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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 21/02

  1. Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe says if the Govt wanted to postpone the election, it could have done so by making the Elections Commission inactive without appointing new members to replace the members who left: asserts the Ministry of Finance has not been able to afford the election expenses due to the current situation in the country.
  2. Central Bank data shows it has disregarded IMF’s reported stipulations by continuing to “print money”: in the week ending 17th February 2023, Central Bank’s TB holdings jumped Rs.33 bn to Rs.2,584 bn from Rs.2,551 bn a week earlier: nevertheless, Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardene says the Govt is unable to provide Rs.10 bn to conduct the LG Election.
  3. SJB MP Eran Wickramaratne alleges UNP leader and President Ranil Wickremesinghe would not hold LG elections and would protect the Rajapaksas during the rest of his term: also says this is the first time that an election has been obstructed by deviating from the Constitution and the law: asserts Rs.10 bn was allocated for the election to be held in 2023, and the talk that there is no money now, is a blatant lie.
  4. UN World Food Progamme Acting Country Director Gerard Rebello says Sri Lanka continues to experience significantly high levels of food insecurity, affecting 30% of the population, most notably, the poor.
  5. President Ranil Wickremesinghe says a new Economic Commission will be established to facilitate quick approval of investment opportunities for local and foreign investors: expects the move to significantly contribute to the country’s economy.
  6. Cabinet approves President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal to implement a “special plan” to develop the historic Kandy city into a “fully developed city”.
  7. Top Govt official says the Ceylon Petroleum Corp is preparing to transfer the CPC’s accumulated Govt-guaranteed debt of about USD 2.6 bn owed to the 2 State Banks to the Treasury, as per a Cabinet direction: CPC reportedly owes over USD 1.5 bn to the Bank of Ceylon and over USD 1.1 bn to the People’s Bank.
  8. Colombo Stock Exchange’s ASPI jumps by 234 points (2.64%) to finish at 9,082 points.
  9. Major political parties come together to discuss the rights of LGBTQ Sri Lankans: CWC Leader & Minister Jeevan Thondaman, SLPP MP Premnath C Dolawatte, SJB MP Mayantha Dissanayake and Freedom People’s Congress MP Professor Charitha Herath share views during a discussion jointly hosted by NextGenSL.
  10. Sri Lanka Institute of Taxation analysis reveals the recent Inland Revenue Dept circular dated 07/02/2023 is merely containing alternative methodologies in quantification of non-cash benefits, and therefore, no non-cash benefit has been exempted for Income Tax purposes: however, State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya has asserted that the changes will bring significant relief to the concerned parties.

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