesinghe inaugurated the Climate Justice Forum at COP28 on Saturday and emphasized the critical importance of addressing climate issues with a sense of justice and equity.

The President had been in talks with many nations vulnerable to climate change disasters including African and South American countries to get their support for the CJF.

The move is to compel advanced and developed countries to look into the poor nations hit by the climate changes and help them to get over economic and debt burdens by either investing more in green energy initiatives or writing off debts to ease financial pressure.

Sri Lanka, which is now facing an unprecedented economic crisis, has seen increasing losses and damages, both human lives and physical properties due to climate change-led disasters like floods, drought, and earth slips.

In his speech at the COP28 forum, Wickremesinghe on Friday said the Climate Justice Forum will provide a platform for constructive and proactive engagements. (Dubai/Dec 2/2023)

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Sri Lanka IMF review goes to executive board on December 12

ECONOMYNEXT – The first review of Sri Lanka’s International Monetary Fund program is scheduled to go the lender’s Executive Board for consideration on December 12.

Sri Lanka officials were expecting the review to be completed in December as soon as official creditors gave their assurances.

According to the notice Sri Lanka had missed one performance criterion and has requested modifications.

Sri Lanka has outperformed on a number of quantity targets including inflation. In addition to quantity PCs there was also one non-accumulation of arrears.

There would also be re-phasing of access. The review was originally expected around September with another review based on December data, leading to September and March disbursements.

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