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Tuesday February 27th, 2024

Temperamental weather forecast for Sri Lanka: Heavy rainfall amid extreme heat

ECONOMYNEXT – The sun will continue to shine directly above Sri Lanka till April 14 resulting in extreme heat, even as the rest of the island is forecast to experience heavy rainfall, the department of meteorology said.

High temperatures were recorded in Bolawatta, Wedeniya, Wattarama, Ambagamuwa, Digana, Mahawala, Galgamuwa, Ampara and Oluvil at 12.12pm today.

“The sun, on its apparent march from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere, will be directly over the latitudes of Sri Lanka from April 05 to 14,” the met department said on its blog.

The latitudes at which the sun will be directly overhead, the closest towns corresponding to the given latitudes and the times at which the sun will appear overhead, are mentioned in the table below, courtesy the met department.

This phenomenon occurs twice a year: in March-April and August-September. This means that from August 28 to September 07 this year the sun will again move directly above Sri Lanka’s altitudes.

Sri Lankans have been experiencing extreme caution-level heat on their skin.

Meanwhile, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) have requested the public to preserve water in the coming days due to prevailing drought conditions across the country.

NWSDB officials said the high temperatures as well as increased water consumption during the Avurudu festive season makes it difficult for board to continue the same level of water supply. People who live in higher elevations may experience low-pressure supply, the board said.

However, the intense heat notwithstanding, the met department predicts thunderstorms and gusty winds in the days ahead. In an advisory issued today, the department recommended precautionary measures to minimise damage from temporary localised strong winds and lightning during thundershowers.

Heavy rainfall up to 100mm and thunderstorms have been forecast for this evening in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, Central, Southern, Uva, North-western and North-central provinces.

Misty conditions can also be expected in parts of the Central, Sabaragamuwa and Western provinces in the morning hours, department said.

The seas off the coast extending from Colombo to Matara via Galle may experience showers and thunderstorms in the evening or night, the department warned. However, it said, fair weather will prevail over the other the other sea areas around the island.

Winds will be north-westerly to south-westerly in the sea areas extending from Kankasanturai to Hambantota via Puttalam, Colombo and Galle, while in other sea areas, winds will be south-easterly to North-easterly. Wind speeds will be anywhere between 30 to 40kmph according to the met department.

During the forecast thunderstorms, it said, the sea is expected to be very rough and have strong gusty winds up to 70-80 kmph. (Colombo/Apr08/2021)

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Sri Lanka president appoints Supreme Court-faulted official as police chief after CC clearance

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed Deshbandu Tennakoon as the 36th Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the country after the Constitutional Council (CC) cleared the official who along with three other police officers were asked by the Supreme Court to compensate 2 million rupees in a fundamental rights case last year.

“President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed Deshbandu Tennakoon as the IGP in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution,” the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

The island nation’s Supreme Court on December 14 ordered Tennakoon when he was the Acting IGP and three other officials to pay a compensation of 500,000 rupees each for the violation of the fundamental rights of an individual.

The Supreme Court also instructed the Police Commission to take disciplinary action against the said Police officers after it considered the petition filed by W. Ranjith Sumangala who had accused the Police officers of violating his fundamental rights during his detention at Mirihana Police Station in 2011.

The Supreme Court held that the four police officers violated the fundamental rights of the petitioner by his illegal arrest, detention and subjection to torture at the Mirihana Police Station, which was under the supervision of Tennakoon at the time of the arrest.

President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake presented the official appointment letter to Tennakoon on Monday (26) at the Presidential Secretariat.

When Tennakoon was asked over if the Supreme Court decision would have an impact on his appointment as the IGP last week, he declined to comment, saying that it was a Supreme Court matter and he does not want to say anything about it.

Tennakoon was also criticized by Colombo Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith when he was appointed as the Acting IGP citing allegations against him related to security lapses leading up to the Easter Sunday attacks which killed at least 269 in April 2019.

However, Tennakoon rejected the allegations. (Colombo/Feb 26/2024)

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No water tariff hike in Sri Lanka this year: Minister

Millennium Challenge Corporation Photo.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s planned water tariff formula is ready, and the government will implement it this year only if the formula’s tariff is lower than the current price, Water Supply Minister Jeevan Thondaman said.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government has been implementing IMF-led pricing policies on utilities and the Water Supply Ministry has already come up with a formula.

“There is a water tariff formula in place right now and we are waiting for it to be drafted and seek approval from the cabinet,” Thondaman told reporters at a media briefing in Colombo on Monday.

“Once this water tariff formula is in place, there will be an annual revision with an option of biannual review.

The formula has been developed with the help of the Asian Development Bank. The formula includes electricity and exchange rate among many others as components like the fuel formula.

The National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWS&DB) increased the water tariff in August 2023, claiming that the operating cost had been increased owing to high interest payment for bank loans and increased electricity prices.

The last year revision saw the consumers paying 30-50 percent increase from the existing water bill.

Minister Thondaman said he will implement the new formula this year only if there is a reduction.


“We will have to wait to see what the formula is. If the formula shows us there needs to be a reduction in the water tariff, we can implement it. But if there is an increase, why should we burden the people when we are on a road to recovery?” he said.

He said a group of experts including University Professors are working on the formula and the numbers.

“Once they come with the number, we will have to take a decision on whether we are going to impose on the people or not,” he said.

“We have already spoken to the Asian Development Bank and informed them we have established the formula. But according to the ADB requirement of this policy-based loan, the implementation period is only in 2025.”

“But right now, you want to take the approval for the formula for sustainability.”

The Energy Ministry is considering a drastic slash in electricity tariff soon. Thondaman said the exact numbers will be decided on after the finalized electricity tariff.

However, he said that as per the formula, there has to be a up to 10 percent increase in the water tariff as of now.

“Given the current formula set up, there must be around a 9-10 percent increase. It was actually at 14 percent. What we have done is since it is at 14 percent, we also did a calculation to see how we can do a cost cutting,” he said.

“So, despite our cost cutting measures, there will be an increase of 9 or 10 percent. But we will not be imposing it as of now because this year is meant to be policy sector reforms. Next year is meant to be the implementation.”

“As per August 2023 water tariff hike, we are able to come close to sustainable. So right now, there is no issue in the water sector. But a formula eventually needs to be established.” (Colombo/Feb 26/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 310.80/311.00 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 310.80/311.00 to the US dollar Monday, from 310.95/311.05 on Thursday, dealers said.

Bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed stable at 10.60/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.80/90 percent down from 11.90/12.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.03.2028 closed at 12.00/12.15 percent down from 12.10/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.20/70 percent from 12.20/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 12.30/70 percent down from 12.40/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2031 closed at 12.60/80 percent from 12.45/13.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.50/90 percent from 12.50/13.30 percent. (Colombo/Feb26/2024)

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