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Tuesday June 18th, 2024

Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings gets US$175mn from IFC

ECONOMYNEXT – Washington-based International Finance Corporation said it will invest 175 million US dollars in Sri Lanka’s based John Keells Holdings to help it expand retail and hotels businesses including in the Maldives.

“I believe partnering with an internationally reputed financial institution such as IFC, particularly at this juncture of time, is a vote of confidence for JKH and the country, at large,” Krishan Balendra, Chairman of John Keells Holdings said in a statement.

“Sri Lanka’s growth prospects in the medium to long-term remain positive and we are confident that, as always, we have the strength and resolve to keep moving forward with our investment pipeline despite the current period of unprecedented challenges where the outlook is now more positive.”

The credit will be the largest ever in Sri Lanka by the IFC.

The funds will go to expand JKH’s supermarket chain in Sri Lanka and hotels refurbishment in the country and also in the Maldives.

JKH plans to open about 100 new supermarkets in Sri Lanka over the next three to five years, with a focus on less developed areas.

This will benefit small and medium enterprise as well as farmers who will become a part of the supply chains of new stores.

“IFC support will enable JKH…to continue to invest, and ultimately create more jobs and work for small and medium sized businesses, despite the challenging economic headwinds and uncertainty over COVID-19,” Amena Arif, IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka and the Maldives said.

“It will also send a strong and positive message to the investor community that capital investments in Sri Lanka and Maldives are viable at this challenging time and are important to help the economies and the community to build resilience for the future.”

JKH hotels in Maldives will be comply with IFC’s ‘EDGE Buildings’ green standard.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic, tourism was Maldives top forex earner, accounting for three quarters of the nation’s gross domestic product. In Sri Lanka tourism was the third largest source of foreign exchange. (Colombo/June23/2020)

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Sri Lanka telecommunications bill some clauses ruled unconstitutional by SC: Speaker

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has found a number of clauses in a proposed amendment to the Telecom Telecommunications Amendment bill unconstitutional, speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana said.

“Clause No 8, proposed section 9A 2 of the bill is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution, however this inconsistency shall cease if word ‘may’ will be replaced with word ‘shall’ as set out in the determination of the supreme court.”

“Clause No 9 is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution and only can be passed with special majority required under paragraph 2 of the Article 84. However, the inconsistency shall cease if clause is amended as set out in the determination of the supreme court.

Clause No 12, proposed section 17 10 of the bill is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution and can only be passed with special parliament majority required under Article 84 paragraph 2. However, the inconsistency shall cease if clause is amended as set out in the determination of the supreme court.”

Sections of clauses 13, 18, 20, 33 and 35 were also in violation of the constitution, and could only be passed by a special majority of parliament. (Colombo/Jun18/2024)

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Sri Lanka to exempt one house from imputed rent wealth tax: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will exempt one house from a proposed wealth tax outlined in an International Monetary Fund program, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

About 90 percent of the people’s houses are likely to be exempt from the proposed tax, he said.

“[O]ne house will be exempt from this,” President Wickremesinghe told parliament Monday.

“It is going to have a very high threshold and I do not think the vast majority of the people in this country should even be worried about their house

“Don’t worry your house will be safe.”

The IMF program document however did not mention an exempt on one house, but did mention a threshold.

Taxing houses and thrift in general could have detrimental effects on people’s well-being housing stock and their willingness to remain in the country without migrating, critics say.

Related Sri Lanka to tax imaginary rents on houses under IMF deal

The mechanism of imputed rents was used because rates on houses was assigned to provincial councils and courts could strike it down.

Opposition legislator Harsha de Silva said the Samagi Jana Balwegaya welcomed President Wickremesinghe’s statement. (Colombo/June18/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee opens weaker at 304.30/55 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee opened at 304.30/55 to the US dollar on Tuesday, while bond yields were broadly stable, and stocks opened 0.02 percent up, dealers said.

The rupee closed at 304.00/15 to the greenback on Friday, before the long weekend.

In equities, Colombo’s All Share Price Index opened 2.06 points higher at 12,312 while the S&P SL20 of more liquid stocks opened down 0.07 percent or 2.63 points to 3,642.

The market turnover was 3.3 million rupees.

In the secondary market, yields were broadly stable, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 was quoted at 10.10/30, up from 10.05/30 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 was quoted at 11.05/30 percent, up from 11.05/20 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 was quoted stable at 11.80/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 was quoted at 11.95/12.10 percent, down from 12.00/10 percent.
(Colombo/Jun18/2024)

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