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Ranil says UNP can garner IMF support for immediate economic take-off

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

A future UNP government could garner the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to raise funds to honour the country’s debt repayment commitments, without causing any disruption to the economy, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said, at Mattegoda, last Saturday (01).

“The IMF has helped the UNP governments in the past to resolve balance of payment issues and effectively restore Sri Lanka’s economy during dire times, including the Easter Sunday bomb attacks. I am confident that the international lender will provide its much needed support to a UNP government, with loans on affordable terms because it knows that we do not compromise our sound economic policies and revenue-based fiscal consolidation programmes.”

The UNP leader said: “Our priority will be mitigating the negative impact of Covid-19 on diverse segments of the economy; from three-wheeler drivers to wage-earning workforce to self-employed people and small and medium entrepreneurs. The Covid-19 public health crisis has weighed heavily on economic activity, employment and inflation and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook in the near-to-medium term. The level of economic activity has drastically slowed down as consumers fear for their future. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, about five million people have lost their jobs and a similar number of jobs are at risk. Thousands of people have experienced pay-cuts and reduction of their allowances. Employers are not hireing job seekers. Many people can’t pay their house rents, utility bills and payback their loans.

“Hence today everyone is thinking about their financial problems more than the parliamentary election because that’s very important to them. When I was Prime Minister I adopted a revenue-based fiscal consolidation strategy to increase government income at the risk of growing public displeasure. At that time, the government earned Rs 150,000 million as revenue. In July 2020, it declined to Rs. 50,000 million. Our public servants’ pensions alone require Rs. 90,000 million and the government had to borrow to meet pension payments among other things. How long can we go on like this?

“During the Yahapalana government, we struck a certain balance between our income and expenditure and obtained support from bilateral and multilateral lending agencies for economic development. In 2018/19 we were able to have a surplus in our primary account.

“Today, the country’s stressed external liquidity position remains a credit weakness. Sri Lanka has not been able to get IMF funds despite having made three requests to them. Pakistan and Bangladesh have received funds from the IMF, and there should be no reason why Sri Lanka can’t access their funds. The UNP has presented a new three-year economic framework to face the challenges in the future which would boost confidence of the international lending agencies in our macroeconomic prudence and post-pandemic recovery path going forward. International funding will help strengthen the rupee. More exports and foreign remittances will bring in more money into the country. Through that strategy we will put more money into consumers’ wallets and increase their spending power. If current liquidity issues continue, the exchange rate of the rupee will hover around Rs. 195-Rs. 200 by October. In such a context, there will be more severe import controls and smartphones, electric and electronic goods will not be available in the market. Commodity prices will go up and life will be more difficult six months from now. Our new economic programme is capable of addressing such fiscal and external challenges. I urge you to consider the looming threats of these issues as you go to cast your vote on August 5.”

 



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WASTE PLASTIC.. PAVING WAY FOR STRONGER ROADS

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AGC Innovate secures First Place

AGC Innovate (Pvt) Ltd has been selected as the winner of the Country Finals of Innovate Lanka 2022 Competition, organized by the Lankan Angel Network together with SLASSCOM and the Council for Startups. The Winner AGC International and the Runner – Up will be representing Sri Lanka at the Entrepreneurship World Cup 2023 hosted by the Global Entrepreneurship Network GEN. They will also access opportunities with Accelerators & Incubators as Indian Accelerator, Sri Lanka Accelerator, Venture Frontiers etc.

AGC Innovate (Pvt) Ltd has won this prestigious award for their innovative product Plastic Modified Asphalt Concrete (PMAC) the sustainable solution to the ever-increasing waste plastic environmental menace by utilizing green technology to convert waste plastics into an industrial raw material which becomes a stronger and more effective alternative to conventional asphalt, used for Highway, Road and Car Park paving.

The program operates in a sustainable tri-partite stakeholder model comprising Generator, Technology Provider and End User, in which the country and the environment gains benefit when the industries, supermarket chains, households, etc. who are waste plastic Generators meet the End User by using the Technology Provider’s scientific innovation to convert non-recyclable plastic waste to produce the end product Plastic Modified Asphalt Concrete PMAC to be used for Road, Highway and Yard Paving.

The technology piloted in 2018 under the supervision of the national regulator, RDA on a stretch of highway in Ratmalana, has been certified as an environmentally suitable initiative following more than two years of rigorous testing and observation has also received CEA Certification and is registered with the National Intellectual Property Agency of Sri Lanka.

The technology has been successfully used during the past three years by leading Supermarket chains for their car-parks, Roads under the Western & Eastern Provincial Road Development Authorities, Foreign Embassies, mega export-oriented factory yards, and leading business houses who emphasize on reducing the carbon footprint and bring a logical solution to terrestrial, riverine and ocean pollution caused by waste plastic.

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Young man who produced air rifle with knowhow gathered from YouTube arrested!

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By R.A.S. Premathilake

Wadduwa Police on Wednesday evening arrested a youth who had produced an airgun by watching YouTube videos.The airgun was four feet in length, the police said.

The suspect is a 28-year-old resident of Thalpitiya, Wadduwa. The suspect had also crafted a scope for the air gun, the police said.

The suspect had been trying to make the airgun more powerful, the police said.He has also been shooting cats with the weapon, Wadduwa police said.

The man was arrested on the instructions of SDIG Deshabandu Tennakoon, DIG Sarath Sandanayaka, SSP Samantha Wedage, ASPs Nishantha Senarathne and Jayanetti. Wadduwa OIC CI Chaminda Kumara, IP Terney Jansz and SI NIssanka led the raid.

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Moves to make Batticaloa one of the best tourist destinations next year

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A discussion was held recently at the President’s Office yeas morning under the chairmanship of President Ranil Wickremesinghe to identify land for the promotion of the tourism industry in the Batticaloa District.

The identification of coastal lands belonging to the state and private sector from Werugal-aru to Batticaloa in the Batticaloa District was taken up for discussion.Seveal Divisional Secretaries including the Batticaloa District Secretary K. Karunaharan joined the discussion via Zoom.

President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Staff to the President, Sagala Ratnayaka, Senior Economic Adviser to the President Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Lands W.A. Chulananda Perera, Secretary of the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation R.M.C.M. Herath and heads of line institutions participated in this discussion.

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