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“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
UnMasking the Fraud & Farce of MicroFinance
e-Con e-News 13-19 December 2020
Not a day passes by without encountering a worker whose three-wheeler has been ‘seized’ by a finance company for not making a payment, or is unable to repair their vehicle. Most of their daily income would go to paying a finance company or the petrol shed.
The sheer varieties of the urban ‘middle-class’ who fatten off ‘microfinance’ are amazing. This ee reproduces a sharply satirical report on how a host of parasites, from INGO ‘aid’ agencies to local moneylenders and merchants, academics and charities, rob both cultivators and workers. This game of microfinance diverts investment from the needed rural monetization and commercialization to enable a home market for rural industrialization. (see ee Focus)
The media censors this fraud. They are in league with finance companies linked to foreign machine-makers like Bajaj, etc., where not one single part, or the machine to make it, is made here. A revival of the steel industry and machine building should be a loud cry…but….
If a popular government is to survive these machinations, a national economic plan for modern industrialization, which will recapture our home market from Unilever, and provide skilled employment, is the critical need for the hour.
• How does real media censorship work? It starts with the capitalist ownership of media, and the prevention of a worker media. It erases how peasants and workers are hourly impoverished here. Sensational regressive diversions are fabricated every day and week to divert from the larger national teledrama.
There was almost total whiteout of the largest peasant and workers strike in the world, and in history, in India. There were almost 1,000 wildcat strikes in the US, this year, refused coverage by both the corporate-polluted mainstream and so-called radical media. Indeed, as the song goes, the revolution will not be televised.
ee also extends its coverage of how England, France and Germany divided the world to dominate movement of information in 1870, and United States then demanded ‘free flow” for its own media monopolies that prevent ‘real’ news. (see Random Notes)
• The “free media” carnival will become more raucous in the coming months, on the paved hi-way to Geneva, where the UN remains hijacked by imperialism. The steady droning about ‘censorship’ and ‘despotism’ will grow louder, as part of the imperialist campaign to destabilize a popular government in Sri Lanka.
Destabilization will involve ‘social’ media, as well as hypocritical concerns about women and youth unemployment (recalling 1971). This is the recipe for destabilization England recently used to create horror in Syria and Lebanon, where ISIS has been exposed as a creation of NATO forces in Asia. What this ‘North Atlantic’ organization has to do with the Hormuz, Oxus, Ganges, Yangtze, let alone the Mahaveli, requires more than a geography lesson. Meanwhile US and English ‘charities’ are funding the present peace talks between the UN and the Taliban. (see ee Sovereignty, Lebanon)
A1. Reader Comments –
• Reuters Game • Internet Independence
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Fake Entrepreneurs • Diabolical Indian Diplomacy • Geopolitics of Tenders • English Recipes for Coups • Biden wants US Industrial Policy
A3. Random Notes –
• Miracle Cures • Science Hijacked • How Reuters divided the News World • How the US demanded “Free Media” • How Media Censors Sri Lanka’s Economy • Reuters & Censorship • Vital Need for Worker Media • Microfinance & Tourism • Global Whitening vs Warming • Vaccine Hijacked • Worker Health & Safety • Microfinance Hustle • EPF on the Block • Post-’77 Ruin of Rubber • Making Steel & Cement Machinery • Kulasinghe the Racist?
B. ee Focus
B1. Microcredit or MicroFinance: Facts & Fallacies – Chandrasena Maliyadde
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 email.
• “Frightening and disgusting. Knew a group of big corporations including big banks, media and the arms military industry controlled the world, but news is a Reuter’s game too? Who owns it?”
ee responds: Reuters is owned by Thomson-Reuters, officially a Canadian company but based in the USA. Linked to other major media conglomerates (Bloomberg etc), they’re part of the huge capitalist communications octopus – research, education, publishing, tv, internet, telecom) based primarily in Manhattan. In short, owned by the CPUSA, i.e. the Capitalist Party of the USA!
• “ee should update its idea of media monopoly to take in the ‘internet’, a highway of the US empire… what if Google decides to restrict its service unless we conform? Parents are now paying enormous amounts for their children’s classes. Sri Lanka needs its own public networks.”
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• “It’s been happening in the tourism industry for some time now. Digital booking companies who market our local hospitality business, may be taking as much as $400 million (Rs. 72 billion) abroad annually.” (see ee Economists, Digital)
• “Only a fraction of MSMEs and low-income category are entrepreneurs.To our policymakers, CBSL, banks, donors, project staff, NGOs and many others, each and every individual in low-income categories who starts up a business or a production is an entrepreneur.” (see ee Focus)
• “It is often forgotten that the government of India employed the most diabolical forms of diplomatic, military and economic coercion a powerful country could conceivably brought to bear upon a supposedly friendly nation with which it shares many cultural traits.” (ee Sovereignty, Devolution)
• “Sri Lanka’s power generation is greatly influenced by geopolitics, with China and India being the major players. Now, the US is also in the fray. This was possible because all procurements had not abided by tender procedures which should have been open to many stakeholders.” (ee Industry, Power Mafia)
• “How to push people to overthrow their government if they are basically content with its work? Well, your first step is to hire experienced specialists who know how to interfere in internal affairs of other countries and overthrow governments. Which of the English intelligence cutouts created networks of independent journalists… You’ve got it right. It’s ARK…[an English firm which recruited terrorist to fight Syria] run by ‘former’ English spies, organized as part of a English government ‘Strategic Communication’ program.” (ee Sovereignty, Lebanon)
• “Biden has called for an ambitious industrial policy in the USA that would invest in US infrastructure, energy, biotech and other sectors to compete with China…” (ee Sovereignty, China Hawks)
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
“Miracle cures are not the preserve of ‘native practitioners’. The entire pharmaceutical industry is all about profit, not about improving the health of the sick. There are 1000s of physicians who prescribe branded drugs, who are essentially agents of the industry.” (see ee Security)
The English media is revelling in jibes against ‘vedahs’ and ‘potions’, against people seeking traditional cures. This media – and those ‘eminent’ personages so concerned about health policy – can’t criticize a science held hostage by capitalist countries, a science shackled to war and capitalist greed, with people held to ransom by expensive and poorly researched medicines and vaccines, forced on people without public oversight.
A world where lectures on the environment increase, while laws against technology transfer, which could enable cleaner production, abound! A world where nurses lacking protective equipment in Massachusetts are on strike, while the US ambassador is handing out PPE equipment in our Eastern Province.
This smartass media censors the struggles of the masses, socialist parties and trade unions (GMOA, etc.) to preserve some form of public health. ‘Free’ education (though not a producer education) and public healthcare (which the rich should pay more for) came about due to the English fear of Japanese WW2 invasion and their need to buy off local opposition.
Yet, what is education and health without the right to equal information and power? And most importantly, multinational media censors the industrial information we need to modernize:
“Control of communications gives power to survey the trade of the world and… to facilitate those activities which are to the interest of those in control” – Business Week
“Democracy does not mean making the world safe for Associated Press” – The Economist (ignoring England’s control of Reuters and cable traffic)
“If I were to be granted one point of foreign policy and no other, I would make it the free flow of information” – John Foster Dulles, US Secretary of State (1953-59), who engineered coups d’état against Iran, Guatemala
Of course, what Dulles meant by ‘free flow” was the right of powerful US capitalists owning media monopolies to spread misinformation and disinformation. England (Reuters), France (Havas, later AFP) and Germany (Wolff, later DPA) had divided the world among themselves in 1870. “Free flow” was the cry of a rising US imperialism from the 1940s, against the old imperialists – England, France, Germany etc – as well as against the newly independent and socialist countries – USSR, India, China – demanding the right to their own news services.
While US news agencies now dominate the flow of world information, early US wailing about the domination by European news agencies is revealing: “They prevented the US Associated Press from disseminating news abroad. They kept out AP competition. They were free to present US news disparagingly to the USA if they presented it at all. They could present news of their own countries most favorably and without it being contradicted. Their own countries were always glorified. This was done by reporting great advances at home in English and French civilisations, the benefits of which would, of course, be bestowed on the world” (Barriers Down, Kent Cooper)
• Last week, ee noted how Reuters and other imperialist news agencies exercise powerful monopoly over information. Their reporting on Sri Lanka is de facto censorious, rote, narrow and formulaic, especially about the economy. Each news item promotes of course the retention of the colonial import-export plantation system. The rest of the media, all parrot the same chorus.
After centuries of plunder, their media uncritically babbles how we still owe the white man (debt), need their capricious markets (GSP+, tourists), need their crippling aid (FDI, IMF etc), and should focus on ‘small’’ business, microfinance and export agriculture (plantations!).
No national conversation is allowed about modern industrialization, and how this may be achieved. Instead, Sri Lanka is promoted as a Jurassic Park for tourists, and a quaint purveyor of ‘natural’ primary products. News this week notes the tourist booking industry sends out $400 million annually.
All discussion on production is restricted to primitive labor-intensive assembly and manufacture (handicraft) for ‘export’. Their vehement opposition to import substitution (IS), precludes examination of the type of IS we need. There’s fake celebration of ‘entrepreneurs’ (who don’t advance new products or new ideas) and industries, where the major inputs are imported and do not serve the local home market, which has been handed over to Unilever, et al.
The need for a daily peasant & worker media grows more indispensable. A media is needed, not dependent on the whims of US-controlled satellites and internet (Google etc), which can be withdrawn at any time. So-called social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) enables interaction increasingly limited by access to finance and technology.
• News to focus on this week includes: a FT ‘special’ correspondent who says, unemployment figures are being manipulated. Further, the Federation of Labour’s opposition to putting the EPF on the stockmarket (see ee Workers), and the damage to the rubber sector after 1977 (ee Agriculture). Also, ‘microfinancier’ LOLC’s investment arm, Browns Investments mainly gambles in real-estate, tourism in particular. The ‘big’ news was that LOLC is also investing in the Port City.
The main source of LOLC profits flow from the countryside, here and abroad. Sri Lanka’s potential also lies in the countryside. The parasitism of the merchants and moneylenders of the Western Province and Colombo, in particular on peasants, prevents this potential from being realized. (see ee Focus)
• Climate change is the most pressing global issue, said the UN secretary general this week. Perhaps for the ruling capitalist classes. What about endless wars, capitalism? Why isn’t modern industrialization a pressing need for our world? For him, “Humanity is waging war on nature.” For him, human activity is at the root of our ‘descent into chaos’, not capitalist actions. But Portugal, the country he belongs to, and the rest of the white world has been waging horrific war on our countries for 100s of years. Why doesn’t he oppose, not just global warming but ‘global whitening’? Why not reverse the chattering onslaught of how much we still owe them, and discuss reparations to enable us to go beyond underdevelopment? If not, all his concern for the air, plants and animals rings hollow.
• Worker health & safety, let alone public health, should by now, in a rational world, be at the top of the national agenda, and in the media. But not so. We live in a world still afflicted, more by capitalism than Covid. Employers see this as a moment to screw workers even more, calling for ‘flexibility’ while demanding government bailout to retain workers. The multinationals profiting off disease (as opposed to health) are also determined to make a killing off the vaccines.
“A vaccine hijacked by the rich” lamented one headline this week. So what’s new(s)? The entire health system has long been hijacked by private pharma and biotech. The media and its thinktanks, gurgling with salivating piranhas, has long argued for the entire public safety net of health and education to be thrown on the slave market block. Corporate pharma is rushing to push not fully tested vaccines. No outrage or petitions by the usual INGO lobby crying about human rights, women’s rights, etc. Nor are there ‘eminent persons’ who decry capitalist control of health.
Meanwhile, women workers are being called ‘entrepreneurs’, while being pushed back from factories into homes to produce masks etc. This recalls the archaic ‘putting out’ system – where imported inputs are delivered to homes, with finished products made with imported traditional sewing machines, to be then picked up by the employer, keeping workers isolated.
• Ceylon Steel Corporation, along with Ceylon Tire and Ceylon Sugar Corporations, was established with support from socialist USSR. Ceylon Steel, started in 1962 under Industrial Minister Maithripala Senanayake, appointed the famous ANS Kulasinghe as the first director. (Why Kulasinghe was later cast as a Sinhala-Buddhist ‘racist’ would be fascinating to explore. Is it because he encountered the true face of the import mafia who vehemently oppose industrialization?)
Workers retired from the old state-owned Ceylon Steel Corporation (CSC) recall how they not only produced fine steel, but also had developed methods to purify effluent such as liquid and gaseous waste. It’s now fallen into private hands, and accused of severely polluting the surrounding neighborhoods and villages, and also bribing community including religious leaders to prevent response to their irresponsibility.
In 1996 CSC was sold to South Korea’s Hanjung Steel (Doosan Group). In 2009 UAE-Sharjah-based Onyx Group (owned by Nandana Lokuwithana) bought and renamed it: Lanwa Sanstha. Lokuwithana claimed the Korean company had been secretly arranging to sell the CSC to an Indian company. Indian media then claimed Lokuwithana was a front for the Chinese government.
Last week, ee reported the pronouncements of Lanwa, owned by UAE-based Onyx (said to be owned by a Lankan, Nandana Lokuwithana). Lanwa took over the CSC and announced a deal with German monopolist Siemens to buy German machinery. Onyx-owned Lanwa Cement promises to supply, again with German machinery, “all” of Sri Lanka’s construction needs.
Lanwa’s alleged callousness of course brings on the usual shallow reaction by corporate-funded environmentalists. Colombo Telegraph, for example, in a story critical of Lokuwithana’s attempt to set up a steel factory in Trincomalee, typically calls “a steel plant – a polluting industry which will result in toxic waste products, acid rain-causing sulphur dioxide, heavy metal residues and gaseous outflows”.
They see no need to point out that industrialization does not necessarily have to be ecologically detrimental. Here’s a company claiming to use top German technology, falling short of the EU claims to be sooooo green, developmentally sustainable, socially responsible, etc.
The making of steel, especially to build machines, is at the very heart of a nation’s independence and economy, steel being “the rice of industry”. In an act of great vandalism, the CSC was instead sold off to private interests and its lands turned into private gated developments.
Yahapalana-run Daily News later claimed Lokuwithana was a front laundry for the Rajapaksa family. The Panama Papers of the weightily titled “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)”, linked Lokuwithana to ‘Nilona Fashions’ in the Seychelles. Critics called Onyx a “complex machinery to continue laundering money”. Lokuwithana, they said, was introduced to Rajapaksa by former associate Sajin Vass Gunawardena, and also linked to the UNP’s Malik Samarawickrema. Yahapalana’s infamous FCID then investigated Lokuwithana, based on “an anonymous letter” about the US$48 million invested in the Steel Corporation and $190 million invested in the Dubai Marriot Hotel in Dubai.
Onyx Group also owns Rigid Tyre Corporation, slated to open in mid-Jan 2021, a factory, employing 3000 workers, to manufacture tyres, boosting the local rubber business, again using European technology.
Onyx’s Lanwa Sanstha promised to invest in a massive Lanwa Sanstha Cement Corporation slated to open in June 2021 in Mirijjawila Export Processing Zone, Hambantota. The plant will buy mills from Germany’s Gebr Pfeiffer and Siemens technology, with packing by Denmark’s FLSmidth. Critics claim Lanwa Steel, the main investor in the new cement plant, “is protected by high anti-competitive import duties, so that the firm can make easy profits by restricting competition” (EconomyNext).
Many foreign companies, including Onyx, tried to buy the old state-owned Ceylon Cement Corporation, which had been privatized and sold to Swiss Holcim, which destroyed the Ruhunu Cement brand (set up under the Factories Act of Parliament in 1954).
Lanka has annual cement demand of about 8.5million metric tons, with 2.8 million tons produced domestically.
In 2016, Japan’s Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ funded Thailand’s Siam City Cement (SCCC), to buy SL’s former Ceylon Cement Corporation from Switzerland’s Holderfin BV, a unit of LafargeHolcim, for US$374 million. Holcim sold its entire 27.5% stake in Siam City Cement, supposedly controlled by Thailand’s Ratanarak family, to Singapore-based Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd in 2015, after Holcim merged with France’s Lafarge. Jardine is of course the infamous opium drug dealer who is still HongKong’s largest landlord and employer!
Siam City (SL, now INSEE) operates the Puttalam cement plant with an annual capacity of about 1.3 million tons. The 4,450 acres of land in Aruwakkalu Wanathawilluwa, owned by Sri Lanka Cement Corporation, was leased by INSEE to extract raw limestone for cement production. It also operated a cement grinding 3 local ports with total import capacity of 1.6 million tons. Germany’s Loesche supplied INSEE’s Compact Cement Grinding plant in Galle. INSEE is accused of buying up Ruhunu Cement in Galle, to run it into the ground, to promote their own imports.
B. Special Focus__
B1. MicroCredit or MicroFinance: Facts & Fallacies – Chandrasena Maliyadde
Perhaps microcredit to some and microfinance to others, is the term used, misused and abused in many recent discourses on economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Policymakers, practitioners, economists, researchers, analysts, thinktanks, banks, financial institutions, journalists, chambers, INGOs are among the discussants. They explain and argue the importance of Microcredit in alleviating poverty, uplifting Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and empowering women (as if they’re not already) for the purpose of enhancing the contribution, employment and social welfare status of low-income categories of the population.
MSMEs indeed play a major role in most economies, both developed and developing, in the creation of jobs and reduction of unemployment. Thus, they contribute to national income, employment, productivity, and entrepreneur development.
The agencies and individuals involved in promoting, facilitating and providing ‘microcredit’ turn around the term in many dimensions to see the vistas of it. Some say it is not microcredit but microfinance; some are worried about its nature; others discuss types, composition, with or without collateral, which should or can best deliver, the role of the Government, Central Bank, banks and financial institutions, and NGOs, for what purpose, at which interest rate and so on. According to them the MSMEs and lower-income categories are badly in need of financial assistance and to be more specific, extended credit facilities on concessionary terms.
Several discussants beat the number of potential beneficiaries. Yet, banks and financial institutions have come out with a series of concessionary credit schemes under names never heard. They claim to be the first, to be the highest, to be providing the best terms, to be the most convenient, easiest access, and to be leading in assisting MSMEs and low-income categories.
The credit they claim for their contribution in providing such financial assistance is much higher than the volume of credit actually provided. If one analyses the schemes and statistics provided by banks and financial institutions and the figures published by the Central Bank (CBSL), no financial need of this category is left unmet. Banks, financial institutions, CBSL, policymakers and the Government happily talk of their achievements and success in providing credit facilities to low-income categories. But, the intended beneficiaries are not happy. Why?
The answer lies in the following ad published by one such ‘benevolent’ bank in a daily paper depicting how a microfinance recipient begins and ends his/her entrepreneurship: “Whereas Mr/Ms… has made default in payment due… on the development loan facility extended and the Board of Directors of… Bank… do hereby resolve that the property and the premises… mortgaged… be sold by Public Auction… for the recovery of the said sum…”
As students of economics, we learned of 4 factors of production: land, labour, capital, entrepreneurship. An entrepreneur is a person who takes a risk and combines the other 3 factors of production – land, labour, capital – to earn a profit.
The most successful entrepreneurs are innovators who find new ways to produce goods and services or who develop new types of goods and services to bring to market. Entrepreneurs are a vital engine of economic growth, helping to build the largest firms in the world, as well as the small businesses in our neighbourhood.
The payment to entrepreneurship is profit. Most MSMEs and low-income-category enterprises in Lanka are not making profits. The explanation lies in the lack of entrepreneurship. Only a fraction of MSMEs & low-income categories are entrepreneurs.
To our policymakers, CBSL, banks, donors, project staff, NGOs and many others, each and every individual in low-income categories who starts up a business or production, is an entrepreneur. In their eyes, the only issue faced is the shortage of capital. This is a misconception. The issue is not lack of capital but the absence of entrepreneurship. When the Government, bank, NGO or any other financier extends credit facilities and financial packages, MSMEs are mushrooming. But rarely is an entrepreneur found among them.
The majority in low-income categories have access to land… inherited, gifted, transferred, titled, leased or encroached. They have their family labour. So 2 vital production factors – land and labour – are available free. The opportunity cost of these factors is not reflective in their cost calculations. Earnings minus payment of interest are profit for them. So they’re in business, but can’t sustain for long.
Then they seek concessionary financing. They pay the interest and capital instalments during the initial period, and then only the interest, and then nothing. Then they resort to distress financing. This is the saga of many low-income-category entrepreneurs. Banks and financial institutions have no mechanism to assess the project viability and entrepreneurship of the borrower. They go by the cash-flow statements and collateral. They are worried about repayment.
The eligibility criteria for microfinance is being poor, being in low-income categories, being a small businessman, or being a woman. A poor individual carrying a box of ointments on his head and wandering on foot may have built up an empire, but this doesn’t mean everyone who carries a box on their head would end up a business tycoon.
Women may indeed be honest, often not take alcohol or smoke, not gamble or misuse funds, and repay loans promptly. All good deeds, but does not mean every woman is a successful entrepreneur. Those in the categories mentioned above deserve decent livelihoods, but it does not mean they all can become successful entrepreneurs or should be eligible for microfinance. But those who promote, facilitate and provide microfinance rate these good deeds as eligible criteria.
They have failed to identify truly potential entrepreneurs and promising projects for microcredit. This is reflected in the frequent failure of many micro small-medium business ventures. These cannot resist and survive the vagaries of climate change, are unable to identify products, quality, standards, design, market needs, market size, regularity, timing; they lack knowledge, information, technology, and entrepreneurship. Such breeding grounds for our policymakers and all other microfinance lovers.
The lucky guy who manages and has the patience to undergo all the harassment involved in microfinance will get the facility and copy neighbours. This is why you see many retailers, poultry producers and pumpkin growers around; suppliers/producers surpass the buyers. Competition among producers will end up with crashing of some if not all, with disputes, or as the latest trend with a death.
When we travel outstation, we identify some places with particular products, eg pottery, lace, silverware, cane, handicrafts, cotton or coir products. Most of these products are not chosen but inherited by tradition over generations. Access to information, technology, design, packaging, markets, is denied to low-income categories. They, therefore, go by tradition, what’s familiar to them for generations, what’s produced by neighbours, what’s promoted by extension workers, etc.
They are often not competent in identifying the right product for enterprises. They produce but do not find a market for their products. For them, famous Say’s Law, ‘Supply creates its own demand’ is valid – promulgated by JB Say, 18thC French economist, but rejected long before. These types of producers are the so-called eligible borrowers for microfinance providers.
From time to time the Government, Central Bank, a particular ministry, a donor-funded project or NGO comes out with a package of financial assistance for the benefit of MSMEs, and low-income categories, including cultivators (peasants, farmers), home gardeners, smallholders, self-employed, micro, small-medium entrepreneurs, and beneficiaries covered by poverty-alleviation programs. They all display similar characteristics and face similar issues; all line up and come out with projects seeking financial assistance.
Policymakers and others involved in microcredit provide consultancy, counselling, advice, instructions, guidelines to this category of beneficiaries on wiser use of financial assistance. Their financial needs take a multiple nature: maybe individual, family, social or business need, or a mixture of several. They seek financial assistance for a project but use it to meet any or all of these needs. Their project maybe never existed, or if existed didn’t survive. They wait for another project or scheme to appear to secure financial assistance, and if they succeed, settle the encumbrances remaining from the previous scheme.
Being blessed by reaching middle-income level by statistics rather than by performance, the country has lost access to foreign-funded projects. But, the country is blessed by frequent elections which come with many packages of new schemes to assist MSMEs and low-income categories and write off existing burdens.
We, benefactors, preach this category of beneficiaries on wiser use of financial assistance they receive. We are the people involved in preparation of National or Ministry Budgets, leaving handling of family budgets in our wives’ good hands. We are the people who wisely use some financial benefits entitled to us.
For instance, we are entitled to obtain a distress loan. We take it to settle the medical bills of our “ailing grandfather” who left us many years ago. We use the money and buy a good sound system. We’re unable to make ends meet with the remainder of the salary, after deduction of interest and loan instalment. We go for a second distress loan to meet the funeral expenses of the same grandfather. We don’t offer merits to our late grandfather. We are rolling before the sound system, while the grandfather would be rolling in his grave!
Low-income-category entrepreneurs including MSMEs often do not have the capacity, access and information to identify viable products.[?rep The product in demand, quantity, quality, standards, volume, price, regularity, timing, access to market, new ideas and technology, knowledge, skills and skills development, designs, packing and packaging (presentation), market needs are essential ingredients to identify the right product. One would say, why not?] Google may provide all such information. Of course, Google provides but our prospective clients do not receive, due to non-availability of power, internet facilities, computers, IT knowledge, language barriers. The use of obsolete or inappropriate technology results in low productivity, low quality, and high rate of rejection, higher costs, and reduced market competitiveness.
Successive governments since independence have introduced many schemes, institutions, programs, projects and officers with the mandate to assist, advise, train, disseminate, share, demonstrate and promote MSMEs and raise the economic status of low-income categories. There are armies of advisors, extension officers, technical officers, development officers and field officers. Yes, the personnel are present, but the service is absent.
There are departments, agencies, boards, projects to provide information and advice on plants, planting materials, planting techniques. But their presence on the ground is absent. We have Research institutions for almost every crop… in AC rooms with IT facilities and access to the latest knowledge. They can claim credit for having the lowest productivity in respective crops.
While countries starting plantations after Sri Lanka enjoy higher productivity in tea, rubber, coconut, field crops, spices, we take the pride for our historical achievements. We have failed to improve cost efficiency, standards, timing to suit the market. Most of the agencies walk with the producer up to the harvest then leave them high and dry. Because marketing is outside their perimeter.
Activists, policymakers, practitioners, academics, donors, NGOs, project managers including Prof Yunus think that lower-income categories have land and labour but do not have capital. But what they do not have is entrepreneurship. Every poor person or each MSME is not an entrepreneur. This is why most of them fail.
Muhammad Yunus, widely known as ‘Banker to the Poor’, established the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983, fuelled by the belief that credit is a fundamental human right. Grameen Bank is treated as the model for microcredit. He received the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for founding Grameen. But, critics say this model has actually created a debt trap for many of the poor it tried to help. There were also isolated reports that lenders had repeatedly harassed borrowers, some who had defaulted being forced to sell their organs to repay loans.
Low-income categories and MSMEs encounter many issues as described above. This is due to lethargy, and lack of coordination among supporting and facilitating agencies in the field. Each agency is working in isolation. They do not communicate, consult and deliver one consistent message. They confuse, rather than facilitating. MSMEs and low-income-category entrepreneurs do not have access to supporting agencies such as ITI, IDB, National Design Centre.
These agencies have survived for decades, conducting research, presenting papers at conferences, conducting fairs and exhibitions, awarding certificates and cups to the best entrepreneurs; they have built up modern facilities and new buildings for themselves, promoted their officers, been exposed in foreign lands; directors have become directors general. They celebrate their mere existence with anniversary events at public expenditure. But, the impact made on the ground is nil or little. Intended beneficiaries of their services are not even aware of their existence.
Every successive government has provided employment to graduates as development officers. This move has elevated unemployed graduates to underemployed graduates. But, the livelihoods, earnings and living standards of low-income categories have not been elevated.
Officers, researchers, policymakers, bankers, lenders go by the poverty line. Those who are below the poverty line are poor and in the low-income category, thus eligible for microfinance. Economists and policymakers look at the poverty line calculated by statisticians and boast that poverty has come down to 4% of the population. But they fail to look at the waistlines of the people living in the periphery, which would say ratio of the poor is 40%!
(The writer has served as a Secretary to 3 Ministries before retirement; currently a Vice President of Sri Lanka Economic Association and a University Council Member: email@example.com)
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.
• USA supports Verité Research in identifying ways to improve youth entrepreneurship
• New Delhi back to old tricks? – Sunday Times
‘Tamil National Alliance (TNA) abstained from voting. …The decision was already taken in New Delhi and communicated to the TNA leadership. No wonder, Indian National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajith Doval who was here briefly for a conference took time to meet TNA leader R. Sampanthan at India House, the official residence of the Indian Envoy in Colombo. Meanwhile, an Indian PM Narendra Modi– TNA meeting is also on the cards in the near future…’
• Milinda Moragoda honoured by National University of Singapore: Mahendran still missing
• Indo-Lanka accord is not valid anymore
• Outrage on joint venture in Colombo Port with India’s Adani Group
• Port workers protest against move to sell ECT to India
• Govt. has misled public and trade unions on East Container Terminal: SJB
• Switzerland express regret over illegal adoptions of Sri Lankan children
‘Switzerland only recently acknowledged the suffering of Swiss children who were taken away mainly from poor families and single mothers and were made to work on farms as late as the 1960s.’
• The looming Geneva threat
‘The next Geneva session is scheduled for Feb-March 2021. Sri Lanka will have to explain the progress made in respect of the reconciliation and accountability process, since Sri Lanka quit the Geneva process…We would like to humbly ask these Western powers, who are literally trying to play god with us, where are the credible investigations into nearly 1,000 killings each year in US of mostly unarmed blacks and minority group members?’
• What Darusman and Weiss and the New York Times fail to say
• Wiggy, Sumanthiran, Ponnambalam prepare petition to Geneva HRC
• Professionals warn Lanka not to be lulled into complacency over US withdrawal of MCC
• Sri Lanka MCC grant terminated by US
• Gunaruwan: ACSA, SOFA, MCC could be part of US Indo-Pacific strategy
‘The much-touted Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact (MCCC) would have undermined Sri Lanka’s status as a sovereign country…’
• US embassy on decision of Millennium Challenge Corporation Board
“….due to lack of partner country engagement…”The United States remains a friend…”
• Millennium Challenge Corporation withdraws its US$ 480 million grant to Sri Lanka
‘Nationalists feared that the country’s scarce land resources would finally end up in the hands of Western individuals and corporations endangering the sovereignty of Sri Lanka’
• Strategic Victory For China? US Drops Key Project Amid SL’s Unrelenting Security Concerns
‘The MCC has been dubbed a “development project aimed at poverty alleviation” by the US, but many people in Sri Lanka consider it a tool to expand military outreach in the Indian Ocean.’
• SLPP Reaction against MCC China-instigated – Harim Peiris
• West should serve as counterbalance against the Chinese – Wijetillekes
‘Hand-wringing and fist shaking seem to have become the traditional Sri Lankan welcome for American officials visiting the country.’
• Dead dodo disposed
‘The MCC should not be viewed in isolation, for it is linked to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA)’
• Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Myanmar calls for scrapping of PCs
• Vasu on the importance of holding PC polls soon
• Province-based Devolution in Sri Lanka: a Critique
‘Provincial boundaries have remained almost unchanged during the past 131 years, in disregard of ecological, demographic, economic and political transformations. What prevails now is an archaic and outmoded design that catered to different needs and bureaucratic circumstances.’
• Minorities Should Stop Acting Like Parasites
‘A section of Tamils notoriously detached from ground realities in the north are gearing up for the UNHRC sessions in March 2021 to bring in war crimes charges against Sri Lanka once again.’
• Ambassador Aryasinha calls on OSLs in US to support SL
• Malaysia reiterates strong security cooperation with SL, not giving any room to extremists
‘Malaysia was the 4th supplier to Sri Lanka in 2019 supplying 4.6% of Sri Lanka’s total imports. Malaysia was the 39th export destination of Sri Lanka in 2019. Malaysia was also the 6th investing partner of Sri Lanka in the year of 2019’
• The Continued Actions of the TNA Probably Justifies Proscription
‘The TNA were openly supportive of the LTTE and had no qualms about maintaining their support, at times quite arrogantly, which they deny today.’
• LTTE Political Strategist Anton Stanislaus Balasingham
‘LTTE political adviser established very good relations with Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim’
• Erasing the Eelam Victory Part 18C Pts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
‘The Eelam war was Sri Lanka’s first post- Independence civil war. It was a protracted war conducted by a bogus ethnic group, created by the British administration, now claiming exclusive rights to valuable coastal territory.’
• World powers make non-aligned status almost unworkable – Pakistan High Commissioner
• Dr Kohona assumes duties as new ambassador to China
• Forging close bonds between Australia and Sri Lanka
• Bangladesh pillar of India’s neighbourhood first policy, Modi tells Hasina
‘The two leaders remotely launched the rail link between Haldibari in West Bengal with Chilahati in Bangladesh after a 55-year gap. It was last operational in 1965 and is being restarted now’
• Getting India out of the hole with China is still possible
‘China, after concluding the RCEP, the world’s largest free trade agreement, with 14 other Asian-Pacific countries last month, is speeding up its negotiations over a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with the EU, which can be a game changer. For India too, China is the trade and investment partner that can really boost its economic transformation.’
• China blames India for tension on the border
• US drawdown spurs Afghan peace talks
‘US and English charities and aid groups are funding the project’
• China’s Combative Nationalists See a World Turning Their Way – NYT
‘China’s Communist Party is pushing the narrative that the pandemic has proved the superiority of its authoritarian model. The muscular message is finding fans at home.– https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/14/world/asia/china-nationalists-covid.html
• US China Hawks Outraged About Biden’s Defense Nominee
‘Will the president-elect Joe Biden increase the hostility with China or will he stick to the usual U.S. policy of messing up the Middle East? His selection of the new Defense Secretary retired general Lloyd Austin provides an answer.’
• How The US China Hawks Try To Counter Biden’s ‘Dovish’ Policies
• A Tour of Views on China’s Relationship to Imperialism
• How the English Government Secretly Created ‘Regime Change’ Protests In Lebanon
‘Three projects for ‘political reform’ were defined: – Female Political Participation; – Strengthening Democratic Mechanisms for Reform, Accountability and Dialogue; – Youth Political Engagement.’
• Trump administration gives parting kick to Turkey
• Another ‘Russiagate’ Like Trump Scandal Which Isn’t One
• England announces travel ban for human rights violators: Blair excluded
• Biden Elected, Barr Out, Dems Cave On Covid Aid
• The World’s Most Urgent Mission – UN Secy Gen
‘Carbon Neutrality by 2050’
C2. Security (the state beyond ‘a pair of handcuffs’, monopolies of legitimate 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.
• Commercial Bank announces Former Chief Justice Sripavan as new Chairman
• Karwar in Karnataka to be India’s Maritime Theatre Command HQ
‘It will look after the country’s 7,516-km coastline and 1,382 islands as well as the entire Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and beyond.’
• ‘Exodus of officers from SIS after 2015 played significant role to prevent Easter attacks’
• Justice Balapatabendi-led PSC decision awaited
‘deciding on Attorney General’s Department investigation into the alleged negligence on the part of two of its officers – Deputy Solicitor General Azard Navavi and State Counsel Malik Azeez, in respect of the handling of a file on now proscribed National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) and its leader Zahran Hashim responsible for 2019 Easter Sunday carnage.’
• Recruiter For ISIS Anand Gopal Justifies War Crimes US Committed While Removing It
‘From June 2017 until Raqqa’s liberation in October, U.S. aircraft dropped just under 20,000 total munitions.’
• Lower compensation paid for Easter attack victims?
• W.M. Mendis accused of tax fraud amounting to over Rs.6 b
• Germany allocates additional EUR 1 m to HALO Trust for humanitarian mine clearance
• Overcrowding of the remand prison – Times Political Editor
• ‘That this was a riot in which prisoners attacked and harmed each other, is farfetched’
‘Former Anglican Bishop’
• Defence Secretary underlines one of the primary duties of armed forces
• An enlightened understanding of Sri Lanka’s wars
‘The History of Sri Lanka’s wars from Vijithapura to Nandikadal’
• Long Overdue Police Overhaul: Points to Ponder
‘The Police department is the lowest paying among all the services’
• A disease, a vaccine, a ‘cure’ and the resurrection of burials
• Showing no compassion towards Muslim sentiments is shameful and dangerous
• Muslims struggle to bury their dead in Japan, a nation of cremation
• Suwaseriya Foundation among institutes assigned to new Epidemics and COVID-19 Ministry
• Ramanayake claimed judges in the country issue biased rulings and are corrupt
• From a pro-UNP Bar (then), we have a pro-Rajapasksa Bar (now
• Was Ven. Jinawamsa ready for lessons on impermanence?
‘An issue associated with the foreign monks is that they are hellbent on becoming scholars in the Dhamma and neglect the practice of love (Karuna) to others including oneself.’
• Austria adopts anti-terror package, ‘preventive detention’ on hold
• US Media Blame Russia For Cyber Intrusions Without Providing Evidence
‘On Tuesday, December 8, the network security company FireEye reported of a recent attack on its network: “We are actively investigating in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other key partners, including Microsoft.”
C3. Economists (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.
• Tourist Booking Companies take out $400 million (Rs. 72 billion) abroad annually
• Gota’s wars against economy and minorities – Ameer Ali
‘China’s largesse with its locally-planted advisers to the regime is alarmingly turning the country into China’s virtual client-state, jeopardising the island’s territorial sovereignty, which GR promised to protect…. the current wave of anti-Muslim phobia is essentially the result of economic envy covered with an artificially- concocted religious and cultural fear of Islam.’
• Child’s guide to credit rating downgrade: A warning not to be ignored – Wijewardena
‘It is a warning given to Government about an impending disaster’
• Sri Lanka Coronavirus shock had reduced spending, policy tight rope ahead: Weerakoon
• Silver linings amidst dark clouds over Sri Lanka’s economy – Sanderatne
• Losses from EU isolation _ Reductio ad Abeyratnum
• Sri Lanka import substitution, neo-liberalism, Raul Prebisch in focus
• Pakistan briefs Sri Lanka about global debt relief proposal, Covid-19 at Foreign Secy meet
• CIA on Soviet Economy
C4. Economy (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.
• SL repays matured International Sovereign Bond of $ 1.0 billion in October
• JVP MP Dissanayake correctly exposes foreign debt payment exposure
• Sri Lanka needs $ 5.9 billion to meet debt services in 2021 – Harsha
‘Economic growth will go down if the importation of capital goods are curtailed,” he also said.’
• Central Bank Monetary Board appoints new Deputy Governors
• Challenging operating environment to weigh on Lankan banks: Fitch
• Sri Lanka credit to pick up in 2021, sovereign support cannot be relied upon: Fitch
‘… with state banks contributing with bad loans rising but bank can no longer rely on extraordinary state support, after a credit downgrade to ‘CCC’’
• Fitch Ratings downgrade shocks the business community
‘Yet Sri Lanka saves almost three billion from those who travel overseas for leisure and business. In this backdrop to pay the stipulated debt of around $ 4 billion will not be a challenge.’
• Sri Lanka imports rise as credit picks up
• BoC processing Rs. 63 b loans under moratorium extension
• Sri Lanka targets US$2.5bn in FDI in 2021: Minister
• $532 million cumulative outflow from Govt. securities
‘the Sri Lankan Rupee depreciated against the Euro, the Pound Sterling, the Japanese Yen and the Australian Dollar, while appreciating against the Indian Rupee in 2020 up to 14 December’
• Sri Lanka fails to sell 32-pct of Treasuries at auction
• Trade deficit shrinks $ 1.6 b
‘Fuel bill reduction contributes most to contraction in first 10 months’
• ‘Steepest GDP drop in history’ in 2020 second quarter
C5. Workers (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
• Increasing unemployment and food price inflation in Sri Lanka: Data manipulation
‘A lower unemployment rate is important to maintain prestige and popularity of the Government as it reflects its ability to maintain living standards in the face of an external crisis. It reduces the onus of the Government to provide employment or social security support’
• Federation of Labour warns against Govt. move to amend EPF Act
‘EPF investments in the stock market against specific provisions in Section 5 (1) of the EPF Act confining investments to Government securities have been subject to considerable criticism.’
• Ceylon Teachers Service Union protest interference into Teachers College appointments
• JVP demands equal education opportunities for children
• The Growing Need for Childcare Support in Sri Lanka
• ‘The Future of University Education’ – Rajiva Wijesinha
‘the destruction wrought by J R Jayewardene and his political heirs’
• International Trade Union Confederation initiative to protect migrant workers’ rights
• Workers’ remittances grow 3.9%
• Fiscal incentives to encourage worker remittances Massive wage theft
‘Tens of thousands of workers had to reluctantly return home, some with part wages, some with nothing. “This is massive wage theft”
• Covid demands weaker labor laws: Chamber of Commerce
‘The pandemic should have by now encouraged the provision of flexible work hours for older workers.’
• ‘Responsible unions never used the strike weapon, like illiterate workers unions’
• Sri Lanka targets 25,000 women ‘entrepreneurs’ for Covid supply chain, amid constraints
‘The forum was organized by the European Union and Chrysalis: micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) contribute to 53% of the country’s output and about 24% of such entities are owned or led by women.’
• SLMC sackings: GMOA reiterates accusations, backs Minister Pavithra
‘Those who had challenged the move conveniently forgot that Dr. Rajitha Senaratne made the appointments in his capacity as the Minister and Pavitra Wanniarachchi did the same.’
• Eminent group voices strong condemnation against removal of SLMC members
• SLMC in crisis
• Running with miracle ‘Vedahs’ for votes while sticking by the profession
• Docs, politicians and shamans
• The great vaccine rollout and the global pecking order
‘Dr. Jonas Salk chose to walk away from a $7 billion worth patent and let his polio vaccine be a global public good. Why cannot Covid-19 vaccines be similarly another global public good?’
• A vaccine that was hijacked by the rich
• Employed Chinese and unemployed Sri Lankans
‘According to reports the person has also said that that it is the Chinese the Sinhalese should be afraid of and not the Tamils or the Muslims.’
• Red, red Kerala hails Pinarayi’s leadership
‘Jubilant communist party supporters savour massive election victory in Kerala’s local body elections’
• Left turn in Kerala
‘Congress is the loser in local bodies polls, as CPM regains ground lost in 2019 general election.’
• A dispatch from India’s culture war
‘As if the raging COVID-19 pandemic, a spluttering economy, record-high unemployment, and massive farmers’ protests besieging the country’s capital were not enough, India’s ruling Hindu-chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has now incited a new crisis: a culture war.’
• COVID-19 pandemic wipes out 81 million jobs in Asia-Pacific in 2020, ILO says
• Labor-starved Japan welcomes return of foreign workers
‘Tokyo will open borders to non-tourists next week’
• Government-owned elders’ homes have way lower deaths than private care: Canada
• Marx didn’t invent socialism, nor did he discover it
• Neoliberalism Is a Political Project
• Friedrich Engels’ Thinking on Science in These Times
‘J.B.S. Haldane, the well-known evolutionary biologist and Marxist, had said, “… even if the professors leave politics alone, politics won’t leave the professors alone.”’
• Boots Riley on Why the US Left Abandoned Class Struggle
‘There were 900 mostly wildcat strikes March to September, the biggest US strike wave since the 1940s…count on one hand the number of outlets, radical media included. Riley explains why the New Left abandoned class struggle and shifted focus toward students and media.’
• Don’t Fawn Over Biden. Fight Neoliberalism.
C6. Agriculture (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.
• Sri Lanka: Amending land laws to help fraudsters without protecting the land owners
• Aloe Vera cultivation project; Critical need for land management policy reinforced
• How open economy and bureaucracy ruined RSS rubber production
• Increasing the productivity of crop research institutes
• WFP and Korea provides seed to 54,000 Sri Lanka farmers
• Govt to intervene directly in the vegetable market to control prices
‘The traders had informed the Minister that some businesspeople who had won the tenders to run stalls in the Economic Centres were renting the premises to third parties and as a result, a further cost has been added to the produce.’
• Govt. intervenes to resolve Manning market standoff
‘There are 780 odd applications for 440 shops’
• Customs fines turmeric importer
• Govt. allocates Rs. 450 m to enhance yield, quality of Ceylon Tea
‘Smallholdings today account for over 75% of the total made tea production,’
• GMP certification made compulsory for Ceylon Tea exports
• Regency Teas buys 10% stake in Hatton Plantations for Rs. 290 m
• Pelwatte Dairy hails Budget, appreciates Govt. proposals to develop dairy industry
‘The proposals also include importing of potential dairy cows’
• Crysbro wants import restrictions on Maize lifted
• HTCey Aqua goes for Vannamei cultivation with USD 1.8 million investment
‘Sri Lanka, once the land of the Black Tiger shrimp, is now tasting success in Vannamei cultivation.’
• 48 freight containers with canned fish returned to China: Customs
• Meat processing factory, a disgrace to country: Sobitha Thera
• “As long as there are slaughterhouses there will always be battlefields” – Tolstoy
• The Very Scary Recent Digana Quakes
‘Balfour Beatty and its engineers received awards for the design of this unique double concave cement dam.. The button to commission the dam was pressed by Margaret Thatcher, then PM of Britain…’
• Dams indispensable but not without adverse impacts
‘In January 1986, Sri Lanka experienced the breach of the Kantalai dam in the Eastern Province. The disaster resulted in 127 deaths and affected 10,864 residents.’
• Govt. to set up Kitul Development Board
• Battaramulla then and some unforgettable characters
‘The massive influx of the affluent, urban middle class who have built palatial homes has certainly transformed the tranquil, traditional, unspoilt village that I have lived from birth to a crude mix of Cinnamon Gardens and Maligawatta of Colombo.’
• A War on Nature: What Were We Promised?
• Talangama wetlands under a highway to destruction
• Ahab’s Nemesis: Sri Lanka may be the best place in the world to see sperm whales
• The Farmers’ Fight Is Our fight! – New Trade Union Initiative Secretariat India
‘Three farm laws: the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmer (Empowerment and Protection), the Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 were legislated in September, despite the strongest possible opposition both within and outside parliament.’
• Cancer may lurk in pulses we eat
‘After the introduction of Genetically Modified (GM) Roundup Ready crops in 1996, which were engineered to tolerate Roundup herbicide, the use of glyphosate has increased manifold.’
C7. Industry (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.
• Titanium Sands remains focused on recommencing drilling and moving Mannar Island Heavy Mineral Sands project to next phase
‘The Mannar Island project is an exploration-stage project on the 26 kilometres by 6 kilometres-wide Mannar Island in northwest Sri Lanka, joined to the mainland by a 3-kilometre-long road causeway.’
• Insulators required by the power sector to be manufactured here
• More on inconsistencies and conflicts among Acts – PUCSL
• LSSP, CP opposition to scrapping PUCSL: CIA Objects
• PUCSL did not delay power projects: PUCSL Employees Union
• PUCSL: “Off with their heads”
• BoI and Power Ministry should seek investment for energy sector: President
• Largest wind power plant Thambapavani declared open
• A Message from the Wind that howls and blows
• To meet 70 per cent of its power from renewable energy, the answer is solar and wind power
• Power Mafia Empowered
‘The power mafia comprises crooked businessmen, engineers, bureaucrats and politicians’
• Interactive seminar in US-occupied Korea on augmentation of SL’s power and energy
‘Myung Sub Roh of Kosen Co. Ltd. of Korea and Dr. Farida Bondarenko, a consultant on Trade and Renewable Energy projects made presentations’
• ‘Power battle for profits’
• Halcyon days of Ceylon Shipping Corporation
‘The CSC, established about five decades ago, was thriving with a healthy bottom line; it continued to serve Sri Lanka with our own managers and seafarers to run our ships. Although SL was self-sufficient in rice before the advent of colonialism, rice production gradually dropped, under the British occupation, due to the neglect of the major irrigation tanks built by kings. Rice had to be imported to meet the shortfall in supply. Shipping companies in the 1950s and 1960s increased freight rates, sending rice prices up, and that became a political issue as well.’
• Yahapalana contractor removed from stretch of Central Expressway over ‘no progress’
• Special provisions for Port City and Ruwanpura Expressway land acquisition
• Lanwa Sanstha Cement to commence operations in June
• Seized vehicles likely to be auctioned
• New EDB Chairman assumes duties
‘He is also the Chairman of EcoWave (Gte) Ltd. and EcoWave Travels, which are social enterprises working with 200 spice farmers in Moneragala and Ampara Districts…’
• Mahaweli officials accused of trying to give historic rock to granite quarry
• Cabinet approves Rs 365 million international gem & jewellery trade centre in Ratnapura
• Russian Cooperation Saves English Vaccine
• China’s coal supply sufficient for winter heating: economic planner
• Which cars are made in China and sold in the U.S.?
• Chinese quantum computer completes 2.5-billion-year task in minutes
• How Rockefeller Corrupted Chinese Medicine
• ‘The world does not benefit from scientists being ‘one-trick-pony’s’
‘Utrecht University pioneers for a new system of recognition and rewards for science’
C8. Finance (Making money from money, banks, lack of investment in modernity)
ee Finance tracks the effects of financialization, the curious role of ratings agencies, false indices, etc.
• Port City Colombo secures LOLC’s and CHEC’s Investment; sets the stage for One Billion Dollar “Colombo International Financial Centre”
• Rogue finance companies face legal action for fraud
• DFCC Bank Rated AA- with Stable Outlook by ICRA Lanka Limited
• Dipped Products, Distilleries, Expolanka, Hayleys, Hemas, Royal Ceramics and Tokyo Cement enter S&P SL20
‘The S&P SL 20 index includes the 20 largest companies, by total market capitalization’
• Sampath FC Prime Offers 33% Bonus Interest for Foreign Currency Savings
• Herd instinct on penny stocks will burn retailers
‘Over the past two months, 90 per cent of the shares traded on the CSE were by local retailers. There was hardly any foreign investments.’
• Shares end higher for 15th session, led by consumer staples
• Asia Securities to host 4th annual Sri Lanka investment conference
‘Asia Securities, Sri Lanka’s leading independent investment banking and wealth management firm, will host its 4th Annual Sri Lanka Investment Conference over three days next week.’
• Russian ambassador highlights pivotal role of private sector
‘In 2019 the volume of bilateral trade between Russian and Sri Lanka amounted to $400 million, with imports to Russia from Sri Lanka reaching $290 million.’
C9. Business (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 sales, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of press releases disguised as ‘news’
• Sunshine Holdings and Akbar Brothers merge healthcare businesses
‘Akbar business interests include tea, power generation, healthcare, packaging, property development, environmental services, leisure, and ‘manufactures’ a range of respiratory pharmaceuticals and devices including Beclovent, Flutivent, Salbuvent, Prazolin, Winterpan and the award winning Ventohaler inhalers. Sunshine owns Healthcare Lanka, Watawala Tea Ceylon, Daintee Confectionary, Healthguard Pharmacy, Sunshine Energy and Watawala Plantations PLC….Shyam Sathasivam -Managing Director Sunshine Healthcare, Amal Cabraal -Deputy Chairman – Sunshine Holdings, Asgi Akbarally – Director Akbar Brothers, Shiraz Akbarally – Director Akbar Brothers’
• Sunshine Holdings amongst the Most Admired Companies of Sri Lanka
‘revenue of Rs. 11 billion, an increase of 9.3% YoY…Award presented by the International Chamber of Commerce, Sri Lanka (ICCSL), the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Sri Lanka and the Daily FT’
• LOLC’s Browns Investments acquires Serendib Hotels for Rs. 792 m
• HNB signs up for Rs. 8.50 b long-term funding facilities with Hayleys
• Renuka Holding to raise Rs. 1.031 b from rights issue
• Access Engineering completes construction of 608 housing units in Borella
‘Project initiated by the Ministry of Megapolis & Western Development under the UDA’
• Sri Lanka Insurance secures AAA (lka) Fitch Rating
• Super September advances on healthy earnings in most sectors due to recovery from COVID
‘resilient performance in Food, Beverage and Tobacco, Transportation, Capital Goods and Materials witnessed significant recovery’
C10. Politics (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.
• “I may be the one who saved Champika’s life during the Second JVP insurrection”
• Ven. Rathana Thera appointed Ape Jana Bala Pakshaya National List MP
• Sudarshini elected unanimously as Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus Chairperson
• A petulant Wijeyadasa criticizes Cabinet composition
‘All cabinet and state ministry appointments made in the current were given to close associates and relatives of the leadership’
• Liberal Patriotism vs. Cosmopolitan Liberalism vs Ultranationalist Despotism – Jayailleka
• Lee Kwan Yew’s Grasp of ‘big-picture’ unequalled among post-WW2 leaders – David
C11. Media (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.
• State ads preference for state media, Govt. institutions told
• The case filed by George Steuart Health Private Limited against MTV Channel
• ‘Rankoth Viharaya’ built in 1810 on a stone quarry as ‘Galkande Viharaya’ Panadura
• Ven. Gnanissara’s Legacy Expands in America
• Poetic injustice: Another writer languishes in prison under PTA
‘Unfortunately, the photo chosen to accompany the verse for publication was of an ISIS fighter in uniform’
• Campus history and glaring home truths
• The Hindi Service of Radio Ceylon
• MGR: From Tamil Film Hero to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister
‘Nothing on his links to the LTTE’