Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 21/11

  1. SL’s International Bond prices fall on news that Zambia has suffered a major setback in its debt restructuring efforts due to objections from Official Creditors, including China: disagreement mainly on whether the initial deal with a group of bond-holders in Oct’23 offers comparable debt relief from bilateral & commercial lenders: Zambia defaulted 3 years ago and its restructuring has been beset by delays, while SL defaulted one and a half years ago.
  2. Trade Minister Nalin Fernando says Cabinet has decided that the Govt takes over stocks of sugar which were cleared from the Port before the sugar import tax was hiked from 25 cents to Rs.50 per kg: also says the Cabinet decided to distribute the sugar via Lanka Sathosa to selected markets to be sold at Rs.275 per kg.
  3. Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera says the Cabinet has approved the proposed Electricity sector reforms and the new Bill will be gazetted & presented in Parliament for approval.
  4. Women & Child Affairs Minister Geetha Kumarasinghe says a staggering number of 2,087 teenage mothers have been reported in SL.
  5. Trade Minister Nalin Fernando says the Cabinet has consented to the import of 100,000 MT of rice due to the prevailing shortage of Keeri Samba rice in the market.
  6. Health Ministry Medical Supplies Division Director Dr Kapila Wickramanayake, Assistant Director, Accountant-Supplies & Stock Controller arrested by the CID pertaining to the alleged importation of sub-standard Immunoglobulins: remanded until 29th November.
  7. Management Faculty of the Sri Jayawardenepura University closed indefinitely, after a protest was staged at the university premises against the suspension of 6-students: suspension was due to an alleged incident of ragging, say the University authorities.
  8. Fitch Ratings says the rising gold-backed lending among SL’s Non-Bank Financial Institutions sector is exposing financiers to higher collateral price risk & making them more susceptible to any adverse movements in gold prices:
    SL NBFIs have grown gold-backed loans rapidly in the past several years amid shrinking demand for their core “vehicle financing business”: gold-backed loan balances more than quadruple in the sector’s gross loans, up from 4% at the end of FY19 to 18% now.
  9. Govt revenue in the first 8 months increases by 43.5%: but the budget deficit increases even higher, forcing the Govt to impose more taxes to deliver the IMF targets: IMF has already cited the “limited progress on the revenue front” & held back the release of the 2nd tranche.
  10. Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera instructs the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority to promote a high-density tea cultivation system & use new technology to increase yields.

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