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ADB approves $350 mn loan for economic stabilization

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today approved a $350 million special policy-based loan to provide budget support to Sri Lanka for economic stabilization.

The program is part of a broader package of financial assistance anchored by the International Monetary Fund’s Extended Fund Facility for the country, which aims to stabilize the economy and lay the foundation for economic recovery and sustained growth.
Sri Lanka is facing a severe and unprecedented economic crisis. High inflation has eroded purchasing power, livelihoods have been affected, and past development gains have been reversed.

“ADB is concerned about the deep crisis in the country and its impact on the people of Sri Lanka, especially the poor and the vulnerable, particularly women,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “ADB is committed to standing with Sri Lanka as it addresses its present challenges and strides toward economic stabilization, sustainable recovery, and inclusive growth.”

Sri Lanka has embarked on bold reforms to address the causes of both internal and external imbalances and return to a sustainable debt trajectory. The country faces a long road to recovery and must remain steadfast in the implementation of necessary reforms, which include enhancing tax revenue collection, strengthening public financial management, improving performance of state-owned enterprises, ensuring autonomy and independence of the central bank, safeguarding financial sector stability, and bolstering governance frameworks. As these measures are implemented, it is essential to ensure that adequate social protection is provided. Implementing governance reforms and anticorruption measures will be critical.

Transparency and open communication will be crucial in building agreement around the reforms. ADB will proactively engage with the government, other stakeholders, and development partners to help address structural impediments and plan future support.

ADB has supported Sri Lanka’s response throughout the crisis. In 2022, in close coordination with development partners, ADB provided emergency assistance to support basic services and sustain livelihoods. ADB repurposed $334 million of existing loans as emergency response to support the import of essential items such as fertilizer, medicines, chemicals for water treatment, working capital for small and medium-sized enterprises, and cash transfers to the most poor and vulnerable. Trade finance lines through ADB Trade and Supply Chain Finance Program supported the import of essential items during the crisis.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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Anton’s TU life celebrated in Kusal’s ‘Humanist Without Borders’

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A book celebrating fifty years of Mr. Anton Marcus as a Trade Unionist will be held in Colombo next week.

Mr. Marcus is currently the Joint Secretary of the Free Trade Zones and Public Employees’ Union.

The book entitled ‘Humanist Without Borders’ alongside its Sinhala version, will be launched on June 17, at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo from 3.30pm.

The books are penned by political columnist and analyst – Kusal Perera.

Emeritus Professor Jayadeva Uyangoda and the former president and general secretary of New Zealand’s ‘First Union’, Mr. Robert Reed, will deliver guest lectures.
Speaking to ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ in this regard, Mr. Kusal Perera said:

“My effort in profiling Anton in this book that traverses the fifty years of his trade union life is in the context of Sri Lankan politics. It’s because he himself is a political creature. Therefore my reading said, despite all rights, decency, dignity enshrined in the Constitution, in International law and for all that Anton fought for, it was no easy task in a world of the filthy rich whatever honourable labels one would tag them with.”

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Modi expected to visit SL?

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A high level delegation headed by the State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya is scheduled to visit Russia to arrange for the repatriation of Sri Lankan ex-military personnel deployed in Russia for military purposes and the related discussions will be held on June 26 and 27, said Minister of Foreign Affairs, President’s Counsel Ali Sabry.
The Minister also noted that a team of officials has been tasked with reviewing the Cabinet paper submitted to decide on Sri Lanka’s potential membership in the BRICS organization. Their report is anticipated later this month.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, President’s Counsel Ali Sabry, highlighted this during his participation in today’s (June 14) Press conference at the Presidential Media Centre, focusing on the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’.

The minister elaborated further, stating that they are also anticipating a visit from the Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs – S. Jaishankar followed by a visit by the Indian PM himself.

“President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited India to take part in the swearing-in ceremony of Sri Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India.  Consequently, we anticipate a visit from the Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs to Sri Lanka later this month, with the Prime Minister of India expected to follow suit shortly,” Minister Sabry has said.

He further noted : 
Recently, I attended the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Conference in Russia, representing Sri Lanka. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has submitted a Cabinet paper to explore the possibility of Sri Lanka joining the BRICS organization. A team comprising officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Treasury, Ministry of Finance, and Central Bank has been tasked with studying this proposal. The Cabinet is expected to receive their report later this month.

Furthermore, discussions with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov focused on resolving the issue of Sri Lankan ex-military personnel serving in the Russian army. To address this, State Minister of Foreign Affairs, and a delegation including secretary to the Defence Ministry will visit Russia. These discussions are scheduled for June 26th and 27th. Concurrently, efforts have commenced to facilitate the safe return of Sri Lankans currently stranded in Myanmar.

(Excerpts : President’s Media Division) 

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Keheliya & 7 others further remanded

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Former Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella and 07 others have been further remanded until June 28 by the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court over the import of substandard human Immunoglobulin vials.

This order was issued when the case was taken up before the Maligakanda Magistrate today (June 14).

Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s Department today informed the Supreme Court that it will not appear on behalf of former Health Minister Kehiliya Rambukwella and arrested NMRA officials over the case of purchasing medicines from two allegedly unregistered companies.

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