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CBSL further reduces policy interest rates

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The Monetary Policy Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, at its meeting held yesterday (March 25), has decided to reduce the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) of the Central Bank by 50 basis points (bps) to 8.50 per cent and 9.50 per cent, respectively. 

A statement issued by the CBSL further states :

The Board arrived at this decision following a comprehensive assessment of current and expected domestic and international economic developments, to maintain inflation at the targeted level of 5 per cent over the medium term, while enabling the economy to reach its potential. In arriving at this decision, the Board took note of, among others, subdued aggregate demand conditions, the lesser-than-expected impact of the recent changes to the tax structure on inflation, favourable near-term inflation dynamics due to the recent adjustment to electricity tariffs, well-anchored inflation expectations, the absence of excessive external sector pressures and the need to continue the downward trajectory in market interest rates. The Board observed that the possible upside risks to inflation in the near term would not materially change the medium-term inflation outlook, as economic activity is projected to remain below par for an extended period. The Monetary Policy Board underscored the need for a swift and full passthrough of monetary easing measures to market interest rates, particularly lending rates, by the financial institutions, thereby accelerating the normalisation of market interest rates in the period ahead.

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Indigo launches Mumbai-Colombo direct flights

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Indigo has expanded its connectivity to Sri Lanka adding Mumbai-Colombo direct flights from today (12), Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Pvt) Limited said.

Accordingly, Indigo will operate flights three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

At present, Indigo operates to three destinations in India from Colombo (Chennai twice daily, Bengaluru once daily and Hyderabad six days per week). With this new route expansion, this will increase to four destinations, and it will contribute immensely to the development of travel, trade and tourism between Sri Lanka and India. 

With the new addition, Indigo will operate 30 weekly flights to Colombo from four main cities in India.

“AASL recently had successful negotiations with Indigo to commence flight operations between Jaffna and Chennai, India. Accordingly, Indigo will commence direct flight operations between Jaffna and Chennai from June 1, 2024 onwards with daily flight operations. This connectivity will boost travel and trade in the Northern Province, strengthening the cultural and religious bonds between the two nations”, Eng. Athula Galketiya, Chairman of Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Pvt) Limited (AASL) said.

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Questions raised on investing in the Ceylon Dollar Bond

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Personal Foreign Currency Accounts (PFCs) and Business Foreign Currency Accounts  (BFCAs) cannot be invested in the Ceylon Dollar Bond Fund, says a spokesman of the Foreign Exchange Department at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

He said that banks are well aware of this.

The spokesman was responding to ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ on queries raised on social media promotions being done by Ceylon Asset Management Co. Ltd, with regard to such investments.

Ceylon Asset Management Co. Ltd. is also a company that is registered with the CSE.

The spokesman further notes that the CBSL has only permitted them to invest in ISBs.

However, promotions done by the company have indicated that dollar investments can also be done through PFCs, and that the investors can expect around a 24% dollar returns.

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Experts state that expecting such high profits in ISB investments, is questionable.

Upon contacting the DG of Ceylon Asset Management Co. Ltd, – Dulindra Fernando, he briefly stated that the CBSL has permitted their company to do such foreign fund transfers while some banks have refused to do so.

However, he urged to submit a formal request via email for further details.

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SLT divestiture allowed

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The Court of Appeal yesterday vacated the Interim Order issued on the divestiture of the Sri Lankan Government-owned shares in Sri Lanka Telecom PLC.

The Interim Order was earlier issued by Court on April 4 when two Writ applications challenged the proposed divestiture of the Sri Lankan Government-owned 50.23 percent shares in Sri Lanka Telecom PLC and 51.34 percent shares in Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC.

The petitions were filed by Lyca Mobile SARL, Lyca Leasing Holding Ltd, Pettigo Comercio International LDA and HAIMS International Ltd.

When the petitions were considered before Court of Appeal Judge Mohammed Laffar, Additional Solicitor General Sumathi Dharmawardena appearing for the Deputy Director General and the members of the State Owned Enterprise Restructuring Unit Established under the Finance Ministry, Secretary to the Treasury and the Attorney General raised preliminary objections highlighting several technical errors in the power of attorney and the affidavit submitted is not valid.

Accordingly, the court vacated the said Interim Order on the divestiture of Sri Lanka Telecom PLC and informed the petitioner of this particular petition to submit fresh power of attorney by April 29 and request for an interim order if necessary. However, the Interim Order issued on the divestiture of the shares of Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC was extended by the court until April 29.

(dailynews.lk)

(This story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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