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Saturday September 30th, 2023

Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis in known history just beginning: Parliament Speaker

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is facing the worst economic crisis in know history but it is just the beginning, parliamentary speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said commencing a debate on current status of the nation.

“I would like to say that this is the beginning of the worst economic crisis in the known history of our country,” speaker Abeywardene said.

“I am saying this is the start because, as I understand it many economists are warning that it can become much worse.

“In addition to the gas and fuel shortage there are fears that a severe food crisis may emerge.

“Whether it happens like that or we can avert it to some extent will depend on how we act in the next week.”

Sri Lanka’s printed money for two years using an intermediate regime central bank which has triggered the worst forex crisis in its since it was set up in 1950.

Sri Lanka’s economists had used the central bank to print money, create currency crisis pursuing a ‘competitive exchange rate’ monetary debasement for 72 years busting the rupee from 4.77 to the rupee when it was set up to over 300 to the US dollar by 2022.

Economists in the country have so far resisted calls to tighten its laws so that open market operations are curtail so that forex shortages can external default.

However analysts say at time legislators can revamp the law to end the discretionary ‘flexible exchange rate’ or soft-peg and end currency crises.

The monetary meltdown and external default long predicted by analysts and economists as ‘stimulus’ policy became more activist has now turned into a political crisis. (Colombo/Apr06/2022)

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Sri Lanka National Christian Council opposes Online Safety Bill

ECONOMYNEXT – The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) in a statement on the Online Safety Bill, said that the existing legal regime is adequate to deal with instances of harmful speech, making it unjustifiable to enact such “stringent laws”.

The Council called upon the government to withdraw the bill immediately.

The body expressed “deep concern” over the proposed bill, detailing its potential to curtail freedom of speech and how, according to the Council, the piece of legislature is inconsistent with the principles of democracy.

“The bill proposes the establishment of an entity named the Online Safety Commission without provisions to guarantee its independence and impartiality,” the statement said.

Chapter 3 imposes restrictions on online communication of certain statements, many of which are vague and overbroad, leaving room for executive control and the curtailing of legitimate criticism and dissent that are basic features of democracy, the statement said.

“The laws granting wide discretion to the executive and its investigative agencies with expansive reach have been misused in the past.”

The Council said that the bill was not drafted with the process of public consultation and discussion, which might have ensured the bill would be less draconian in nature.

“The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka calls upon the government to withdraw this anti-human rights and anti-democratic bill immediately.” (Colombo/Sep30/2023)

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Sri Lanka to implement new vehicle revenue licence issuing system

ECONOMYNEXT – A new system of issuing vehicle licences called eRL 2.0 is to be implemented in 5 provinces, excluding the Western Province, from 3 October onwards.

The new system is to be implemented beginning in the North West, South, North Central, Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces, respectively. The existing vehicle licence issuing system eRL 1.0 will continue to be used in the Western Province.

The issuing of revenue licences islandwide at Department of Motor Traffic head offices and regional branches will be temporarily halted on October 2.

The facility of obtaining vehicle permits online will also be temporarily halted on 6 October till midnight.

The Sri Lanka Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and the Provincial Motor Traffic Departments are working to modernize the current vehicle revenue license issuance system.

The implementation of the new eRL 2.0 system is expected to be an important step in the digitalisation of Sri Lanka. (Colombo/Sep30/2023)

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Sri Lankan Airlines flights cancelled as aircraft grounded

ECONOMYNEXT – State-run SriLankan Airlines has apologized to passengers who were stranded as multiple aircraft were grounded at the same time.

The airline said it has strict procedures which requires aircraft to be grounded when technical issues are discovered.

“Unfortunately, in this case we suffered a number of groundings at the same time,” the airline said.

“We apologize for the disruption and inconvenience caused and assure all our loyal customers that we are working diligently to minimize such occurrences moving forward.”

The airline said it was booking passengers on other airlines while some have been accommodated at hotels. (Colombo/Sept30/2023)

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