The island nation’s cumulative tourist arrivals for the first 11 months of the year stand at 1.27 million, according to the SLTDA…reports Asian Lite News
Sri Lanka welcomed 151,496 international tourists in November, the highest monthly number of visitors it received in 2023, according to the latest data released by the tourism authority.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said this is the first time that the number of tourists to the South Asian country passed the 150,000 mark in a month after December 2019, reports Xinhua news agency.
The island nation’s cumulative tourist arrivals for the first 11 months of the year stand at 1.27 million, according to the SLTDA.
About 20 per cent of the total number of tourists came from India, with other key markets including Russia, Germany, the UK, Australia, China, the US and France, it said.
Tourism is one of Sri Lanka’s top foreign revenue generators.
The government waived visa fees for nationals from China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan in late November to boost tourism in the coming season.
The Sports Minister’s move to replace the Sri Lankan Cricket board was not appreciated by Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickeramasinghe who rebuked the Sports Minister for his decision….reports Asian Lite News
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has sacked Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe, Sri Lanka-based Daily Mirror reported. Wickremesinghe announced the decision at the ongoing Cabinet meeting.
On November 6, Roshan Ranasinghe suspended the whole Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board following outrage over Sri Lanka’s 302-run defeat against India in the Cricket World Cup, Daily Mirror reported.
Ranasinghe also appointed an Interim Committee for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), chaired by World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga. The current committee stands “Temporally Suspended.”
Ranasinghe had appointed Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s World Cup-winning captain in 1996, to oversee a new interim board. A retired Supreme Court judge and a former board president are among the seven members of the newly constituted body.
Several Hours after Sri Lanka Sports Minister Roshan Ranasingha established an interim committee led by 1996 World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga to take control of SLC, the Court of Appeal on November 7 issued an interim order suspending the operation of the Gazette appointing in respect of cricket governing body’s Interim Committee appointed by the Sports Minister, Daily Mirror Online reported.
According to Daily Mirror Online, this order was issued by the Court of Appeal in response to a writ petition brought by SLC President Shammi Silva. This order is only valid for 14 days.
The court granted board president Shammi Silva’s plea, which challenged minister Roshan Ranasinghe’s decision to dissolve the Sri Lanka Cricket Board and form an interim committee on Monday.
The Sports Minister’s move to replace the Sri Lankan Cricket board was not appreciated by Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickeramasinghe who rebuked the Sports Minister for his decision.
“President Ranil Wickremesinghe told me that if the Cricket Interim Committee is not removed, the Sports Act will be brought under him. I said that the committee will not be removed, I have told the President to remove me from the ministry,” the Sports Minister had said in Parliament
Sri Lanka cricket was suspended by the ICC SLC following the political slugfest. After hearing representation from SLC, the ICC Board decided that Sri Lanka can continue to compete internationally both in bilateral cricket and ICC events.
However, funding to SLC will be controlled by the ICC and the ICC Board confirmed Sri Lanka will no longer host the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024, which will now be held in South Africa. (ANI)
The ICC suspended Sri Lanka Cricket’s membership because of interference in the governance of the sport by the country’s government…reports Asian Lite News
Teams from Sri Lanka can continue to participate in international events despite the International Cricket Council suspending the country’s membership.
While allowing Sri Lanka to compete in both bilateral series and ICC events, the ICC on Tuesday took control of funding of Sri Lanka Cricket and also reallocated the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 from the country to South Africa.
These decisions were taken by the International Cricket Council (ICC) Board, which met on Tuesday and confirmed the terms of the suspension of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
“After hearing representation from SLC, the ICC Board decided that Sri Lanka can continue to compete internationally both in bilateral cricket and ICC events after being suspended recently for breaching its obligations as a member in particular the requirement to manage its affairs autonomously and without government interference,” the ICC said in a statement.
“However, funding to SLC will be controlled by the ICC and the ICC Board confirmed Sri Lanka will no longer host the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024, which will now be held in South Africa,” the release said.
The ICC suspended Sri Lanka Cricket’s membership because of interference in the governance of the sport by the country’s government.
The ICC Board met on November 11 and determined that Sri Lanka Cricket is in serious breach of its obligations as a Member, in particular, the requirement to manage its affairs autonomously and ensure that there is no government interference in the governance, regulation and/or administration of cricket in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lanka Parliament had unanimously passed a joint proposal to remove the office-bearers of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), the sport’s governing body in the country, which the lawmakers claimed to be ‘corrupt’.
In a rare unison, both the government and the opposition joined hands to pass the motion titled ‘Removal of corrupt office-bearers including President from SLC’ without a vote.
The committee also revealed a surge in the smuggling of gold, mobile phones, and other valuable items over the past three years following import restrictions….reports Asian Lite News
In response to escalating revenue losses, Sri Lanka Customs plans to enforce maximum penalties for individuals smuggling over 100 grams of gold and substantial quantities of restricted items including mobile phones, a spokesman said.
A recent report from the Parliamentary Committee on Ways and Means highlighted a loss of 1.4 billion LKR (Sri Lankan rupees) in recent times, attributing it to discretionary powers granted to customs officers in determining fines for smuggling restricted goods into the country, Xinhua news agency quoted customs media spokesman Sivali Arukgoda as saying on Sunday.
The committee also revealed a surge in the smuggling of gold, mobile phones, and other valuable items over the past three years following import restrictions.
Arukgoda said since June 2023 individuals caught bringing in restricted valuable items could face fines three times the value of the goods or a 100,000 LKR penalty.
As of October 31, customs had collected 760 billion LKR in revenue, with expectations that total customs revenue for the year would surpass 925 billion LKR, Arukgoda said.
The Sri Lankan government set a revenue target of 1,226 billion LKR for 2023.
President’s budget speech
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe presented the 2024 budget of his government with a focus on ensuring that the country doesn’t fall into economic bankruptcy again, Colombo Gazette reported.
Wickremesinghe, who is also the Finance Minister said that advancing a nation requires more than mere fairy tales and Colombo’s difficult times have not ended yet.
He further recalled that the prolonged reliance on ‘election promises’ by political parties has historically led to the economic bankruptcy of the country.
“The economy which was derailed was put back on track. But this achievement alone is not satisfactory. Just by this, we would not feel great relief or comfort. Our difficult times have not ended. The entire country continues to grapple with various hardships in different aspects,” Wickremesinghe said in his budget speech in the Sri Lankan parliament.
He added, “The inflation which was sky rocketed up to 70 per cent in September 2022, declined to 1.5 per cent in October 2023. Foreign reserves increased to USD 3.5 billion from zero. The confidence placed in us by foreign countries was restored. However, we have a long way to go”.
These government employees are currently receiving a Cost of Living Allowance of Rs. 7,800. We propose to increase their Cost of Living Allowance to Rs. 17,800 by Rs. 10,000 from January, 2024.
This increase will be implemented from April, 2024. Rs. 386 billion will be spent on public pensions in 2024.
The Government revenue collected within the first 9 months of the year 2023 is Rs. 215 billion. The shortage is Rs. 168 billion. To meet this shortage, it is compelled to obtain more loans.
While noting that raising the salaries of public sector employees is not the way to go as several state institutions are operating at a loss, the President announced an increase in the Cost-of-Living allowance for public servants from Sri Lankan Rupees (SLR) 7,800 to SLR 17,800 from January 2024, Colombo Gazette reported.
The 2024 budget also allocates funds to improve facilities for tourists, address housing issues in the country, including in the North, and improve domestic cricket.
The Second Reading debate of the Appropriation Bill (Budget) will be held for 7 days from November 14-21, excluding Sundays. Accordingly, the vote on the Second Reading of the budget for the financial year 2024 is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, November 21 at 6:00 pm (local time).
Furthermore, the Committee Stage debate will be held for 19 days from Wednesday, November 22-December 19, excluding Sundays. Accordingly, the vote on the Third Reading of the budget for the financial year 2024 is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, December 13 at 6:00 pm (local time).
According to the Appropriation Act of 2024, the total Government expenditure is approximately at SLR 7,833 billion, out of which SLR 3,861 billion has been allocated for Government service expenditure, Colombo Gazette reported.
Notably, Sri Lanka experienced a massive economic crisis, with skyrocketing inflation and plummeting forex reserves after which International Monetary Fund sanctioned a USD 3 billion bailout to steer the cash-strapped economy out of crisis.
Meanwhile, the next presidential election in Sri Lanka must be called by mid-September of 2024 and be held before the end of November. (with inputs from agencies)
The ruling was delivered based on the majority view of the five-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya….reports Asian Lite News
In a landmark ruling, the Sri Lankan Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the Rajapaksa brothers and other senior officials were responsible for the massive economic crisis in the island nation, the Colombo Gazette reported.
The apex court has ruled that the Rajapaksa brothers–former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa–were among those responsible for the crisis that led the country to bankruptcy last year.
Notably, the crisis resulted in major street protests last year forcing the Rajapaksas to resign and give way to the appointment of a new administration led by current President Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The Supreme Court also found that former Central Bank Governors Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Professor WD Lakshman, former Finance Secretary SR Attygalle, former Presidential Secretary PB Jayasundara and the Monetary Board members of the Central Bank had violated the fundamental rights of the people, Colombo Gazette reported.
The ruling was delivered based on the majority view of the five-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya.
This Fundamental Rights Petition (SC/FRA/212/2022) was filed on June 17, 2022, by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), along with co-petitioners Chandra Jayaratne, Jehan Canaga Retna and Julian Bolling calling for action against persons responsible for the economic crisis in Sri Lanka.
It was filed in the public interest, considering the lack of accountability and transparency in high-level decision-making that has brought Sri Lanka to its knees.
Since the petitioners approached the Court in the public interest and did not seek compensation for themselves, the Court was not inclined to order compensation other than costs incurred by the petitioners.
The petition by TISL, Chandra Jayaratne, Jehan CanagaRetna and Julian Bolling claimed that the respondents named in the petition were directly responsible for the unsustainability of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt, its hard default on foreign loan repayments and the current state of the economy of Sri Lanka. The petitioners called for the respondents to be held accountable for their illegal, arbitrary and unreasonable acts or omissions which culminated in the unprecedented crisis, Colombo Gazette reported.
The petitioners also argued that the fundamental rights of the citizens to equality, freedom of expression and the right to information guaranteed under the Constitution had been violated through the actions or inactions of the respondents, among other rights.
It added that the actions and inaction of the respondents led to the shortages of food, medicine, fuel and LP Gas in the country, victimising the entire population in an unprecedented manner.
The petition further highlighted that the reduction in government revenue caused by the tax breaks, failure to reverse the tax breaks, the decision to continue servicing sovereign debt without any restructuring, and the refusal to seek the assistance of the IMF were among the main factors that caused the economic crisis, Colombo Gazette reported.
Chandaka Jayasundera, PC, appeared for the petitioners along with SA Beling, Chinthaka Fernando, Sayuri Liyanasuriya and Manisha Dissanayake. (ANI)
The victory has left Pakistan and Afghanistan, both of whom are on eight points, needing virtually impossible targets to achieve in their respective last-league matches to overcome New Zealand’s superior NRR…reports Asian Lite News
New Zealand survived a minor scare before surging to a five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka with 160 balls to spare, all but grabbing the fourth and last place in the semifinals of the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday..
New Zealand, who needed to win their last league match by a big margin to further improve their Net Run Rate, bundled out Sri Lanka for 171 and were cruising towards victory at 86 for no loss in 12 overs as Devon Conway (45) and Rachin Ravindra (42) came out firing on all cylinders.
Both the openers were out in quick succession and skipper Kane Williamson departed for 14 before Daryl Mitchell blasted a 31-ball 43 to put them back on track for a five-wicket victory.
It was an incredible bowling performance followed by an 86-run opening stand that built the base for New Zealand’s important victory over Sri Lanka at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
The victory has left Pakistan and Afghanistan, both of whom are on eight points, needing virtually impossible targets to achieve in their respective last-league matches to overcome New Zealand’s superior NRR.
To deny them and reach the semis, Pakistan need to beat England either by 287 runs while batting first or with about 284 balls to spare while chasing.
It is even more improbable for Afghanistan as they need to beat the second-placed South Africa, already in the semis, by 438 to surpass New Zealand’s NRR.
It was the New Zealand quicks who made things possible for the Black Caps as they ran amok in Bengaluru.
Kusal Perera stood out as the lone warrior in the Powerplay for Sri Lanka even as four of his mates perished in quick succession to some quality bowling from the Kiwis’ new-ball bowlers.
Sri Lanka’s hopes of Perera salvaging them from the ruckus fell in the Powerplay itself when Lockie Ferguson snared him with the left-hander attempting a big hit over the off-side.
Reduced to 70/5, Sri Lanka needed the experience of Angelo Mathews and Dhananjaya de Silva to save them, but Mitchell Santner stepped in, sending back the duo in successive overs to put the Black Caps well and truly on top. They eventually ambled along to 171, but New Zealand’s rousing start with the bat all but sealed the contest.
Chasing 172, New Zealand made a strong start in the Powerplay as Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra came up with determined efforts.
Conway survived a close caught-behind shout against left-arm seamer Dilshan Madushanka, who had proved to be a menace in the Powerplay overs this tournament, but soon launched a scathing attack on him, one that saw the pacer go for seven boundaries against the New Zealand left-hander.
With Conway negating Madushanka and Ravindra tackling the spinners with authority, 73 runs came in the first 10 overs, pacing the way for the Black Caps to chase down the target with ease.
The breakthrough came when Dushmantha Chameera had Conway caught at mid-wicket for 45 in a maiden-wicket over. Maheesh Theekshana sent back Ravindra next over as Sri Lanka finally found a way into the deep New Zealand middle order.
But Dary Mitchell struck back by smashing Chameera for a six and a four next over and then reverse-swept and slogged Theekshana to reveal more of his intent.
Mathews gave Sri Lanka a whisker of hope when he cleaned up Williamson in the 19th over to leave New Zealand at 130/3, but with less than fifty runs needed to ace the target, the fightback seemed too late.
Things took a further turn as New Zealand lost Mark Chapman after a miscommunication with Mitchell. Mathews then got the big wicket of Mitchell himself as New Zealand lost their top five. But by then, New Zealand were only ten runs away from a win that could well ensure their semi-final spot.
Glenn Phillips hit back-to-back boundaries to seal the deal as New Zealand affirmed their position in the top four of the points table. Only a huge win for Pakistan or Afghanistan in their respective final clashes will see them miss out on a knockout spot.
Earlier, Tim Southee struck early, sending back Pathum Nissanka a ball after he was dropped.
Perera was in the mood to go after the New Zealand attack and judiciously freed his arms despite the ball moving around. Fortune favoured him as Sri Lanka got off to a flier, making 30 runs in the first four overs.
Even when Boult sent back Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama in the fifth over, Perera didn’t stop hammering the attack. He blasted Southee for four boundaries in an over and then added two more off Boult next over.
The fifty came up of a mere 22 balls, making it the fastest fifty by any player against New Zealand in the men’s Cricket World Cup.
Boult, meanwhile, continued to cause mayhem at the other end, sending back the centurion from the previous game, Charith Asalanka, for eight.
With Perera dismissed next over, Sri Lanka’s hopes fell flat and Santner’s double strike in quick succession firmly put the nail on Sri Lanka’s innings.
Sri Lanka reached a respectable total thanks to Maheesh Theekshana and Dilshan Madushanka, who combined in a resistant tenth-wicket partnership.
Theekshana, who has faced more than 20 balls in four of his six knocks at the 2023 World Cup, looked composed and determined again and he found an able company in Madushanka. The duo joined hands in the 33rd over and ensured the team batted till the 47th over, stitching together 43 valuable runs.
But in the end, their efforts were not enough as New Zealand romped to victory and set themselves for securing a place in the semifinals.
Sri Lanka 171 all out in 46.4 overs (Kusal Perera 51, Maheesh Theekshana 38 not out; Trent Boult 3-37, Lokie Ferguson 2-35, Mitchell Santner 2-22, Rachin Ravindra 2-21) lost to New Zealand 172/5 in 23.2 overs (Devon Conway 45, Rachin Ravindra 42, Daryl Mitchell 43; Angelo Mathews 2-29) by five wickets.
After getting all out on a mere 50 runs in the Asia Cup 2023 finals, Sri Lanka yet again bundled out on 55 against India on Thursday….reports Asian Lite News
Following the disgraceful defeat by a mammoth 302 runs against India on Thursday, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has called for an urgent and comprehensive explanation from the entire coaching staff and selectors.
After getting all out on a mere 50 runs in the Asia Cup 2023 finals, Sri Lanka yet again bundled out on 55 against India on Thursday. With just two wins in seven games Sri Lanka sits in the eighth position on the points table, with their semis hope almost getting over.
“SLC has expressed its deep concern and disappointment over the performance of the Sri Lanka National Team during the ongoing World Cup 2023, particularly the disappointing loss against India yesterday” SLC said in a statement.
“The World Cup 2023 is a prestigious event and the performance of the Sri Lanka National Team is a source of immense pride for the nation and cricket fans around the world. However, the recent overall performance and shocking defeats have raised significant questions about the team’s preparation, strategies and performance,” cricket’s govering body queried.
SLC said that the management never interfered with the hired professional staff to carry out their duties and responsibilities as per the norms and regulations.
“However, SLC firmly believes in accountability, transparency and the importance of addressing subject concerns promptly. The call for an explanation from the entire coaching staff is aimed at understanding the reasons behind the team’s disappointing performance and identifying areas for improvement,”.
The SLC has asked the coaching staff and the selectors to address several key points, including:
1. Strategy and Preparation: Providing insights into the team’s strategy, preparation and tactical decisions during the matches.
2. Team Selection: Justifying player selections for each match and explaining any changes made to the playing XI.
3. Player Performance: Assessing individual and team performance, highlighting strengths and weaknesses, and addressing any injuries or fitness concerns.
4. Post-Match Analysis: Sharing post-match analyses conducted by the coaching team and explaining key takeaways.
“Sri Lanka Cricket understands that losses are a part of sports, but the recent defeats have been particularly disheartening. The organization aims to open a constructive dialogue to identify areas for improvement and ensure a more competitive showing in future matches,” it noted.
SLC said that it expects a prompt and comprehensive response from the coaching staff demonstrating a strong commitment to enhance the team’s performance in the remaining matches of the World Cup 2023 and in future competitions.
Sitharaman offered that India could become the lead partner in the initiative through technical collaboration…reports Asian Lite News
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met Sri Lankan president Ranil Wickremesinghe during her visit to the island nation and discussed a host of issues.
After the meeting, in a post late on Thursday night, the Finance Ministry informed that Wickremesinghe acknowledged the multi-faceted support to Sri Lanka provided by India during the economic crisis.
Sitharaman stated that India would continue to collaborate with the Sri Lankan Government on matters pertaining to debt restructuring.
They discussed India-Sri Lanka joint initiatives in the economic and commercial sphere.
Sitharaman highlighted that the ‘Vision document on Economic Partnership’ adopted during his visit to India in July 2023 will further strengthen the countries’ maritime, air, digital, energy and people-to-people connectivity.
The Finance Minister thanked the Sri Lankan president for inviting her as a guest of honour at the 200th anniversary celebrations of the arrival of Indian origin Tamils to Sri Lanka and complimented him for the excellent organisation of the event.
President Wickremesinghe emphasised on Sri Lanka’s vision to build a new market economy with focus on tourism, sustainability, agricultural modernisation and digitisation and welcomed collaboration with India in these areas.
Sitharaman offered that India could become the lead partner in the initiative through technical collaboration.
She also expressed satisfaction on the progress made in recent negotiations on the economic and technology cooperation agreement and UPI based digital payments and shared her views on investment based support and bilateral investment treaty.
They also had discussions on cooperation in Inter-grid connectivity, aviation, power projects, oil exploration in Mannar.
In continued tradition of friendly relations between India and Sri Lanka, Sitharaman and Wickremesinghe witnessed the exchange of Letter of Exchange and Acceptance on Memorandum of Understanding for promotion of Buddhism ties between India and Sri Lanka.
They also witnessed exchange of MoU on solar electrification of religious places in Sri Lanka. For this project, India will allocate Rs 82.40 crore out of the government of India grant assistance of Rs 107.47 crore earmarked for the promotion of Buddhist ties.
On the proposed ETCA, both sides agreed on the need to build on progress made in the past while revisiting their positions wherever possible to reflect new developments…reports Asian Lite News
India and Sri Lanka held the 12th round of negotiations on the Ecobomic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA), the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said on Wednesday.
The three-day meeting was held from October 30 to November 1 in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.
According to an official statement, the two countries had 11 rounds of bilateral talks from 2016 to 2018 but then the negotiations were paused.
The Sri Lankan delegation was led by KJ Weerasinghe, Chief Negotiator and the Indian delegation was led by Shri Anant Swarup, Joint Secretary in the Department of Commerce, Government & Chief Negotiator.
During this round, both sides took stock of the progress made till the 11th round and engaged in discussions on various chapters, including Trade in Goods, Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Trade in Services, Custom Procedure & Trade Facilitation, Rules of Origin, Trade Remedies, Economic & Technology Cooperation and Dispute Settlement. Both sides identified areas of convergence and areas where they need to find creative solutions, the statement said.
Additionally, both sides reviewed the progress on implementation and decided to drop nine issues as being resolved. Issues such as the quota on apparel and pepper and the procurement of pharmaceuticals were also discussed and both sides decided to continue the discussion and explore new options for resolution of the matter.
On the proposed ETCA, both sides agreed on the need to build on progress made in the past while revisiting their positions wherever possible to reflect new developments.
Moreover, the Ministry said that the conclusion of the negotiations is expected to open new opportunities for trade and economic cooperation for both countries.
The India-Sri Lanka ETCA will be a pivotal move to further enhance bilateral trade between the two countries. Both sides acknowledged the huge potential of the India-Sri Lanka trade partnership and the possibilities for enhanced economic relations in areas of mutual interest. (ANI)
The focus of the discussions was on the government’s reform programmes aimed at economic recovery and sustainable growth….reports Asian Lite News
The Sri Lankan government on Tuesday convened a roundtable discussion with representatives from multilateral organisations on its economic reforms, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.
Representatives from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and other organizations attended the discussions, the PMD said in a statement.
The focus of the discussions was on the government’s reform programmes aimed at economic recovery and sustainable growth, the PMD said, Xinhua news agency reported.
The two sides discussed challenges, opportunities and commitments for Sri Lanka’s development, the PMD said.
Following the economic crisis in 2022, Sri Lanka has held a series of discussions with these multilateral agencies.
The session was opened by the President Ranil Wickremesinghe. He delivered an address on the growth and strategic directions for Sri Lanka as it moves from recovery to a sustainable growth path.
The President also made firm commitments for the Government to work hand in hand with the private sector to unlock key investments in new and existing economic sectors moving forward, together with exploring opportunities in pursuing Green initiatives and championing Sri Lanka as a regional logistics hub in the near future.
Outcomes from the discussions in the Roundtable signaled overwhelming commitment and confidence from both the Developmental Partners and the Private Sector in the Government’s present reform efforts. The Government has also provided a clear framework to improving coordination and communications, along with detailed action plans on the implementation and delivery of the reform agenda.
To strengthen delivery, the Government has plans to set-up a Presidential Delivery Unit, conduct Economic Labs with the private sector, and hold Open days to communicate outcomes to the public of what has been achieved and delivered.
Marking the Reform Priorities, Progress, Challenges and Opportunities, Secretary to the Treasury and the Ministry of Finance, K. M. Mahinda Siriwardana made a presentation under the theme of “Progress on key stabilization measures and structural reforms undertaken since the last roundtable discussion in December 2022 and planned over the medium term to sustain stability, promote growth, and re-establish credit worthiness” while outlining the Government’s reform coordination platform around which Multilateral Development Banks can work.
Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Dr. P Nandalal Weerasinghe highlighted the progress on debt restructuring made by the Sri Lankan Government. Alongside these presentations and remarks, international development partners including IMF, World Bank, MIGA, ADB, AIIB, ЛСА, USAID, EU, UN and private sector development partners made an interactive length long discussion and shared their views on the matter.
The session was also attended by Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry, Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekara and State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and Senior Advisor on National Security to the President and Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga and Foreign Ministry Secretary Ms Aruni Wijewardane all representing the Government of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka to Increase VAT to 18%
Sri Lankan has approved to increase the value added tax (VAT) to 18 per cent from January, 2024, cabinet spokesperson Bandula Gunawardena said on Tuesday.
At a press conference here on Tuesday, Gunawardena said that increased VAT will also be imposed on certain goods and services that are currently not being taxed.
He said that the government has taken significant steps to increase tax revenue. The tax revenue in the first nine months of 2023 was 51 per cent higher than in 2022, he added, Xinhua news agency reported.
However, the government has failed to reach tax collection targets agreed on with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), leading to the IMF delaying the release of the second tranche of its financial aid package, he said.
The South Asian country reduced VAT from 15 percent to 8 percent in 2019, and raised it two times to 15 per cent in 2022.