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Sri Lanka to remove VAT exemptions, except health, education, some foods

Nov 13 (EN) Sri Lanka will remove almost all exemptions from value added tax keeping health, education and some foods, Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe said in presenting a budget for 2024. The VAT rate will be increased to 18 percent as announced before. “This brings Sri Lanka in line with regional peers including India and Pakistan, in terms of standard VAT rate,” Prez said. Sri Lanka however has a cascading social security contribution levy (SSCL). more..

Sr Lanka targets 9.1% deficit in 2024 with bank bailouts

Nov 13 (EN) Sri Lanka is targeting an overall deficit of 9.1% of gross domestic product in 2023 with a 450 billion rupees allocated to bailout banks, according to a budget presented by Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe. Without bank bailouts the deficit is 7.6% of GDP. SL had to bailout state banks due to loans given to state owned enterprises, he said. “The govt is now in the process of restructuring the debts accumulated by these SOEs on the books of the state banks,” Prez said. more..

Mahela to Aravinda: 'You were a generation ahead of your time'

Nov 13 (CI) This letter, penned by Mahela Jayawardene to Aravinda de Silva after the latter was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame, was released by the ICC. To Aravinda Aiya (big brother), It is an honour to welcome you as the fourth Sri Lankan to be inducted to the ICC Hall of Fame. Though I can't help thinking that if you asked any of the three of us already there - myself, Sanga or Murali - we would all agree that it should more..

Sri Lanka to facilitate cross-border transactions in gig economy: Prez

Nov 13 (EN) Sri Lanka will facilitate e-commerce transactions within its gig-economy, Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe said in the budget speech for 2024, today. “Considering the new trends in gig economy activities and e-commerce transactions, including cross-border transactions of goods and services, it is proposed to introduce a simple policy and regulatory framework to facilitate gig economy and e-commerce transactions, including cross-border transactions,” Wickremesinghe said. more..

Sri Lanka to phase out CESS, PAL, set up committee to boost trade

Nov 13 (EN) Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe has proposed the removal of several non-tariff import taxes, in his budget speech in parliament today. “As a primary step to improving SL’s deeper connectivity with foreign trade and global markets, we are taking steps to eliminate non-tariff import taxes, including import CESS, Port, and Airport Levy,” Wickremesinghe said. “Easing of these taxes will be phased out through 3 to 5 years”. The int'l market should be expanded for exports, he said. more..

SLPP sceptical of president’s 2024 budget

Nov 13 (EN) An apparent rift between Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe and a section of the ruling SLPP appears to be widening, judging by comments made by SLPP legislator Namal Rajapaksa on the prez’s 2024 budget. “We must study the budget. He had presented a lot of these proposals in last year’s budget too. They don’t seem to have been implemented,” said Rajapaksa, speaking to reporters after the budget presentation today. more..

Lunch instead of traditional Budget tea party

Nov 13 (DM) The usual tea party which is held for MPs and other invitees after the second reading of the budget was not held this year. Instead, a late lunch was hosted for them because the presentation of the budget began at 12 noon. MP Dr. Harsha de Silva told the Daily Mirror that almost all MPs participated at the lunch at the member’s canteen. “It was only lunch and there was no party,” he said. Most of the MPs had a late lunch following the budget presentation. more..

Sri Lanka to hike state salaries by Rs10,000

Nov 13 (EN) Sri Lanka will raise state salaries by 10,000 rupee by hiking a cost of living allowance to 17,800 rupees, Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe said presenting a budget for 2024. To give higher salaries more taxes have to be raised, since money printing and more borrowings could no longer be done, he said. As a result, payments will be given from April as tax revenues came in. The arrears will be settled from October in six monthly installments, Prez said. Cost of living allowance of state pensioners more..

cricket board එක සංචාරක...

Sri Lanka to establish new, expand existing science and technology universities

Nov 13 (EN) SL will establish a new technology university in Kandy, and expand the capabilities of other higher education institutions, prez Ranil Wickramasinghe said in his budget speech in parliament today. “A new Technology University will be established in Kandy under the guidance of IIT Uni in Chennai, lndia,” Wickremesinghe said during the 2024 budget reading in parliament today. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) are centrally funded technical institutes located across India, more..

Sri Lanka to sell down 20% of state banks, Rs450bn for bank recapitalization

Nov 13 (EN) Sri Lanka plans to sell 20% stake in state banks to strategic investors or the public, Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe said. “I propose that 20% of the shares of the two large state-owned banks should be given to strategic investors or the public to improve capital and support the future growth of the two state owned banks to reduce the burden on taxpayers’ funds,” he said presenting a budget for 2024. Separately 450 billion rupees will be spend on recapitalizing banks. more..

Apeksha Hospital: PET scan services disrupted over payment dispute

Nov 13 (TM) The PET scan machine at the Apeksha Hospital in Maharagama faces operational disruptions once again, attributed to a payment issue with the local agent of the fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) supplier who is demanding biweekly payments. The hospital claims that the local agent insists on a payment of Rs. 2 million every two weeks, while the Treasury only releases funds for medicine purchases for more..

Sri Lanka to impose maximum penalties on smugglers amid revenue loss concerns

Nov 13 (Xinhua) In response to escalating revenue losses, SL Customs plans to enforce maximum penalties for individuals smuggling over 100 grams of gold and substantial quantities of restricted items including mobile phones. A recent report from the Parliamentary Committee on Ways and Means highlighted a loss of 1.4 billion rupees in recent times, attributing it to discretionary powers granted to customs officers in determining fines for smuggling restricted goods into the country, more..

200 electric buses to join SLTB in Western Province in 2024

Nov 13 (DM) While digitizing the Department of Motor Traffic in 2024, a pilot project of running 200 electric buses will be started jointly with the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) in the Western Province. Prez said in his budget speech that the Kandy multi-transport center project will be started in January 2024 under the loan support of the World Bank to remove the vehicle and passenger traffic congestion in the historic city of Kandy and integrate train, bus and other taxi services. more..

Verité Research unveils 10 budget proposals for revenue and growth

Nov 13 (CT) Ahead of the presentation of the Budget for 2024 to Parliament today, Verité Research has unveiled 10 budget proposals designed to enhance revenue and revitalise growth in Sri Lanka. The proposals were announced at a forum titled Budgeting for Revenue and Growth hosted by the think tank on Thursday (9), which facilitated a conversation on the pathway to revive Sri Lanka’s economy. more..

Sri Lanka to introduce flexible operating hours for liquor outlets

Nov 13 (AD) A new excise licensing system allowing for more flexible operating hours of liquor stores, in a bid to discourage the illicit selling of liquor and to maintain industry discipline is set to be introduced for the Excise Department, Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe revealed. The new licensing system also allows for the streamlining of the guidelines issued for various types of liquor licenses, the revision of those regulations related to activities concerning tourism promotion, more..

Rs. 2 billion allocated to resettle those displaced during civil war

Nov 13 (AD) A sum of Rs. 2 billion has been allocated from the 2024 Budget to resettle those who were displaced during the internal conflict between the Northern and Eastern provinces, Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe stated. “Although 14 years have passed since the end of internal conflict in the North and Eastern provinces, some families are still homeless in those areas”, the Head of State said in this regard while delivering the 2024 Budget speech in Parliament this afternoon. more..

Anura Kumara Dissanayake

Are we serious about commissions and committees?

Nov 14 (DM) Now that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended Sri Lanka Cricket’s membership over political interference in its administration, the fate of the Interim Committee on which the Court of Appeal has issued a 14-day Stay Order, the Cabinet Subcommittee appointed to resolve issues about cricket and the report that was submitted by the Justice K.T. Chitrasiri Committee for a new constitution for Sri Lanka Cricket is not clear. more..

Empty Rhetoric by ‘United’ legislators shook the Cricket fields!

Nov 14 (TM) Dr. John Rockwood took the lead in establishing a national board to oversee and promote Ceylon Cricket. This initiative resulted in the formation of the Ceylon Cricket Association (CCA) in 1922, coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the first international match played on SL soil in 1832. In a rare gesture, both factions in Parliament, [of which the Aragalayist, demanded en masse resignations 17 months ago], in an overt display of panic or perhaps pretentious rhetoric, more..

'Budget 2024 will be a stabilisation budget'

Nov 14 (TM) Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe will present the Appropriation Bill for the fiscal year 2024 in Parliament tomorrow (13) in his capacity as Minister of Finance. However, the fact remains that regardless of which govt is in power, the majority of budget proposals go unimplemented year after year despite the fanfare in presentation. Commenting on this implementation failure, former Deputy Governor of the CB Dr. W.A. Wijewardena said more..

Why does SL need private universities?

Nov 14 (DM) Last week, police fired tear gas to disperse a group of university students protesting against the govt’s effort to destroy free education. Apart from the footage of the Police hosing the hapless students with water cannons, which is the money shot for the prime-time news bulletins, public opinion on these protests is increasingly adverse. Social media is livid at the hypocrisy of the protesters. Others lament the future of next-generation intellectuals. more..

Budget 2024: Walking the talk

Nov 14 (TM) Economic analysts who follow SL would be scratching their heads following the 2024 Budget speech made by Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament yesterday. The 2024 Budget will be an acid test for the SL Govt, especially if lessons were learnt, and how international agreements will be honoured. Let’s not forget that even though the IMF and Sri Lankan have concluded the staff level agreement, the global moneylender’s executive board is yet to approve the payment of more..

SL mothers prefer abstinence-only sex-edu.

Nov 14 (TM) Although many local mothers thought that adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information is important to adolescent girls and attempted to keep their daughters informed about related issues, they preferred abstinence-only sex education over abstinence plus comprehensive sexuality education where they thoroughly refused to provide safe sex information, and also lacked the skills and more..

When a green cape turns red flag

Nov 14 (CT) Among all the things the environmentally-conscious superhero, Chairman of the Central Environmental Authority, was supposed to protect, his bank account was not one of them. He was caught red-handed in a dramatic arrest last week when he traded his green cape for what would have been some big bucks (and greener’ pastures) as he was accepting a bribe to the tune of Rs 10 million in return for illegally facilitating a permit for an individual. more..

Editorial: A high-wire act

Nov 14 (Island) President Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that Budget 2024 was intended to build the foundation of Sri Lanka’s recovery. “We cannot continue as a people who depends on others,” he said. What he has chosen to leave unsaid is that the budget primarily seeks to keep the IMF bailout on track by meeting the recommended revenue targets and reducing state expenditure and public debt. Budget 2024 has already come in for criticism. more..

අරවින්ද ද සිල්වා

Universities from thin air

Nov 14 (Island) Soon after he took office as Prez of the republic, Ranil Wickremesinghe presided over the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Manila and announced a proposal to establish a university in SL to study global climate change. A few weeks ago, at a prize day at a school, he announced that he would establish 10 more universities in the country. On 17 Sept, when he spoke at a meeting of the Group of 77 in Cuba, he announced that he had plans to establish four universities in SL, more..

Online safety for the govt but not for citizens?

Nov 14 (ST) Supreme Court’s pronouncement while examining SL’s Online Safety Bill in the determination communicated to the Speaker earlier this month that, Parliament need not wait till a crime is committed to enact laws invites a measure of critical scrutiny in good conscience. It is self-evident that the legislature need not wait till crimes are committed to enact laws. Nor has any legislature, including this country’s rambunctious House, exercised such extraordinary patience. more..

Sri Lanka revised budget shows meeting Dec 2023 IMF deficit target

Nov 14 (EN) Sri Lanka’s revised budget for 2023 shows meeting an IMF target for the primary budget balance before interest costs of 209 billion rupees set for December. 2023 revised budget projects revenues of 2,839 billion rupees, up 43% from a year earlier, but below IMF projections of 3,268 billion rupees. Revenues however are an indicative target and not a performance criterion like the primary deficit. more..

UJTA condemns Jaffna University’s decision

Nov 14 (DM) Uni of Jaffna Teachers’ Association (UJTA) condemns the cancellation of a lecture scheduled to be conducted by Ms. Swasthika Arulingam, Attorney-at-Law on October 31. The association said that Ms. Arulingam was going to speak on the topic Judicial Independence in Times of Crisis at an event organized by the Department of Law at the University of Jaffna. This event was cancelled at the last minute due to pressure by a section of undergraduates of Uni of Jaffna. more..

National Youth Sports Festival from Nov 16

Nov 14 (DN) 34th National Youth Sports Festival, organized by the National Youth Services Centre under the supervision of the Sports and Youth Ministry, is set to kick off at the Sugathadasa Stadium from Nov 16 to 19, featuring the participation of 3000 athletes. This five-day national competition will unfold in two divisions, catering to athletes between 15 and 29 years of age and those in the Under-20 and Above-20 age categories. In the upcoming edition, Olympic torch will be lit by more..

ඡන්දෙට රෙඩි වෙන්න

Govt bypasses NLAC to bring in new labour laws

Nov 14 (ST) The govt has bypassed the national labour tripartite body to draft the new labour bill. Trade unions in SL that are party to the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) have raised concerns that the formal tripartite body is being overlooked in the drafting of the new labour law reforms. Drawing reference to a media release stating that the new labour law reforms have on Oct 30 been sent to the Legal Draftsman by the Labour Ministry following consultations with more..

Budget 2024: Views from Parliament

Nov 14 (TM) Fruitless & deceitful Budget – Sajith. Opposition and SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa: “It is a fruitless and deceitful Budget. There is no proposal included for recovering stolen assets. This Government has no proper tax policy. There is no way to increase the public revenue which is required to give relief to the general public.” Decision to rectify historic injustice to upcountry people – Pavithra. Minister of Wildlife and Forest Conservation Pavithra Wanniarachchi. more..

Aravinda inducted into ICC Hall of Fame

Nov 14 (Island) Former great Aravinda de Silva has been inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame, making him the fourth Sri Lankan to join the elite group. Aravinda will be honoured at the Wankhede Stadium during the World Cup semi-final along with Virender Sehwag and Diana Edulji. Following a voting process conducted among existing Hall of Famers, media representatives and senior executives from FICA and the ICC, more..

Victorious Algama shines in November Golf NRT

Nov 14 (DN) Reshan Algama from Royal Colombo Golf Club (RCGC) demonstrated his expertise by securing victory in the November National Ranking Tournament (NRT) at the Victoria Golf Resort in Digana. Algama sealed his triumph with a final-day gross score of 74, achieving an aggregate gross score of 295. The 15-year-old Colombo International School student not only emerged victorious in this tournament but also set a remarkable record by winning the National Ranking Tournament more..

Galadari Hotels Lanka signs BOI deal for refurbishment; 1st phase worth $ 33.5 m

Nov 14 (FT) Galadari Hotels Lanka said it has successfully signed an agreement with the Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka as the first step towards the property’s refurbishment process. Galadari Colombo has over the years built up an enviable reputation in the hospitality industry and proudly boasts of over 39 years of exceptional service. The company has entered into two agreements which include the Hotel Development Services Agreement (HDSA) which will later more..

Govt helpless as mill owners dance the Samba

Nov 14 (DM) As of now the mill owners have been engaged in raising the price of paddy. Given the current drought and rainfall situation that prevail these individuals are not only attempting to raise the price of paddy, but are also trying to create the illusion of a paddy shortage. Former Director of Agriculture K.B. Gunaratne when contacted questioned the Govt whether there is a shortage of paddy in the country. more..

Cost of living hike is sop to mislead and pacify state employees, says union boss

Nov 14 (Island) The Prez has attempted to mislead and pacify state employees by offering to increase their cost of living allowance by 10,000 rupees from April 2024, President of the All Ceylon Management Service Officer’s Union Udeni Dissanayake said. Presenting the 2024 budget, Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe said the Cost of Living Allowance for public sector employees will be increased by 10,000 rupees effective from Jan 2024 but it will only be added to salaries from April 2024. more..