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CB Governor upbeat about taking country’s loan request to IMF Board in Jan ’23 if it misses December chance

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By Hiran H. Senewiratne

Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe says Sri Lanka is expecting to go to the IMF Board in January 2023 if it misses the December window and is also confident of getting assurance from bilateral creditors soon.

“Most probably meeting the IMF target is too optimistic and satisfactory so far but if we miss that we still have time till January,” Governor Dr. Weerasinghe told the Bank’s monthly monetary policy review meeting yesterday.

The need of the hour was for Sri Lanka to secure assurances from its bilateral creditors in the next couple of weeks, he said. “We are very confident about it considering the manner in which the discussions are progressing,” the Governor said.

It was quite encouraging that bilateral creditors including Paris Club, India, and China formed themselves into an ad-hoc creditor platform and give financial assurances before December 2022, Dr. Weerasinghe said.

Amidst those developments, Sri Lanka also had to complete a series of prior actions to get IMF Board level approval, which was ofutmost importance at this juncture, he said.

“Sri Lanka has already raised taxes and energy prices, and presented a budget for 2023,” the Governor said.

“Although reports claim that the IMF board will go on vacation in December and they will continue their work for at least three days a week as they have a lot on their agenda,” he said.

Sri Lanka has gone to the IMF 16 times due to its soft-peg but managed to avoid default as the country did not have market access to borrow large volumes of foreign debt, he added.Further, the Central Bank money printing had decreased from Rs 341 billion in 2021 to Rs 47 billion between January and October this year, which was a drastic decline, the Governor added.



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Six member committee appointed to inquire into Sri Lanka Cricket Team’s conduct in Australia

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Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Roshan Ranasinghe has appointed a six member committee headed by Retired Supreme Court Judge Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena to inquire into the incidents reported against some members of the Sri Lanka Cricket team that participated at the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

 

 

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SJB MP: Most parents have to choose between food and children’s education

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By Saman Indrajith

Most Sri Lankan parents are compelled to choose between food for their families and their children’s eduction, SJB Matale District MP Rohini Kumari Wijerathne told Parliament yesterday.

Only a few parents were able to feed and educate their children the MP said, participating in the debate on Budget 2023 under the expenditure heads of Ministries of Education and Women and Child Affairs.

“An 80-page exercise book costs Rs. 200. A CR book costs Rs 560. A pencil or pen costs Rs 40. A box of colour pencils costs Rs 570 while a bottle of glue costs Rs 150. If the father is a daily wage earner he has to spend one fourth of his salary on a box of colour pencils for his child. A satchel now costs around Rs 4,000. A pair of school shoes is above Rs 3,500. The Minister of Education knows well how many days a child could use an 80-page exercise book for taking notes. Roughly, stationery cost is around Rs 25,000 to 30,000 per child, MP Wijerathne said, adding that only Rs. 232 billion had been allotted for the Ministry of Education by Budget 2023.

“After paying salaries of teachers and covering officials’ expenses, etc., there will be very little left for other important matters,” the MP said, noting that Sri Lanka would soon be known as the country that made the lowest allocation of funds for education in the South Asian region.

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All crises boil down to flaws in education system, says Dullas

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By Saman Indrajith

All the crises Sri Lanka was beset with were due to the country’s outdated education system, MP Dullas Alahapperuma told Parliament yesterday.

“The political and economic crisis we are facing is the direct result of our education,” he said.

The Sri Lankan education system had not changed with global developments. Our system is not even geared for employment. Our examination system is antiquated and our classrooms are in the 19th Century.

However, the students belong to the 21st century. How can you cater to 21st Century children under an outdated system?” he queried.

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