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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 15/03

  1. Govt sources say the first tranche of approximately USD 330 mn will be received from the IMF on 22nd March 2023 once the IMF Board approves the 4-year USD 2.9 bn bail-out package on 20th March: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa first sought IMF assistance on 18th March 2022.
  2. President Ranil Wickremesinghe says debt service to any external creditor will take place only after the creditors agree to the debt treatment plan in line with the IMF-supported programme: reiterates commitment to “comparable treatment to all external creditors”
  3. Past President and Director of the Chartered Financial Analysts Society Ravi Abeysuriya says the tendency for the LKR to depreciate is very high when the IMF lifts the import controls: LKR crashes from 328.87 to 335.69 against the USD in a single day, recording a massive depreciation of Rs.6.82 (2.1%): analysts expect the LKR to plummet further.
  4. Chief Prelate of the Malwatte Chapter Most Venerable Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera and the Chief Prelate of the Asgiri Chapter Most Venerable Warakagoda Sri Gnanaratana Thera say the Govt must take immediate steps to hold the LG elections: warn that a great deal of dissatisfaction is building up in society as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the post-ponement of the elections.
  5. Special CID team bring back notorious drug dealers & wanted criminals Nadun Chinthaka alias “Harak Kata” and Salindu Malshika alias “Kudu Salindu” to the island from Madagascar.
  6. Former State Finance Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal says the present highly damaging economic contraction is demonstrated by the massive reduction in fuel consumption from Jan’22 to Jan’23: also says the “QR code” rationing scheme is now meaningless as people can’t afford to buy even the rationed quantity: as per the Energy Ministry, consumption of diesel down 54%, petrol down 35%, and kerosene down 75%.
  7. Top Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya Spokesman and former Foreign Minister Professor G L Peiris asserts that President Ranil Wickremesinghe would not have challenged the Judiciary without the backing from the ruling SLPP.
  8. Professionals’ Trade Union Alliance representing over 30 multi-sectoral trade unions scheduled to stage a 24-hour token strike today: sectors include power, water, education, medical, banking, postal, ports and railways: strike said to be against the electricity tariff hike and “unfair” tax policy.
  9. Cabinet Spokesman says the Govt intends to present an anti-corruption bill in the coming days, at the request of the IMF which has urged Sri Lanka to reduce corruption vulnerabilities through improving fiscal transparency and public financial management, introducing a stronger anti-corruption legal framework, and conducting an in-depth governance diagnostic.
  10. SLPP Rebel MP and former Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa says the new Central Bank Bill seems to be designed to create a parallel unelected Govt which is only responsible to the IMF instead of being accountable to Parliament.

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