Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 21/01

  1. Central Bank data shows Govt’s Treasury Bill & Bond holdings have jumped by a massive Rs.103 bn last week from Rs.16,244 bn to Rs.16,347 bn: also indicates that “hot-money” foreign investments in the T-Bills & Bonds had plunged by USD 11.0 mn in the same week from USD 350.3 mn to USD 339.3 mn: several analysts warn the debt situation is fast approaching a highly critical level.
  2. Ceylon Electricity Board forecasts a markedly low surplus of Rs.23.7 bn to the Public Utilities Commission to justify its request for a 3.34% reduction only on its average tariff although it had projected a profit of Rs.73 bn for this year in its internal approved budget: operational expenses for 2024 had also ballooned from Rs.97 bn in 2022 to Rs.164 bn in 2024, a staggering increase of 70%.
  3. JVP-led NPP declares it has no issues dealing with the IMF: insists however that the IMF’s programmes should be “in keeping with the national interest”: Former JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi says his Party’s will call for “drastic changes in keeping with national responsibility”.
  4. NPP General Secretary Tilvin Silva says most countries & organisations in the world, such as the IMF have begun to realise that the NPP will come to power at the next election: asserts the SJB is perturbed over the NPP’s recent meeting with IMF representatives: discloses that the Party discussed the “economic situation & impact of the tax increase on the people” with the IMF.
  5. Inland Revenue Dept Commissioner General W A S Chandrasekara says the IRD will tax any additional profits that would have been made by importers during the period in which the alleged sugar scam occurred.
  6. Commissioner General of Elections Saman Sri Ratnayake says there had been an addition of only 207,000 new voters in 2023, although usually about 300,000 new voters were added to the voter lists: asserts that these 207,000 new voters can vote if there is an election now.
  7. Minister of Religious and Cultural Affairs Vidura Wikremanayake says the Govt has sought financial assistance from the United Nations to celebrate the 2024 State Vesak festival: the Chinese Cultural Promotion, Buddhist Culture & Art Association has reportedly agreed to the Minister’s request, & to provide opportunities for SL Buddhist monks to go to China to study Mahayana Buddhism.
  8. Authoritative sources say the Colombo Port City has asked the Govt to introduce banking & financial services regulations that will allow investors to transact in foreign currencies & deal with counterparties offshore: such a move is to avoid any mandatory conversion or repatriation of monies.
  9. National Audit Office discloses that 50 railway crossing bell & light warning systems had become inactive, years before the expiration of the warranty period provided by the contractor: this had led to losses of approximately Rs.243 mn for the Dept of Railways.
  10. Acting IGP Deshabandu Thennakoon directs all police stations not to halt vehicles for inspections when officers are in civilian clothes: new directions issued in response to the recent tragic incident where a Sub Inspector in civilian attire had reportedly opened fire at a driver after the latter allegedly refused to stop his vehicle.

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