By Shamindra Ferdinando
SJB MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said that the all-party Committee on Public Finance (COPF) would have to examine the proposals presented by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and the Treasury as regards the proposed domestic debt restructuring.
COPF Chairman de Silva said that the CBSL and Treasury representatives appeared before the watchdog committee yesterday (28) and tomorrow. Commercial Banks, EPF and other relevant institutions would appear today (29).
COPF would meet again on Friday to address outstanding issues, MP de Silva said.
The SJB economist said so when The Island sought his response to President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s declaration that the domestic debt restructuring wouldn’t be detrimental to the banking sector. The President also dismissed the Opposition’s claims that the proposed measures would have an impact on interests on bank deposits, the EPF, etc. President Wickremesinghe also holds the Finance portfolio.
Dr de Silva, a former UNP State Minister, emphasised that the SJB’s ‘Economic Blueprint’- a 10-point programme, which spelt out how to achieve stabilisation and equitable growth. He said he and his party were against domestic debt restructuring, but if absolutely necessary then the government should re-profile debt without hurting the public. He said there should be no face value haircuts; there could be maturity extensions with necessary regulatory measures to deal with capital adequacy issues so that there will be no adverse impact on individual depositors or EPF members, and the CBSL would be able to ensure liquidity for banks. “If done properly, the risk premiums will disappear and interest rates will fall. Will be positive for borrowers as well as banks … and will help growth.”
Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday issued a special gazette notification regarding the convening of Parliament on Saturday at 9.30 am. Director Legislative Services and Acting Director Communication, Parliament Janakantha Silva said that the announcement had been made in accordance with Standing Order 16 at the request of Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.
Dr. de Silva said that the SJB had made its position clear ahead of the current crisis though the government continuously misled the public.
Top Opposition Spokesman Prof. G.L. Peiris said that their stand on the issue would not change simply because of a declaration made by President Wickremesinghe at a public event in Gampaha. Recalling the way the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government had failed to brief Parliament on the IMF bailout package until the finalisation of the agreement in March, Prof. Peiris said that the basic problem was a chronic lack of clarity in the government’s stand. “Whether domestic debt restructuring is to take the form of coupon cut, haircut or adjustment of time of maturity is not clear. The idea is to take the country and, in particular, the banking system by surprise when the markets are shut down for five days. This has inevitably fuelled harmful speculation. Parliament and the Opposition have been taken for granted. The Business Committee meeting was postponed from Tuesday to Friday, and then the issuance of a special Gazette by the Speaker prior to the Business Committee meeting. Smoke and mirrors approach deprives the entire process of much needed candour and transparency. We therefore stand by the assessment we have already made.”
President orders probe into judge’s resignation
By Saman Indrajith
President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is currently in Berlin, yesterday ordered his Secretary Saman Ekanayake to launch a probe into the resignation of Mullaitivu District Judge and Magistrate, T. Saravanarajah, who heard the controversial Kurundimale temple case. The judge has cited receiving death threats as the reason for his resignation.
Judge Saravanarajah had not informed either the police or the Judicial Service Commission of the alleged death threats to him, sources said.
In a letter dated 23 September, 2023, addressed to the Judicial Services Commission, Judge T. Saravanarajah conveyed his decision to step down from various judicial roles including District Judge, Magistrate, Family Court Judge,
Primary Court Judge, Small Claims Court Judge, and Juvenile Court Judge.President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake held discussions on the judge’s resignation with Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles. It was revealed that the judge had not lodged any formal complaint of the alleged death threats prior to his resignation.
China pledges steadfast support to Sri Lanka
China will continue to firmly support Sri Lanka in pursuing a development path that suits its own national conditions, getting rid of the “poverty trap” and the “trap of non-development”, and safeguarding its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity, Ambassador Qi Zhenhong said at the 74th National Day Reception of the People’s Republic of China on Thursday.
Given below are excerpts of the Chinese Ambassador’s speech: “Right now, changes of the world, of our times and of history are unfolding in ways like never before, which leads to rapidly growing uncertainty, instability and unpredictability.
In view of these global challenges, President Xi Jinping has put forward three crucial global initiatives, namely the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative. We urge all countries to respect each other, seek common ground while reserving differences, and work together to meet the challenges of our times and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
“This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping. Over the past 10 years under the BRI cooperation, more than 150 countries, including Sri Lanka, and 32 international organizations, have made great progress in connectivity, infrastructure, trade, and investment, with about 3,100 joint projects bringing tangible benefits to the world. As the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, I am more than happy to highlight the major projects between our two countries, such as the Katunayake Expressway, the Southern Expressway, the CICT, the Hambantota Port and the Port City Colombo, etc.
“No matter how the world changes, China and Sri Lanka are good neighbours with mutual respect and trust, good partners with mutual benefit, and good friends who help each other. China’s friendly policy towards Sri Lanka is for all political parties and all people of Sri Lanka and maintains continuity and stability. In the past decades, many landmarks, such as the BMICH, the Supreme Court Complex, the Nelum Pokuna Theatre, the Polonnaruwa Kidney Disease Hospital and the National Hospital Out-Patient Department Building, have been gifted by the Chinese people to the Sri Lankan people.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, especially when Sri Lanka was faced with the economic challenges last year, China has been supporting Sri Lanka to the best of its ability. It includes not only providing emergency assistance from all walks of life in China, but also being the first to reach out to Sri Lanka to properly deal with its debt issues.
More importantly, China will continue to firmly support Sri Lanka in pursuing a development path that suits its own national conditions, getting rid of the “poverty trap” and the “trap of non-development”, and safeguarding its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity.”
Justice Minister sees police, judiciary and lawyers coming short on ensuring justice for all
The way the police, judiciary and lawyers operate had left much to be desired in ensuring justice for all, Minister of Justice Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said at the National Law Week – 2023 celebrations yesterday.
Dr. Rajapakshe said that in a country with the rule of law, all citizens felt they had access to justice. The Minister said that the country faced a severe economic crisis in 2022. The breakdown of the rule of law was a major reason for the economic crisis, the Justice Minister said.
Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya said at the same event that people needed to understand the roles and functions of the judiciary, police, mediation boards and other institutions of justice in order to obtain a satisfactory service.
“These institutions are there to ensure everyone has equal access to justice. If these institutions were not there, the rich and the powerful would always get their way,” the CJ said.
Scott Hall, Trump ally indicted in Georgia election case, pleads guilty
75mm of rain expected in Western and Sabaragamuwa provinces and in Galle, Matara and Puttalam districts
President orders probe into judge’s resignation
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
#Sundayisland Sunday Island- 31 January- Headlines
Features6 days ago
PAMANKADE -THE TOWN THAT VANISHED !
News6 days ago
Business focus shifting in a more favorable direction
Business6 days ago
SLT-DIGITAL Services and Surge Global forge strategic partnership to propel growth marketing and develop enterprise software solutions
News6 days ago
No new date yet for AL exam, postponement to have knock on effect
News5 days ago
US delaying visa for Security Oversight Committee head
Business6 days ago
Nirmal Saverimuttu Chief Executive Officer Virgin Voyages
News6 days ago
Expect more Easter Sunday type attacks: minister
Editorial5 days ago
C4, Grease Yaka and Trojan horse