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Japan to organize Sri Lanka creditors’ meeting over debt crisis

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Japan is working to organize a meeting of Sri Lanka’s creditors by the end of this year in hopes of solving that country’s debt crisis, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The meeting, which will discuss such issues as finding ways to reduce debt payments, aims to curb China’s influence by helping Sri Lanka cope with its so-called debt traps, which arose after China provided huge loans to the country to fund infrastructure developments and other projects.

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe asked Japan for help during talks with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other people during a visit to Japan at the end of September to attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to Japanese government sources.

The meeting is expected to focus on measures to reduce debt payments and postpone repayment deadlines, among other related steps. Japan continues to urge other creditor countries to play a proactive role in dealing with the issue.

Sri Lanka’s economy has suffered due to sluggish tourism during the novel coronavirus pandemic and soaring food and resource prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In April, the Sri Lankan government introduced an emergency measure to suspend its repayment of external debts.

According to the Sri Lankan government, the nation’s external debt at the end of June stood at $46.6 billion (¥6.93 trillion), accounting for about 70% of its gross domestic product.

Sri Lanka has more than 20 creditors, with China topping the list at $7.3 billion (about ¥1.086 trillion), followed by Japan at $2.7 billion (about ¥402 billion) and India at $1.7 billion (about ¥253 billion).

While struggling to repay its debts, Sri Lanka in 2017 effectively transferred to China the operating rights of one of its ports.

China – which has come under criticism from the international community for causing Sri Lanka’s economic collapse – will not play a leading role in restructuring Sri Lanka’s debts, and the Japanese government will have to tread carefully in its efforts to reach agreement among creditors in a manner acceptable to Beijing.

(yomiuri.co.jp)

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Palaly airport to recommence services from Dec. 12

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The Palaly International Airport is to recommence services from Dec. 12, State Minister of Ports and Aviation, Premalal Jayasekara says.

The airport suspended services due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and maiden flight since the reopening is to be a flight from India.

MP Jayasekara said this during the committee stage debate of the Budget 2023 in the parliament today (Dec. 05).

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Galborella warehouse fire doused (Pics)

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The fire brigade has successfully doused the fire which had broken out in the upper storey of a warehouse at Galborella, Kelaniya.

The lower and upper storeys of the warehouse, which had housed electrical equipment, had been gravely damaged by the fire.

Power was also disconnected in the area in the morning, due to the fire

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Increasing beedi prices result of hidden pact!

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Increasing the tax on beedis instead of tax on cigarettes when there is an opportunity to earn more income from cigarettes is the result of an agreement between the heads of the tobacco company and the government, the Sri Lanka Mirror learns.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe said in the 2023 Budget speech that the government would impose a tax of Rs.2 on a beedi.

“I suggest a tax of Rs.2 per beedi to streamline the beedi industry and to discourage people from using beedis. Apart from this, the fees to be paid for obtaining certificates and licenses will also be increased,” he said.

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