Reducing trade deficit crucial for strengthening external finances View(s):A two-pronged strategy of reducing imports and increasing exports are vital for decreasing the large trade deficit, achieving a balance of payments surplus and strengthening external finances. Trade deficitThe larger the trade deficit, the lesser the likelihood of a significant balance of payments surplus. Had the trade deficit been around US$ 8.5 billion, then the BOP surplus on the current account would have been about US$ 3 billion. This underscores the importance of reducing the trade deficit. The reduction of the trade deficit is imperative to reduce the country’s external vulnerability.
April 06, 2019 19:41 UTC
Budget spells of loans, taxes and low growth By Sunimalee Dias View(s): View(s):Economists, making a dig at the 2019 budget, proffered it as one full of taxes and not poor-friendly, and alternate thinkers of the likes of Emeritus Prof. W.D. Lakshman opines a 5 per cent growth target is sufficient in a sustainable and equitable economic environment. Further Prof. Lakshman pointed out that micro credit loans were found hard to pay back in relation to the increase in the number of loan schemes made available in this year’s budget. Dr. Dunusinghe noted that he was not satisfied with the growth rate and insisted that the 4.8 per cent target set for 2024 was not satisfactory. She noted that there needs to be more focus on budget formulation and ensure that the process of creating the budget be made more credible.
Australian-Sri Lankan Defence engagement wraps up By Asiri Fernando View(s): View(s):The largest Australian – Sri Lankan Defence engagement came to an end this weekend with the Australian Joint Task Force setting sail to India for the next phase of the Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 (IPE19) exercise. “If Sri Lanka and Australia get together, we can have a lot of influence in the region,” he opined. The exercise saw more than 1,000 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel engage with Sri Lankan counterparts, exchanging tactics and knowledge, imparting skills and techniques in several disciplines. Several senior Sri Lankan military officers, including Army Commander Lt Gen Mahesh Senanayaka observed the exercise. The Sri Lankan personnel were especially keen to observe the onboard hospital facilities on the Canberra which is equipped with state-of-the-art medical sensors and theatres.
Thanusha Sandaruwan shifts gears in Emerging Schools category View(s):Thanusha Sandaruwan Costa of St. John’s College, Nugegoda, made a sudden acceleration to his pace to claim the second place of the Emerging Schools category, while the leaders of all three segments remain unchanged at the end of 24th week of the Dialog 4G-the Sunday Times Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2019 contest. However he is trailing leader of Emerging Schools category, Lithija Kalhara of Ananda Maithree NS, Balangoda by 6386 votes. All-Island Schools category leader Navod Paranavithana of Mahinda College Galle took his tally to a landmark level, by reaching 55020 after adding 6576 combined votes in the ended week. In addition supporters and followers can reach Dialog Axiata’s online voting system by loggin into their official Online Portal to vote for the Most Popular Cricketer (www.dialog.lk/cricket). Schools have been categorised under three categories — the All-Island, Emerging and Girls schools, according to the segmentation process ofSri Lanka School Cricket Association.
For the outing in Bahrain, Sri Lanka took a bunch of newcomers into the national stream, after training for less than a month. However, the recent tours by national Football teams at regional tournaments, have not been that overwhelming, and have begged more questions than answers. However, when Pakeer Ali took over as Head Coach, Sri Lanka was placed 200 in FIFA World Rankings, and after 1 year, the placing has grown. As at Friday, Sri Lanka is placed 201 in FIFA World Rankings. Sri Lanka will probably continue to do more experiments and give exposure to their players at its next outing at the South Asian Games Football Tournament to be held in December in Kathmandu, Nepal.
UNHRC resolution: President blasts those who bypassed him View(s):President Maithripala Sirisena dropped a bombshell when he addressed a public meeting on Wednesday after declaring open a new building for the Meegahatenna Police Station in the Kalutara District. He said that he did not recognise the Sri Lanka resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last week in Geneva. Yet, a joint UNF-SLFP delegation sent by President Sirisena that was in Geneva did not oppose it and the resolution was carried unanimously. President Sirisena bitterly criticised those responsible for the co-sponsorship saying it was done behind his back. A senior Foreign Ministry official said if indeed there were any comments on the meeting, it should have been made by the delegation or the Foreign Ministry.
“Power-ful” blame game View(s):Sri Lankans are angry, nay furious over the latest round of power cuts. Even Ravi’s apology was very feeble,” he said, settling in for a long conversation on the power crisis. It has been reported that the authorities didn’t want to rely too much on hydro power generation as water was required for farming purposes. Be that as it may, the Government’s much touted solar power generation plan has also run into a storm of protests from potential solar power producers, who this week complained of inordinate delays in getting their projects approved. Sri Lankans have always been willing to brace themselves to face any crisis and the power crisis is nothing new.
Government pursues million-dollar project once again View(s):Months after the project was put on hold over questions of financial viability, the Government is once again pursuing the multi-million dollar proposed High Altitude Training Center in Nuwara Eliya. Last week, Cabinet gave the nod for the Finance Ministry to conduct negotiations with the Government-owned People’s Bank to partly finance the project. The Export Financial Institute of the United Kingdom has agreed to provide necessary funds under an export credit facility. The People’s Bank has agreed to finance the balance of the contract price that is not covered by the export credit facility. The Government has since struggled to settle the bills and millions are still owed to State-owned institutions.
Hoteliers see dollars, DMCs cash on rupees By Sunimalee Dias View(s): View(s):Sri Lanka’s tour operators have been hit by the new budget proposal mooted by hoteliers to carry out transactions in US dollars causing dissent among the Destination Management Companies (DMCs). Nkar Travels Managing Director Nilmin Nanayakkara said that this request for a dollar transaction was made by only a few hoteliers who are interested in lobbying the Finance Ministry to get their payments in dollars from the DMCs. “Not giving the correct picture to the Finance Ministry when lobbying prior to the budget is disastrous and in my view this is misleading the Finance Ministry if they did so,” he stated. He explained that it was those hoteliers that had obtained dollar loans who had been involved in lobbying the Finance Ministry to make payment in dollars mandatory which is what we are against. Paying back the dollar loans that hoteliers have obtained is the need of the hour of most hoteliers and these hoteliers believe would ensure that the hard currency comes into the country.
A most wanted man View(s):My dear Arjuna,I thought I must write to you because you seem to be always in the news, even when you are not in the country and nowhere to be found. We all know that you were appointed only because the Green Man insisted on you. However, he now says he is not responsible for that and that it was Aiyo Sirisena who signed your appointment letter! That is now escalating into a spat between the two countries, with Aiyo Sirisena opening his mouth and putting both his feet firmly in. Had you offered some of that bond money at that time, you would have been a free man by now!
New unified employment law to be introduced soon By Bandula Sirimanna View(s): View(s):Sri Lanka government will phase out the implementation of labour market reforms while pushing through a new unified employment law to gradually replace 28 archaic labour legislations currently in force, the Labour and Trade Union Relations Ministry revealed. The Wages Board Ordinance No.27 of 1941, the Factories Ordinance No.45 of 1942, Shop and Office Employees Act No.19 of 1954, Maternity Benefit Ordinance, and Factories Ordinance will be revised and these laws are to be integrated into a single employment law. Labour and Trade Union Relations Minister Ravindra Samaraweera while confirming the introduction of this law had informed the National Labour Advisory Committee (NLAC) on Tuesday that trade union leaders will also be consulted before presenting the relevant bill in Parliament, a trade union leader who attended the meeting said. The minister also noted that a document is now being drafted and that it will be tabled before the NLAC for discussion. The National Workers Charter was promulgated as state labour policy by the then President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in September 1995.
At six he was diagnosed with a kidney failure, a condition that spelt death in three months. Mueen Saheed, the owner of the Billari Gallery, is artistically the opposite of Jimmy. “I try to create/ paint a story, so that you sit- and like reading a book read the painting. That is why I would call myself a narrative abstract artist.”The Billari Art Gallery opened with 300 paintings by Saheed, and around 70 by Jimmy. The Billari Art Gallery, is situated at 165/11 Park Road, Colombo 5 and is open every day from 10.30 a.m.to 6 p.m.
Quarter finalist found By Lakshman Ranasinghe View(s): View(s):Tall scoring marked the four pre quarter-final matches played yesterday at the Mercantile Cricket Association grounds and Irrigation grounds, Ratmalana in the morning and evening of the MCA ‘E’ Division 25 Over Cricket Tournament 2019. Emerchemie NB (Ceylon) with 244 runs and Maliban Biscuits with 220 runs scored wins over Ceylon Tobacco Company and Commercial Bank while in the other two matches played Brandix ‘A’ and Stafford Motor Company defeated David Peiris Motor Company (DPMC) and MAS Holdings Active respectively to book their berths in the quarter final line up. The top scorers for the day were Sanjula Madushan (51), Kanishka Jayasekera (50) of Emerchemie NB and M. Zilmi (61) of Malibans and the best bowling performance of the day was by Kasun Sanjaya (4 for 37) of DPMC. At MCA (M): Brandix ‘A’ beat DPMC by 69 runsBrandix ‘A’ 174 for 8 (25) (Udaya Dushan 41, Shanaka Walgama 30, Navindu Perera 22, Rohan Priyadarshana 21, Kasun Sanjaya 4 for 27)DPMC 105 (22.5) (Kasun Sanjaya 45, Ashan Madushanka 3 for 22, Ashan Sanjaya 2 for 8, Navindu Perera 2 for 21)At Irrigation Grounds, Ratmalana (M): Emerchemie NB (Ceylon) beat Ceylon Tobacco Co. 109 runsEmerchemie NB 244 for 7 (25) (Sanjula Madushan 51, Kanishka Jayasekera 50, Amila De Silva 36, Eranga Madushan 26*, Navin Jayasuriya 3 for 46)Ceylon Tobacco 135 (20.1) (Navin Jayasuriya 33, Iman Ameen 26, Amila Maduranga 23, Harsha Madusanka 3 for 21)At MCA (E): Stafford Motors beat MAS Holdings Active by 4 wktsMAS Holdings Active 158 for 7 (25) (Neranjan Peiris 41*, Geeth Sankalpa 41, Kanishka Abeywardene 21, Misitha Poornajith 2 for 22, Janith Maduwantha 2 for 33, Dammika Kumara 2 for 42)Stafford Motors 159 for 6 (24) (Anjelo Eranga 22, Neranjan Peiris 2 for 22, Shalinda Perera 2 for 22)At Irrigation Grounds (E): Maliban Biscuits beat Commercial Bank by 92 runsMaliban Buscuits 220 for 8 (25) (M. Zilmi 61, Risith Upamal 33, Maleesh Silva 28, Lahiru Dushantha 26, Tharindu Siriwardena 26, Indika Kumara 2 for 27, Raveen Samarakkodi 2 for 35)Commercial Bank 128 for 9 (25) (Tharaka Gunatilleka 32, Tharindu Nirmala 23*, Amal Kolinda 23, Lahiru Dushantha 3 for 14, Malith Silva 2 for 21)
The TNA, which for decades had a monopoly over the politics of the North is currently under pressure from within its own polity. Those who were left were forced to cringe before the AK-47-toting LTTE and recognise it as the “sole representative of the Tamils” in Sri Lanka. Has not the new generation of TNA legislators heard the saying “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. The bulk of it has been by the much slandered Government of Sri Lanka. Or is this just the TNA bluffing its own people – and whipping up communal fervour in the rest of the country?
“Integrity vs Corruption” View(s):Sarath Jayamanne – Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (centre), Asoka Obeyesekere, Executive Director – Transparency International Sri Lanka (left) and Sujeeve Samaraweera – former President of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka, at a discussion on “Integrity vs Corruption” organised by the Sunday Times Business Club on Thursday. The event was hosted by the Kingsbury Colombo hotel.