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Saturday March 2nd, 2024

Sri Lanka’s state workers must not disrupt revenue generating sectors: MP

ECONOMYNEXT – Sections of Sri Lanka’s state sector that does not generate revenue must not disrupt those who do, government MP Vajira Abeywardena said, calling on unions not to sabotage ongoing efforts to increase wages for both state and private sector workers.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday November 07, Abeywardena said “shouting and holding placards on the streets” achieves nothing and only results in the disruption of economic activity, which the MP insinuated ends up financing their salaries.

“By this time last year, we were living in a society that would break into applause at the sight of a fuel bowser or a gas truck. Now that that’s ended and people have been given the opportunity to get on the streets, using the same old political tactics to bring down the country would be a tragedy indeed,” said Abeywardena.

“The entire state machinery as a group doesn’t generate revenue. Some do, but the majority doesn’t. They must not disrupt those who generate income for them. Shouting and holding placards on the streets achieves nothing. All it does is block whatever you’re already getting,” he said.

The United National Party (UNP) MP said President Ranil Wickremesinghe has clearly indicated that he wishes to increase state sector salaries and also wants to create an environment that will facilitate a corresponding pay rise in the private sector.

“So why try to sabotage it now?” said Abeywardena.


Sri Lanka state minister defends salary hike proposal amid revenue shortfall concerns

The MP also noted that there are several government officials working in a single village, including the Grama Niladhari, a Development Officer, an agriculture officer, Samurdhi official, a family planning expert and a public health inspector There are 14,022 grama niladhari units, 377 Pradeshiya Sabhas and 25 district offices.

“If this mechanism had been run correctly, economic growth would’ve shot up. There is an issue there. They know it; we know it.

“The World Bank and other donors also see this. Even as they give us funds they tell us there is a weakness here,” the MP said. (Colombo/Nov08/2023)

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Sri Lanka eyes SOE law by May 2024 for better governance

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is planning to pass a Public Commercial Business (PCB) Act improve governance of state-owned enterprise by May 2024 as part of an anti-corruption efforts following an International Monetary Fund assessment.

Sri Lanka’s state enterprises have been used by politicians to give ‘jobs of the boys’, appropriate vehicles for personal use, fill board of directors and key positions with henchmen and relatives, according to critics.

Meanwhile macro-economists working for the state also used them to give off-budget subsides or made energy utilities in particular borrow through supplier’s credits and state banks after forex shortages are triggered through inflationary rate cuts.

The government has taken billons of dollars of loans given to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation from state banks.

There have also been high profile procurement scandals connected to SOEs.

An SOE Reform Policy was approved by Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers in May 2023.

The Public Commercial Business (PCB) Act has now been drafted.

A holding company to own the SOEs will be incorporated and an Advisory Committee and Board of Directors will be appointed after the PCB law is approved, the statement said. (Colombo/Mar01/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 308.80/90 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 308.80/90 to the US dollar Friday, from 309.50/70 on Thursday, dealers said.

Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed at 10.65/75 percent up from 10.50/70 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.05 percent from 11.90/12.10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 12.15/35 percent down from 12.20/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.25/40 percent up from 12.30/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 12.30/45 percent down from 12.35/50 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.50/13.00 percent from 12.55/13.00 percent. (Colombo/Mar1/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.37-pct, Expo to de-list

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up 0.37 percent on Friday, and SG Holdings, the parent company of Expolanka Holdings Plc, said it was taking the company private.

Expolanka is the largest listed company on the Colombo Stock Exchange.

“Expolanka Holdings PLC has, at the Board Meeting held on 1st March 2024, considered a request from its principal shareholder and resolved to initiate the de-listing of the Company’s shares from the Official List of the Colombo Stock Exchange subject to obtaining necessary shareholder approval and regulatory approvals,” the company said in a stock exchange filing.

As per arrangements with SG Holdings Global Pte Ltd, the Company’s majority shareholder, it will purchase its shares from shareholders who may wish to divest their shareholding in the Company at a purchase price of Rs 185.00 per share. The share closed up at 150.50.

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.37 percent, or 39.47 points, at 10,691; while the S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.64 percent, or 19.59 points, at 3,037.

Turnover stayed above the 1 billion mark for the sixth consecutive day, registering 1.4 billion.

Crossings in Melstarcorp Plc (135mn) up at 89.50, Hatton National Bank Plc (64mn) up at 158.00, Hemas Holdings Plc (53mn) up at 75.00 and Central Finance Company Plc (26mn) up at 103.50, added significantly to the day’s turnover.

“The upward trend is continuing, with more retail buying also coming in, the number of trades was more than 10,000 today,” a market participant said. “Investors are looking for undervalued stocks and buying in quantities.” (Colombo/Mar1/2024).

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