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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 22/02

  1. President Ranil Wickremasinghe says the new tax policy will act as the “saviour” to the nation: emphasizes there would have been no other way to bridge the huge budget deficit which was enlarging year by year: asserts that without such taxes, people will have to go back to being without fuel and suffer long power cuts.
  2. SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara files FR petition before the Supreme Court: claims the Fundamental Rights of people have been violated by Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardene and other respondents by the decision not to release money allocated for the LG Elections via the budget 2023.
  3. UNP Working Committee revokes membership of 1,137 Members who were elected to local authorities from the party ticket, but are supporting other parties.
  4. Opposition MPs hold placards and protest inside Parliament demanding Local Government elections: Speaker adjourns Parliament till 9.30 am today.
  5. President Ranil Wickremasinghe says the final IMF draft would be presented to Parliament after the country reaches the staff level agreement: also says politicians can then protest about it and even vote against it: challenges anyone to provide an alternative to the IMF bail-out plan and to say what country or donor organization Sri Lanka can go and ask for credit or a bail-out package.
  6. Social Media Activist Sepal Amarasingha apologises to the buddhist community over his remarks regarding the Temple of the Tooth Relic: based on such apology, Colombo Magistrates Court concludes the case.
  7. Census and Statistics Department “updates” the NCPI which is used to calculate inflation: says the change has been done “to reflect the change of costs of consumer items”: accordingly, the previous index reference period of “2013=100” revised to “2021=100” from January ’23.
  8. January 2023 inflation (as per the NCPI) drops to 53.2% from 59.2% in December ’22: down 6%: Food inflation in January ’23 was 53.6% and Non-food inflation 52.9%.
  9. Former Banker Faizal Salieh assumes duties as the new Chairman of the Securities & Exchange Commission with effect from 20 February 2023.
  10. Cabinet Spokesman and Minister Dr Bandula Gunawardena says that notwithstanding the Forex debt suspension in April ’22, the Govt has to repay foreign debt of USD 2,609 mn for the first 6 months of 2023 to the World Bank, ADB and other multilateral agencies: also says a further USD 709 mn SLDBs has to be repaid with USD 46 mn interest, which is repaid mostly through Rupee bonds.

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