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SriLankan Airlines to undergo restructuring, not sale – Minister

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Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva affirmed that SriLankan Airlines will undergo restructuring instead of being sold.

He emphasized that according to existing regulations, only up to 49% of the airline’s shares can be transferred to another entity, yet no suitable investor has expressed interest thus far.

Addressing the press briefing titled “Collective Path to a Stable Country” at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) today (03), Minister Siripala de Silva further elaborated;

President Ranil Wickremesinghe addressed Parliament yesterday (02), outlining the on-going debt restructuring crucial for the country’s economic progress. Despite political scepticism from the opposition, he emphasized that the message conveyed was largely positive for the country’s interests.

Furthermore, the International Monetary Fund is actively involved in the restructuring process based strictly on legal frameworks, regulations, and objective criteria, without regard to personal considerations. Sajith Premadasa noted examples such as Argentina, Ecuador, and Ghana, which have successfully negotiated a 25% reduction in commercial loans, distinct from bilateral debts. Discussions to restructure commercial debt within Sri Lanka are on-going, with evolving criteria influenced by IMF assessments of each country’s economic resilience.

It is stressed that pursuing narrow political objectives without acknowledging internationally accepted realities would be inappropriate in this context.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has initiated the first step towards rebuilding the country from its recent challenges. The next crucial step is to safeguard and propel it forward, crucial in preventing a regression to conditions of two years ago.

This year’s budget allocates funds not only for provincial councils, pradeshiya sabha and government departments, but also for social security benefits like “Aswesuma”. Those activities are not being conducted in anticipation of the elections.

Furthermore, SriLankan Airlines should be addressed here. Our approach involves restructuring the airline rather than selling it outright. Under Sri Lankan law, only 49% of SriLankan Airlines’ shares can be transferred to another entity. However, there has been minimal global interest in this opportunity, with only six individuals expressing interest, none of whom were deemed suitable. Even if we were to extend this opportunity to a Sri Lankan entrepreneur, their capabilities would need to be demonstrated.

Additionally, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is set to discuss the resumption of their projects next week, marking another advantage of debt restructuring. Despite interest from Chinese firms in the airport project, contractual obligations with Japan stipulate that contracts should be awarded to Japanese companies.

Furthermore, the management of the financially burdened Mattala Airport will soon be entrusted to a joint venture between Russia and India. Development at the Kankesanthurai port is progressing with assistance amounting to USD 69 million from India. During a recent visit to Sri Lanka, Indian Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar confirmed plans to initiate a ferry service between Sri Lanka and India in the near future.

(President’s Media Division)

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SriLankan Airlines online booking services, restored

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SriLankan Airlines has announced in a statement that its internet booking services have been fully restored as of 08:30 GMT (14:00 local time in Sri Lanka), following a global outage of third-party service providers that affected the airline’s online booking services. 

Apologizing to any inconvenience caused, the airline urges customers to contact their Global Contact Centre at +94 19733 1979 for any further assistance with existing or new bookings.

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Govt. terminates bidding process for SriLankan Airlines

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The Cabinet at a July 9th meeting has decided to terminate the current bidding process for the divestiture of national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines, a State Owned Enterprises Restructuring Unit statement has said.

The statement further adds that instead, “alternate strategy to be decided shortly, to divest the airline base on a framework approved by Cabinet of Ministers”.
Colombo called for bids in September to sell SriLankan Airlines, a key IMF demand when granting a bailout loan to the country last year.

Six firms had initially expressed interest in taking a stake in the airline, which owed more than $2.0 billion at the end of the 2022/2023 financial year.

The government announced in April a shortlist of three potential investors, including Malaysia’s Air Asia.

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Barriers to export of SL agri products to China, removed

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The Chinese government has removed the long-standing barriers to the export of chicken and eggs produced in this country as well as pineapples to China.

Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries Mr. Mahinda Amaraweera said that this agreement was expressed during the discussion with the delegation including Mr. Wang Lingjung, Deputy Minister of General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China who recently visited Sri Lanka.

Accordingly, Sri Lankan pineapple cultivators and exporters as well as poultry product manufacturers have been allowed to export as much poultry meat and eggs as well as pineapples to the Chinese market.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Plantation Industries had to do a lot of work to remove the obstacles that existed in our country to export these agricultural products to the Chinese market. A number of methods had to be completed in order to confirm the quality of poultry products in the country’s market, especially the way pineapple is grown in our country.

The Minister also said that due to the commitment made by the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Plantation Industries, the effort to get market opportunities from China has been successful for our country.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industry Mr. Mahinda Amaraweera said that the Chinese Deputy Minister assured that the Chinese government will work to expand China’s market opportunities to Sri Lanka in order to export whatever high quality agricultural products are in Sri Lanka.

(dailynews.lk)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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