Sunday, February 5, 2023
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SRI LANKA ORIGINAL NARRATIVE: 08/12

  1. Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena says Sri Lanka needs to boost its foreign reserves by selling some of its assets: also says if reserves are not increased to USD 3.00 bn, international companies won’t accept LCs of Sri Lankan banks: Sri Lanka announced bankruptcy on 12th April, when it’s forex reserves were USD 1.92 bn, and imminent inflows from China and India amounted to USD 4.50 bn.
  2. Former CB Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal says the Govt and CB won’t be able to provide an assurance that domestic debt will not be restructured, as it will be the IMF that will have the final say on the domestic debt of Sri Lanka: also points out the present Monetary Board has “fixed” the exchange rate for a longer period than his Monetary Board.
  3. Additional Secretary, Health Ministry Dr R Ratnayake says the hospital system is currently short of only 22 essential drugs out of 683: assures situation would be rectified over the next 2-3 weeks: Govt Medical Officers Union General Secretary Dr Haritha Aluthge says the current drugs shortage is acute and 160 are in short supply.
  4. SLPP “independent” MP Dullas Alahapperuma says President Ranil Wickremesinghe used the political instability and economic depression in the country to become President: likens situation to Adolf Hitler coming into power with the Nazi Party in Germany in the 1930s.
  5. Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara discusses steps to reduce costs at CEB with CEB DGMs and AGMs: orders deferment of on-going construction work of CEB new headquarters: already over 40 Forex funded large scale construction contracts stopped after debt default, resulting in massive economic contraction and job losses
  6. Urban Development and Housing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga instructs officials to set up a Land Bank setting out details of all lands belonging to the UDA.
  7. Gross Official Reserve increases from USD 1,705 mn at end-October to USD 1,804 mn at end-November 2022: however, coal purchases still not paid for, oil purchases limited to USD 200 mn per month, and forex debt not paid: GOR was USD 1,917 at end-March, with about USD 500 mn per month being paid for oil, debt paid, and coal paid for upfront upto end-October.
  8. Sri Lanka Transport Board Chairman Kingsley Ranawaka directly flouts Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardena’s demand last week to quit immediately.
  9. UNICEF’s recent report claims 2 in 5 households in Sri Lanka spend more than 75% of expenditure on purchasing food, leaving little to spend on health and education: predicts situation will deteriorate between October 2022 and February 2023.
  10. Thico Group owner Thilini Priyamali, who is presently remanded over financial fraud, files complaint with the Human Rights Commission, alleging she was strip searched inside prison, violating protocol for prisoners.

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