Sri Lanka-News as of 24th June 2022 – By Dr Harold Gunatillake

Sri Lanka-News as of 24th June 2022 – By Dr Harold Gunatillake

Dr Harold Gunatillake

 

Sri Lanka’s economy ‘has completely  collapsed’, says despairing PM

Transcript:

India stands ready to help Sri Lanka in quick economic recovery through promoting investments, connectivity and strengthening economic linkages,” Indian foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi posted on Twitter.

Sri Lanka’s prime minister says its debt-laden economy has collapsed after months of food, fuel and electricity shortages, and the South Asian island nation cannot even purchase imported oil.

“We are now facing a far more serious situation beyond the mere shortages of fuel, gas, electricity and food. Our economy has completely collapsed. That is the most serious issue before us today,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament on Wednesday.

“Currently, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation is $700 million in debt,” he told MPs. “As a result, no country or organisation in the world is willing to provide fuel to us. They are even reluctant to provide fuel for cash,” he said.

“We need the support of India, Japan and China, who have been historic allies,” he said.

Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister of India. Nirmala Sitharaman assured the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India, Milinda Moragoda, of her full support and cooperation in the process of economic recovery in Sri Lanka.

The Minister of India gave this assurance when High Commissioner Moragoda called on her (20th June) evening at the Ministry of Finance in New Delhi.

This was the latest of a series of meetings High Commissioner Moragoda has had with Minister Sitharaman on Indian economic cooperation and assistance to Sri Lanka in the context of the present crisis.

High Commissioner Moragoda once again thanked Minister Sitharaman for the continuation of assistance that India is extending to Sri Lanka, and particularly for expeditiously arranging a separate line of credit of 55 million USD, granted on 10 June, to import 65,000 MT of urea required for the current cultivation season in Sri Lanka.

In response, Minister Sitharaman assured High Commissioner Moragoda of her full cooperation in the economic recovery process in Sri Lanka while expressing the hope that Sri Lanka would recover very soon, given the resilience of her people.

Earlier in the day, High Commissioner Moragoda had also met with the External Affairs Minister of India, Dr S. Jaishankar, to discuss the way forward regarding Indian assistance in stabilising and recovering the ailing Sri Lankan economy.

India’s foreign secretary says New Delhi will support the crisis-hit island beyond the promised $4bn in loans, swaps and aid.

Indian and Lankan officials discuss the promotion of the Indo-Lankan investment partnerships.

Colombo, 23 June (news in. Asia), A high-ranking Indian delegation, including Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary, discussed Thursday with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe the economic situation in Sri Lanka and the ways it is being addressed.

They discussed promoting Indo-Lankan investment partnerships in various areas, including connectivity and renewable energy, as part of their efforts to strengthen Sri Lanka’s and India’s economies.

The Indian delegation left New Delhi with Ajay Selth, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs and Dr V. Anantha Nageswaran, Chief Economic Advisor, and Kartik Pande, Joint Secretary, Indian Ocean Region Ministry of External Affairs.

The two sides had a detailed discussion about the Sri Lankan economy and the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka toward economic recovery. Both sides stressed the importance of promoting the India-Sri Lanka investment partnership, including connectivity, renewable energy, and deeper economic linkages.

8th International Yoga Day celebrations were held under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Independence Square today (21).

The Prime Minister and several other Ministers also participated in the exercise. The Sri Lankan PM termed yoga an invaluable Indian tradition to attain physical, mental and social well-being. These are some of the pictures of that event presented to you.

IMF team arrives in Sri Lanka as crisis worsens

IMF team discuss bailout options in Sri Lanka amid economic crisis and social unrest Colombo hopes the IMF visit, overlapping with debt restructuring talks, will yield a quick staff-level agreement.

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team arrives in Sri Lanka Monday for talks on a bailout programme. Still, time is short for a country, just days from running out of fuel and likely months from getting any relief money.

The IMF team, visiting Colombo through June 30, will continue recent talks on what would be Sri Lanka’s 17th rescue programme, the IMF said on Sunday.

“We reaffirm our commitment to support Sri Lanka at this difficult time, in line with the IMF’s policies,” the global lender said in a statement.

Colombo hopes the IMF visit, overlapping with debt restructuring talks, will yield a quick staff-level agreement and a fast track for IMF board disbursements. But that typically takes months, while Sri Lanka risks more shortages and political unrest.

“Even if a staff-level agreement is reached, final programme approval will be contingent upon assurances that official creditors, including China, are willing to provide adequate debt relief,” said Patrick Curran, senior economist at a US
investment research firm. As reported in Aljazeera.

Dhammika Perera was sworn in as a PM.

Businessman Dhammika Perera has been sworn in as a National List Member of Parliament for the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna today. That was before Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena when Parliament convened today.

Dhammika Perera has been appointed as the National List Member of Parliament for the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of former Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa.

Five petitions had been filed in the Supreme Court challenging Dhammika Perera’s appointment as a Parliament Member. The Supreme Court yesterday decided to dismiss the petitions without hearing them. Dhammika Perera is one of the wealthiest people in the country.

He is now 55 years old and owns nearly 23 companies, including private financial institutions.

Dr Pethiyagoda appointed Senior Policy Advisor to Opposition Leader

One of Sri Lanka’s leading naturalists and a taxonomist on freshwater fish of Sri Lanka, Dr Rohan Pethiyagoda, has been appointed as Senior Policy Advisor to Opposition and SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa.

Following the appointment, Premadasa said: “Climate change is a real concern, and for any policy, its ecological impact has to be well understood; we believe his expertise will matter greatly in making balanced decisions.”

Sri Lanka cabinet moves to clip President Rajapaksa’s powers

Cabinet approves amendment to the constitution to appease protesters calling for  President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to quit.

The Sri Lankan cabinet has approved constitutional reforms that will limit the president’s powers to appease the protesters calling for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to quit the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.

The decision to amend the constitution to clip the president’s wide-ranging powers was taken in a cabinet meeting on Monday, Dinouk Colombage, media adviser for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday.

In conclusion, I would like to say that our big brother India would be ready to secure  bridging finance until the IMF facility becomes a reality.

This is a tremendous relief for our suffering brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka. I hope this video presentation was helpful.

Please stay safe and say goodbye until we meet again.

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