Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 27/06

  1. President Ranil Wickremesinghe announces the finalisation of agreements to restructure Sri Lanka’s external debt with bilateral creditors, including a $5.8 bn agreement with the Official Creditor Committee and a $4.2 bn deal with the Export-Import Bank of China: emphasises the importance of these agreements in enhancing international confidence and improving the country’s fiscal stability, urging unity to strengthen the economy.
  2. The SJB criticises the government’s plan to develop wind power stations in Mannar and Pooneryn with India’s Adani Green Energy: Former MP Ajith P. Perera accused President Wickremesinghe and Minister Wijesekera of financial malpractice, citing the $0.0826 per KW power purchase agreement with Adani: Perera highlighted WindForce PLC’s cheaper proposal at $0.0488 per KW, questioning the lack of a competitive tender.
  3. Teacher-principal trade unions continue their strike today (27) in response to police brutality, where tear gas and water cannons were used to disperse their protest in Colombo on June 26: The strike, initially prompted by various demands, caused significant disruption in schools nationwide, leading to low attendance and students being sent home: The Education Ministry states schools will operate as usual.
  4. Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera announces a national week for the Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship Village Programme from July 1 to 7, aiming to promote agricultural entrepreneurship in 160 villages: Rs. 10 million per village will fund developmental projects: Key strategies include doubling rice cultivation, distributing 160,000 chicks to boost egg production, reducing coconut oil import charges, and providing free and subsidised fertiliser.
  5. The IMF praises Sri Lanka’s recent debt agreements with major official creditors as a vital step towards debt restructuring and sustainability: IMF’s Peter Breuer noted this milestone brings Sri Lanka closer to resolving its financial issues: The agreements, totalling US$ 10 bn, include restructuring with key bilateral lenders and mark significant progress in stabilising the country’s economy.
  6. The Sri Lanka Central Bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit penalises DFCC Bank and Sampath Bank for non-compliance with the Financial Transactions Reporting Act: DFCC was fined Rs1 million in March for inadequate Customer Due Diligence, while Sampath Bank was fined Rs2 million in April for creating untraceable accounts and failing to freeze assets per UN regulations.
  7. In response to rising public complaints about poor food quality in school and hospital canteens, Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) are increasing nationwide inspections: PHI Union President Upul Rohana noted widespread dissatisfaction and numerous complaints: Despite guidelines to limit unhealthy foods, enforcement has been lax: The public is encouraged to report issues to Medical Officers of Health or via the hotline 0112112718.
  8. The High Court in Colombo upholds the dismissal of an appeal by Ven. Thiniyawela Palitha Thera against ex Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal and former President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunge: The appeal concerned a US$ 6.5 million payment to a US Lobby Firm in 2014: This ruling affirms the Fort Magistrate’s Court’s earlier decision to dismiss the complaint.
  9. Two Supreme Court judges recuse themselves from the contempt of court petition against ex State Minister Diana Gamage, filed by Rehan Jayawickrema: The petition concerns Gamage’s remarks following a Supreme Court ruling disqualifying her as an MP: Justices Janak De Silva and Kumuduni Wickremasinghe stepped down, and the case will be recalled on August 5.
  10. Chris Silverwood, head coach of the national cricket team, resigns for personal reasons, citing the need to spend more time with his family: thanks the players, coaches, and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for their support: During his tenure, the team won the 2022 T20 Asia Cup and reached the 2023 50-over Asia Cup finals. SLC wished him well.

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