Wednesday, May 31, 2023

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 25/03

  1. IMF says risks to its Sri Lanka program are “exceptionally high” because of the complex debt restructuring, unfavorable external environment, high inflation, and challenging political & social situation: also says the program runs significant risks of fiscal slippages, revenue mobilization and reserves buildup: warns a deeper crisis induced by a further economic fallout, weakened banking sector, exchange rate pressure and loss of market confidence could also complicate the program.
  2. LKR starts to depreciate once again against the USD after just 4 days of the IMF agreement: falls by nearly 1% to Rs.331.38; black market quotes up again at around Rs.345.00: market expects further depreciation.
  3. State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya reveals USD 121 mn was used from the USD 333 mn received from the IMF to settle a loan installment due to India: analysts puzzled how Govt has done so in the context of its solemn assurance of “equal treatment” of all bi-lateral creditors and commitment to transparency.
  4. Fertilizer companies agree to reduce the price of a 50 kg bag of urea fertilizer by Rs.7,000: decision follows discussion with Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera.
  5. Top officials of the Health Ministry fail to appear before the HRC for a 3rd time to participate in the inquiry into the medicinal drug shortage in the country.
  6. Crowds protest outside residence of Bar Assn President Saliya Peiris, accusing him of representing infamous underworld figure and Drug Lord “Harak Kata”: Bar Assn says the protest is a serious hindrance to Pieris’ professional right to represent a client.
  7. Exports record USD 1,005 mn in Feb23: contraction of 8.1% YOY: cumulative export earnings for the first 2 months of USD 1,980 mn reflects a massive reduction of 9.7% YoY.
  8. Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa and other leaders of opposition Parties meet foreign diplomats: provide briefing on the current situation, the need to protect the country’s democracy & Constitution, and the need to conduct LG elections.
  9. Law & Order Minister Tiran Alles to await provision of detailed information on alleged incidents of certain Police stations falsely reporting drug-related cases, from Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe: previously, Rajapakshe had said that reports by Govt Analyst’s Dept have proven that certain drug related cases are being falsely reported to Courts by certain Police stations.
  10. Marine Environment Protection Authority officials say legal action in connection with the MV X-Press Pearl fire and marine disaster should be instituted within the next 58 days: previously various Govt leaders have stated that the Govt expects at least USD 1 bn as compensation.

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