v2025 (2)



Kerosene price reduced with effect from Wednesday (1).

The price of a liter of kerosene will be reduced by Rs. 50/- with effect from midnight on Wednesday (1).

The new price of a liter of kerosene is Rs. 305/-.

The price of a liter of Lanka Industrial Kerosene will be reduced by Rs. 134/-.

The new price will be Rs. 330/-.

However, the prices of Petrol and Diesel will remain at current prices.

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President signs Gazette declaring several services as Essential

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has signed a Gazette notification, a short while ago, declaring several services related to ports, airports and passenger transport services as essential services, with immediate effect, the PMD reported.

Accordingly, the special Gazette declares public transport services for passengers or goods, discharge, carriage, landing, storage, delivery and removal of articles of food or drink, or coal, oil, fuel from vessels within any port as defined for the purposes of the Customs Ordinance (Chapter 235), the provision and maintenance of facilities for transport services by road, rail or air, including roads, bridges, culverts, airports, ports and railway lines, as essential services with immediate effect.

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Sri Lanka Rupee hits record high against USD

The Sri Lanka Rupee today (01) marked a record high against the US Dollar, with the buying rate at Rs. 351.72 and the selling rate at Rs. 362.95.

“This is the lowest rupee value against the US Dollar since 04 May 2022,” the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said.

The selling rate of the US dollar was declared as Rs. 371 on February 01, which has now dropped to Rs 362.95 on March 01.

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Pakistani Navy Chief meets with President Ranil

Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) of Pakistan Navy, who is currently on an official visit to Sri Lanka met President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the President’s Office this morning (27) and engaged in a discussion.

During the discussion, emphasis was placed on enhancing the maritime regional cooperation between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, alongside exploring opportunities for the further expansion of maritime activities between the two nations, the PMD said.

Symbolizing this meeting, the Pakistan Navy Chief presented a commemorative gift to President Wickremesinghe.

A group of senior naval officials from both countries attended the event, it said.

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SLC receives nominations for upcoming cricket board elections in May

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Election Committee received nominations today (Feb 28) for the upcoming SLC polls to elect office bearers for the national cricket board for the period 2023-2025.

The Election Committee, which comprises three members, was appointed at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the SLC by the membership, pursuant to a decision taken by the Executive Committee of the cricket board on November 23, 2022, to conduct the election on May 20, 2023.

Justice Malani Gunaratne, retired judge of the Court of Appeal; Shiromi Perera, retired judge of the High Court; and Sunil Sirisena, retired senior public official of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS) serve as the SLC election committee members.

Accepting nominations, which commenced at 9:30 a.m. today, concluded at 3:30 p.m.

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World Bank's IFC to provide Sri Lanka with $400 mn financing

To support Sri Lanka amid an ongoing economic crisis, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is providing a cross-currency swap facility to three of the country's leading national banks that deal with over 30 percent of Sri Lanka's remittances and exports. It will support the private sector with critical financing, contributing to the country's urgent need to stabilize the economy.

Sri Lanka has been facing its worst economic crisis in decades. The country's output is estimated to have fallen by 9.2 percent in 2022 and drop a further 4.2 percent in 2023.

To support the country, the IFC facility will provide $400 million over one year to Commercial Bank of Ceylon (CBC), Nations Trust Bank (NTB), and Sampath Bank to help facilitate imports of essential goods—food, medicine, fertilizers—most of which are traded in US dollars (USD). The facility will further support the banks financing of exports of goods and services for their clients while allowing them to make USD-denominated debt repayments.

"In our almost 20-year relationship, IFC has engaged extensively with us to help grow our operations, including new opportunities in trade, climate finance, small and medium enterprises, and was also instrumental in establishing our comprehensive women banking portfolio. This new facility will help us deploy our foreign currencies more efficiently, while lowering our foreign currency exposure, resulting in effective risk mitigation," said Sanath Manatunge, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Commercial Bank of Ceylon.

"Sri Lanka's economy continues to feel the severe US dollars (USD) funding constraints. IFC's cross-currency swap facility will provide critical forex liquidity, helping support the private sector and encouraging longer term funding flows to the market," said Joon Young Park, IFC's Portfolio Manager, Financial Institutions Group for South Asia. "We expect this financing to boost confidence in the investor community, attract fresh capital inflows to support the Sri Lankan economy. We are also working on further plans to support our client banks with other long-term funding and advisory services in the future."

This new swap facility follows the reactivation of trade finance lines with IFC partner banks—under the Global Trade Finance Program—in January 2023, which have been cautiously managing their risks in a challenging operating environment. With this facility, CBC and Sampath Bank will now be able to improve access to medium and long-term finance for its clients, helping local businesses sustain operations.

"IFC's support through the cross-currency swap facility is timely, given the liquidity stress faced by the industry and the overall economy. This transaction will strengthen our hand in our efforts to increase foreign currency lending to our key client groups and thereby support economic revival across key industry sectors. By arranging this facility, IFC is providing a few selected banks including Nations Trust Bank, an additional avenue to manage liquidity risks which we believe is a positive signal for Sri Lanka at this current juncture. This transaction is also a testament to the long-standing relationship between IFC and Nations Trust Bank that spans over 20 years and we are thankful to IFC for its continued confidence in our Bank as a key banking sector partner in Sri Lanka," said Hemantha Gunetilleke, Chief Executive Officer of Nations Trust Bank.

"The facility provided by IFC comes at a juncture where the Sri Lankan economy is facing a challenging time. The transaction will enable Sampath Bank to better manage our foreign currency holding by borrowing at lower rates and manage our foreign currency exposure, while facilitating foreign currency lending to our customers across the whole economy. The transaction will also renew the longstanding relationship with IFC, which was spread across many business areas such as trade, foreign exchange, and financial services. Sampath Bank is also grateful for the trust placed by IFC by continuing to engage as a major business partner in Sri Lanka and is confident that this will lead to a long and fruitful relationship," said Nanda Fernando, Managing Director of Sampath Bank PLC.

This facility is aligned with IFC's work in Sri Lanka over the past five decades. This includes IFC's strong countercyclical role in Sri Lanka during the COVID-pandemic, where IFC invested over $830 million, providing much needed long-term capital and trade financing to help sustain businesses and preserve jobs.

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New pension system for those who joined State sector after 2016

Cabinet approval has been granted for the establishment of a National Contributory Pension Fund for Public Service employees.

Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena stated that the Pension Fund will be established for new Public Service employees and those who have joined the Public Service after January 2016.

He further stated that the Pension Fund will see an 8% contribution from the employee and a 12% contribution from the employer.

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Person injured during police assault on NPP rally dies

One of the demonstrators engaged in the protest march orginased by the National People’s Power (NPP) in Colombo yesterday (26) and got beaten by the Police has reportedly died succumbing to his injuries.

The deceased was a NPP contender for the Nivithigala Pradeshiya Sabha, said Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Chief Secretary Tilvyn Silva.

“About 28 people were hospitalised, and some of them discharged themselves. Some of them are still in care. The conditions of two of them were reported to be critical. Now we learn that one of them has lost his life. He was Nimal Amarasiri, a comrade who served as a contender in our Nivithigala Pradeshiya Sabha in Ratnapura District,” Silva said.

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Mano wants UK to support hill-country Tamils to become full citizens

Leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Mano Ganesan has called on the UK to support hill-country Tamils to get more involved in the Sri Lankan national polity.

“They are the most underprivileged vulnerable segment of Sri Lanka, he said, adding that “We wanted to become full citizens.”

Ganeshan and secretary of the Ceylon Workers Congress, minister Jeevan Thondaman, have met with visiting deputy director for South Asia Department of the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Maya Sivagnanam and British high commissioner Sarah Hulton at Westminster House in Colombo.

The DPA leader said further that both Britain and India have their obligation and responsibility towards hill-country Tamils.

“Britain should use its good offices with Government of Sri Lanka to help us to achieve this Sri Lankan dream,” he urged.

Ganeshan also said,

“All that our community wants is that we wish to come further and further into the Sri Lankan national mainstream polity as full citizens. Our journey is an inward journey. Britain should use its good offices with the Government of Sri Lanka to help us to achieve this Sri Lankan dream.

The element of British responsibility begins from the fact that the British crown government started bringing us into this country from South India 200 years ago. Since then our people had put up unprecedented hard work and developed the most profitable plantation export industry and road and rail network and Colombo Port in then Ceylon and now Sri Lanka.

But in return, our citizenship and franchise rights to vote were taken away in 1948. Our people were forcibly sent to India from 1964 by the Sirima-Shastri Pact.

When such occurred, then Ceylon was a Dominion state under the British Governor General reporting to the British Crown's government. The 29th section of the British presented Soulbury constitution did not help us.

Hence, His Majesty's government of Britain today has a moral responsibility towards the wellbeing of our community.

Please don't leave it to the governments of Sri Lanka and India only. Indians too have their obligation and responsibility towards us. India is using its good offices, alright, but that's not enough. Their own concerns take priority over issues. We suffer being sidelined from the national mainstream. We require British support too. We strive to achieve just sociopolitical lost grounds within an undivided Sri Lanka.

Not less than one third of our community lives in the plantations. They are the most under privileged vulnerable segment of Sri Lanka. The surveys of UN organizations, WB, ICRC and UNHRC special Rapporteur confirm this sad reality. We request the Government of the UK to support our vulnerable segment on Affirmative Action principles.

We wanted to become full citizens. Please use your good offices with the Government of Sri Lanka on our behalf.

Your Sri Lanka policy should recognize the underlying fact that Sri Lanka is incomplete without our community, hill-country Tamils.”

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INS ‘Sukanya’ arrives in Colombo on official visit

The Indian Naval Ship (INS) ‘Sukanya’ arrived at the Port of Colombo on an official visit this morning (27th February 2023). The visiting ship was welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in compliance with naval traditions.

INS ‘Sukanya’ in a 101m long Offshore Patrol Vessel manned by 106 crew members. Meanwhile, the Commanding Officer of the ship CImages and Linksommander Pranav Anand called on the Commander Western Naval Area, Rear Admiral Suresh De Silva at the Western Naval Command Headquarters this morning.

Further, a group of children of Diyakithulkanda Primary School in Galle will visit the ship and arrangements are in place to hand over school supplies, donated by the Indian Navy, to those children as well.

During the stay in the country, the crew of the ship will take part in several programmes organized by the Sri Lanka Navy to promote cooperation between two navies and visit some of the tourist attractions.

Concluding her official visit, ‘INS Sukanya’ will depart the island on 01st March and she is expected to engage in a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with a ship of the Sri Lanka Navy off Colombo.

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Ravi Karunanayake released from both CBSL bond cases

The Court of Appeal has ruled against a continuation of the two cases against former finance minister Ravi Karunanayake over alleged misappropriation of more than Rs. 50 billion of state funds at two Central Bank (CBSL) bond sales.

Appellate court judges Sobhitha Rajakaruna and Dhammika Ganepola today (28) issued a writ order to the attorney general against proceeding with the cases filed in the Colombo high court.

They were taking up two writ petitions moved by Karunanayake in connection with the indictments served by the AG against him and 10 others with regard to the two bond sales on March 29 and 31, 2016.

They related to alleged misappropriations of Rs. 36.8 billion and Rs. 15 billion of state funds respectively.

Karunanayake, former CBSL governor Arjuna Mahendran, Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. and its directors Arjun Aloysius, Geoffrey Aloysius and others were indicted on 32 counts.

In March 2022, they were released from 13 of the charges on the basis that the cases cannot continue under the Public Property Act.

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President urges young lawyers to lead new legal developments in Port City

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has urged young lawyers to specialise in offshore economy law and a form a committee to lead new legal developments in the Port City.

Addressing the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Royal College Lawyers’ Association held at the Blue Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel Colombo yesterday (25 Feb.), the Head of State proposed the forming of a committee of lawyers focusing on offshore economy law, following the development of the Colombo Port City as a financial hub.

Wickremesinghe encouraged young lawyers to get a head-start on the legal areas in relation to making the Port City into a financial centre and emphasised the importance of taking on responsibility and leadership roles.

Highlighting the important role that Royal College has played in shaping the law and legal system in Sri Lanka, President Wickremesinghe suggested new areas of law that may emerge in the future.

He also remphasisied his commitment to making tough decisions for the good of the economy and the country, even if they are unpopular.

In a lighter vein, the President joked that he cannot make all the lawyers President’s Counsels but is happy to make them all Royal Counsels.

Meanwhile, the Welcome Speech was delivered by the President of Royal College Lawyers’ Association Rohan Sahabandu (PC) while outgoing Secretary of the Royal College Lawyers’ Association Harshana Matharaarachchi presented the report.

Rohan Sahabandu (PC) was re-elected as the President of the Royal College Lawyers’ Association. Newly elected secretary Lasitha Kanuwanaarachchi delivered the vote of thanks.

Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam, and Principal of the Royal College R. M. Ratnayake were also present at the occasion.

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