Monday, December 4, 2023

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 28/09

  1. IMF Senior Mission Chief Peter Breuer dashes the Govt’s hopes: says “there’s no fixed timeline for the 2nd tranche to be disbursed”: also says the next disbursement will depend on sustaining reforms and progress in the debt front: analysts say this is a huge setback to the Govt which was solely dependent on this IMF programme for its continuity.
  2. Several analysts who strongly advocated an IMF programme last year as being the “only solution” to the crisis, offer reasons for the present debacle; Advocata’s Dhananath Fernando says SL has to improve its tax system by following “international standards of transparency”: Economist Talal Rafi says the main issue is the external debt restructuring and that he hopes President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to China can make progress on this matter: also says this setback will force the Govt to work harder on structural reforms.
  3. Export Development Board says earnings from merchandise exports increased by 6.8% (month-on-month) in August’23 to USD 1.09 bn, compared to July’23, but down by 10.91% YoY, compared to August’22.
  4. Minister of Power & Energy Kanchana Wijesekara says legislation to restructure the Ceylon Electricity Board and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation will be presented to Cabinet within the next 2 weeks.
  5. Professionals’ Trade Unions Collective led by the Govt Doctors meet the IMF delegation: discuss their demands including tax relief: state they have been informed by the IMF delegation that it’s the Govt that must take measures to address the demands of professionals since the IMF has granted authority to the Govt to make suitable changes to its tax policy.
  6. Hatton National Bank MD/CEO Jonathan Alles says SL’s banking sector may have lost about 10,000 employees during 2023, out of which a significant number have migrated: also says banks now have to resort to massive recruitment drives to fill the vacancies.
  7. Well-known Human Rights Activist Jehan Perera says the country’s economy which shrank by over 7% last year and by 11% in the 1Q23, is continuing its downward plunge: also says the much touted absence of shortages & queues is not due to the economic performance picking up, but because people have less money to spend.
  8. SLPP MP Mahindanada Aluthgamage says doctors are leaving the country not because of higher taxes, but due to the education of their children: analysts however point out that SL experienced the exodus of qualified doctors & consultants mainly after the Govt raised taxes early this year.
  9. A representative of the Abhimani Women’s Collective says SL’s sex workers are facing fundamental rights violations including unlawful detention and cruel, inhumane & degrading treatment.
  10. SLPP rebel group spokesman Professor G L Peiris says the enactment of the Online Safety Law is to suppress political dissent: asserts that investors would be wary of having any dealings with the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa Govt as a result of the new Online Safety Law and the new Anti-Terrorism Law.

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