FM appreciates intl. support, discusses further cooperation
Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has appreciated the continued support extended by China, India, Japan, Russia, and the EU to fight the Covid-19 pandemic during separate meetings he had with Colombo based envoys over the past few days.
State Minister for Regional Co-operation Tharaka Balasuriya and the Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage were associated with Prof Peiris at these meetings.
While thanking China for the continued support provided to Sri Lanka Prof Peiris discussed priorities for enhancing the relations between the two countries across the full spectrum during a meeting held with Ambassador of China to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong.
The Ambassador Zhenhong extended sincere felicitations to the Foreign Minister on his new role and reiterated China’s continued commitment to assist the socio-economic development in Sri Lanka as well as the COVID-19 mitigating efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka.
The discussions centered on COVID-19 cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, economic development, poverty eradication and multilateral cooperation. In particular, the Foreign Minister Peiris requested China’s assistance for the immediate supply of liquid oxygen to meet the increasing demand.
Indian HC Gopal Baglay called on the new Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris after his assumption of duties. The Foreign Minister Peiris expressed appreciation and continuous support being provided by India for combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minister Peiris thanked the Government of India for supplying emergency consignments of liquid oxygen from east Indian ports, even by using Indian naval ships.
The discussion also centred on enhancing religious tourism. The Foreign Minister Peiris also appreciated the offer of US$ 15 million by the Government of India to preserve and promote Buddhist cultural sites in Sri Lanka and expressed interest in early implementation of the offer.
Both sides also discussed the possibility of the early convening of the Indo-Lanka Joint Commission, which was last convened in 2016. It was agreed that the six Working Groups under the Joint Commission, covering specific subject areas under education, science & technology, tourism, trade & investment, fisheries and the power sector, should meet at the earliest feasible opportunity.
Matters relating to fisheries were also discussed and both sides agreed to search for a meaningful, pragmatic solution to the issues. Indian assistance to develop fisheries harbours in Sri Lanka was greatly appreciated.
The discussion also focused on the setting up of pharmaceutical manufacturing plants by India in Sri Lanka.
Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka Akira Sugiyama has reiterated Japan’s continued support and cooperation to Sri Lanka when he called on the new Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris at the Foreign Ministry. Ambassador Sugiyama mentioned that Sri Lanka and Japan maintain excellent partnerships at all levels and emphasized that Japan is committed to complete all ongoing development projects on time, and accelerate the implementation of impending projects despite challenges posed by the pandemic.
Prof Peiris thanked the Government and the people of Japan for extending steadfast support to Sri Lanka at its all-difficult times. Japan is a valuable partner of Sri Lanka in its fight against the Covid -19 pandemic, and the 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines recently donated to Sri Lanka by Japan were immensely useful to conduct an uninterrupted vaccination programme within the Western province in Sri Lanka.
Recalling Yasushi Akashi’s valuable contribution during the peace negotiations as a special envoy of the Government of Japan, Minister Peiris thanked Japan for understanding the ground realities in the country and its mediatory role in the international fora to find permanent solutions for the reconciliation and human rights issue in Sri Lanka.
While agreeing to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year in a fitting manner, Foreign Minister Peiris and Ambassador Sugiyama both agreed to work tirelessly to enhance trade, investment, and people-to-people contacts between the two countries to a further height.
The Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Sri Lanka Yuri B. Materiy paid a courtesy call on the newly appointed Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris. During the meeting, Foreign Minister Peiris underscored the importance of Sri Lanka’s longstanding friendship and wide-ranging cooperation with Russia, and expressed appreciation for Russia’s support to Sri Lanka on issues of principle and relevance in multilateral fora.
The Foreign Minister’s sentiments were reciprocated by Ambassador Materiy who congratulated Foreign Minister Peiris on his appointment, and reiterated Russia’s interest in further expanding bilateral relations in multiple sectors including trade, investment and tourism, energy, science and technology, defence and counter-terrorism.
The meeting entailed reference to upcoming political consultations between the two Foreign Ministries; convening of the intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation; and commemoration of the 65th anniversary of Sri Lanka–Russia diplomatic relations in 2022.
The two sides agreed on the importance of pursuing shared solutions to common challenges faced by humanity today with the COVID -19 pandemic.
Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris met Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka Denis Chaibi at the Foreign Ministry on Friday August 20. Minister Peiris discussed Sri Lanka’s wide ranging cooperation with the EU in the political and economic spheres.
Foreign Minister Peiris discussed EU support to Sri Lanka in addressing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and expressed his sincere appreciation for the EU’s contribution to the COVAX facility in supporting global vaccine equity and research. EU Ambassador Chaibi apprised Foreign Minister Peiris on EU support and collaboration in the aftermath of the X-Press Pearl marine environmental disaster off the coast of Sri Lanka, as well as in enhancing Sri Lanka’s disaster preparedness in the future.
Sri Lanka’s regular engagement within the EU-Sri Lanka Joint Commission framework, as well as constructive cooperation existing under the EU GSP Plus monitoring process, including action underway by the Government on issues of relevance, were also discussed. Reference was made in this regard to upcoming EU missions to Sri Lanka, and to the convening of relevant working groups under the Joint Commission umbrella.
Foreign Minister Peiris reiterated the significance of EU-Sri Lanka trade relations which continues to be mutually beneficial with potential for further expansion. Matters related to cooperation in the fishery sector were also discussed.
Lanka to lend US$2.5bn to US and top-rated borrowers in 2023 under IMF deal: analysis
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is projected to lend 2,533 million US dollars mainly to the US and Euro areas during an International Monetary Fund deal in 2023 including a mandatory 1.4 billion US dollars collected from exports and remittances, according to official documents.
Sri Lanka is expected to get two tranches of 331.2 million dollar (254 million special drawing rights each) in March and September 2023 from the IMF.In 2023 Sri Lanka has to repay 256.4 million dollars from an earlier IMF loan taken during an earlier currency crisis.
Net inflows from the IMF would be 406.12 million US dollars in 2023 if the first review is completed in September 2023.Sri Lanka has committed to collect at least 1.4 billion US dollars from remittances and exports and lend to the US and other developed nations during 2023 under the IMF deal.
A large volume has already been collected. An ad hoc peg is now operated under the IMF deal to buy dollars and export to the West, as ‘below-the-line outflows. Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves are usually loaned to highly rated sovereign or sovereign linked borrowers, mainly in the US.
But there have been amounts of Euro assets in Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves at times, triggering forex losses when the dollar to Euro parity changed.Under the IMF program there is a performance criterion to increase net international reserves by 1,948 million dollars during 2023.
Sri Lanka is also expected to repay a 200 million US dollar swap to Bangladesh during 2023, which will also raise the NIR.At the moment Sri Lanka’s central bank is in debt after borrowing from India, Bangladesh, India including on Asian Clearing Union dues as well as the IMF. Year end net international reserves would still be negative.
Sri Lanka’s gross reserves are expected to rise by 2.5 billion US dollars to 4.4 billion US dollars in 2023 indicating that the country will lend 2.5 billion US dollars to the US and other highly rated borrowers. It may include re-invested interest coupons.
Sri Lanka is also expected to get 650 million dollars from the Asian Development Bank and 250 million dollars from the World Bank as part of partner support for the IMF deal. Outside of core monetary reserves linked to reserve money, balances in Treasury accounts are also counted as forex reserves.
BASL writes to IGP over protest against Saliya Peiris
The BAR Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has condemned a protest staged outside the Law of Chamber of BASL President Saliya Pieris, PC on Friday.The protest was staged against the representation of Saliya Pieris, PC for notorious Sri Lankan drug kingpin Nadun Chinthaka alias “Harak Kata”.
Condemning the protest, BASL said in a statement that Saliya Pieris, PC was only conducting his professional duties with regard to a particular client.
“We are of the view the said protest seriously hinders his right to represent a client, a professional right which has been safeguarded by law,” it pointed out.
The BASL called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to take action to ensure that Saliya Peiris’s professional duties as an Attorney-at-law, are not hindered and to ensure his safety.
Full text of the letter: ” We write with reference to an organized protest outside the chamber of Mr Saliya Pieris, President of the \Bar Association of Sri Lanka.
We have been made aware the said protest relates to Mr. Pieris conducting his professional duties with regard to a particular client. We are of the view the said protest seriously hinders his right to represent a client, a professional right which has been safeguarded by law.In the case of Wijesundara Mudiyanselage Naveen Nayantha Bandara Wijesundara v Sirwardena and Others (SCFR 13/2019), the Supreme Court observed that:
“The first piece of legislation passed by the Parliament soon after the promulgation of the 1978 Constitution was the Judicature Act No. 02 of 1978. As the administration of justice in any civilized society cannot be effectively implemented without lawyers, the legislature in its wisdom, through the Judicature Act, established the legal profession.
Thus, there is no dispute that the legal profession is a sine qua non for the due administration of justice in this country and for that matter in any civilized society. The said profession is essential for the maintenance of the Rule of Law and maintenance of law and order and its due existence is of paramount importance to the organized functioning of the society which is primarily the basis for the smooth functioning of the country as a whole.”
Further, Section 41 of the Judicature Act which has clearly set out the right of representation, and, has further shed light on the above mechanism established for implementing the administration of justice in the country.
It is as follows; Section 41 of the Judicature Act (Right of Representation)
(1) Every attorney-at-law shall be entitled to assist and advise clients and to appear, plead or act in every court or other institution established by law for the administration of justice and every person who is a party to or has or claims to have the right to be heard in any proceeding in any such court or other such institution shall be entitled to be represented by an attorney-at-law.
(2) Every person who is a party to any proceeding before any person or tribunal exercising quasi-judicial powers and every person who has or claims to have the right to be heard before any such person or tribunal shall unless otherwise”
Therefore, we strongly demand that you take action to ensure that Mr. Peiris’s professional duties as an Attorney-at-law, are not hindered and to ensure his safety.”
State need not do business, says Ranil, seven SOEs to be divested
ECONOMYNEXT – The State need not engage in business as its mandate is to provide services such as education and maintain law and order, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said Thursday defending plans to divest government-held shares of seven state owned enterprises (SOEs).
At a discussion at the presidential secretariat on Thursday morning, Wickremesinghe responding to a question about the decision said that Sri Lanka must no longer hold on to corporations and enterprises owned by the government.
Sri Lanka has been spending more on the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) than it has on education, he said.The following seven SOEs will undergo the divestment of state-held shares: Sri Lankan Airlines Ltd including Sri Lankan Catering Ltd, Sri Lanka Telecom PLC, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Ltd,
Canwill Holdings Pvt. Ltd., (Grand Hyatt Hotel), Hotel Developers Lanka Ltd., (Hilton Hotel Colombo), Litro Gas Lanka Ltd., including Litro Gas Terminals (Pvt) Ltd., (LPG retailing), and Lanka Hospital Corporation PLC
The State Owned Enterprises Restructuring Unit of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilisation and National Policies will oversee the process, a statement said.
“Not all of them are loss making. But we do have to repay debt. You can’t keep these and pay back loans.
“If we can’t pay off our loans, we might have to sell something in the house and pay it,” said Wickremesnghe.
Asked why Sri Lanka should sell SOEs that aren’t making losses, he responded: “Why is the state engaged in business? That’s not our mandate. The state has no business engaging in business.”
“In what country is there a law that these (businesses) should be (held by the state)?” he added.
Noting that the crisis-hit nation is trying to embark on a path of recovery and rapid development, the president said Sri Lanka must follow India’s example.
“India is selling their airports, profit making ones. India has come to that stage. We have to go there too.”
Showers in Western, Sabaragamuwa and North-Western provinces and in Galle and Matara districts during the afternoon
Lanka to lend US$2.5bn to US and top-rated borrowers in 2023 under IMF deal: analysis
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