ee archive: eesrilanka.wordpress.com
“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
Big Assets, Small Minds
e-Con e-News 14-20 June 2020
“A true industrial ecosystem like in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, produces the yarn, the cloth, the accessories, the machines and the parts” (see ee Focus, Small-Minded)
“Observers have compared the power now exercised by asset managers like BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street to that of financiers like J. P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller in the early 20th century. That was another era marked by corporate mergers and acquisitions, with a select cabal of financiers — a money trust — controlling industry. We can go back even further for parallels, to 19th century England, where two major financiers, Barings and the Rothschilds, dominated the international market for sovereign bonds” – BlackRock controls Unilever (see ee Economists, Killing)
• Who’s the Bigger Killer? Bajaj or Banks? • The Great Cull • Capitalists Planning Wars • Sri Lanka as Tax & Drug Entrepôt • Independence for Bankers • Small Minds • US Advocata’s Independence from the Truth • Private Teachers & Stealing Exams
• Who killed that “3-wheeler union leader”? Mumbai’s Bajaj or their local Banks? Notice how Bajaj’s name was left off all news items discussing the murder? That’s PR power! Bajaj makes and exports vehicles to Sri Lanka, and does not make even one part here. The banks lend money to vehicle importers and finance/leasing companies. Leasing companies have to pay the banks by hook or by crook. They hire, not police, but thugs to ensure payments are made. Is this the rule of law praised by the free-trade afficianados? (see ee Quotes)
• The Great Cull – Corporations, while advertising how much they are doing to counter the pandemic, are planning wars, mass unemployment, evictions, foreclosures, & bankruptcies. They’re also looking for garrisoned islands and gated fortresses to withdraw into, and pull up the drawbridges. At the same time, central banks, led by the US Federal Reserve, are ‘looting’ public treasuries to pump stock markets, while preventing investment in public goods like modern industry, health and education. Curious then, how eager the US, Germany, Canada, England, Japan, India. etc., – not known for looking after their own darker citizens – are so eager to ‘aid’ us to fight Covid. Or is all this ‘aid’, election slush funds? (see ee Sovereignty)
• Capitalist ideologues advocate turning Sri Lanka into a Cayman/Panama/Bahamas/Barbados tourist resort as a haven for tax evaders, shadow bankers & drug traders, with local people made into tourists’ servants, prostitutes and pimps.
This may explain the war cry of “Independence for Bankers” recently bellowed by dissembler of god’s MP Eran Wickremaratne. He also wants to make the Central Bank ‘independent’ of parliamentary oversight. He is alarmed by the President’s warning to Central Bank officials against undermining government policy. ee last week recalled the history of the CB, which SBD de Silva said, has always “opposed the independence of the country.”
We last saw Eran looking earnest on public TV over 5 years ago, when he was hanging off a crowded train, bewailing the conditions of public transit. He never ever got onto a public conveyance again after being elected. He also never uttered a word against the ‘independent’ looting of the Central Bank. He nevertheless also shed strident tears this week for the reduced interest pensioners would receive on their savings. What (or where) do banks invest (in) so as to pay higher interest? What about Japan’s “window guidance” to force banks to invest in modern industry?
Check out the English political prisoner Julian Assange’s interview on what his fellow cellmates think of present political economy (see ee Focus). Also, examine why Central Bankers are not investing in modern production (ee Economists, Killing & Bailout)
• ee always objects to people calling Sri Lanka “small” or an “island.” It’s not just an insult against a highly complex historical polity of 22 million people, a population larger than most countries; it’s a colonial jibe emanating from the English military referring to their intermittent billet in a besieged fort Also, England is rarely called an “island”, though its colony Ireland always is.
This “small” business was last week reiterated in the call by the US Ambassador Tiptitz for “SMEs”, echoing the call of their US-funded Advocata, who came right out telling us to know our place, demanding we “Think Small!” And both embassy and “independent” thinktank called for imposition of the controversial MCC land-grab! Small minds, indeed! The good old Avocado Collective has duly responded to US Advocata with “The Small-Mindedness of Thinking Small” (see ee Focus)
US Advocata’s claim to be an “Independent Think Tank” is of course fiction! They remind of that famous barb: “Everything she says is a lie including ‘and’ and ‘the’.” Their fictions start off from the get-go, by calling themselves “independent”. Advocata is funded by the Atlas Network, which operates as a front claw for US foreign policy, with Atlas-affiliated think tanks funded by the US State Department and Soros’ National Endowment for Democracy.
Then they claim to “think”, when all they do is mimic the US Treasury gospel of dependency. Their only truth is perhaps they are a “tank”, wishing to spawn guppies for the sharks they represent to feast on, or a panzer to steamroll over common sense. (see ee Focus)
• The government is planning to use private school teachers to invigilate exams, says the teacher’s union (see ee Workers). Guess nobody has ever interviewed international students about how their exams are conducted. The private teachers sell the papers to the richest students. Private teachers are afraid they will be blamed if students fail. The parents blame the teachers, saying they pay big money. The rich students, to gain popularity, share the exams with their friends! This is why Chairman Mao pointed to the oldest and perhaps most corrupt examination system in the world – the old Imperial system of choosing ‘mandarins’. The Chairman said none of those successful students really helped to develop China. The Chairman said it’s best if exams are given to everyone beforehand. Students are allowed to copy. Those who only copy from others will get 50%. Those who come up with the most original answers will get 100%! (see ee Workers)
A1. Reader Comments –
• Floored • Response to SBD de Silva • BLM don’t Rock
A2. Quotes of the Week
• US Ambassador wants Frank Conversation • Eastern Province created to dismember Sinhale • Central Bank No Longer Controls Foreign Exchange • CB should Ensure Production not Consumption • Provide Liquidity to Farmers to Grown Inexpensive Food • Central Bank vs Leasing Companies• Where Has the Money Gone? • Sri Lanka Loot Ended up in 23 Countries • Imperialism makes Health a Distant Dream • More Black Officials than any Other Group in US
A3. Random Notes –
• US Ambassador lectures SL Military • US loves SMEs • Unilever’s SLIM or PIMP? • Krauts Sour on Exports • Raw material prices going down • Countries about to Default • IMF or Belt & Road • Printing Money for Stock Market: Sharks entice guppies • Corona Excuse for Capitalist Crash • Innovating Synonyms for Sacking Workers • Viet Blogger Routs Reuters • Media Diverts from US Fed Looting • US Rioting is Trump’s Re-election Campaign • community control of Bankers & Police • Capitalist Media Written for Amnesia • EconomyNext’s White Adjectives • New Zealand PR
B. ee Focus
B1. Conversation between English prisoner Julian Assange & former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis
B2. The Small-mindedness of Thinking Small – Avocado Collective
C. News Index
A1. Reader Comments
• ee thanks Readers who send articles of interest. Please excerpt or summarize what is important about any article sent, or your comments, and place the e-link at the end. It’s better to send them as email.
• “The last ee floored me, don’t know what to do about the scores of new angles and understanding! But I don’t always want to keep repeating this…”
• Re: ee 7 June, SB de Silva claims that the state sector was “increasingly controlled by private business”, and that while “A large segment of the import trade had been nationalized,” the “market scarcities created abnormally high profit margins on the trade that still remained in the hands of private importers and retailers.”
This was not true of the 1970-75 period, when the Left parties were still part of the coalition. The food commissioner was responsible for all imports of rice, flour, sugar and dhal, which accounted for 40% of imports. The food commissioner sourced mysoor dhal from Ethiopia and Syria; and sugar from Brazil, Thailand, Argentina, Japan, Poland. The CWE alone imported dried fish, bombay onions, chillies, gram dhal, toor dhal, oorid, chickpea, yellow gram, gram moong, mathe seed, fennel seed, garlic, barley, yeast, sago. The CPC imported all petroleum, accounting for 10%. The Fertilizer Corporation imported about 5% of all imports. Salu Sala had a monopoly of imports of rationed textiles. The State Trading (General) Corporation, which had the monopoly on imports of a range of intermediate goods; plus 30% of all motor spare parts imports – which combined with nationalized United Motors’ share, made it the major trading organization apart from the food commissioner.
So the state sector accounted for much more than half all imports.
Where were these “abnormal” profits being made? What impact did they have on the economy? How? Anyway, it does not matter how “abnormal” profits were. The whole point is that the private traders were stymied. The level of their profitability before 1977 was not significantly higher than after 1977.
The effect of external factors, such as rising commodity prices, and forex shortages, had more to do with kyboshing industrial development than did the activities of the traders. Interestingly, in 1973, the year before the oil shock took full effect, over 600 new industries were approved or registered. Of them, 67% were garment or textile related. This is significant because it occurred before the Multi-Fibre Agreement (MFA), since markets were being found in West Asia and the USSR, our two largest markets at the time. Manufactured exports grew 58% that year.
SB also claimed, “tax privileges in tourism and the gem trade provided new bases of wealth”. He then said: “An expansion of state activity in selected manufacturing industries and in trade (the so-called non-capitalist road to socialism) involved the grafting on of a state-owned & inefficiently managed investment enclave. On balance, the path of development was a capitalist one. What generally occurred in these years was an overhauling of the existing class structures.”
While there is no doubt the path of development was necessarily capitalist, I disagree about it being merely a refurbishment of extant class structures – which were not overhauled, but repressed.
The land reform and estate nationalization broke the back of the “Planter Raj”, the nexus between an essentially foreign plantation ownership, its local landowning allies, and the state. Combined with the state’s preponderance in trading, the other great ally of the planters, the mercantile class, found the very basis of its existence challenged. The effect of that class on the economy (except at the level of the subsistence farmer) was minimized because of the preponderance of the state sector. Even today, the Bank of Ceylon dwarfs other banks – this was much more pronounced in the pre-1977 era.
Tourism and gems may have provided new bases of wealth, but by 1973/74, the level of inequality was the lowest it had ever been.
The fact that, in the post-1975 period, and especially in the post-1977 period, there was a shift back to the pre-1970 economic setup, and more, shows that the same mercantile class made a comeback. The 1970-77 period might have nurtured a bourgeoisie, but that bourgeoisie immediately either turned its back on manufacture and went back to trading, or collapsed. About 100,000 workers lost their jobs in manufacturing, according to figures published in the mid-1980s in the Island.
As for the state sector grafted etc being “inefficient”, by what comparison? Surely not with the private sector. The state sector was no more inefficient than the private sector. The private sector depends on illegal methods to keep its high level of profits. For example, one clearing agent for a garment factory cleared his containers, which were “inspected” by customs, etc. When they arrived at the factory, they turned out to be raw materials for the Korea Lanka Footwear Co.
To take another example, in the 1980s, the CTB Werahera workshop quoted a price for reboring an engine, at one-eighth that quoted by Panchikawatte. So why didn’t private jobs flow to Werahera? Because the same bribery and corruption which took Railway jobs to Panchikawatte took private jobs there as well. The baas tells you that you should rebore your engine, the best place is such and such Motors in Panchikawatte. The baas gets his cut, you are none the wiser, so everyone is happy. The difference is that, in the 1970s, the government jobs were all done in state enterprises. After 1977, systemized corruption took these jobs to the private sector.
Standard practice at a private engineering firm when estimating the cost of a job would be first to work out the cost, then add double as “overheads”, then add 25% profit margin. Hence, a job costing Rs 100 would have a markup of Rs275, still less than the markup at Panchikawatte.
These statements of SB’s don’t seem to be backed by any actual empirical evidence.”
• “The government’s responsibility at this point is to provide sufficient liquidity. Yet the central bank task should not be limited to credit injection. The Central Bank should make sure that this liquidation should lubricate capital accumulation. Which is a micro level financial task. And also they should create capital accumulation strategies along with the fiscal arm. The fiscal arm should not only be spender but also a risk absorber.”
• “The best way to provide liquidity to the market is for the state to step in and transport farmers’ produce from the hinterland to urban centres. Vegetables are going for a song in Kandy while extremely expensive in Colombo. It can continue to give money to poor and old people, to buy inexpensive food. This will cause money circulation and not give more money to the fat cats of Colombo. The fisheries corporation could invest in locally built large trawlers to replace those sold by Rajitha, and thereby reactivate the mother ships which are idle because the trawlers are not there. This will reduce the price of fish. Inflationary pressures will move to manufactured goods which, in the absence of imports, will enable local manufacture…”
• “I didn’t rock with that Black Lives Matter organization from the start really and here’s my reasons: 1) That hashtag was WEAK… who are we begging to hear that our lives matter? Words have power, and that hashtag already set out the dynamics of the relationship and I ain’t begging no white folks to recognize my humanity: that is crazy to me. 2) I don’t rock with black organizations that are compromised… when you’re taking millions of dollars from rich white folks (Ford Foundation, Soros’ Open Society Foundation), you are already infiltrated and working at the behest of those people… 3) the way these glory hunting BLM activists aka Deray and others undermine and sabotage legitimate grassroots activism when they show up at a situation is just disgusting… Ferguson laid that modus operandi of theirs all out… Daron Seals (RIP) hated BLM and talked repeatedly about how they raised money off Mike Brown’s death and did nothing to support the organizations on the ground in Ferguson… they do this all over… 4) you have a LGBT, etc organization that has literally raised their entire profile off ‘straight black male death’ but openly seeks to render straight black males invisible from the organization… I call them the ‘grim reapers’ because the only time they acknowledge a straight black man is when he is DEAD… this should be repugnant to any sane thinking person… 5) BLM founders and associates are ultimately angling for their seat at the table, they are not looking to dismantle the system… this is the same playbook of middle-class educated black folks making a name for themselves off the plight of poor, inner city black people… and in their arrogance believing that they speak for us all…”
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• “…it is timely to have a frank and robust conversation on how security forces use and abuse their powers and accountability, in both the US and Sri Lanka.” – US Ambassador (see ee Sovereignty)
• “The Eastern province was created to dismember the Kandyan province in order to weaken the ‘national feeling ’ of the Kandyans …” – (see ee Sovereignty)
• “Our President is right on our Central Bank – The CB in its latest Annual Report states that it no longer controls our foreign exchange. To my thinking, controlling our currency and handling the foreign exchange our country receives is the fundamental task of any Central Bank. It is the CB of any country that recommends to the Ministry of Finance the fiscal and monetary measures that have to be taken to enable growth and development. One knows how Greenspan is controlling the US economy. A Central Bank cannot function in the interests of the country when it acts the role of a poodle to the IMF. Today go to any foreign bank and one will find they allocate and allow foreign exchange to citizens even without checking their bonafides. I am told that the 2 State Banks handle strictly according to the rules. Leaving the handling of our foreign exchange to foreign banks will be a total disaster. We do not need an inactive Central Bank. It is time that the Central Bank gets teeth.” – Garvin Karunaratne
• “Central Bank vs Leasing Companies – The registered leasing companies are under legal obligation to carry out the latest round of instructions of the Central Bank, as directed by President.
But unregistered leasing companies are not bound by the rules of the Central Bank, as such the CB also cannot enforce the new rules on them. But the unregistered leasing companies cannot continue their operations, without cash inflow. As they are unregistered, some commercial banks and financial institutions have entered into agreements with these companies to provide the working capital. It is also evident that these companies have been importing 3wheelers based on usance letters of Letters of Credit, with 90-180 days payback period, based on approvals granted by the first-class commercial banks, to endorse the Letters of Credit. But most of these imports were based on Sight Letters of Credit as well.
The Banks hold the vehicles as collateral and the leasing companies are duty bound to their lending institutions to seize the vehicles for payment defaults by the Lessees. The Lessors might have provided personal guarantees or pledged their freehold properties to the Banks as an additional security. Under leasing arrangements, the ownership of the property does not pass on to the Lessee, until the final payment and release.
The commercial banks provide working capital to the unregistered leasing companies at very high interest rates, due to risk factors. So, in this issue, the parties involved are commercial banks, lessors and lessees… – lankaweb.com/news/items/2020/06/16/central-bank-vs-leasing-companies/
• ‘A Catalogue of Antiquities & Other Cultural Objects from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Abroad,’ by PHDH de Silva, 1974, lists over 15,000 artifacts stolen from the country. The loot ended up in 23 countries and 140 holding facilities. The vast majority are in England. Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Berkshire, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Sheffield, and Windsor all have ‘Little Pieces of Ceylon’ so to speak. All stolen goods. For antique and historical value, each and every amulet, the tiniest statuette, the most fragile manuscript with hardly legible lettering, are priceless. – malindawords.blogspot.com.
• “We must make clear that it is imperialism that degrades and destroys the earth, makes water a commodity, food a luxury, education an impossibility, and healthcare a distant dream.” – Black Agenda
• “In 1965, the Africans rebelled in Watts, LA. Yorty was mayor, a white man. You can call him a racist. In 1992, they rebelled. Bradley is mayor, he’s an African. What is the objective difference here? The only difference is that US capitalism, in order to try to deceive the people, tries to give us visibility with no power at all… Africans in this country have more elected officials in this country than any other ethnic group in the country. We have no power at all.” – Kwame Ture
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
• The US Ambassador, after delivering a lecture to the SL military on its role in the society, then gave another lecture on the economy, hoping Sri Lanka has an economic plan (even though US dictat all these years has been that ‘planning’ is ‘communist’)
She then demands “free trade” and a lead role for the private sector. She again highlights SMEs, just as US-funded Advocata, that ‘independent” thinktank, also wishes us to “think small”. (see ee Focus)
But who are these ‘small enterprises? Aren’t they contractors to the big multinationals? Who are these ‘small shops?” In Sri Lanka, most products in kadays are from multinationals like Unilever? Is this where the printed money is going?
Unilever, controlled by asset manager BlackRock, monopolizes our home market, advertising and thru advertising the media. Which is why someone should explain to young Namal Rajapakse (of Kandy Lake Caltex Racing fame) that associating with Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM), the PR front in Sri Lanka, is not exactly as hip as it may seem. SLIM should rename itself Unilever’s PIMP – Promoting Indulgence for Multinational Parasites!
• The German industrial delegation visiting last week claimed that Sri Lanka exports more to Germany than we import from Germany. Yet look at the types of imports and exports involving Germany. Germany sells us overpriced machinery, and we sell them raw material, which they profit off immensely. Likewise Germany proudly announced they are ‘training trainers’, but to do what? Operate German-made machines, but not make the machines that make them! Go work in white countries until robots can take over there (see ee Industry).
• Raw material prices are being pushed down. It’s only a matter of time before many countries ‘default’ on debts that have not benefited them. Isn’t it time to explain that these debts are a colonial loansharking game, that has only serve to ruin countries? Who will call the sham?! These debts will never be paid! Whether they cancel the debts or not, it is time to delink from the US IMF game and join China’s Belt and Road!
• “The US Federal Reserve is directly buying stocks, bonds, junk bonds, mortgages, junk mortgages, all to prop up the value of assets owned by the top 5%. This does not spur much new production or create jobs.” –Michael Hudson
Money printed in the USA, etc., is being pumped into the stockmarket casino to make it look good, enticing guppies to get fattened for the sharks. But reviving the stock market has nothing to do with reviving the economy. They are buying corporate debt. The 2007-8 meltdown papered over by Obama’s QE and “stock buybacks’ (companies using their cash to close down businesses, disinivest and buy back their own stocks to keep prices up). So the US print run is not for profits, not for small investors. This money is now going from central banks or speculators to buy junk to prop up the fake value of assets. (see ee Economists)
• Covid provides an excuse for a capitalist system that has been crashing anyway. And Central Banks led by the US Federal Reserve are printing trillions. But where is the money going? Is there any way to know? Some say it is to help workers? To help small businesses? Yet the money is not being put into modern production or increase skilled employment. Instead, the operative war cry is, “Cull!”
It is obvious that they wish to escalate war on the people, and this includes putting workers into further debt bondage. Those opposed to ‘militarization’ should focus on controlling the merchants who are clearly waging war on the people, by their orgy of consumption pushing the country towards ‘austerity’!
• Capitalist invest much money in ‘innovatively’ manufacturing synonyms to get rid of workers, which the media disseminates: From just plain sacking, firing, to retrenchment and rationalization This week it was garment con-glomerate MAS announcing VSS – Voluntary Separation Scheme (see ee Workers). VSS apparently occurs: “When a company that is not officially retrenching still wishes to get rid of some employees.”
• ee highly recommends the Vlogger Luna Oi, who wittily and devastatingly takes on the white media, analyzing recent Reuters disinformation against Vietnam. It’s a classic case study involving news agencies, Facebook, CIA front groups, etc, all timed to coincide with another UNHRC muckup. (see ee Media)
• The media is of course diverting from the capitalist collapse and focusing on “looting” in the USA, ignoring it’s the capitalists who are looting the treasuries, and that the ‘riots” are but another US Presidents’ plan to ensure re-election.
While there is anarchist talk of “defunding” the police, few mention the need for community control of both police and the bankers they work for. It is bankers who provide “annual police awards” and it’s bankers who offer police, “rewards”. There is no mention that the police are doing their job on behalf of capitalists, and that police kill few capitalists.
• ee noticed a news editorial this week claiming that people (or electors) like to forget. But it is the media, masters in the magical arts that make matter appear and disappear! The public capitalist media promotes amnesia…
• Capital Media’s EconomyNext exhibits curious white psychopathology by using Asian and African countries or people as negative adjectives, while mimicking US and related ‘civil society’ proclamations on how wanting we all are. Their latest is insulting Central Bank policies by invoking Zimbabwe: “It is not clear whether credit will pick up after June putting renewed pressure on the rupee from excess liquidity and Zimbabwe style printed money re-finance fund. The central bank has been ordered to triple the fund to 150 billion rupees.” A few months ago it was North Korea. Oh, and this week they even had chickens refusing to lay eggs because of import restrictions.
But then there’s all the nicey nicey talk about New Zealand maybe cos capitalists are seeking another settler-state to flee to. New Zealand gets good PR, though unlike Sri Lanka, they refused to allow their workers living abroad to return.
The New Zealand prime minister, like most white leaders, have massive public relations budgets, which accounts for all the ‘feel good’ stories about her. A camera follows her every move. Meanwhile, our PR sector, monopolized by Unilever and publicly fronted by SL Institute of Marketing (errr. PIMP!) only promotes foreign products.
B. Special Focus__
B1. Conversation between English Political Prisoner Julian Assange
& former Greek Ginance Minister Yanis Varoufakis – June 13
‘Julian called me from Belmarsh High Security Prison: “I want a perspective on world developments out there – I have none in here.” Which, of course, placed a considerable burden on me to articulate thoughts on capitalism’s fate during this pandemic and the repercussions of it all on politics, geopolitics, etc. The knowledge that Her Majesty’s Prison authorities would discontinue our discussion at any moment made the task harder. In a feeble attempt to paint a picture for him on as broad a canvass as possible, I shared with Julian my main thought of the last weeks:
Never before has the world of money (ie the money markets, that include the share markets) been so decoupled from the world of real people, real stuff – from the real economy.
We watch in awe as GDP, personal incomes, wages, company revenues, businesses small & large, collapse while the stock market is staying relatively unscathed. The other day, Hertz declared bankruptcy. When a company does this, its share price used to go to zero. Not now. In fact, Hertz is about to issue $1billion worth of new shares. Why would anyone buy shares of an officially bankrupt company? The answer is: because central banks print mountain ranges of money and give it for almost free to financiers to buy any piece of junk floating around the stock exchange.
“Complete zombification of the corporations”, is how I put it to Julian. Julian commented that this proves that governments and central banks can keep corporations afloat even when they sell next to nothing at the marketplace. I agreed. But, I also pointed out a major conundrum that capitalism faces for the first time:
Central bank money printing keeps asset prices very high while the price of ‘stuff’ & wages fall. This disconnect can go on growing. But, when Hertz, British Airways etc can survive in this manner, they have no reason not to fire half the workforce and to cut the wages of the other half. This creates more deflation/depression in the real economy. Which means that the Central Banks must print more and more to keep asset and share prices high. At some point, the masses out there will rebel and governments will be under pressure to divert some income to them. But this will deflate asset prices. At that point, because these assets are used by corporations as collateral for all the loans they take out to stay afloat, they will lose access to liquidity. A sequence of corporate failures will commence under circumstances of stagnation. “I don’t think capitalism can easily survive, at least not without huge social and geopolitical conflicts, this conundrum” was my conclusion.
Julian thought about this for a moment and asked me: “How important is consumption to capitalism? What percentage of GDP is at stake if consumption does not recover? Do the corporations need workers or customers?”
I answered that it was high enough to make this conundrum real. Yes, Central Banks & robots can keep the corporations going without customers or workers. But, robots cannot buy the stuff they produce. So, this is not a stable equilibrium. The losses in people’s incomes will accelerate, thus generating pivotal discontent.
Julian then said: That will benefit Trump who knows how to feed off the anger of the multitudes toward the educated, upper middle-class elites. I agreed, saying that DiEM25 has been warning since 2016 that socialism for the oligarchy and austerity for the many, in the end, feeds the racist ultra-right. That we are experiencing again what happened in the 1920s in Italy with the rise of Mussolini.
Julian agreed entirely and said: Yes, like then, there is an alliance forming between rich people & the discontented working class. He then added that most of the prisoners and the prison officers in Belmarsh support… Trump. At that point the connection was cut off. Our conversation lasted 9’47’’. It was more substantive, and of course moving, than any conversation I have had in a while.’
B2. The Small-Mindedness of Thinking Small – Avocado Collective
The problem with Dhananath Fernando’s article “Production Economy: Think small, Sri Lanka!”
Dire warnings about the consequences of restrictions on imports, fill Sri Lanka’s media, midst happy, upbeat articles about how further integration into the “global supply chain” will bring us wealth and prosperity.
The neoliberal US-funded Advocata Institute’s Dhananath Fernando (“Production economy: Think small, Sri Lanka!” Sunday Morning, 31 May) does just that. He advocates manufacturing components for global multinationals as the road to El Dorado.
Fernando says “the apparel sector which took off during the post-liberalisation period has eclipsed the rest as a major player in the world apparel sector and an integrated part of the world supply chain.”
The apparel sector began during the so-called “closed economy” period, when the modern GIL garment factory opened in Ratmalana. Its rapid growth was enabled by state-allocated garment quotas under the Multi-Fibre Agreement.
Fernando fails to mention this industry’s very small return to the economy, in value-added terms. While growing in size, the industry has not grown in terms of the supply chain, importing raw materials (woven garments and accessories), and machinery and parts. The Covid-19 outbreak demonstrated this practically, by disrupting the supply of imported needles for the factories’ sewing-machines, causing a shortage.
On the other hand, a true industrial ecosystem, for example that in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, produces the yarn, the cloth, the accessories, the machines and the parts.
“Producing small components of large complex products,” says Fernando, “in a gigantic scale brought the cost significantly down and as a result, the price of products became reasonable. This process became a common factor in the range of high-end expensive products like aeroplanes and even to lower-end products like sporting shoes.”
High-end expensive products like aeroplanes require considerable investment at each stage. In the case of Boeing and Airbus, they are kept afloat by extensive government subsidies, including (especially in the case of the former) hugely overpriced military contracts. These industries do not go into global procurement because they need to build their aircraft.
Outsourcing is arranged as a means of selling the aircraft, known as industrial offset. So if Boeing wants to sell its airliners to, say India, it must provide some proportion of the aircraft’s value in production buy-back. In 2009, Boeing agreed to buy US$1.7bn in goods from Indian manufacturers and software producers, in return for Air India agreeing to buy 787 Dreamliners.
In the case of military aircraft, industrial offsets of over 100% are common. And it need not be in aircraft parts. For example, when Lockheed Martin “sold” 20 of the new F-35 stealth fighter bombers to Israel for US$ 2.35bn, all financed by US military aid, they signed an agreement to buy back $4bn (plus $1bn in the future) worth of Israeli goods.
Thus, global procurement is not so much because it aids more efficient manufacture, but because it is needed to sell the goods produced. Sri Lanka is not a big enough buyer of aerospace products (or indeed of anything except petroleum, dhal, milk foods, reconditioned cars) to demand industrial offsets.
In practice, domestic manufacturers make up 12,000 of Boeing’s 20,000 suppliers. On the other hand, China is building its own airliners, with almost total local sourcing of parts.
As for shoes, the extent to which outsourcing of components takes place is highly exaggerated. China, India, Brazil and Vietnam are the world’s biggest manufacturers. They have domestic backwards-integration of their supply chains. Even third-ranked Brazil makes its own shoe-making machinery.
“In simple words”, continues Fernando, “now the production of even a simple component or a product is shared across the globe (which is called Global Production Sharing – GPS).”
An industry which depends totally on a global supply chain can move out easily from a country like Sri Lanka. This is what we have seen happening over the last few years to our garment industry: following the end of the quota system in 2005, under the Uruguay Round, garment factories began to move out, as more and more manufacturers disinvested into the cheaper labour markets of Vietnam, Bangladesh, Kenya and Ethiopia.
What Fernando neglects to mention about GPS is that outsourcing does not necessarily create industrialised states. Countries such as Bangladesh or Guatemala make cheap components for products manufactured elsewhere. They are in the GPS because they utilise labour-intensive manufacturing practices which depend on highly underpaid labour forces. The “elsewhere” is industrialised, but neither Bangladesh nor Guatemala are.
Unfortunately, Fernando does not appear to have an inkling of how industrialisation works, nor does he seem to realise that industrialisation is not simply a matter of making things, but of creating a manufacturing ecosystem.
According to Matt Priest, of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, companies which went to China don’t want to relocate out of places such as Shenzhen, because they have no real alternative in terms of an industrial ecosystem. Everything a manufacturer needs is available close at hand, machinery and parts, raw materials and accessories, and research and testing facilities.
Fernando parrots an oft-repeated trope of the neo-liberals, writing of “agri-based economic planning to state-owned industries that left a stench not only on the economy, but also on the shirts and the sarees of the public.”
By this cheap rhetorical move, he dismisses the economic policies which transformed Japan, South Korea & Taiwan into top-level industrial powers. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan industrialised by depending on state-directed investment, even strict centrally planned production targets. All 3 countries instituted import-substitution, and thorough-going land reform, limiting land holdings to below 3 hectares (7.5 acres). Japan subsidises its farmers heavily, because it recognises the need for a balanced economy.
South Korea began its widely known export-based industrialisation drive in 1962. But in doing so, it had first liberated the countryside in a comprehensive land reform, which provided a cheap supply of food for industrial workers, as well as a large labour pool.
South Korea became an electronics giant by the 1990s, because of considerable state intervention & monopolistic practices. Chaebols (industrial conglomerates) manufactured entire supply-chains and were backed by the state with cheap credit and R&D facilities. Electronic parts have a protected market within the country, enabling overseas exports.
South Korea did not think small is beautiful, but instead undertook 7 years of aggressive import-substitution industrialisation, and by 1962 was already producing machine tools, the most basic need for industrialisation.
These countries certainly did not start their industrialisation programmes by outsourcing or Global Production Sharing. On the contrary, they made sure that as much as possible of the raw materials, components & machinery for their industries were sourced locally.
And they ensured the protection of their manufacturing by instituting heavy import restrictions. Some were based on tariffs, but the bulk were non-tariff, red-tape wrapped, barriers to imports. For example, Japan allowed the import of sports bicycles, provided they were tested by a Japanese Olympic Gold Medalist in bicycle-related sports (of which there were none).
The economy of Singapore (the go-to favourite of advocates of neoliberalism) built itself up on the basis of state-owned corporations, such as Keppel Shipyard, Singapore Airlines, Singtel, Neptune Orient Lines, and so on.
China was able to grow its manufacturing exports rapidly because it had already created an industrial ecosystem, using state enterprises & the domestic market. Once it had done so, it could open up its market to foreign investment—still with strategic regulations on technology transfer and sharing of “industrial intelligence,” rather than the laissez-faire attitude advocated by Advocata.
Fernando claims that the integrated GPS came about “because every country has a competitive edge in a particular good or service. For example, Germany and Japan have it in cars, Korea in electronics, New Zealand in dairy products, etc.” The less said about New Zealand dairy products, the better!
How did Japan gain a competitive edge in making cars? The cars Japan produced, well into the 1970s, were far inferior to European cars—they did not even perfect front-wheel drive until the 1980s. They were able to persist because they had no competition from outside in their domestic market. High domestic prices enabled considerable subsidies on exports. Japan also had an industrial ecosystem for cars. They produced all the parts domestically—sometimes almost all within the same company. They even produced the machinery locally. By 1971, they were using Japanese-produced robots.
Unlike de-industrialised countries such as England, Germany’s state intervened to ensure that manufacturing remained in the country. Consequently, its economy is far more resilient than England’s.
Fernando, like the other Advocata fellows, does not acknowledge that Sri Lanka’s state industrial corporations were established because the local business elite refused to go into manufacturing. The British colonial government of this country found this during the World War 2, when lack of private takers forced it to establish state-owned enterprises to manufacture essential items. The post-war government of DS Senanayake closed down most of these industries, on the advice of the World Bank.
Sri Lanka under the closed economy had an advanced machinery sector, based on supplying tea factories. The efficient fluidised-bed tea dryer was invented in Sri Lanka during this period, putting the country at the cutting edge of tea machinery manufacture and export. The first steps had already been taken towards making machine tools (at the Steel Corporation in Oruwela), tractors (by the SL Air Force) and other machinery (eg, chassis-making plant at the Werahera CTB workshop).
In fact, the state corporations performed remarkably. Far from “leaving a stench”, state-produced goods have had a far better name in this country than those made by the private sector. One need look no further than “Sanstha” cement or “Lanwa” steel – both trade-marks of state products, which retained their premium reputations in the market, long after privatisation.
Within 6 years of the opening up of the economy by JR Jayawardene, all these industries disappeared. The Chairman of a leading tea machinery producer went to JR Jayawardene and told him that the sector would close down in the face of government-subsidised Indian machinery exports to Sri Lanka. As a result of the inaction of the government, the sector closed down. Today we import the self-same fluidised-bed tea driers we invented, from India.
This was what we were already producing, and producing relatively efficiently. Just consider the local supply chain, with its capacity for growth, which the ‘open economy’ destroyed. It is not just Indian export subsidies. There are a host of other mechanisms at work.
Probably the biggest argument against Fernando’s “thinking small” is that his proposal of “global product sharing” increases our dependence on the vagaries of foreign policy of superpowers. Consider, for example, that our dependence on the European and North American markets for garments meant that the withdrawal of GSP+ terms, for geopolitical reasons, caused the sector considerable distress. Unlike India, we cannot buy petroleum from Iran or Venezuela, because our trade is dependent on the West. What would happen if our small manufacturers were integrated into the supply chain of a US company, and the US decided to raise tariffs on our products? The US company would simply switch suppliers, but we would be up an excreta-laden waterway.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said last week that his country should establish a post-coronavirus pandemic industrial policy – with increased tariffs and subsidies – to reshore supply chains so that “all the things that we need” to handle crises are made in the US. “We need a policy,” he said, “be it subsidies or tariffs or whatever it takes – we have to have an industrial policy so we never find ourselves in this position again…”
This – rather than Advocata’s – is excellent advice for Sri Lanka to follow.
C. News Index______________________________________________
• ee News Index provides headlines and links to gain a sense of the weekly focus of published English ‘business news’ mainly to expose the backwardness of a multinationally controlled ‘local media’:
(ee is pro-politics, pro-politician, pro-nation-state, anti-corporatist, anti-expert, anti-NGO)
ee Sovereignty news emphasizes sovereignty as economic sovereignty – a strong nation is built on modern industrialization fueled by a producer culture.
• “SL Govt asked us for time to review MCC.” – US Embassy Official
• Finding paths to being enslaved by the USA
‘The US Ambassador in Sri Lanka on Tuesday: ‘We welcome discussion on minority rights, equal protection under law, and security service accountability. But let’s do so in safe ways until there’s less to worry about from COVID-19.’
• US ambassador wants ‘conversation’ on SL military abusing power
• Govt. urged to explain stance on MCC agreement
‘Suspicions arose after a US diplomat had entered the country after refusing a PCR test for COVID-19 recently. Government factions later identified the official who held a diplomatic passport, as a member of the Indo-Pacific Marine Corp. It is against such a backdrop that the MCC has resurfaced as a talking point in the country. The Lalithasiri Gunaruwan committee appointed by the President to study the agreement is currently preparing its final report.’
• Govt. denies plans to sign MCC agreement
‘While not ruling out signing an amended MCC pact, the Minister said that grant agreements would be entered into with other countries’
• No plans to sign MCC agreement in current format: Govt.
‘In the future, we will not enter into any agreements harmful to the economic well-being of local industrialists and entrepreneurs,” stated the policy statement.’
• Sri Lanka denies it will sign MCC deal after the elections; contradicts recent reports
‘The Daily Mirror and the Colombo Gazette both quoted Teplitz as saying that a “decision on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement will be taken after the Parliamentary election in August.”
• Government will not sign the MCC agreement – Minister Wimal Weerawansa (Video)
• U.S. direct COVID-19 assistance to Sri Lanka exceeds $5.8 million
• Devananda urges fishermen to beware of Indian poachers, relatives there
• China calls on Mahinda
‘…on jointly fighting COVID-19 and enhancing financial, trade and investment cooperation’
• Wijeyadasa tells PCoI Rajitha, Champika et al tried to have Gotabaya arrested illegally
• Civil Society organisations say the COVID 19 crisis should not be an excuse for militarization
‘..signed by 16 Civil Society organisations and 49 individuals says that the Prez Task Forces have “broad, ambiguous mandates, bypassing existing channels’
• Authoritarianism is no remedy to country’s wounded democracy
‘It is only the immaturity of the social rationale, and nostalgia for old tribalism that prompts the preference for authoritarian style rule to remedy the drawbacks of Sri Lankan democracy’
• Recently appointed Presidential Task Forces a threat to democracy: NPP
‘Warns President seems to view PTFs as alternate Govt.’
• Open Letter to the Sigrid Rausing Trust on Yasmin Sooka & ITJP
‘A large sum of funding…going to an entity that is on a smear campaign against Sri Lanka. Your Trust, as per your website covers the Balkans, Central & Eastern Europe, former Soviet Union, Lebanon & Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia in North Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. How is it that you are also funding International Truth & Justice Project (Sri Lanka) which is administered under the Foundation of Human Rights South Africa which EU launched in 1996.’
• The World Is In Flames Because Of Racism But Racism Continues in England
‘The language proficiency that the British High Commission seeks is an excellent command in written & spoken English & Tamil. Clearly, Sinhalese is excluded’
• Extremist practices still widespread in Kattankudi: Witness
‘He said Wahhabists operate 10 to 15 mosques in Kattankudi and around 15,000 followers go to these mosques.’
• ACJU has no power to issue rulings against Sufis: Witness
‘…almost 95% of ACJU members were wahhabists and they were using the 1979 fatwa to justify attacks on Sufi Muslims. He also said that the wahhabists were trying to position them in higher ranks of the government.’
• Creation of Eastern Province
‘The Eastern province was created to dismember the Kandyan province in order to weaken the ‘national feeling ’ of the Kandyans …’
• Hate preacher mentioned by BBS is a Qatari citizen – Egyptian Embassy
• Turkish Embassy strongly rejects allegations made by Gnanasara Thero
• Multiculturalism does not work with Muslim extremists, says BBS General Secretary
‘”There are 1,080 archeological sites situated in the Eastern Province and the area contains the highest number of Buddhist sites.’
• Continued harassment of Muslims could prove detrimental to Sri Lanka: Amnesty International
• Vanni region Security Forces asked to excercise caution after boxes with Low Explosives found
• Wigneswaran promotes TMTK as bulwark against bid to rally Sinhala Buddhists around govt.
‘… seeks Diaspora funding to set up ‘political structure’ for Tamils’ benefit’
• TNA puts forth two sets of proposals for N&E
• The TNA and the Tamil political imagination today – Jayatilleka
‘the stipulated condition is unwise in the extreme: that of a new Constitution which accommodates Tamil aspirations. That’s been repeatedly tried and has failed. Worse: it’s a Pandora’s Box.’
• JR and Gota: A tale of Two Executive Presidents – Part III – David Jeyaraj
‘Today the country functions without a Parliament. Much of the prevalent confusion and uncertainty could have been avoided if President Rajapaksa was more flexible. But the President for reasons of his own has been rigid’
• Ex-Tigers’ bid to coalesce with TNA for general and PC elections fails
• Sampanthan ready to work with MR; Handunnetti slams TNA for two-faced politics
• Karuna Amman says he killed more soldiers at Elephant Pass than COVID in SL
• McDermott’s allegations: Australia-based SPUR urges Labour to set the record straight
• Head of State status for Bohra chief during COVID-19 retreat here
• Economic recovery of COVID-hit South Asia calls for hard choices
‘Sri Lanka should open up to Bangladeshi investments to reciprocate the welcome accorded to Sri Lankan investments in Bangladesh says Bangladesh envoy…In 1961, South Korea’s military government established the Economic Planning Board, which produced a series of five-year plans for economic development from 1967 to 1981….’
• Sri Lanka and Thailand reassure partnership in bilateral and multilateral spheres
‘Sri Lanka’s submission to ASEAN to become a Sectoral Dialogue Partner (SDP), as well as the next BIMSTEC Summit, which, Sri Lanka is scheduled to host as the current Chair…’
• Xi applauds Sri Lanka’s fight against COVID-19
• The debt knell tolls – Japan complains
‘Sri Lanka’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) project was being placed on the back burner after the Japanese government – who funded the project – halted funding, having raised concerns regarding Sri Lanka’s ability to repay the loan. The Government of Japan had been alarmed by a combination of factors, specifically, Sri Lanka’s request for a debt moratorium from Japan, combined with Sri Lanka pushing ahead with the construction of new power plants.’
• Germany grants over Rs. 2 m in financial assistance for healthcare for children with disabilities
‘to procure appropriate learning materials, assessments, and coaching equipment to facilitate the special needs of the children.’
• South Asia remains key priority of Russian foreign policy – Yury Materiy
“One of our closest partners and friends in the South Asian region is Sri Lanka. The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on February 19, 1957.”
• World Bank gives Sri Lanka US$56mn in emergency CERC funds for Coronavirus battle
• $10,000 Contribution from Anti-communist Colombo Plan Secretariat
• Pope appoints new Apostolic Nuncio to Sri Lanka
‘incardinated to Orlu, Nigeria. He holds a degree in Canon Law and entered the diplomatic service in 1994. He has since then served in the Apostolic Nunciatures in Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Haiti, Bulgaria, Thailand and Great Britain. He was appointed as Apostolic Nuncio to Benin’
• The ‘Narrow Corridor’: How to steer democracy ahead
‘In Sri Lanka, the word liberty is an alien concept. As I mentioned still there is no proper word for liberty in Sinhala.’
• China-backed AIIB approves $ 750 m loan for India’s COVID-19 response
• 20 Indian soldiers killed in border clash with China in Ladakh
‘India and China have never agreed on how long their “Line of Actual Control” frontier is, with each side using different frontier proposals made by Britain to China in the 19th century to back their claims. India gives a figure of 3,500 kilometers. China does not give a number, but state media says the border should be just 2,000 km when China’s claims in Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh and other regions are taken into account.’
• Tense border where no shots were fired – Indian Media
‘Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said India had crossed the border twice on Monday’
• India will be forced to go war if China does not vacate its occupied territory, warns Dr Subramanian Swamy
‘The webinar was organized by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia (FCC), the 62-year-old institution of over a thousand foreign and Indian journalists who cover India and South Asia…’
• BCCI to review IPL sponsorship deals including Vivo
‘As a direct fallout of the violence in Ladakh’s Galwan valley…the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to review its IPL sponsorship deals originating from China’
• India elected non-permanent member of UN Security Council
‘Previously, India has been elected as a non-permanent member of the Council for the years 1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992 and most recently in 2011-2012.’
• US Steps Up Bomber Flights over China & Russia
‘Even as the United States is devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests spiral against militarized police brutality, Washington’s War Machine is in high gear — stepping up flights of drones and nuclear-capable strategic bombers threatening Iran, Russia and China.
• Palestine expresses concern over U.S sanctions against ICC officials
• The Natives
‘the plight of aboriginal people of Australia is as horrendous as indigenous people in North America.’
• How US, EU & OAS lied & meddled in Bolivia (Full show)
‘The New York Times has admitted that the allegations of election fraud that led to Evo Morales’ ousting from the Bolivian presidency were “flawed.”’
• The world may have become a more dangerous place
‘… in the current impasse over the status of US-Russia nuclear arms control agreements. Both states have withdrawn from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the only US-Russia nuclear arms control agreement still standing is the New Start treaty, which is due to expire in 2021. Russia recently announced changes to its policy on use of nuclear weapons and has revealed the existence of new generation weapons such as the Avangard hypersonic vehicle and Poseidon underwater drone capable of causing a devastating tsunami near an enemy coast while the US is said to be building space-based weapons defence systems.’
• Building Power to Win is the Revolutionary Approach to Bourgeois Electoralism”
• The Global Reset – Unplugged. “The Deep State”
‘It is clear that the vast majority of US industries could not survive without Chinese supply chains. The western dependence on Chinese medical supplies is particularly strong. Let alone Chinese dependence by US consumers. In 2019, US total consumption, about 70% of GDP, amounted to $13.3 trillion, of which a fair amount is directly imported from China or dependent on ingredients from China.’
(the state beyond ‘a pair of handcuffs’, monopolies of violence)
ee Security section focuses on the state (a pair of handcuffs, which sposedly has the monopoly of legitimate violence), and how the ‘national security’ doctrine is undermined by private interests, with no interest in divulging or fighting the real enemy, whose chief aim is to prevent an industrial renaissance as the basis of a truly independent nation.
• Research on coronavirus vaccines is too expensive to be left to private companies: Lankan virologist
• Rockefeller Pathfinder Foundation calls to set-up task force on ocean resources
‘In 2018 the Pathfinder Foundation established the “Centre for the Law of the Sea” as a modest step towards recognizing the importance of Ocean related activities.’
• Who is the murderer? Bajaj or the Banks?
• Leasing issue: A solution – Retired Private Banker
‘We also see unscrupulous customers dismantling vehicles or hiding them in some remote places. That is the reason why banks, and other companies, have people to seize these vehicles’
• Deflecting barbs, the govt. way
‘The government has to ensure that the ban on seizing vehicles, salutary as it may be, will not give carte blanche to potential defaulters…How does it propose to handle this situation while safeguarding the interests of both lessors and lessees ? Mere rhetoric will not do.’
• Probe interest charged by finance companies: Amaraweera
‘government must initiate a probe to know whether finance companies use underworld characters and criminals to seize vehicles taken on lease.’
• Govt mulls new laws to curb leasing mafia
‘The Minister said the employment of persons with muscle power to seize vehicles and properties from defaulters of payment was unlawful’
• Sunil Jayawardena laid to rest; trade unions demand justice
‘He was the Chairman of the Lanka Self-Employed Professionals’ National Three-Wheeler Federation…The United Three Wheeler Owners Association, the All Island Inter District School Children Transportation Association, and the Three Wheeler Drivers Association staged protests…’
• Lawyers of JVP-led NPP call for restraining leasing companies
‘”The police were not present when a person was clubbed to death. They were there to throw females into jeeps for staging a protest. There is a crime wave. Instead of arresting it, the police are busy crushing protests,” she said.’
• The Finance Houses Association of Sri Lanka condemns the murder of Three Wheel Association Chairman Late Sunil Jayawardena
‘by no means associated with the 41 regulated and licensed Finance Institutions registered under the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and also not attached to the FHA Sri Lanka… While complying to debt moratorium regulations the licensed finance companies have offered debt relief to approximately 500,000 customers’
• Defence Secretary reveals SIS has analyzed thousands of telephone calls that originated from prisons
• Boossa Prison declared a maximum-security prison
• Legal Education in Sri Lanka and plight of Kotelawala Defence University law graduates
• Defence Ministry to reinstate Police, STF officers received vacation of post orders
• Maj. Gen. Sallay to institute legal action against Yasmin Sooka and ITJP
• Oldest profession booming again
‘Police headquarters said those arrested aged between 27-50 years were from Ratmalana, Ambalanthota, Matara, Karandeniya, Kamburupitiya, Tissamaharama, Kamburupitiya and Giradurukotte’
• Remand applications via video links
‘According to the Justice Ministry, there are an estimated 15,000 remand prisoners in 23 prisons. From them, at least 5,400 are being taken to courts daily, according to the Justice Ministry.’
• Sri Lanka’s virus curfew illegal: rights commission
‘It noted, however, that restricting of peoples’ movements was necessary to deal with COVID-19, but that it should be done lawfully and within Sri Lanka’s international obligations to uphold rule of law.’
• Reliance on SL military for civil tasks unwise – US National Peace Council
• Unlawful arrest-orders galore; from Secretary Defence, Attorney General et al
‘There is an increasing phenomenon of arrest orders being passed down to the police unlawfully by the Defence Secretary and the Attorney General, and the police meekly obeying such orders.’
• State of the Police and a Police State
‘There were similar protests in other world capitals too, but the way the Sri Lankan demonstrators were manhandled seemed as if the local law enforcement officers here had got their training at a US Police Academy. The irony is that the US embassy never objected to the protest.’
• Militarisation of democracy or democratisation of the military?
‘The most extraordinary powers vested in this Task Force by this gazette extraordinary are that; ‘All government officers and others to provide all possible assistance and provide all information to the Task Force. It is called upon to report’ to the Secretary to the President all cases of delay or default on the part of any public officer of any ministry, government department, state corporation or other similar institution in the discharge of duties and responsibilities assigned to such pubic officers or such institution.’
• Ahimsa appeals to Police Commission to block appointment of new CID director
• Missing Indian High Commission Staffers In ISI Custody: Top Sources
• Norway elected to UN Security Council
‘In 2021, in addition to the five permanent members – the US, France, the UK, China and Russia – Norway will sit on the Security Council with the other elected members, Estonia, Vietnam, Niger, Tunisia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, in addition to Ireland, India, Mexico and Kenya…’
• Australia under cyberattacks from state actor
• Man who killed 22 Canadians in April linked to Police
‘The withdrawal of $475,000 in cash matches the method the RCMP uses to send money to confidential informants and agents, sources say.’
(Study the Economists before you study the Economics)
ee Economists shows how paid capitalist/academic ‘professionals’ confuse (misdefinitions, etc) and divert (with false indices, etc) from the steps needed to achieve an industrial country.
• Central Bank Should Be Independent From The Government – Eran of God
• SJB warns political interference could weaken banking system
• A project monitoring unit is missing in the President’s armoury of initiatives
‘creating a good feeling for himself by announcing grand plans for a better Sri Lanka… the major multinationals… have the best proven management systems. The core principle on which their whole structure is based is individual responsibility and not collective responsibility.’
• Protect CB ‘independence’ cry the Capitalists
• Central Bank Implements New Credit Schemes to Support the Revival of the Economy
• Trade and balance of payments prospects this year – Sanderatne
‘It is vital that the Government negotiates for moratoria on debt repayments until the country’s external finances can be in a better position.’
• Sri Lanka’s Senior Citizens’ incomes will take a hit as interest rates set to fall steeply – Economists
‘when bank rates plunge after the government’s move to increase liquidity in the market’
• JVP challenges President to reveal Bond report’s hidden pages
• Pro-poor Rockefeller Pathfinder economic proposals submitted to President
‘Chairman of the Gamini Corea Foundation Dr. Lloyd Fernando said that Sri Lanka had never experienced a dearth of studies, Task Force reports, manifestos and even plans and programmes. But the problem has been its implementation…. He was the Secretary ,Committee of Development Secretaries from 1983 to 1993, in two phases as Director General National Planning and after 1989 concurrently as State Secretary Ministry of Policy Planning and Implementation.’
• Germany steps up economic relations with Sri Lanka
‘The delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK) yesterday said that economic engagement between Sri Lanka and Germany has improved…“In 2019, bilateral trade between the two countries topped EUR 1.7 billion with exports from Sri Lanka to Germany reaching EUR 755 million and exports from Germany to Sri Lanka, EUR 317 million. For years already, Germany has recorded a trade deficit with Sri Lanka. In 2019, Sri Lanka recorded a positive trade balance of EUR 438 million,” he pointed out…. Sri Lanka’s exports to Germany have been worth about twice as much as its imports from Germany, Hergenroether said Germany is Sri Lanka’s third most important export market behind the US and the UK. Sri Lanka’s main exports to Germany include food, apparel, rubber-based products, and coconut-based products, while Germany’s main exports to Sri Lanka are machinery, electrical goods, chemical products and motor vehicles. The 51 German companies that have invested in Sri Lanka created over 12,000 jobs for the local population.’
• The US Advocata Institute celebrates 4th anniversary
‘…as an independent policy think tank in Sri Lanka…the Advocata Institute co-hosted Atlas Network’s Asia Liberty Forum in 2019 with 250 academics, with leading economic and policy thinkers from over 30 countries in attendance…. I would like to thank our Chair Murtaza Jafferjee, our Chair for the Academic Program Dr. Rajapatirana’
• Liberal Decision Making For Credit Approval And Administrative Discretion
‘The best example was the situation created after the July riots in 1983. When I was auditing banks found that certain dishonest few customers gained relief in millions from government banks than the total credit supports provided to rural agrarians in the country. Many dishonest customers were non-Sinhala businessmen and the entire life of such businessmen was cheating government banks.’
• Relooking at imports
‘The increase in the web of protective barriers seems to coincide with the decline in total contribution of State-owned establishments to sectoral value-added manufacturing. Furthermore, it appears that the Government gave up direct ownership in some sectors but simultaneously ensured the lasting protection of private companies in those same sectors’
• China says one-fifth of Belt and Road projects ‘seriously affected’ by pandemic
• How Big Finance Is Making a Killing From the Pandemic
‘When the Fed bailed out the banks to prevent a systemic collapse in 2008–9, it merely consolidated the power of finance. Four big banks — Citibank, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs — emerged from the financial turmoil to dominate an even more highly concentrated banking sector…. The sphere of asset management is also highly concentrated. Three groups, referred to as the Big Three — BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street — control the major share of the assets… They have ownership stakes in big banks like Citibank, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase…. 27 asset manager groups, led by 3 megafirms, now manage 61% of the industry’s funds.
• How Covid-19 has laid bare political, social and financial fault lines globally
‘Post-2008, Governments bailed out defaulting rogue institutions — again at the cost of individual investors. Afraid of China withdrawing US$3 trillion+ investment held in US currency, global central banks unleashed stimulus packages followed by quantitative easing (QE)…;
• A timeline of the crises that brought India’s $370 billion shadow banking sector to its knees
‘Over the past two years, several non-banking financial companies (NBFC) in India have been dealing with bad news upon bad news, including a cash crunch, the high cost of capital, and burgeoning bad loans.’
• Developing Asia to grow just 0.1-pct in 2020:ADB
• US seeks ‘reset’ of WTO: official
‘USA, which has filed 124 complaints against other countries, has won more cases than it has lost, including 20-0 against China and winning the biggest case ever against the EU in the longstanding dispute over subsidies for Airbus.’
• Robert Kiyosaki talks about how the corona lockdown was to cover up economic failures
• Milton Friedman – Stimulus and Inflation Video
(Usually reported in monetary terms)
ee Economy section shows how the economy is usually measured by false indices like GDP, etc, and in monetary terms, confusing money and capital, while calling for privatization and deregulation, etc.
• Do not shirk responsibility of rebuilding the economy: let me know the correct strategy – President tells CB chiefs
‘Central Banks in leading countries such as the United States, Japan and Australia as well as in small countries have put in place required mechanisms to revive economies in their respective countries. Sadly, the Central Bank of ours has not put forward a single proposal to rebuild the economy.’
• President tells state banks to utilize reliefs given to strengthen economy & people
• President Rajapaksa Loses His Cool; State Officials Under the Radar
• President Gotabaya reiterates call for urgent debt moratorium in talks with EU:
• Loans not an option, need investments: President
• President discusses rebuilding Sri Lankan economy with EU Ambassadors
• BOC slashes rates for lending facilities
• Government needs to look at policy reforms to attract investment – Alaina B. Teplitz
‘“The only comprehensive economic development plan for Sri Lanka is Sri Lanka’s plan for itself and I hope there is one…Speaking further Ambassador Teplitz said that the country should look to its private sector to spearhead economic development instead of infrastructure. “United States wishes to engage with Sri Lanka to ensure that there is free trade and that both of our countries are in a position to best enable our private sectors….’
• CBSL prints billions in June; reserves decrease
‘The central bank has printed 1 billion rupees worth money during the week ending on 12 June 2020. It has printed 242.57 billion rupees so far. The overnight liquidity in the banking sector has reduced by 21.42 billion rupees to 88.19 billion rupees. Meanwhile, the reserve money decreased compared to the previous week mainly due to the decrease in currency in circulation and deposits held by the commercial banks with the Central Bank.’
• Sri Lanka private credit tumbles in April 2020, more money printing
• Budget deficit widens amidst drop in revenue
• CB further cuts Statutory Reserve Ratio
‘The financial sector is expected to pass the benefit of the high level of liquidity and the reduced cost of funds to the economy without delay, by increasing lending to businesses and households at low cost’
• Sri Lanka cuts reserve ratio by 2.0-pct, injects Rs115bn into banks
‘“All at the Central Bank are economic specialists drawing very high salaries,” he said hours earlier. “You have a responsibility. I have presented you a mechanism” …The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, at its meeting held on 16 June 2020, decided to reduce the Statutory Reserve Ratio (SRR) applicable on all rupee deposit liabilities of licensed commercial banks…’
• CBSL initiates new schemes to support revival of economy adhering to President’s guidelines
• Sri Lanka bond yields slide 50-bp after SRR cut, rupee close weaker
• Sri Lanka’s Treasuries yields plunge after SRR halved
• BOC lends over Rs. 12 b to COVID-19-distressed companies
• Sri Lanka to start more credit schemes with 1% central bank money
• Foreign currency term financing facility to be raised to finance Vote on Account
• Sri Lanka to raise loans foreign currency loans up to USD 500 mn
• Sri Lanka calls proposals for US$500mn in foreign currency loans
• Sri Lanka allows banks to buy cheap sovereign bonds with new dollars
• Another US$140 Mn loan from China, says Daily Mirror
“There will be a vehicle tyre manufacturing plant in Hambantota with a US$500 million investment from China…”
• Political uncertainty worrying Japanese stock investors
‘JAICA is concerned about continuing to fund certain projects due to current economic and political uncertainty’
• SL debt ratio rises to 86.8% against GDP
• Sri Lanka excess liquidity soars to Rs223bn amid rupee fears
• Investment flows to developing countries in Asia could fall up to 45% in 2020
‘Asia remained the world’s largest FDI recipient, hosting more than 30% of global inflows in 2019.’
• European Central Bank Targeted by German Far-Right Party Over Coronavirus Response
‘…to stop the country’s participation in the ECB’s Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program, which it considers to go beyond the bank’s mandate.’
• Fresh German legal battle over ECB easing
‘One EU committee member, from the Christian Democrat party, senior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, said, ‘They [the ECB] will have to explain more. They cannot simply say: “We are in charge because we are in charge.”… The AfD lawsuit will focus on the judicially weakest point of the PEPP – the ECB’s own contention that the coronavirus emergency justifies lifting nearly all previous operational constraints on its bond-purchases.
• Bundesbank boss moves to defuse row between ECB and German court
‘The court said that if the ECB failed to comply within three months, the Bundesbank must stop buying bonds and plan to sell the more-than-€500bn it holds.’
• Holding the Bailout Bag – Michael Hudson
‘The Federal Reserve is directly buying stocks, bonds, junk bonds, mortgages, junk mortgages, all to prop up the value of assets owned by the top 5%. This doesn’t spur much new production or create jobs.’
• Coronavirus : Global emergency aid delivery could end next month, UN warns
(Inadequate Stats, Wasteful Transport, Unmodern Plantations, Services)
ee Workers attempts to correct the massive gaps and disinformation about workers, urban and rural and their representatives (trade unions, etc), and to highlight the need for organized worker power
• Capitalists plan to cut workers: Survey
‘Over the next 3 months, 26% of businesses anticipate a decline in full-time employees, 57% expect a decline in part-time employees, and 51% expected a decline in contractual employees
• MAS announces ‘Voluntary Separation Scheme’ to cut employee base by 4%
‘MAS Holdings in fact started the implementation of the restructuring plan on a staggered basis two years ago, with the help of the constancy firm, McKinsey & Company… MAS Holdings has 68,000 employee base in Sri Lanka, out of its overall 99,000 employee base across over 15 countries’
• Sri Lanka’s poverty line soars past Rs 5,000 in May
‘9 districts were above poverty line, 15 were below, while one district was on par….The highest average monthly expense stood at Rs 5434 in capital Colombo, while the lowest average was Rs 4713 in Monaragala…At least 6.7% of Sri Lanka’s 22 million people were below the poverty line in 2019.
• Sri Lankans stock up, buy online in Covid-19 curfews, informal workers hard-hit: survey
• Sri Lanka construction industry fears 100,000 jobs losses after Covid-19 crisis, stalled payments
‘Nissanka Wijeratne, Secretary of the Sri Lanka Chamber of Construction Industry: “We have around 650,000 people in this industry,” Wijeratne said. “Out of that I don’t think at least 200,000 people have started working yet… Many Chinese funded projects slowed down from January due to worker issues. Chinese construction workers are paid around 1,000 US dollars per month while an Indian worker gets 300-450 US dollars.”
• Relief measures for tourism industry stakeholders registered with SLTDA
‘approximately 144,000 persons directly involved in the tourism industry and linked to establishments…’
• CTU threatens union action over private teachers being used as invigilators at national exams
• Sri Lanka to allow more foreign universities to enter the country – President
• $150 million for Education from World Bank – A response
• Government instructs recovery of state employees’ loans amidst pandemic
• 50,000 more Sri Lankan citizens stranded overseas awaiting repatriation
• Visa status of over 10,000 Sri Lankans in Italy regularized under special amnesty
• High Commission in Male distributes assistance to destitute Lankans there
‘distribution of the support kits to the Sri Lankan community in Male, Hulhumale, Vilingili, Maafushi, Kelaa, Thulusdoo, Kagi, and Mabinhuraa, which are islands situated out of the Greater Male area and has also distributed these among Sri Lankan crew members of the Safari Boats in the Maldives’
• SL missions help Sri Lankans with visa status in Italy under special amnesty
• Sri Lanka’s foreign employment bureau to deposit Rs 50 mn in newly introduced remittance deposit accounts
‘… for migrant workers seeking foreign employment, with the state contributing Rs 50 million in total for some 50,000 applicants….to encourage workers to save a monthly amount between USD 20 and USD 100 by crediting their monthly wages to this account. State security for the foreign exchange earned is guaranteed…’
• IOM scales up its support for Sri Lanka government’s COVID-19 response
‘we are grateful to the Government of Japan and Government of Australia for their generous support,” said Sarat Dash, IOM Chief of Mission in Sri Lanka.’
• German’s Train-the-Trainers 2nd course certified according to German vocational training standards of DIHK
• Many SL SMEs on the verge of collapse, survey shows
‘More than 60% of 596,022 workers surveyed didn’t have work’
• Concerns of Sri Lanka’s workforce
‘A Labour Department electronic survey in which a total of 2,764 private sector establishments had responded found that 53 per cent of the organisations had their businesses ‘closed’ during the survey period (April-May). The total employment in these establishments in February was 596,022, with 64.26 per cent of the employees without work during this period. More than 1,000 establishments had indicated that they were unable to pay salaries to their employees…. Four unions in a recent letter to the Commissioner General of Labour, R.P.A. Wimalaweera, raised the many problems faced by workers in factories in and outside free trade zones. Citing the situation in 35 companies, the letter states that workers have been sacked, not asked to report to work, salary reductions enforced arbitrarily, transport facilities to the workplace suspended, and the employment of those over 50 years of age discontinued, among a host of concerns leading to many workers being out of work or getting sharply reduced wages. Unions also accused companies of transferring employees of certain factories to other factories of the same company which are about 50 km away from their present workplace without providing transport facilities. In the event of the employees failing to report to work in this situation, they are removed from service, being treated as vacation of post, the unions claimed.’
• The Great Cull begins – Emirates
‘Last week Emirates began the first round of mass redundancies. Reports indicate that over 600 pilots and 6,500 cabin crew, plus many managers and administrative staff, have been let go. The airline had already imposed a 50% pay reduction on all its employees since April 2020.’
• Workers demands: PM wants estate owners to reach final decision soon
• Government continuing efforts to raise Plantation Workers daily wage to Rs 1000
• Jeevan Thondaman appointed as General Secretary of CWC
• Lockdown forces more males to engage in household work
‘Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA): 97% of males said they found it difficult to work from home due to household chores and care responsibilities.’
• “We don’t need to choose heros, any Black person who survives the USA is a hero
• New Zealand Covid 19 Free Declaration Is A Camouflage
‘Had NZ allowed those who work overseas in Italy, Brazil, NSW and Victoria to return home, then NZ statistics would have changed dramatically.’
• Building Power to Win is the Revolutionary Approach to Bourgeois Electoralism”
‘Because there was no video of grandma, alone and shoveled into a corner of the hospital taking her last breath on a ventilator, along with all of the other thousands of Africans who are unnecessarily dying from Covid-19, it took the video of George Floyd to bring the people into the streets.’
• Four-Day Work Week
‘The US Congress had a brilliant idea in 1938, when it passed the Fair Labour Standards Act, which required employers to pay overtime at 150% of the normal hourly wage for anything over 40 hours of work a week. The idea was to make employers hire more people.’
(Robbery of rural home market; Machines, if used, mainly imported)
ee Agriculture emphasizes the failure to industrialize on an agriculture that keeps the cultivator impoverished under moneylender and merchant, and the need to protect the rural home market. Also, importation of agricultural machinery, lack of rural monetization and commercialization, etc.
• US Advocata eyes Eppawela Phosphates for Privates Again!
• Soil degradation has affected one third of Lanka’s land mass
‘at least 30 per cent of tea lands had been affected by depletion.’
• Small and Medium Rice Mills release stocks to domestic market
• Lack of Transport helps Middlemen
‘One of the main reasons why farmers succumbed to pressure of the middlemen was lack of means of transporting the harvest to government warehouses from Verugal as bridges in Kattayaru and Punnei Adi had not been repaired’
• Less food from more agriculture! – Reductio Ad Abeyratnum
‘According to the most recent poverty data, 5.8 per cent of people in the Monaragala district and 6.5 per cent of people in the Uva province are poor, compared to 4.1 per cent – the national average of Sri Lanka. Agriculture share of provincial GDP is 13 per cent in the Uva province, compared with its 8 per cent share to national GDP.’
• Sri Lanka chicken laying fewer eggs after maize import controls
• Poultry producers look to crack new markets impacted by COVID-19
‘Negotiating with Govt. to ease import restrictions on maize…’
• Northern fisherfolk stage protest against outsiders
• New face of hunger: Building a resilient food system in Sri Lanka in an age of pandemic
‘SL food system comprises food produced locally (78%) and imported (22%). The domestic production of major food items like rice, meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, and fruits exceed 88% of the total supply. Yet, many essential food such as wheat and canned fish (100%), pulses (87%), sugar (85%), vegetable oil (79%), onions and potatoes (70%), and milk products (53%) are imported’
• Levy for exporting tea suspended for 6 months
• Microplastics – A macro disaster
‘However, relevant to Sri Lanka, a significant amount of wastes flow into the ocean due to a lack of land management accelerated by urbanization.’
(False definitions, anti-industrial sermons, rentier/entrepreneur, etc)
ee Industry section notes the ignorance about industrialization, the buying of foreign machinery, the need to make machines that make machines, build a producer culture. False definitions of industry, entrepreneur, etc, abound.
• CPC mulls $ 20-30 m investment to develop 25 oil tanks in Trincomalee
• Sri Lanka’s Ceypetco looks to raise jet fuel/kerosene imports by 38% in 2021
• US Ambassador loves SL SMES
‘The US will continue to support vocational training, SMEs and an increase in women›s involvement in policymaking and economic activity, to empower Sri Lanka to find more sustainable and stronger economic recovery, while being committed to strengthening democracy in the region, Teplitz added.’
• Exporters cautiously optimistic about new market opportunities : Ceylon Chamber – USAID survey
‘They pressed for tax and financial relief, and digitization of government services – particularly at border agencies…26% of businesses anticipate a decline in full-time employees, 57% expect a decline in part-time employees, and 51% expect a decline in contractual employees.’
• Sri Lanka SMEs praise credit rollout, call for speedier outlay
• President to chair Exporters’ Forum quarterly
‘Several raw materials have to be imported for re-exportation purposes. However, this should be done without causing adverse effects to the local farmer… Exporters were confident that if the right technical equipment and devices are imported they will be able to produce low-cost laptops, computers, mobile phones and telephones locally. President Rajapaksa agreed to assist them….’
• The elasticity of truth: Will Sri Lanka’s rubber industry bounce back?
‘Most tappers are over the age of 60 and none of their children are interested in being a tapper.’
• Do not inspect sand permits until govt. reaches a decision – Acting IGP
• Illegal sandminers running rampant in Kilinochchi
• Shopping exercise to revive economy
‘Another suggestion is for the bigger shops, including supermarkets, to display their products separately – one section for local products and the other for imported ones.’
• Importing hand-loom and batik textiles stopped
• LPBOA urges govt. to scrap system of two tier bus fares favouring semi-luxury bus service
‘Chairman of the Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association Gemunu Wijeratne, yesterday, urged the government to abolish the semi-luxury bus service…there were 483 such buses in operation and it was unreasonable to have two different bus fares…. “40% of private buses have been leased,” he said.’
• Sri Lanka SOEs to get more deals without competitive bidding
‘The cabinet had given the nod for State Trading General Corporation to get contracts of up to 50 million dollars to supply machinery and equipment to state agencies without competitive bidding for the next year.’
• Latest Cabinet decision on coal power plant: Won’t it bring country into disrepute ?
‘…become the laughing stock among those in the power industry and funding agencies…’
• East Terminal to go ahead with planned consortium
‘The ECT has been a controversial issue lately due to the involvement of key partners like India that appeared to be sidelined after China was given prominence over them in SL ports. In addition, when the ECT was nearing completion the terminal was repeatedly held back from installing its gantry cranes.’
• Sri Lanka expedites US$191mn India financed rail, power deals
• Lanka IOC signs agreement with CEB for supply of Servo lubricants to Sapugaskanda Power Station
• Indian HCL Technologies’ Centre in Colombo pledges 1,500 IT jobs in first 18 months
• New Government backtracks decision to do project with JICA loan
‘to construct the proposed light railway project from Malabe to Colombo as a public-private partnership… During the tenure of the previous government, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, one of the oldest funders of development projects in Sri Lanka, had agreed to provide Rs. 48 Billion in loans for this project.’
• Cabinet approves Japan aid worth Rs 1,360 mn to obtain medical supplies
‘Under the scheme, Sri Lanka may obtain medical equipment such as MRI scanners, CT Scanners, Bedside X – Ray Systems, Central Monitors, Bedside Monitors and Defibrillators to fight the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.’
• Euro Spirit vehicle carrier arrives at Colombo Port
• Sri Lanka airport-port hub enables international ship repair in Covid-19 crisis
• Dedicated credit scheme to be introduced for construction sector
• 85 Iranian Technicians arrive to complete Uma Oya project
• Jaffna’s Institute of Medical Sciences bringing medical careers and care to Northern Province
• The rush for ethanol is no more!
‘The permit-issuing authority later decided..to add a certain chemical to the ethanol to be issued to those seeking to…producing hand sanitizers so that it could not be used to manufacture Kasippu!
This resulted in a sharp drop in the number of applicants for ethanol to make hand sanitizers’
• India plans extra tariffs, trade barriers on 300 imported products
• China builds sprawling data facility on top of the world in Tibet as gateway to S. Asia
‘Alibaba…In 2018, the Chinese e-commerce giant, which has a growing cloud computing business, sealed an agreement (in Chinese) with Ningsuan to bring cloud services to industries in the Tibetan region that span electricity supply, finance, national security, government affairs, public security and cyberspace.’
(Making money from money, banks, lack of investment in modernity)
ee Finance tracks the effects of financialization, pointing to the curious role of ratings agencies, again false indices, etc.
• The Finance depositors stage protest
• Three-member committee appointed to probe into irregularities at leasing and finance companies
• Gold price hits record high in Jaffna
‘”May and June every year see an upward trend in gold price as annual celebrations of kovils and many wedding receptions of Jaffna residents take place. But never has the price gone this high,” they said.
• President urges state banks to take lead in reviving economy
• President warns Bankers he will remove those who do not follow government guidelines and “fall in line”
• State Banks must contribute to revive Sri Lanka’s economy, says President
• 100bps rate cut on the cards to push banks for lending: First Capital Research
• Only the rate cut of CB not enough: Cabraal
• Sri Lanka bank forex funding pressures, bad loans to rise after Covid-19: Fitch
“Refinancing foreign-currency (FC) liabilities will be a challenge for Sri Lankan banks due to the sovereign’s weak credit profile, a slowdown in FC worker remittance inflows and worsening global funding conditions…FC liabilities accounted for 23.0 percent of total sector funding as of end-2019.”
• Coronavirus Compounds Sri Lankan Banks’ Stresses : Fitch Ratings
• Retail banking: Adjustment to new normal in the post-COVID-19 health crisis – Wijewardene
‘Most of Sri Lanka’s banks which have reported the first quarter financial results in 2020 have been jubilant over the record profit levels they have earned in the quarter.’
• Opinion: Sri Lanka’s future direction for raising debt in international markets
‘the country’s present debt status as per the CBSL (Central Bank) records in 2019, the country’s total debt comprising of both domestic and foreign stood at LKR 13.03 Trillion. Comparatively this figure in 2015 was LKR 8.7 Trillion.’
• People’s Bank curtails lending amidst COVID-19 pandemic
‘The state-owned People‘s Bank (PB) has trimmed its lending as it has to meet the salary bill requirements of its two biggest customers, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB)… The CEB, which incurred a loss of Rs. 85 billion last year, annually spends more than Rs.12.5 billion to pay salaries and other payments to its 15,407 employees. While data on CPC salaries aren’t available, its finance cost was Rs. 12 billion in 2018.’
• SEC Chairman calls on Central Bank Governor
‘discussions also included the prospect of enhancing investments of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), Sri Lanka’s largest pension fund, in the Colombo Stock Market with suitable due diligence’
• Foreign fund Matthews sells more of LOLC; local play continues
‘Collectively it was the fifth largest investor at LOLC.’
• NDB in talks with ADB and WB’s IFC
• Sampath Bank secures first tranche of $45m from banks in Middle East and South Asia
‘Alpen Capital (ME) Ltd., an investment banking advisory firm based in the UAE, acted as the sole financial advisor to the transaction… a limited liability company in the Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority… Apart from the UAE, it has offices in Qatar, Oman and India.
• Fitch revises Seylan Bank rating upwards to ‘A(lka)’
‘The bank recorded a Profit after Tax of Rs. 902 million in the first quarter of 2020’
• Fitch rates Siyapatha’s LKR Senior Debt at ‘A(EXP)(lka)’
‘Siyapatha’s rating could change if Sampath’s rating changes, which would reflect the parent’s ability to support the subsidiary.’
• Pan Asia Bank first to partner Switzerland-based Symbiotics…
‘Since 2005, Symbiotics has structured and originated some 4,000 deals for over 450 companies in almost 90 emerging and frontier markets representing more than $ 5.5 billion. These investments have been purchased by more than 25 fund mandates and more than 50 third party specialised fund manager…’
• Constituent changes to S&P Sri Lanka 20 Index
‘The S&P SL20 index includes the 20 largest companies, by total market capitalization’
• Central Finance, CTC, LOLC, Melstarcorp, Richard Pieris & Seylan Bank enter S&P SL20
(Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business aka ee Rentier focuses on diversions of the oligarchy, making money from unproductive land selling, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of press releases disguised as ‘news’
• Sangakkara asked for Nuwara Eliya Golf Course for 20 yrs to bring in 1mn golfers: SB
“Once I was given Nuwara Eliya as an electorate, Sangakkara met me…’
• 2011 WC Final fixing claims: Sanga and Mahela demand evidence
• TISL to make corporate sector transparent
‘Amongst the top 50 listed companies on the Colombo Stock Exchange, as per market capitalization on 28 February 2019.. moderately transparent with a score of 6.73 out of a possible maximum of 10. The companies which recorded the highest overall scores in the assessment are John Keells Holdings, Seylan Bank, Hemas Holdings, National Development Bank and People’s Leasing & Finance.’
• Cabinet approves billion-dollar project for Port City
‘A trilateral agreement was signed in August 2016 between the Sri Lankan Government, Urban Development Authority and the locally incorporated CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd.’
• Developers confident Sri Lanka real estate will regain momentum
‘Sri Lanka’s construction sector which ranks as the 5th highest in the nations GDP earnings, after services, manufacturing, agriculture and utilities reports continued interest…’
• Suresh Shah to retire at Lion Brewery; Rajiv Meewakkala to succeed
‘Rajiv was the Marketing Director of Ceylon Tobacco Company (fully owned subsidiary of British American Tobacco [BAT])…Currently, he is also serving as a Non-Executive Director at Ceylon Beverage Holdings and Lion Brewery (Ceylon). In the public sector, he was appointed as CEO of Lanka Sathosa, Chairman of State Development Construction Corporation and Chairman of Housing Development Finance Corporation (public quoted, specialised housing bank of the Government)….Board composition is Chairman D.A. Cabraal, Deputy Chairman H. Selvanathan, M. Selvanathan, D.C.R. Gunawardena, S. Clini, CEO S.K. Shah, and CEO – Designate R.H. Meewakkala.
• Hemas profits
‘post-tax profits of Rs. 1.7 billion for the second half of the financial year…over 90% of revenues were generated from healthcare and consumer essentials’
• Hayleys group delivers profit growth in challenging year
‘Group pre-tax profit recorded an increase of 1 percent to Rs.5.50 billion while profit after tax grew by 5 percent to Rs 2.89 billion.’
• Hoteliers split on Sri Lanka’s strict protocols for tourists
• UK announces new Trade Commissioner for South Asia
‘Gemmell is the former CEO of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council, and former Director of the British Council in India.’
• First underwater museum opened in Galle: Navy to build two more
‘The fishermen are advised not to engage in fishing activities in the area during the initial phase of the project’
• DTW in partnership with UPL donates ULV fogging equipment to IDH
UPL headquartered in India is the 5th largest crop protection input manufacturing company in the world… ‘Guarany’ high tech ULV equipment with state-of-the-art US technology, can be identified as one such instance. DTW has successfully been supplying these ULV units to public health sector professionals…’
(Anti-parliament discourse, unelected constitution)
ee Politics points to the constant media diversions and the mercantile and financial forces behind the political actors, of policy taken over by private interests minus public oversight.
• Reclaiming democracy
‘We must approach the upcoming elections with a cautionary note, that it may not necessarily signal a deepening of democracy.’
• SLPP strengthens position while UNP-SJB infighting continues
‘“After my speech, Wickremesinghe spoke. The meeting concluded and the leader got down from the stage while the party’s petroleum sector trade union leader Ananda Palitha delivered a vote of thanks.’
• Mangala steps away from Parliament, where will he go now?
‘It is no secret that Sajith Premadasa, the SJB leader, who has positioned himself as a Buddhist leader and been given awards and honorary positions in the Buddhists hierarchy is uncomfortable with what Samaraweera says about the Buddhist Clergy.’
• JVP Leader ready to work with Frontline Socialists (VIDEO)
• The leader who made a difference
‘With their working-class programmes, the Left leaders were connected mainly to the workers in the urban areas. The Senanayake network ran far and wide into the villages with their agricultural and Sinhala-Buddhist credentials. From the days he was the Minister of Agriculture Dudley had worked closely with the settlers in the East (Gal Oya) and the North Central dry zone.’
(Mis/Coverage of economics, technology, science and art)
ee Media shows how corporate media monopoly determines what is news, art, culture, etc. The media is part of the public relations (corporate propaganda) industry. The failure to highlight our priorities, the need to read between the lines. To set new perspectives and priorities.
• Where to now, Mangala?
‘It was under your watch that editors were charged with criminal defamation and hauled up before courts because they dared to report on comings and goings of your then boss, Satellite. And who can forget your celebrated remark that in this land, ‘a journalist can be bought with a bottle of arrack’?’
• Vicissitudes of a language over two millennia
‘The Sinhala mahavamsa had disappeared. Mysterious, indeed. However, dipavamsa and mahavansa both written in Pali, both written about that time, have survived. Curiouser and curiouser. It is strange that time selectively destroyed Sinhala works and preserved writings in Pali and Samskrt.’
• Buddhaghosha and translation methods
‘Our ancient monks acted as internationalists opening the portals of their seats of higher learning to outsiders.’
• What happened to Pahiyangala cave artifacts – Ven. Ananda Sagara Thera
• Pahiyangala study also reveals Man first learned to live in a rainforest in prehistoric Sri Lanka – Academic
‘Due to the limited resources available in Sri Lanka, they had to seek foreign support to do the Carbon-14 testing and they were able to get accurate results by sending two sets of samples for backdating to Beta Analytic Laboratory in USA and Oxford University in England which led to a special appreciation for the research’
• Clues to the earliest known bow-and-arrow hunting outside Africa have been found in Lanka
• Prehistoric dwellers in Sri Lanka used the bow and arrow before Europeans – Study
‘, a study published Friday in the journal Science Advances said…. Patrick Roberts, an archaeologist and postdoctoral researcher with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, told UPI…’
• Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Part 8a&B
• Siwhela: History, Heritage and Universal Power
‘The four old national clans YAKKA (People who melted iron/ lived in hill country -were ASURAS meaning they were not created by a God), NAGA (Entrepreneurs, who lived close to the sea), RAKSHA (People who saved life (body): farmers) and DEWA (People that taught various disciplines of knowledge, but, each group excelled only in one), all of whom were different groups of HELA; when taken together became SIWHELA (SINHALA).’
• TNA asks why Archeological Department has not taken any steps to preserve the ruins of ancient Hindu temples
• Why do Jaffna people shake their legs in sitting position?
• Sri Lanka ex-editor’s laptop seized by police CID
‘… searched the house of Dharisha Bastians, a former editor of state-run The Sunday Observer…’
• CPJ urges Govt to return journalist’s laptop seized by CID
• Twitter deletes Chinese ‘state-linked’ disinformation network
‘“I think if Twitter wants to make a difference, they should shut down those accounts that are organised and coordinated to attack and discredit China”
• How the Media Lies About Vietnam! Propaganda vs. Journalism
• Anti-Imperialist Poster Exhibition
“Art must show the world as changeable. And help to change it.”
• Wordstir Willy Dixon refused to serve in the US war on Korea and went to prison for his stand:
• US cops must stop attacking journalists
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