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Domestic debt restructuring won’t affect membership balance of any public funds



President Ranil Wickremesinghe assured that the restructuring of domestic debt will have no impact on the membership balance of any public funds, including the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF).

He emphasized that the rate of return for superannuation funds will not be affected in any way.

Furthermore, the President stated that the restructuring of domestic debt will not pose any threat to the stability of the country’s banking system, whether it be public or private banks. He specifically mentioned that the deposits of more than 50 million bank depositors will remain unaffected, and there will be no changes to the current interest rates paid on bank deposits.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe also announced that proposals for restructuring both foreign and domestic debt will be presented to the Cabinet tomorrow (28).

The President made these statements while inaugurating the Gampaha District Secretariat Administrative Complex, ‘Laksiyane Mandiraya,’ which has been constructed with the aim of providing efficient and regular government services to the people of the Gampaha district. The complex, with an expenditure of nearly Rs. 4 billion, stands at seven stories tall.

It was highlighted that Sri Lanka’s total public debt, comprising both domestic and foreign debt, amounted to $83,700 million by the end of 2022, representing 128.3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Of this amount, the foreign debt totalled $41,500 million, accounting for 63.6% of the GDP. The President also noted that the domestic debt at that time stood at $42,100 million, which constituted 64.6% of the GDP.

The President highlighted the urgency of restructuring the country’s debt, stating that without such measures, the public debt would exceed 100% of the GDP by 2035. He emphasized that foreign creditors have already expressed their agreement to participate in the debt restructuring process.

To ensure debt sustainability in Sri Lanka, the President emphasized the need for restructuring both external and domestic debt. Acknowledging the significant burden carried by foreign creditors, he mentioned that the country is set to receive 17 billion US dollars from them in the next five years. The President emphasized the importance of local creditors also contributing to this effort.

The proposed debt restructuring plan has been designed with the primary objective of safeguarding the public’s bank deposits. The President underlined the responsibility of protecting the depositors of all banks regulated by the Central Bank. He assured that the proposed domestic debt restructuring method poses no harm to bank depositors and will not lead to a collapse of the banking system. On the contrary, it will pave the way for a restructuring process that can rebuild the economy.

The President further stated that the country’s economic recovery, reduction in interest rates, the government’s ability to provide subsidies easily, and the reduction of both domestic and foreign debt burden in the next decade will yield positive results benefiting the people of the country.

During his official visit to France, the President engaged in discussions with Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, Netherlands Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag, American Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi regarding foreign debt restructuring. The President highlighted the progress being made in Sri Lanka’s financial sector during these discussions. He expressed satisfaction that they were all eager to assist in reversing the crisis in Sri Lanka and affirmed their commitment to contribute significantly to the country’s economic recovery.

The President also said that during a recent telephone conversation with the Indian Finance Minister, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, she had expressed her country’s intention to positively contribute to Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring and economic stability. The President said that he would hold detailed discussions on the matter during his upcoming visit to India.

The President also mentioned that Foreign Minister Ali Sabri, who is currently on an official visit to China, has agreed to enhance bilateral relations and strengthen economic ties between the two countries. Minister Sabri held fruitful discussions with China’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Qin Gang, sharing their views on deepening cooperation.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe further revealed that, during a meeting with the Chinese Finance Minister, Liu Kun, in Beijing, he was briefed on the economic stabilization and progress plan of the country. Minister Ali Sabri expressed gratitude for China’s special contribution during the previous crisis.

During the visit, the President held discussions with the Chairman of the Chinese Exim Bank, Wu Fulin, and other Chinese officials appointed for the purpose of restructuring Sri Lanka’s foreign debt. They assured their commitment to contribute to the debt restructuring process in the best possible manner.

The event was attended by Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Ministers Prasanna Ranatunga, Nalin Fernando, State Ministers Shehan Semasinghe, Prasanna Ranaweera, Sisira Jayakodi, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Janaka Wakkambura, Gampaha District Development Committee Chairman and Members of Parliament Sahan Pradeep, Nimal Lanza, Sudarshanee Fernandopulle, Milan Jayathilaka, President’s Senior Adviser on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardena, Western Province Governor Roshan Gunathilaka, and other dignitaries.

(President’s Media Division)


Excise officers who kidnapped Beedi businessman remanded




Five suspects including the Tangalle Excise OIC who were arrested over kidnapping and assaulting a Beedi businessman in Walasmulla, have been remanded till October 5 after being produced in the Walasmulla Magistrate’s Court.

The Excise OIC, two other excise officers and a driver from the Tangalle Excise Station and an army sergeant are among the remanded suspects.

The business license of the businessman residing in Maraketiya, Rajapuragoda in Walasmulla expired on June 26.

A team of excise officials including the OIC of the Tangalle Excise Station had arrived at his house on September 18 and seized the Beedi leaves.

Excise officials had demanded Rs.1.4 million from the businessman not to take legal action in this regard.

They had taken the businessman away in a three-wheeler, beaten him up, and then had taken an amount of Rs.1 million by force.

A nearby CCTV camera has captured the excise officers kidnapping the businessman.

Meanwhile, the four Excise officers were interdicted by the Commissioner General of Excise.

The decision has been taken following the instruction of State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya.

The four Excise officers were interdicted over the allegations of assault and soliciting a bribe from the Beedi manufacturer for not implementing the law against him for possession of Beedi leaves without a license.

Related News: 

Excise officials kidnap beedi businessman & forcefully take Rs.1mn

4 Excise officers interdicted for assaulting Beedi businessman

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Nandiyas, Sri Lanka’s oldest turns 109




The 109-year-old Magala Kottachchi Nandiyas, a resident of Kappettiagoda in Galle, is the oldest citizen in Sri Lanka, the National Secretariat for Elders confirmed.

According to his identity card, Nandiyas was born on June 3, 1914. Nandiyas, who lives a very healthy life even now, is a farmer by profession.

Although he had only gone up to grade five, he can read and write.

It is said that the reason for this senior citizen’s healthy lifestyle is the toxic-free nutritious diet.

Until recently, he has cultivated potatoes, sweet potatoes, and even cassava in his home garden.

He is a father of four and a grandfather of four grandchildren. The youngest grandson is now five years old.

Nandiyas is fondly called ‘Loku Aiya’ or Big Brother by the whole village.

The beloved wife of Mr. Nandiyas had passed away some time ago.

Although he has recently developed a hearing impairment, his memory is still intact.

Source – Dinamina

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Port City to be ‘Colombo Financial Zone’: President




President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that a new legislation has been drafted to transform the Port City as the Colombo Financial Zone.

President Wickremesinghe said this in his address at the 2023 Commercial Mediation Symposium at Colombo’s Hilton Hotel, the President’s Media Division said.

The event was organized by International Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre (IADRC).

The President underscored the significance of international trade agreements and the need for Sri Lanka to become a center for alternate dispute resolution.

He urged legal professionals to look beyond Sri Lanka’s borders and specialize in emerging fields like AI, Blockchain and green energy to secure the nation’s competitive future.

“Now we want Sri Lanka to be a center. One is the new legislation which will replace the port city to make it a Colombo financial zone with jurisdiction for offshore activity. The new law has been drafted. And we will see the light of day before the end of the year.”

“Secondly, the BOI will be replaced with the Economic Commission. Which is also looking at the resolution of disputes. We will be entering a number of free trade agreements. We have got one with Singapore. We are about to finalize one with Thailand. We are discussing with India to upgrade the agreement. Talking with Bangladesh. And more than that, we are moving to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). That’s the largest trading community in the world. So this means that alternate dispute resolutions are going to be important.”

In a final call to action, he offered government funding to support learning and expertise development in these new areas, inviting all stakeholders to join in the journey towards a more efficient and forward-looking legal landscape in Sri Lanka.

President Wickremesinghe emphasized that Sri Lanka must position itself as the central player in the region. When examining Singapore as a benchmark, Sri Lanka should strive to match or surpass Singapore in various aspects, except for cost, where it should maintain a competitive advantage.

This approach is crucial because there exists a noticeable void in this region, which Sri Lanka can effectively fill if it acts swiftly.

“This is the key lesson to be derived. Furthermore, it is essential for all lawyers and individuals involved in legal services to broaden their perspectives and explore opportunities beyond their current scope,” the President added.

Meanwhile, he acknowledged the long-standing reliance on trial courts and stressed the importance of embracing alternate dispute resolution methods.

Highlighting the government’s commitment, he mentioned the establishment of the Alternate Dispute Resolution Center in 2018 and expressed support for its continued growth.

President Wickremesinghe urged the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Investments to collaborate on supporting these initiatives.

“Alternate dispute resolution, arbitration, both have a long way to travel in Sri Lanka and that’s our problem. We have to first find ways of how we can adjust to this process. You need a change of culture. Change of culture where disputes can be resolved in the shortest possible time. Which means we are in a way wedded to the old concept of the trial court? Whether we have a domestic inquiry, we all want to follow the same procedure. I don’t know why. But nevertheless, this is one of the challenges that we have to face.”

He emphasized that success in dispute resolution was crucial for Sri Lanka’s aspirations to be an outward-looking economy.

The event was attended by Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, State Minister Anuradha Jayarathne, Judges of the Supreme Court, Attorney General, Former Attorney Generals, Retired Judges of the Supreme Court, Resident Representative of UNDP Azusa Kubota, Secretary to the Ministry of Justice, IADRC Chairman Dr. K. Kanag-Isvaran, Director & Secretary General of IADRC Dhara Wijayatilake, legal professionals and the representatives of reputed companies in Sri Lanka.

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