Friday, June 14, 2024

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 09/08

  1. CEB sources say one unit of the 270MW Norochcholai Coal Power Plant has broken down: out of the 3 power generation units at the Plant, only one unit is now in operation as a result of another unit being shut-down in June’23 to carry out maintenance work.
  2. Minister of Energy Kanchana Wijesekara says the CEB will ensure an uninterrupted supply of power islandwide and has no plans for scheduled power-cuts: also says the CEB will procure necessary supplementary power needed to maintain 24-hour uninterrupted supply of power.
  3. CB Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe says monetary policy transmission to the “real economy” is still incomplete: also says he “would like to see private sector interest rates come down further and at a faster pace”: analysts point out that the Central Bank is paying interest of nearly 20% per annum on T-Bills even now, and as long as that is done, it’s futile to expect private sector interest rates to reduce: since Weerasinghe assumed office, the economy has undergone massive contractions of 8.4%, 11.8%, 12.4%, & 11.5% in 2Q2022, 3Q2022, 4Q2022, & 1Q2023, respectively.
  4. Police arrest 9 persons for “forcibly entering” the premises of the Central Bank: the group, said to represent the Joint Assn of Leasing and Debt Instalment Payers were demanding concessions for leasing facilities, and relaxation of “Parate actions” which were affecting them severely.
  5. Cabinet approval granted to amend the EPF law to assure a 9% annual return for the 2023-2026 period: analysts point out that, in accordance with the very high interest rates since April’22 for Govt Treasuries, the returns of the EPF will easily be in excess of 20% from 2022 to 2026, and therefore a 9% return assurance is meaningless: analysts also say EPF returns to Members averaged over 10% from 2006 to 2014, when inflation was at single digits or near single digits.
  6. Sri Lanka’s Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus led by MP Sudarshini Fernandopulle, receives a warm welcome at the New Zealand House of Representatives: the Caucus is on a “study tour”.
  7. State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya calls for an urgent report on the recent shooting incident which involved several officers of the Excise Dept: in that incident, 4 officers of the Excise Department were arrested for opening fire at a vehicle near a petrol filling station on Marine Drive, Bambalapitiya.
  8. At least 60 students hospitalized after inhaling toxic smoke from a fire that erupted inside a chemical factory in Kandana: the students are from 3 nearby schools, St. Sebastian’s Balika Maha Vidyalaya, St. Sebastian’s Girls’ Primary School & St. Sebastian’s Boys Primary College.
  9. Dept of Wildlife Conservation states the arrangement to provide water to animals in national parks around the country in view of the prevailing drought, is not aimed at ensuring the animals’ welfare, but preventing possible losses to the tourism industry: several parts of the country, including those where there are national parks such as Udawalawe and Yala, have been affected due to the extreme dry weather at present.
  10. Owners of small-scale tea estates say they are facing numerous problems due to the serious drop in the price of tea leaves: explain that the price of a kg of green tea leaves, which had risen up to Rs.350-400 in the past, has now dropped to Rs. 160-165.

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