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Saturday April 20th, 2024

World Bank funds Sri Lanka Coronavirus vaccines, ICUs, test kits, lockdown cash

ECONOMYNEXT – World Bank credits and grants are funding Coronavirus vaccines, intensive care units, test kits, as well as 5,000 rupee cash grants for people in lockdown, a program review shows.

The World Bank started a COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project (ERHSP) and also re-directed funds from existing programs to battle the pandemic.

An 80.5 million credit is now being used to buy 5 million doses of Pfizer vaccines which started to arrive in July and will come till late 2021.

Money has been used to buy one million rapid antigen kits, 390,000 PCR test kits, 1.1 million personal protective clothes for hospitals.

An 88.97 million dollar credit was used to help poor people who lost incomes.

1,338,422 people who lost incomes lockdowns received a one-time cash transfer of 5,000 rupees and 417,427 beneficiaries sent on home quarantine received an in-kind transfer of food packs worth of 5,000 for two weeks from October to December 2020.

629,303 elderly persons, 52,940 people with special needs, and 18,972 patients with chronic kidney disease were supported during the first wave of the pandemic, the agenc said.

26 cabs and 805 motorbikes have been bought for Medical Officers of the Health and Public Health Inspectors COVID management activities.

The additional vehicles increased capacity for contact tracing, testing, and follow up, as well as vaccine deployment activities.

70 intermediate care centers with isolation facilities are being refurbished or modified to handle COVID patients. Work on 56 of the centers has been completed and work on the remaining centers is ongoing.

Work is in progress to strengthen four hospitals to function as Infectious Disease Hospitals (IDH) at the provincial level (Kilinochchi, Hambanthota, Ampara, and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases).

Work is in progress to build/expand intensive-care units/facilities (ICU) in six hospitals (Rathnapura, Anuradhapura, Eheliyagoda, Warakapola, Marawila, and Balangoda) and to build/expand high-dependency units/facilities (HDU) in two hospitals (Pimbura and NIMH).

87 ICU/HDU beds have been supplied to increase the total national capacity of ICU/HDU beds to 650.

120 high-low nasal oxygen therapy units, 25 ICU ventilators, seven neonatal ventilators 20 transport ventilators, 2,100 Oxygen concentrators were procured through the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) and procurement of seven oxygen-generating plants is in progress.

The World Bank has provided 217.56 million in financing for the project.

This includes a 35 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), 180.84 million in concessional and non-concessional funding from the International Development Association (IDA), and a grant of $1.72 million from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEFF).

Financing of 88.97 million dollars was approved in June 2020 up social protection measures to vulnerable communities, and 80.5million was approved in April 2021 for vaccines. (Colombo/Aug26/2021)

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Sri Lanka discussing giving extra land, water for Chinese oil refinery

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is in discussions with China’s Sinopec to give extra land and assure water supplies after the company decided to expand the capacity of a planned oil refinery in Hambantota, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

“There are concerns on how the water supply is going to be provided for the refinery,” Minister Wijesekera told reporters Friday.

The refinery will need more land and also revise conditions in a Board of Investment agreement, he said.

Read more
Sinopec to double capacity of new refinery in Sri Lanka’s Hambantota

Recommendations and decisions from Sri Lanka’s side had already been sent and Sinopec is expected to revert back in May.

“We are hoping to sign the agreement once everyone has agreed,” Wijesekara said.

The principle agreements are expected to be signed by June, he said.

The refinery could sell up to 10 percent of its output in the domestic market.

“There is no commitment by the government to purchase anything,” Minister Wijesekera said. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 302.00/50 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 302.00/50 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Friday, down from 301.50/302.00 a day earlier, dealers said.

There was increased demand for dollars after the central bank bought 715 million dollars from forex markets. In the previous two months it was buying on average about 200 million US dollars, leaving market participants and bank in a ‘oversold’ position.

There were some official dollars sales Friday dealers said.

READ Sri Lanka rupee quoted wide to US dollar as peg inconsistencies flare up

Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 11.30/40 percent down from 11.35/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.95/12.05 percent up from 11.90/12.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed stable at 12.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed stable at 12.30/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed stable at 12.40/50 percent. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close down, banks trade down

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Friday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed down 0.38 percent, or 44.80 points, at 11,753; while the S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.53 percent, or 18.46 points, at 3,456.

Turnover was at 1.4 billion. The diversified financials (Rs366mn) and banks (Rs266mn) sectors continued to see selling pressure.

“This was possibly due to uncertainty around the bond discussions,” market participants said.

With the exception of Sampath Bank Plc (up at 77.50) all other banks traded down in the day. Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc was down at 104.50, Hatton National Bank Plc was down at 188.50, and DFCC Bank Plc was down at 77.00.

LOLC Finance Plc saw the most trades and closed up at 6.40. Another LOLC company, Browns Investments Plc, also saw high traded volumes and closed up at 5.60.

Softlogic Capital Plc was up at 7.00, and Softlogic Holdings Plc was up at 11.20. A trading suspension imposed on SHL.N0000 was lifted effective today as the company submitted the annual report for the year ended 31st March 2023.

However, shares of the Company will remain in the Watch List “due to Qualified Audit Opinion and Emphasis of matter on going concern in the Independent Auditor’s Report in the Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31st March 2022.”

Dialog Axiata Plc, which announced its merger with Bharti Airtel Thursday, saw its share price close up at 11.90.

“There was some traction on index heavyweights,” market participants pointed out.

Top contributors to the APSI included Aitken Spence Plc (up at 134.50), Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc (up at 1,245.25, and Lion Brewery (Ceylon) Plc (up at 1,048.50).

There was a net foreign inflow of 5 million. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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