The Free Trade Zone Manufacturers Association (FTZMA) warned that Sri Lanka’s exporters would be compelled to cut the workforce by 30%-50% as a result of the proposed 60% hike in electricity tariffs this month.
The proposed electricity tariffs are scheduled to be presented to the Cabinet on the 2nd of this month. This is the second electricity tariff hike in less than six months. The government in August last year increased the electricity tariff by 76% percent.
According to reports, the country’s SME exporters are faced with a total collapse and the large-scale exporters are witnessing a 30% drop in export orders due global economic slowdown.
The FTZMA Secretary Dhammika Fernando said that the country’s export sector risks a total collapse due to the proposed hike in electricity tariffs and foreign exporters could relocate their operations to other countries that present much more attractive prospects.
The FTZMA along with other associations representing apparel exporters have already warned of the consequences to the President. Further, they have also held discussions with the Minister of Power and the Chairman of the Public Utiiris Commission (PUCSL). However, the Minister of Power hasn’t responded positively to the pleas of the exporters. Meanwhile, PUCSL Chairman Janka Rathnayake opined that there’s no requirement tariff hike.
Fernando urged the government to focus on minimizing corruption and waste at the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) instead of moving ahead with the proposed electricity tariff hike which could cripple the entire export sector.According to Rathnayake, the PUCSL was yet to receive any proposals for a hike in electricity tariffs. He stressed that the electricity tariffs can not be increased based on various assumptions.
Veteran Banker Clive Fonseka appointed as Acting CEO/GM of People’s Bank
Veteran Banker Clive Fonseka has been appointed as acting Chief Executive Officer(CEO)/ General Manager of the State-Owned People’s Bank.
With expertise in treasury management, Fonseka is considered to be a veteran banker with over 30 years of experience in global banks.
He joined People’s Bank in 2002, prior to that, he served at American Express Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. He has been a member of the People’s Bank’s Senior Corporate Management team since November 2011.
Fonseka has also been serving as a member of several key Central Bank (CB) appointed Committees including National Payment Council, Financial System Stability Consultative Committee, and the task force to study and design new alternative benchmark interest rates.
1,996 housing units to be built under Chinese grant
Sri Lanka plans to begin construction of 1,996 housing units for artists and low-income families early this year under a 552 million yuan grant facility from China, the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing has announced.
The Ministry of Urban Development and Housing noted that 1,888 housing units for low-income earners and 108 housing units for artistes will be constructed under this project.
Houses for low-income families are to be built in Peliyagoda, Maharagama, Moratuwa, and Dematagoda areas while the houses for artistes are to be built in the Kottawa area.
According to the agreement signed on Jan. 09, 2022, the Chinese government is extending 552 million yuan grant assistance.
The representatives of the Chinese government and the Urban Development Authority (UDA) have jointly conducted a population study for the project and the UDA has prepared the construction plans accordingly.
A copy of the agreement related to the implementation of this project has been forwarded to the UDA. Consequently, the proposals of the UDA and the Ministry of Finance were forwarded to the company appointed for this program by the Chinese government last November.
underworld gangster Kanjipani’ Imran fled to India
Notorious underworld gangster Mohamed Najim Mohamed Imran alias ‘Kanjipani’ Imran fled to Rameswaram in India’s Tamil Nadu State after he was released on bail by a court in Sri Lanka, the Hindu Newspaper reported.
Accordingly, the Tamil Nadu intelligence has sounded an alert to senior police officers across the State to mount vigil along the coastal districts and look for him and his associate who landed along the Ramanathapuram district coast on December 25, 2022.
It further was reported that Tamil Nadu State intelligence had specific input from central intelligence agencies and reliable sources that Imran was planning to enter India after his release on bail. According to sources, he left the court in disguise and moved to Thalaimannar from where his associates were making arrangements for his infiltration into India. Though there is no formal communication from Sri Lanka, an officer who did not want to be quoted told the Hindu that India’s intelligence agencies had received credible input on his movement and issued the alert.
Imran, wanted by the Sri Lankan authorities for various offenses, including murders and criminal intimidation, was arrested in Dubai in 2019 and deported to the Island Nation. He was in judicial custody till a local court granted him bail on payment of two sureties, each Rs.5 million.
The report pointed out that the entry of Imran into Tamil Nadu gains significance in the backdrop of the National Investigation Agency exposing an international drug cartel involving Sri Lankan nationals operating from the Special Camp in Tiruchi that houses foreign nationals facing criminal charges.