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Finally some tangible action to ship back toxic waste dumped here



By Ifham Nizam

The Sri Lanka government, with the backing of all relevant stakeholders, would use European Rules and Regulations to get compensation from the British company that dumped toxic waste shipments in Colombo three years back, Customs Media Spokesman, Sunil Jayarathne said yesterday.

He told The Island that the government had adopted measures on Saturday to send back 21 containers of toxic waste material to the United Kingdom; they are out of 263 TEUs dumped under the noses of authorities here in 2017/18. Jayaratne said the importation of such freight containers was a violation of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their disposal were against the rules and regulations of the European Union as well.

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and Their Disposal usually known as the Basel Convention is an international treaty designed to reduce the movement of hazardous waste among nations.

Jayaratne said that measures had been taken after continuous discussion with the Attorney General’s Department, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Central Environmental Authority and the British High Commission.

“On the instructions of AG’s Department, the process of sending back illegally imported 21 containers out of 263 containers commenced on Saturday, in the presence of the Director-General of Customs. Those 263 containers were imported by a private party misusing operation facilities, which fall under the purview of the Board of Investments..”

Under the provisions of a Gazette issued in 2013, a total of 263 freight containers of waste material had been imported to Sri Lanka from the UK, in 2017; with the intention of enhancing the commercial value of the material and re-exporting, an official said. Majority of the freight containers imported under the guise of used mattresses, but they contained plastic and polythene waste, Customs Department investigations has revealed.

Jayaratne said: “Sri Lanka Customs detected this in 2018 and preliminary investigations revealed that most of those containers had been imported to the country in 2017. Subsequently, the matter especially with regard to 242 containers were referred to courts and they were all ordered to be shipped back. Legal proceedings are currently underway in this regard.”

The Director-General of Customs has ordered stringent action against those responsible, under the provisions of the Customs Ordinance.

The environment portfolio was under former President Maithripala Sirisena at the time the hazardous waste was imported

Colombo Metal Industries and ITL Colombo Limited used their licences to import the hazardous waste. The Court of Appeal, on September 20, 2019 further extended its Interim Order directing the authorities to prevent any transport or movement of the consignment of waste within the country.

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Heat Index at Caution level in Northern, North-Central, North-western and Eastern provinces and Monaragala and Hambanthota districts




Heat index Advisory Issued by the Natural Hazards Early Warning Centre At 07.30 a.m. 28 May 2023, valid for 28 May 2023

Heat index, the temperature felt on the human body is expected to increase up to ‘Caution’ level at some places in Northern, North-Central, North-western and Eastern provinces and Monaragala and Hambanthota districts.

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GCE Ordinary Level examination commences on Monday (29)




The General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) examination 2022 (2023) will commence on Monday (29).

472,553 candidates have applied to to sit this years examination which will be held at 3568 examination centers

The examination will conclude on 8th June 2023

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Personal income tax shock dims economic activities



ECONOMYNEXTSri Lanka’s personal income tax hikes have hit economic activity in the first quarter though despite currency stability helped businesses cut prices, Hemas Holdings, a top consumer goods group has said.As the currency stabilized, as central bank ended contradictory money and exchange policy conflicts, businesses had cut prices. Mainstream economists generally claim that price falls lead to delayed transactions and try to generate positive inflation through money printing, though businesses believe otherwise.

“The market witnessed price reductions and promotional trade schemes to stimulate consumption,” Hemas Holding told shareholders in the March quarterly statement.

“However, changes made to the personal income tax structure severely impacted modern trade sales volumes as consumers rationalised their purchases under reduced disposable income levels.”

Sri Lanka hiked personal income tax rates in 2023. Value added taxes were raised to 15 percent from 8 percent last year. Another 2.5 percent cascading tax was imposed on top of VAT, the effect of which was estimated to be around 4.5 or more through the cascading effect.

While value added tax allows the government to get tax revenues after citizens make transactions and getting the economy to work, based on best decisions needed to drive the economy to satisfy real needs, income tax kills economic decisions and transfers money to state actors, analysts say.

Net gains on income tax therefore comes at a cost of lost value added tax as well as killed real economic activities which would otherwise have been based on decisions of those who earned the money.

UK also almost doubled VAT in 1979, also to 15 percent, cut the base income tax rate and widened thresholds above inflation to give choice to individuals, amid criticism from Keynesian style or mainstream economists to recover the economy, after two back-to-back IMF programs failed to deliver concrete results, analysts point out.At Hemas Holdings, group revenues went up 52.6 percent to 32 billion rupees in the March 2023 quarter from year earlier amid price inflation as the rupee fell, and cost of sales went up 45.1 percent to 22.2 billion rupees, allowing the group to boost gross profits 72 percent to 9.8 billion rupees, interim accounts showed.

However, administration costs went up 54 percent, selling and distribution costs went up 36 percent, and finance costs went up to 1.3 billion rupees. Profit after tax was flat at 1.06 billion rupees.Sri Lanka’s central bank stabilized the rupee in the second half of 2022 after the rupee collapsed from 200 to 360 to from two years of money printing and also removed a surrender rule in March allowing the exchange rate appreciate.

The US Fed also tightened policy from March 2022 helping bring down global commodity prices after triggering inflation not seen for 40 years through Coronavirus linked money printing or accommodating a real shock through monetary expansion.

“While the modern trade channels witnessed a slow down due to the adverse impact of the tax reforms and high cost of credit on the middle-class urban population, the general trade channels experienced significant growth and increased foot fall,” Hemas told shareholders.

“The decline in global commodity prices in the second half of the year, enabled the business to make price reductions across the portfolio.

“However, the benefit of appreciation of the Sri Lankan Rupee in March 2023 was not seen during the quarter due to the lag effect but is expected to realise in the quarters to come, provided the current economic conditions prevail.”

Hemas is also has operations in Bangladesh where the central bank is also buying up government securities with tenors as long at 20 years to mis-target the interest rate, triggering forex shortages and depreciating the Taka, according to analysts who study the country.

Inflation had hit 9.3 percent in Bangladesh by March.

“In the face of numerous challenges including slowdown in the global economy, depreciation in Taka, heightened inflation and depleting foreign currency reserves, the country entered an IMF programme in January 2023,” the firm said.

“The value-added hair oil market witnessed a degrowth, as consumers curbed consumption in many non-essential items and switched to value-for-money alternatives.”

Mainstream economists mis-target rates to boost growth known as either monetary stimulus or bridging an output gap, though the effort result in instability and economic contractions.

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