Monday, December 4, 2023

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 14/11

  1. President & Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe unveils a plethora of relief & reforms in the 2024 Budget: urges all political parties to join to usher an “economic revolution”: gives increase in allowance for 1,300,000 public servants, 700,000 pensioners & 2,000,000 “Aswesuma” beneficiaries: removes almost all exemptions from VAT & increases the rate to 18%: retains the cascading Social Security Contribution Levy.
  2. President Ranil Wickremasinghe says SL will establish a new technology university in Kandy & expand the capabilities of other higher education institutions: also says 20% of shares of the 2 large state banks will be divested to investors & depositors.
  3. Budget data shows that Govt’s Actual Tax Revenue for 2023 is expected to plunge by a massive Rs.534bn, compared to the Budgeted Revenue for 2023: Govt Revenue loss to be over 17% for the year 2023: Income tax – down by 5%, Tax on Goods & Services – down by 22%, & Tax on External Trade – down by 22%.
  4. SLPP MP Namal Rajapaksa asserts many initiatives that were announced in the last budget have not been implemented & therefore those have been presented again in this year’s budget as well: further asserts the President has come as the Finance Minister of the “Pohottuwa” Govt, & that “fairytales are useless”.
  5. Ceylon Electricity Board Media Spokesman Engineer Noel Priyantha confirms the CEB has disconnected the electricity supply of over 500,000 customers as of Oct’23 due to their failure to settle outstanding bills: asserts that has been done according to CEB regulations: adds the supply will be restored when payment is made.
  6. President Ranil Wickremesinghe receives 3 names to fill 2 vacancies in the Court of Appeal: Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya has nominated the 2 senior-most High Court Judges Gihan Kulatunga & Damith Thotawatta: Attorney General Sanjaya Rajaratnam has nominated Senior Deputy Solicitor General Mahen Gopallawa: President is due to submit 2 names to the Constitutional Council for approval.
  7. Former Chairman of the Central Environmental Authority Supun S Pathirage who was arrested for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs.10mn, granted bail by the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court: other 2 suspects further remanded until 24th November.
  8. Govt’s T-Bond Auction of 13/11/2023 fails miserably: 3-Year Bonds – amount
    offered was Rs.60,000mn, and accepted Rs.60,000mn (100%): 4-Year Bonds – amount offered was Rs.110,000mn, but accepted only Rs.4,557mn (4.1%): 7-Year Bonds – amount offered was Rs. 80,000mn, but accepted only Rs.8,667mn (10.8%): Total T-Bonds offered was Rs.250,000mn, but accepted only Rs.73,224mn (29.3%): analysts warn a massive financial & interest rate crisis is looming in the horizon.
  9. Former Cricketing great Aravinda de Silva is to be inducted into the ICC “Hall of Fame”: he would be the 4th Sri Lankan to join the elite group, after Kumar Sangakkara, Muthiah Muralidharan & Mahela Jayawardena: Aravinda will be honoured at the Wankhede Stadium during the World Cup Semi-final, along with Virender Sehwag and Diana Edulji.
  10. Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe files a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department regarding the Sri Lanka Cricket crisis: informed sources say the complaint is pertaining to matters revealed in the SL Cricket audit report & the death threats against him.

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