ee archive: eesrilanka.wordpress.com
“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
Demystifying Development Banks
e-Con e-News 03-09 January 2021
ee scans the week’s English news about the economy
ee pinpoints particular public pronouncements
– most-times whitewash & sometimes inadvertent truth –
by usually secretive capitalists, by their representatives
in privately hijacked states
ee elaborates on certain themes usually erased
Central Bank Governor WD Lakshman this week declared that a National Development Banking Corporation is “to be” established by merging 3 state banks.
Exactly one year ago, the CB Governor, then new, called for a development bank – “The absence of dedicated development finance institutions is felt strongly” (see ee 5-11 January 2020). One year later, it has a name. But what exactly is a development bank? Why is it strongly opposed by the import mafia and their monopoly media? And what does it have to do or not do with the scandal of microfinance?
• Add the reality-tv World Wrestling Federation spectacle of this week’s faux fooferaw in Washington. Mix in potential release of Julian Assange. Get ready for a fruity parade of liberal honey droppings: Biden as Obama.2 in white face. There be human rights candy in velvet. Then there be warmongering in iron. Underdevelopment will roll on. Then get ready for Trump.2…
Get ready for next week’s second coming of neoliberals fancy-dressed as sweet-talkers. Makes ee recall the massive celebrity hurrahs for the microfinance fraud: from Hollywood (Natalie Portman, Matt Damon), politics (shepherded by Bill & Hillary Clinton), the music industry (Bono), business (Bill Gates’ foundation, Richard Branson, Pierre Omidyar, Michael Dell), European and Western Asian feudals (Queen Rania of Jordan, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands).
2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen scheme was celebrated in documentaries and popular TV shows – Oprah Winfrey, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Simpsons. The gospel of microcredit was god-given for the wealthy ‘liberal’ Manhattan chatterati, who monopolize the world’s media.
The Grameen Bank was midwifed by marrying “the language and symbols of liberal feminism” promising to advance women the world over, with a sleazy financial enforcement tool – group liability for repayment – a form of collective punishment. Where did Grameen pop out of? Was it out of the charnel house of attempted development banks or modern industrial investment banks?
Microcredit, as ‘poverty alleviation’ fix, engorged the hearts, minds and pockets of the international development mafia, philanthropists and the main imperialist governments. Their mass media promoted “microfinance” like no other “international development policy” before or since.
Moneylenders and merchants have long impoverished our cultivators and workers, crippling our home market’s potential for enabling modern industry. Imperialism’s ‘development banks’ saw microfinance as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get rich by programmatically, and all too often illegally, overindebting the poor.” The main commercial banks now grabbed even more spectacular ‘profits’ – actually ‘rents’ (ee Focus).
• English colonialism, first relied on Chettiar and Afghan moneylenders as intermediaries, then blocked the Bank of Ceylon. An ascendant US imperialism neutralized our Central Bank. From the 1950-70s, they destabilized, by bribery, assassination, coup and war any newly ‘independent’ government that tried to invest in modern industry. ee (8 August 2020) already recounted through Ananda Meegama’s biography of Philip Gunawardena, how the attempt to create a rural development bank and implement a 10-Year Plan precipitated expulsion and assassination.
Post-1977, privatization & deregulation enriched a whole class of rentiers (ee Focus, Privatizations’ Nazi Origins)
This week’s visit by India’s foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar recalls, he served in Sri Lanka as First Secretary and political adviser to the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF), 1988-90. He was India’s foreign secretary 2015-8, then made industrial giant Tata Sons’ President of Global Corporate Affairs. Tata, etc., insist we remain a home market for Mumbai and Tamilnadu’s industrial goods – Bhutanized! (see ee Sovereignty)
• Two news stories stung the eyes this week: one was pure advertisement of another entire building in Colombo dedicated to parking cars – HydeParking. Vehicles now find it less expensive to inhabit real-estate per sq.m in the city. This new parking lot is owned by the David Peries Co, an importer of many Indian machines that also clog our roads and pollute our air. Several banks, including foreign ‘development banks’ and local state banks, are dedicated to maintaining such ‘lines of credit’, so foreign industrial banks parlay their industrial products.
Workers can never afford to live in the modern parasitic cities they’re building. Only bankers, moneylenders and landlords and their vehicles will dwell. It will not be a productive city where art and science, theory and practice enrich each other.
• A former “Country Head of Fitch Ratings Lanka” was appointed new chairman of Citizens Development Business Finance this week. CDB claims to be one of Sri Lanka’s top-5 non-banking financial institutions, with assets of Rs100billion, with 71 branches, employing 1,700 people.
CDB has raised tens of millions of dollars in foreign funding from the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries, the Netherlands’ Dutch Development Bank (FMO) and Switzerland’s Blue Orchard Microfinance Fund, to help “SMEs”.
Who are these Development Banks? They represent their countries’ banking and industrial giants, selling their countries’ machines and services. FMO is owned by the Dutch state and private Dutch Banks, which like most such ‘aid agencies’, are linked to their exporters associations.
And what do they mean by SMEs? Again, the SMEs they fund there are quite different from ours. The Swedish state has a whole eco system to provide credit to modern industrial and agricultural SMEs. The state-owned Almi Group operates 40 outlets there, specifically for such SME lending. Every ministry or enterprise has a fund of its own. In Germany, it is basically the same.
The microfinance and SME scam as practiced on us, involves no such industrial investment. It ensures there’s no monetization & commercialization of the rural economy. They wish to retain their capture of the home market and prevent investment in rural industry. (see ee Finance, CDB)
• Mountains of words are spent on decrying ‘debt’, but no one tells us how much of this debt went to pay for their goods and services. How much went to pay for interest on debt, interest on interest, for ‘experts’, intellectual property, ‘rents’ etc?
Every goddamn day we hear lectures on how we owe this insurmountable debt to the white man and his banks. They never reveal any item-by-item breakdown on this so-called debt we owe to imperialist banks: We’re threatened by their envoys to keep buying their old machines, goods and services (including ‘experts’ and financial services, ie paying interest on interest). Their economists never state openly: a modern industrial economy would easily pay off these odious debts and their dreary discourse of our beggary.
Very few of the commentators, and especially those Kolombots and Anglomaniacs who’ve decided to blah-blah-blah about a ‘Chinese debt trap’, know or care to know how it all came to be, much less about the truth.
ee reproduces one article that comes close to explaining this debt business (ee Focus, Siriwardene)
• “Get a grip on it, Gota” cried another purported supporter of the President, this week. And another:
“What happened to the Sri Lanka inspired by new hope in the wake of the election of a non-politician as president in November 2019: a wave of wall painting by volunteering young amateur artists whose central themes included celebrating the victorious assertion of the national identity and unity just shown, environmental preservation, memorable moments of history, industrial development, etc. Almost paralleling this, a self-motivated cooperative movement emerged, initiated by a young man (Nalaka Senadheera of Dedigama near Kegalle, dramatist, poet, writer) that started recultivating rice paddy lands lying abandoned and fallow in various parts of rural Lanka; it caught the enthusiastic attention of young Sri Lankans at home as well as abroad. It’s doubtful whether our jaded old politicians took sufficient notice of these manifestations of youthful patriotism.” (see ee Politics)
The roots of our discontent long precede Covid, or the Rajapakses. The ruling oligarchy (not only politicians – they just come and go) will smash any attempts to change the import-export colonial plantation economy. They keep preventing a rational plan to exit our dilemma. Preventing the new from being born. They wish to retain the old hideous system.
Many blame the politicians around Gota. Yet, what of the tremendous obstacles, capitalism, pre and post pandemic, placed in any government’s path. Naysayers predict doom, despotism, and/or both. Yet, only a holistic national, political, economic and military plan for industrialization offers a way forward. This week’s announcement of licensing iron mining in Chilaw, recalls the export of our raw graphite, quartz, titanium. Again, no national discussion permitted. TV is for superstars of the imported-tinsel type.
A1. Reader Comments –
• More Readable • Strangling Science • Destroying SOEs
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Mahendran’s Escape • SOEs Robbed • Singapore Tax Scam • Official Sabotage of Import Controls • CB on Domestic Production • CB on Market Manipulation • Saudi Attack on Qatari Currency
A3. Random Notes –
• Undermining CB Promise of Development Bank • Capitalist Takeover of Development Banks • Development & Ethnics • Wakefield, Governor Horton, Immigration Rackets & Mortgage • Their vs Our Development Banks • 5 Agri Mafias • US Development Banks
B. ee Focus
B1. The Destruction of Real Development Banks, SMEs & Rise of Microfinance
B2. The Nazi Origins of Privatization – Shiran Illanperuma
B3. Options for Foreign-Debt Management in SL: Can we escape from IMF/ISB Debt Trap? – Luxman Siriwardena
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.
• “ee has reformed much from its earlier days and is more readable.”
• “Last ee took a different turn it seems. Interesting read with the Science Research angle. I didn’t know about the throttling going on! Enlightening piece.” (see ee Industry, Sci-Gen)
• “ee should write about the losses at different state institutions during Yahapalanaya: eg, the Salt Corporation fell from ~Rs230million to Rs28million. The Timber Corporation lost ~1.14 billion just in 2018, and the Inland Revenue deficit was Rs1.3 trillion. Where was Sunil Hadunnetti and the JVP when that happened? Yahapalana blocked cashflow to SOEs, running them to the ground. eg MILCO’s 2 tons of expired milk powder that didn’t reach the market. The government removed the Salt Corp export arm, causing Rs89million losses annually. Same with the Timber Corp. Meanwhile we’re importing saline. You have to go through SOE reports one by one to find out about how these SOEs were run down, and the COPE reports. The media will not report on what really happened; instead blame it all on state-management and overstaffing, which might have some truth, but it’s to do with imperialist policy of dismantling state power and throwing SOEs on the stock market.” (see ee Focus)
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• “I think he supported Mahendran to escape from Sri Lanka” – former President Sirisena on former PM Ranil Wickremasinghe (see ee Politics, Mixed Bag)
• “From 1977-2005, two-thirds of SOEs were privatized in Sri Lanka, yet no real progress was made in advancing industry.” (ee Focus, Privatization)
• “More than Rs3billion should be paid again to a Singaporean company every time a tax amendment is made to the computerised system ‘RAMIS’ to streamline tax collection… established at a cost of over Rs4billion.” (ee Economy, Revenue)
• “Various dodges and tricks are being used to bring in banned imports with the connivance of some crooked officials and some others. This must be stopped as it will lead to further borrowing and Sri Lanka getting deeper into the debt trap.” – (ee Sovereignty, LSSP)
• “Overall, while working within a framework of market economy, the performance of the open economy policies introduced from 1977 will be reviewed vigorously, so that the country and its economic agents could follow a focused approach to becoming an industrial economy. A policy framework with such long-term objectives would generate greater macroeconomic benefits than being driven by short-term vicissitudes in the market and unbridled desire for short-term financial gains. …the Government has provided policy support to improve domestic production, particularly in Agriculture and Industry sectors. These fiscal stimuli and incentives help expand the domestic capital base, improving domestic supplies. These developments would reduce the import dependence of the country, enhancing domestic production ratios in agricultural and industrial supplies. Furthermore, domestic supply improvements would enhance SL’s external competitiveness and export potential, while also reducing seasonal volatilities in domestic inflation to a great extent.” – Central Bank (ee Economy, Roadmap)
• “The Central Bank’s stance on allowing market forces to determine the exchange rate will remain unchanged going forward. However, any excessive volatility in the exchange rate due to speculative moves by some market participants or cashflow mismatches would be strictly monitored and corrective action taken for the greater good of the overall economy. Market manipulations by a few for undue personal gain during difficult times at the expense of the masses will not be tolerated.” – CB governor
• ‘How can Qatar easily forgive and forget that the UAE’s First Abu Dhabi Bank, Saudi Arabia’s Samba Bank and Luxembourg-based Banque Havilland (acting on behalf of one of its largest clients, Mohammed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi crown prince & de facto ruler of the UAE) sought to sow economic instability by undermining confidence in Qatar’s currency and bonds, staged a coordinated attack to deplete Qatar’s foreign-exchange reserves and tried to weaken the Qatari riyal by “submitting fraudulent quotes to foreign exchange platforms based in New York, to manipulate NY-based indices, and disrupt financial markets in New York, where significant Qatari assets are held and many investors in Qatar are located”?’ – (ee Sovereignty, Qatar)
• ‘Minority senior citizens are reckoned to comprise a majority of the US’ 110,000 nursing-home deaths highlighted in the New York Times yesterday: a massacre equal in number to a common estimate of those killed by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.’ (see ee Workers, Hope)
• “Let us decide not to imitate Europe; let us combine our muscles and our brains in a new direction. Let us try to create the whole human, whom Europe has been incapable of bringing to triumphant birth. Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the USA became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions.” – Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
A year ago, the new Central Bank governor was almost begging these (to be honest, traitorous) banks, pre-Covid to “rethink” their “credit disbursement policies”. He noted, their “traditional” (read colonial) “risk averse mindset” had deprived new ventures of much needed initial capital… In countries such as the US, high-risk startups are financed by high-net-worth investors who can take on high risks… particularly at a time when the SMEs require support from the banking sector for survival during the phase of economic downturn as well as during the period of their takeoff.”
One year later, we have a name for the development bank.
An ee contributor reminds us, the present CB Governor comes from a more real world more than any governor before him. His Wiki bio recounts: “Weligamage Don Lakshman… comes from a humble background.” If so, this “Don” must know these banks will never do any such thing. The Don also knows – and those that know, know – “austerity” or a “war economy” is inevitable. Within the next 4 months?
The cynical insist this ‘development bank’ promise is just “cake” talk. We need more than promises, we need action. Even promising a development bank, or broaching a national economic plan, is the kind of talk that usually ends in destabilization, expulsions, assassinations, coups d’etat, terror (Philip G, SWRD to Mrs B, NM, SA Wicks, and beyond) and/or, worse, sell-out (DFCC, NDB). It doesn’t have to be this way, of course.
• Capitalists openly took over development banks and related investment funds during the era of WB- and IMF-imposed Structural Adjustment Programs. Neoliberal policymakers after 1980 officially decreed that any investment should be through profit-driven private sector institutions. They then highly influenced the destructive transition strategies adopted against socialist governments in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989. (see ee Focus, Development Banks)
Many new SMEs were nicknamed “bypass firms” – deliberately set up illegally to divert contracts away from larger state firms and into the hands of private firms owned by the state firm’s senior management appointed by neoliberals (ee Reader Comments, SOEs)
• The word ‘development’ is an ‘othering’ word like ‘ethnic’. No white man worth their epidermis would call themselves ‘ethnic’. They use it only if they get paid for it – migrant recruiter, immigration official, politician, professor teaching ethnic studies, social worker, or ‘development studies’ stormtrooper.
• This reminds of Marx’s chapter in Capital of the famed paedophile Ed Wakefield, foremost schemer for early settler colonialism. A fellow theorist of colonialism – like Willie Horton, later colonial governor in Ceylon, who advocated dumping off the English impoverished on the colonies – Wakefield told businessmen in Anglo-North America to artificially raise the price of land so settlers had to work for 30 years before they could own their property. This is now the classic duration of the ‘mort’gage (measure of a working lifespan).
Mostly in settler countries but also elsewhere, immigration is a multibillion-dollar racket, supposedly differentiated from human trafficking, including prostitution. Entire class fractions live off the immigration racket. Certainly wars and underdevelopment are one of the major generators of ‘migrants’, who have to buy the goods and services of aid and recruitment agencies and pimps, travel agents, airlines, real-estate agents, social workers, English-as-a-Second-Language teachers. Migrants sustain their home market. The word ‘ethnic’ with its patronizing air is part of their arsenal.
As with ‘ethnic’, same with ‘development’. There must be 1,000 Cabinet ministries named with ‘Development’ over the years.
Imperialism has ‘development banks’. Inside imperialist countries, these banks, many not be even titled ‘development bank’, yet invest in their modern industries. Externally, with the title ‘development bank’ they promote the sale of their industrial, mainly consumer, products to us. Even better, they set up banks and finance companies in Sri Lanka, which help to sell their products, deepening debt.
• The import mafia is happily subverting government policies. The Agriculture Minister has categorized “5 Mafias” underdeveloping the village. So what will his ruling party do about it? Merchants know no other way. And what about harnessing our abundant iron, graphite and other invaluable ores, instead of selling them off for others to exploit? The real bankers, from Citibank to Standard Chartered etc. have international experience in sabotaging such endeavours. They all maintain their power through a system of violence and honey.
This is the real reason for their alternating cry foretelling doom and railing against ‘despotism’. The capitalist media prematurely declare this is an import-substitution economy, when they know damn well, it just ain’t so. They wish the luxury import orgy and accompanying orchestra to play on… The top merchants are also betting on their old-fashioned bribing of state officials, including the military and police. So they get the despot they wish.
• ‘In 2018, the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) was formed to fund private “development projects in lower- and middle-income countries”. The DFC was set up by merging the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) with USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA). OPIC helped US multinationals “gain footholds in emerging markets.” DCA funded “microenterprise and small enterprise, privatization of public services, infrastructure, efficient and renewable energy, and climate change”. The DFC was officially announced in 2018, proclaiming opposition to China, “to provide an alternative to “state-directed investments by authoritarian governments,” specifically the Belt and Road Initiative, which officials were instructed to denounce as “China’s neo-imperialistic projection of soft-power”.’
B. Special Focus_
B1. The Destruction of Real Development Banks, SMEs & Rise of Microfinance
After the “Mexican default” of 1982, the IMF and World Bank first got Mexico to enforce their new structural adjustment programs in exchange for loans, conditional upon cuts in real wages and social welfare.
Neoliberal policymakers after 1980 officially decreed that financial intermediation now had to be run by profit-driven private sector institutions. After undermining governments that even tried to invest in modern industry, capitalists openly took over development banks and related investment funds.
Lending to unproductive ‘microenterprises’ boomed. Lending to the far-more-productive SME (small & medium-sized enterprise) sector linked to local big heavy industry had to be jettisoned.
Mobilizing the agricultural sector had been one of the first, and most important, tactics taken by local governments to increase SME activity. Agricultural profits were reinvested in small-scale industrial activity. so tools & equipment would be leased from local finance companies set up by foreign ‘development’ banks that were fronts for their foreign industries.
With the withdrawal of the USSR, the imperialists began demanding greater dismantlement of newly independent state structures and the modern industry that underpinned them, around the world. Global banking deregulation boomed, with capital controls removed, and the US dollar entrapping economies. Major banks and neoliberal governments, led by the US, financialized impoverishment. ‘Development’ projects lubricated the grasp of private finance into traditionally public goods, like Grameen Yunus’ schemes taking over traditional women’s informal lending networks.
Economic policies, enforced after the undermining of Central & Eastern Europe socialist governments were overwhelmingly framed and drawn up by the major international assistance agencies (principally WB, IMF), white Western governments (especially the US government’s USAID, UNIDO, UNDP, ILO, GTZ etc) and by consultancy companies (PricewaterhouseCoopers etc) and individual advisors contracted to formulate policy and implement reforms.
The mission of the international assistance agencies was to level the ”evil” institutions of communism and to socially engineer the new “clean and pure textbook institutions” of a private property market.
They were a textbook variant of the dominant radical free market discourse: Neoliberalism. In 1980s western economies, neoliberalism, as also promoted by JR in Sri Lanka, and Thatcher & Reagan in the white West, had replaced Keynesian demand management as the supposedly ideal political-economic shell to ensure sustainable growth and development. Neoliberal discourse was presented as the only possible and logical alternative to the previous highly inefficient system of central planning, particularly since they claimed it lacked SMEs.
This neoliberal discourse insisted SMEs had to avoid any active intervention and regulation by the state and depend on pure market mechanisms, proclaiming individual ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘enterprise culture’ as the main generators of wealth. Most state functions (health, education, transport, waste removal, leisure services) would be privatized, and the state only had to provide a competitive environment, property rights and ‘rule of law’, abstain from long-term planning, and show quick profits. Funding would be provided by ‘international financial agencies’ – mere fronts for the exporters associations of the white West, providing finance to buy their machinery, ‘experts’ and services. This is what constitutes the bulk of the debt owed by our countries.
The EU’s European Bank for Reconstruction & Development also became a major funder of this SME development, operating through ‘non-profit’ business I/NGOs. The media hailed the success of SMEs, exaggerating their share of jobs, output, taxes, consumer goods, wealth, and growth.
They promoted increased inequality. Claiming to cut losses, they reduced the resources available for redistribution, dismantled equitable social welfare and education systems, permitted low-wage rates and discouraged trade unionization. All this increased ‘enterprise competitiveness’ in the short term and attracted mobile multinational capital flows. The privatization of public services leads to the allocation of services according to the ability to pay, rather than need or social benefit; and, privatization of the industrial sector pours capital into the hands of a small elite.
These SME were created by breaking up and robbing state enterprises, and paying poorer wages, preventing job security and unions, and promoting sweatshop conditions. They were mainly engaged in petty services, simple arbitrage, small-sale retail (transport, catering) and importing, employing one or 2 workers. SME profits were invested in property speculation, conspicuous consumption, or parked abroad in tax havens, rather than in capital & technology, financing modern industrial production. They did not lead to inter-enterprise networking, subcontracting, tech transfer, local R&D culture, local product and process innovation, high-quality training institutions.
Before this, successful SMEs, in both the socialist bloc, and those countries used as bulwarks against them (West Germany, northern Italy, East Asia), had involved extensive inter-enterprise linkages and SME clustering, promoting modern manufacture, advanced industrial service, and high-quality industrial subcontracting. State intervention was crucial for post-1945 Japan, Italy, West Germany, and East Asian ‘Tigers’. The almost 8 million Township & Village Enterprises in China based on the socialist communes, by 1996, represented the most successful experience of municipal entrepreneurship of all time.
Comprehensive local SME development was underpinned by local and regional governments’ strategic planning function, a feature which allowed for the coordination of scarce reconstruction and development resources, and subsequently the exploitation of local and regional comparative advantages by key SME sectors. Also, fairness and equity, with development benefiting everyone (as opposed to a tiny elite),enabled employment equity and social welfare (preschool, health centres, unemployment payments). – Information from the work of Milford Bateman
B2. The Nazi Origins of Privatization – Shiran Illanperuma
Pro-privatization liberals who compare ethnic chauvinism in Sri Lanka to Nazi Germany have more in common with Hitler than they think.
Privatization of state-owned entities is a standard prescription for developing countries like Sri Lanka to reduce expenditure, raise revenue, and enhance free competition. From 1977-2005, two-thirds of SOEs were privatized, yet no real progress was made in advancing industry.
The failure of privatization is conveniently blamed on corruption, communalism, and war – as if privatization policies themselves did not contribute to these phenomenon. This is largely because privatization is presented in vague theoretical terms, and not based on actual historical experience.
The term ‘privatization’ has not always existed in the English language. In fact, its origins are German. The English word used by scholars to describe the process of privatizing steel and coal in the UK in the 1950s was “denationalization”. In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher chose the term privatization over denationalization, due to the negative connotation of the latter.
According to research by Germa Bel, an economist at the University of Barcelona, the English terms “reprivatization” and “privatization” first appear in studies of the Nazi economy in the early 1940s. Reprivatization referred to the process of transferring publicly owned companies like United Steel ‘back’ to the private sector after they had been nationalized during the Great Depression.
Though it may be hard to imagine today, nationalization and state-ownership of enterprises was a key component of economic policy in the wake of the Depression. The New Deal in the capitalist US and socialist industrialization in the Soviet Union are 2 major examples. Likewise, the pre-Nazi German economy also featured state-ownership of the commanding heights of the economy.
“Reprivatization” is likely an English translation of the German term “Reprivatisierung”, which appeared in articles in German newspaper Der Deutsche Volkswirt in the 1930s, following Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. Notably, the Der Deutsche Volkswirt editorial page was considered a mouthpiece of Hitler’s Minister of Economy and President of the Reichsbank Hjalmar Schacht.
Contrary to popular belief, Hitler’s rise to power was not fully backed by German industrialists, who were wary of the Nazi’s election manifesto proposals to further nationalize the economy. Once in power, however, Hitler oversaw arguably the first real program of privatization in order to win political support from big businesses and to finance the war.
Between 1934-37, 1.4% of Germany’s fiscal revenue was derived from privatization of stakes in a range of public enterprises including railways, steel, mining, banking, shipbuilding, shipping. In comparison, between 1997-2000, the heyday of neoliberalism in the European Union, privatization contributed just 0.65% of Germany’s fiscal revenue.
Nazi policies privatized not just productive state-owned enterprises, but also state-funded public utilities and public services. Programs such as Winterhilfe (Winterhelp), which distributed goods to the poor, were privatized and transferred to party-affiliated organizations – a process similar to the taking over of welfare services by I/NGOs funded by corporations.
Contemporary debates about privatization rarely delve into this troubling history. Liberals who are quick to compare Sri Lanka’s polarized identity politics to Nazi Germany, would do well to study how their own economic policies provide the pre-conditions for Nazism.
B3. Options for Foreign Debt Management in SL: Can we escape from IMF/ISB Debt Trap? – Luxman Siriwardena, Veemansa Initiative
The setback due to the pandemic has aggravated some of the perennial macro-economic and sectoral problems in Sri Lanka. For example, borrowing and accumulating external debts has been a practice of successive governments since 1978, which was the year of partial liberalization of the economy. During the early periods, when Sri Lanka was considered a low-income country, we were entitled to substantial grant aid as well as concessionary finances.
These relatively low-interest facilities and lenient conditionalities provided incentives for governments to keep borrowing for many development projects, from bilateral and multilateral lending agencies, irrespective of inflated costs of many of these projects. In most of these cases, financial benefits also have spilled over to Sri Lankan politicians, bureaucrats, and technocrats. Notwithstanding such leakages, these foreign-funded projects increased the availability of more sophisticated infrastructure and utilities in sectors, eg, electricity, highways, drinking and irrigation water, as well as the Colombo port and airports. In addition, education, agriculture and health were the prime targets of both Sri Lankan policymakers and donors/lenders.
There was a period when Sri Lanka was termed as “a Donor Darling” – Sri Lanka became a darling of the Western donors primarily due its subservience to the West under Jayawardena-Premadasa regime. However, since we attained lower-middle income country status, concessionary funding has not been available and therefore, most borrowings have been at commercial or near commercial lending rates. In this context, the country has accumulated over US$34.7bn debt up to 2019… for development projects, import of consumption items and direct budgetary support to meet current expenditure, including debt servicing.
At the moment, one of the most critical challenges for the Rajapaksa administration is managing or preferably reducing Sri Lanka’s debt while meeting the current level of foreign-exchange requirements and hopefully implementing necessary development projects.
While the selected development projects are generally presented to the multilateral donors; World Bank and ADB as well as bilateral lending institutions such as JICA, US-AID and similar institutions in China and EU countries, seeking loan financing, the rates of lending are equal or closer to market rates. Since 2007, borrowing through International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs), which became a common practice, has now emerged as the most serious challenge for the current government to ensure sustainability or reduce foreign debt.
The focus of this article is to discuss alternative methods of managing the debt, in spite of the Covid pandemic that has pushed almost the entire world (other than China) into a recession.
In this context, conventional economic policy pundits, academics and consultants recommend that the emerging economies such as Sri Lanka should seek refuge in IMF Programs. Based on IMF guarantees, the countries in foreign debt crisis will be eligible for further assistance from other multilateral and bilateral lenders, while qualifying for accessing the ISB Market. According to this prescription, without the support and blessing of the IMF, we have no way of securing sufficient funding for repayment of maturing debt, balance of payment requirements or development programs.
Since the election of the new government all our well-known economists, and many so-called experts have been promoting the above policy prescription, as Sri Lanka is, according their assessment, at the verge of a default and economic collapse. Most, if not all, these pundits were expecting the government will continue to proceed with the borrowing from the international markets subscribing to Samurai or Panda bonds. Surprisingly our conventional economic advisors are increasingly becoming impatient and critical of the Government for not negotiating with the IMF to enter into a program which will be entitled and receive loan facility and more importantly in turn qualify for raising finance through ISBs. Does this process lead to a reduction of debt or payback of loans? Of course not, nor reduction of debt burden or the severity of the debt problem.
As an IMF program is likely to impose conditionalities to meet the Fund’s debt sustainability parameters, the readers may perhaps understand that, this approach is not even to reduce the severity of the debt problem but for reducing the burden over the next few years by extending maturities probably through some form of ‘Grace Period’. The bottom line will be that Sri Lanka will continue to have challenging debt dynamics which I would like to call it as ‘IMF/ISB DEBT TRAP’, as long as we fail to achieve substantial increase of exports and FDI. In other words, we will merely be postponing and aggravating the debt problem unless we can accelerate growth by increasing production of tradable goods and services which will earn or save foreign exchange.
Cost of raising funds through International Sovereign Bonds – A sovereign bond is defined as a debt instrument issued by a national government to raise generally foreign-currency requirements in case of countries such as Sri Lanka. Sovereign bonds are denominated in foreign currencies such as USD, Euro, Japanese Yen, Chinese Yuan. The successful issue of ISBs require several steps engaging highly professional individuals and institutions including global banking giants. Under each of these steps many upfront costs are to be incurred by the government. A typical bond issue involves: fees (commissions) and other expenses. 3 large components of the fees, according to a World Bank document are for lead-managers, rating costs, and legal expenses. Interestingly those transaction costs are paid at time of issuance (upfront). In spite of the competition among the banks there is little transparency especially with regard to bond issues of countries like Sri Lanka. Another major expense is often for obtaining a rating for each bond which is generally similar to the fee for the lead-managers. There are also expenses for legal counsel, marketing especially road shows, fiscal and paying agents, and advisors. Cost will also depend on which markets are targeted for the road shows undertaken in major cities in developed market economies.
Throughout the Sri Lankan history of issuing ISBs people have only learned about the total value of the bond issues and subscribed, but not the direct and indirect costs that have been incurred in the process, eg, officials of the Central Bank, Ministry of Finance etc travelling to several capitals in the world for negotiations, road shows and other associated events etc, incurring scarce SL foreign exchange. Of course it should have provided very tempting incentives for this approach
Some economists who are faithful followers of IMF policy prescriptions prefer to identify the IMF/ISB Debt Trap as the symptom, not the cause of the problem. According to them, the debt trap was caused by poor fiscal outcomes over many years and IMF/ISB debt was incurred to meet deficit financing.
The most pertinent and decisive issue to raise is, what should be the alternative policy recommendations of our learned economists? As we all are well aware if Sri Lanka qualifies to receive assistance from the IMF, such funding will be as balance of payment support subject to certain conditionality, likely to include: removal or reduction of subsidies, removal of import controls, non-strategic assets privatization etc, and many such measures of government interventions.
Many, if not all these adjustments will be painful to the ordinary citizens and therefore, make it difficult to sell politically. If Sri Lanka, for that matter any other country in our predicament, is not willing to go through an IMF austerity program with its stringent conditionalities, what options are available? Let’s discuss what appears to be the economic management strategy of the current government. With the lockdown of the world economies and disruption of global value-chains, Sri Lankan government was compelled to ‘Close the Economy’ to some degree. Subsequently, the government policymakers seem to be implementing a fairly well-managed import administration scheme and associated measures to ensure enhanced foreign-exchange savings. Current import management scheme has selectively targeted non-essential ‘big-ticket’ items.
In order to prevent further deterioration of the debt situation, the government seems to be minimizing new borrowings for implementation of numerous development projects with commercial characteristics. Both acceding to IMF austerity programs, as well as controls imposed by the government, will have contractionary impact on the local economy. Of course, second option will reduce the confidence of capital markets, foreign equity investors and even some local enterprises. Generally, IMF programs are sold to a government in need of balance of payment support on the basis that agreement with the Fund would pave way for the country to achieve a higher sovereign rating and confidence of ISB investors.
Pertinent question here is, as learned economists, professionals and advisors, are they in a position to develop an alternative development strategy for Sri Lanka in order to overcome the current difficulties reducing the severity of the debt burden created primarily through borrowings from ISBs? It appears that the current administration is developing a strategy that will cause less pain to the people than under an IMF program and have more positive outcomes in terms of output, employment and income.
Unfortunately, however, in the past we’ve rarely seen Sri Lankan policymakers or even academics develop alternative concepts or strategies, instead of repeating what they learned as classical, neoclassical or Keynesian schools, reinforced by the training programs conducted by multilateral or bilateral lending agencies.
In conclusion, let me quote once again from my recently published article:
“Whatever the reasons are, instead of thinking independently on their own, most of our economists parrot their mentors in the west for short-term gains like easy recognition and self-fulfilment, promoting the same formula aggravating the vicious circle and perpetuating the misery of our people. Irony is that when a solution is needed, the only thing some of our experts are capable of recommending is to seek refuge in borrowing from multilateral or bilateral lending agencies. Most Sri Lankans need to be reminded that, Sri Lanka has already gone under 16-IMF Programs and reached the current predicament. This reminds us the famous saying attributed to Einstein: “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different outcomes’’.
Signs are that the current administration is deviating from the orthodoxy and searching for innovative and pragmatic development paths. (Based on keynote address delivered at 8th International Research Conference, by Economics & Statistics Dept, University of Peradeniya)
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.
• Ambassador Teplitz, are you traumatized too?
‘compared to what the USA has done all over the world, what happened (and is happening) in the Capitol is kids’ stuff.’
• International Criminal Court in Hague closes probe into English war crimes in Iraq
‘Bush and Blair branded as war criminals….Did England write ICC report on its own war crimes?
• Nothing comes free, even if it’s dollars from US COVID-19 aid bill
‘The aid also comes with other strings attached such as: investigating violations of human rights and holding perpetrators of such violations accountable; addressing land confiscation and ownership issues; resolving cases of missing persons and reducing the presence of the armed forces in former conflict zones etc.’
• Jaishankar speaks abrasively in Colombo
‘Jaishankar’s “virtual” criticism of the SL government’s policies was, perhaps, a reflection of the failure of his mission to Colombo or more likely made with an eye on the forthcoming election in Tamil Nadu…. Jaishankar’s American counterpart Mike Pompeo showered fulsome praise on him by tweeting, “The U.S.-India relationship was made all the stronger with a great diplomat and leader as my friend. Thank you @Jaishankar #HowdyModi #ModiHaitoMumkinHai”’
• Subramanyam Jaishankar and pounds of flesh
‘Prime Minister Modi is not exactly a clone of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who thought the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987 would be the Bhutanization of Sri Lanka.’
• Tamil Nadu Governor welcomes remarks made by Indian External Affairs Minister on 13A
• India First’ should be our resolve: PM Modi
• Fresh agreement with India to develop Palali airport: Minister
• What’s the buzz Jaishankar?
‘We won’t exactly see arms being twisted but diplomats do it with tongue, a wink and a handshake… Jaishankar’s visit is just weeks ahead of important UNHRC sessions. India is now the USA’s paw in the region.
• Jaishankar says it’s in Lanka’s own interest to render justice to Tamils
• India emphasizes on meaningful devolution, assures support for the reconciliation process
• The ECT Deal
‘Recently, Queensland Supreme Court ordered Adani to pay four terminal users damages for ‘unconscionable conduct’.’
• Why the Indian Takeover of ECT is a Conspiracy
• East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port: India wants deal sealed as quickly as possible
• Sri Lanka President, India’s Jaishankar discuss East Container Terminal, LNG plant
• No decision to handover East Container Terminal to any foreign entity: PM
• Sri Lanka seeking investor for East Terminal, expert committee report awaited: Ports Minister
• JVP accuses govt of sticking to yahapalana deal with India, handing over ECT to Adani Group
• India Offers to Boost SL Navy as China Challenges Delhi’s Dominance in Indian Ocean
• To Counter China, India Seeks Greater Economic Cooperation With Sri Lanka
• Equity brokerage says Chinese debt trap claims not based on objective evidence
• US, Maldives hold bilateral war talks following trilateral talks in Colombo
‘The move comes after the two countries signed a defence co-operation agreement in Washington DC weeks earlier. The United States delegation is to be led by Anthony Tata, acting Under Secretary for US Defence Policy. It will also include US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Allaina B. Teplitz and officials of the Defence Section of the US Embassy in Colombo. Last month, Colombo became the venue for trilateral talks including war matters between Sri Lanka, Maldives, and India.’
• LLRC Report – Betrayal of the Victory of the Security Forces in 2009
“removal of the 13th amendment of the Constitution enacted at gunpoint.’
• Importance of Jaishankar’s visit to Sri Lanka beginning on Tuesday
‘Former Tata employee now Foreign Minister will discuss: ‘Eastern Container Terminal in Colombo port, delays in Indian projects, Trincomalee oil tanks, 13A, Born-Again Tigers, Quad, and China’
• Indian External Affairs Minister picks SL for 2021’s first foreign tour
• Indian efforts to make amends for Training Tigers need to be appreciated – Peace Council
• A (13-A) dilemma: How can you unite by dividing?
‘“I delivered Sri Lankan Tamils more rights than what Tamils in Tamilnad enjoy; That Island is now like Bhutan.” Rajiv Gandhi, boasting at the Chennai airport, returning from Colombo.’
• SL under Indian pressure to retain 13A
• TNA unveils its constitutional proposals
• TNA calls for regional councils within a united Sri Lanka
• Indian Involvement and Sri Lanka’s Failure– Philips
‘There were of course machinations, but they were mostly of the raw bureaucratic kind, thanks to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s wannabe CIA. And whether it was Indian involvement or interference, it did not arise out of nothing and would not have transpired the way it did and to the extent it did, without compelling circumstances in Sri Lanka.’
• Indian Foreign Minister interacts with captains of local biz and industry
‘The invitees were MAS Holdings Chairman/Co-Founder Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean, John Keells Holdings Chairman and CEO Krishan Balendra, SLTDA Chairperson Kimarli Fernando, Indian CEO Forum Sri Lanka President Umesh Gautam, Sunshine Holdings PLC Group MD Vish Govindasamy, Brandix Lanka Limited Group CEO Ashroff Omar, Hayleys PLC Chairman and Chief Executive Mohan Pandithage and Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya.’
• India to expand engagement with certain economically promising areas
• Sri Lanka, India hold talks on ongoing development cooperation projects in North & East…
• Equality and difference: Some thoughts on religion and the pandemic – Coomaraswamy
‘Indian states that are organised linguistically also accept a pluralistic model although the Constitution ensures that the central Government has strong powers in case any of the states stray too far. Most of the regimes in South East and East Asia, on the other hand, have little patience with state models that value difference.’
• Govt. Shelves Plans for PC Polls
• Ponnambalam’s TNPF comes out opposing Provincial Councils
• PC polls should be held as early as possible – LSSP
• Sad news of professor Tissa Vitharana’s inability to reform himself!
• A Win-Win Solution To The Provincial Council Dilemma In Sri Lanka
‘Establish Provincial Councils with Members of Parliament elected at the General Election.’
• Raghavan alerts parliament to resolution about to be passed in Ontario against Lanka
• Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar invites Opposition Leader to visit India
• Dr. Dayan Jayatillake appointed senior international relations advisor to Opposition Leader
• “What interests me as a student of international relations” – Dayan Jayatillake
• Sajith Slaps Voters, Activists In The Face: Appoints Rajapaksa Ideologue Dayan J As International Relations Advisor
‘He‘s now advising the supposedly liberal opposition leader Premadasa,” said German Foreign Relations Council Fellow and Sri Lanka researcher Gerrit Kurtz.’
• George Cooke explores Sri Lanka’s multilateral past
• Unrealities of call for Covid-related burials – Wasala
• National Peace Council: Moving Towards Necessary Balance
• Ali Sabry cannot and should not continue as a Cabinet Minister
• Sri Lankan Americans protest outside US Congress
• Not only Muslims, but all communities lost funeral rights – Tharaka Balasuriya
• Korea could assist SL to reach pinnacle of development – Ambassador Woonjin Jeong
‘23,000 Sri Lankan employees are presently in Korea…. Sri Lanka is famous in Korea for rubber, coconut and graphite.’
• FM seeks to reopen employment in Korea
• Russia assures Sri Lanka; ready to share necessary scientific data
• Sri Lanka extends felicitations on Cuban National Day
‘Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara, State Minister Susil Premajayantha, Members of Parliament Prof. Tissa Vitharana and Yadamini Gunawardena representing the Sri Lanka-Cuba Friendship Association and a group of representatives from several political parties including Member of the Colombo Municipal Council Steven were also present’
• Ten Chinese caught spying in Kabul allowed to fly home
• English Opium Trade became the wedge to divide India and China
• China-India talks to hold ninth round of Commander-level talks on Ladakh standoff
• U.S. Foreign Policy Blob Knows The Real Threat From China – Has Ideas Of How To Defeat It
‘China’s development over the last 40 years proves that it is not necessary to wage wars in foreign countries to be secure and to prosper. For U.S. ideologues that is a bad example that should not exist’
• A perfect storm gathers in Persian Gulf
“Americans are on standby for fear of (Iran’s) revenge, and have flown two B-52 bombers over the Persian Gulf for show. All their military bases in the region are within the range of our missiles.” Trump’s much-touted “maximum pressure” against Iran has boomeranged.
• Biden needs Russia and China’s help to cut Trump’s Gordian knot on Iran
‘IAEA inspectors have shared valuable intelligence with the Americans which became inputs for Mossad to plot the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Make no mistake, Rouhani will have no option but to slam the door shut on the IAEA inspectors if the US sanctions are not lifted by February.’
• Saudi embrace of Qatar falls short of Gulf unity
‘Qatar, which had no air force worth mentioning has acquired around 100 fighter jets — and more are on the way — from France, UK and the US; Bayraktar TB2 drones drones from Turkey; Leopard 2A7 battle tanks from Germany; self-propelled artillery from Germany and short-range ballistic missiles from China; corvettes and submarines from Italy.’
• Witch Hunt Is Raging Against Critics of Israel throughout Europe
• Preview signals Biden’s foreign policy shifts
‘Biden will impose “substantial costs” on Russia.’
• How Trump ‘Appeased’ Russia
• Zimbabwe to fund white farmers’ compensation with mine revenue
• Chaos in THE Banana Republic
• Trump Leaving In Style
• Whither American Democracy?
‘a glaring anomaly that caught the attention is the apparent ineptness of security agencies to prevent the mayhem in the Capitol building.’
• By Wrongly Calling The Capitol Rabble ‘Terrorists’ Joe Biden Will Likely Create Some
• Riot on the Hill
‘That uber-Republican institution, the National Association of Manufacturers…yesterday called for Pence to use the 25th Amendment to depose Trump.’
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.
• The first Sri Lankan healthcare worker to die of Covid 19 is from Ratnapura hospital
• Medical lab technologists fear further relaxing of preventive measure to please businesses
• Sri Lanka must exercise caution and not be in hurry to import vaccine: Dr Nihal Abeysinghe
• The Third Wave and the Tourists!
• Prisoners unable to pay fines to be released
• Army’s LRRP Ambush of LTTE’s Military Intelligence Chief
‘Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) of the Sri Lanka Army’s Special Forces has been ranked the third most dangerous Special Forces in the world by the military ranks.’
• US charges 3 Sri Lankans over Easter attacks
• Public Security Minister pledges to standby his men who perform their duty
• Scandal-ridden Police Narcotics Bureau in major SLN-led operation involving int’l services
‘investigations revealed how a section of the PNB sold heroin stocks in its custody and maintained direct links with the underworld here as well as international drug dealers.’
• Fresh bid to prevent drugs being pilfered out of custody of Govt. Analyst’s Dept., Police
• Dompe Police OIC arrested with drugs
• Public Security Minister wants to “revamp the Police Department”
‘Failure of investigation is equally the result of a breakdown in the criminal justice administration, of the Judiciary and the court, of the AG and his role, of the police themselves and also of the prisons.’
• No acquisition of state sector institutions by military; Defence Secretary
• Monk blackmailed and killed for refusing to part with Rs 1 mn
• The MiG Deal: Why My Father Had To Die
• Phishing, social orchestrated attacks targeting Govt., Private sector on the rise: SLCERT
• 08-Decade Long Chronicle of Sri Lanka Signal Corps Released
• Foreign waste issue remains unsolved
‘SL is still struggling to complete the re-exportation of 263 containers of hazardous waste, including body parts from mortuaries clandestinely imported during the previous administration from England’
• Deceptive dangers of low-head dams
‘an estimated number of 1,100 deaths occurring due to drowning a year’
• Quackery, cozenage and double standards
• Justice Minister tells Parliament 37 archaic laws will be revised
• Opposition: Govt. meddling with judicial process
• Legal governance and its challenges: Civil society seeks answers from govt.
• Opp. Leader Concerned over Recent Monk Deaths
• One arrested with stock of explosives in Batticaloa
• Archaeological land in Lahugala at threat
• Destruction of archaeological sites in Trinco
• Sabry promises parliament will get copies of PCOI reports
• One held over damaging Buddha statue in Mawanella
‘The suspect is identified as Priyantha Sampath Kumara from Kegalle.’
• Four arrested in Peradeniya following theft of explosives from Mawanella
• 16 organisations in Australia send appeal to UN to persuade SL to allow burial of COVID dead
• Remains of all coronavirus victims will continue to be cremated as per experts committee – Health Minister
• Muslim leader accuses Govt. of attempt to radicalise youth by denying burial
• Geological reasons why Corona victims should not be buried in this country
• Shame if Government obtains vaccine from China or Russia – Daily Mirror
• Matale Police charges counsellor in child abuse case
• Terrorism affected 161 Police districts in India in 2019, according to report:
• The Trial of Julian Assange – Tariq Ali
‘the case against Assange – an initiative of Eric Holder, the US Attorney General under Obama – is little more than an attempt to suppress freedom of expression.’
• English Judge Rejects Assange Extradition
• Covid Is an Orchestration for Serving an Agenda—The Destruction of Freedom
• Congressmen told to get gas masks from under chairs as protesters storm Capitol Building
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.
• Options for Foreign Debt Management in Sri Lanka: Can we escape from IMF/ISB Debt Trap?
‘Financial benefits also have spilled over to Sri Lankan politicians, bureaucrats, and technocrats….foreign funded projects increased the availability of more sophisticated infrastructure and utilities in sectors such as, electricity, highways, drinking and irrigation water, as well as the Colombo port and airports. In addition, education, agriculture and health were the prime targets of both Sri Lankan policy makers and donors/lenders….[commercial] borrowings have been for development projects, import of consumption items and direct budgetary support to meet current expenditure, including debt servicing. The current debt situation.’
• Road Map 2021: Monetary and Financial Sector Policies for 2021 and Beyond – Central Bank
• Central Bank sees need for continuous interventions to support economy
‘The Central Bank plans to review the performance of the open economy policies introduced from 1977, allowing the country to follow a focused approach to becoming an industrial economy.’
• CB eyes 14% private credit growth; hints at remaining dovish throughout 2021
• Comprehensive monetary policy report from second half: Central Bank
‘the Central Bank would utilise unconventional data sources to conduct regular analysis to inform the monetary policy decision-making.’
• Prosperity declined in Sri Lanka in 2019: Central Bank
• Sri Lanka to encourage bank mergers, expand to region: CB Governor
• Sri Lanka banking sector moves towards ‘new normal’ with resilience
‘Referring to certain reports on the rejection of the bank’s LC’s by foreign banks, he noted that no such refusal had been made by any such bank up to now as BOC has a strong sovereign credit profile. It has recorded the highest asset base of Rs.2.9 trillion, highest deposit base of Rs.2.3 trillion and has maintained its market leadership in trade finance, treasury operations including its’ more than 40% market share of inward remittances’
• MMT, deficit financing and printing money – Liyanage
• Three formidable challenges in 2021: Containing COVID, debt repayment and fiscal deficits
‘The most serious economic challenge this year is the meeting of the country’s foreign debt repayments. With the country’s foreign reserves as low as about US$ four billion, a continuing trade and balance of payments deficit and no significant inflows of capital, the country’s external finances are in a perilous state.’
• A Child’s Guide to Economy.21: Challenge is to turnaround bankrupt SL Inc. – Wijewardene
‘Institute of Policy Studies State of the Economy reports, and independent analysts had repeatedly told…the economy was sick from around 2013, when multiple symptoms of the ailment began to manifest themselves. They included slowing growth, ballooning budget deficits, balance of payments problems, rising public debt and increased pressure for the exchange rate to depreciate. These were all structural issues in Sri Lanka’s economy, and they all needed very quick permanent fixes.’
• Brexit: Fishing in troubled waters – Reductio ad Abeyratnum
‘The UK is a service-sector economy with over 70 per cent value added contribution to GDP and over 80 per cent contribution to employment. The sector is dominated by finance, transport, ICT, trade, and hotels and restaurants.’
• Forecast for 2021 – Michael Roberts
‘Big pharma companies are set to make huge profits from the vaccine sales; the fossil fuel companies are continuing to expand their explorations and production. Companies everywhere are out to reduce jobs and conditions for workers. And governments are talking of having to tighten belts on spending and taxation once the pandemic subsides in order to pay for the huge fiscal and monetary spending of the last year. Global warming is resuming, inequality of wealth and income is unchanged and poverty in global south is worsening, while stock markets boom. That’s the prospect for 2021.
• Global economy to expand by 4% in 2021; World Bank says
• American Economic Association 2021 – part one: the mainstream dilemma
‘Former central bank governor of India, Raghuram Rajan, now back at his neoclassical base at the University of Chicago, raised the risk of rising corporate debt turning into ‘corporate distress’’
• ASSA 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting Papers Presented
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.
• National Development Banking Corporation to be established by merging three state banks
• COPA decides to publicise names of tax defaulters
• Govt. readying to start investment projects
• Sri Lanka to improve resolution of failing banks: CB Governor
• Sri Lanka import controls ‘essential’, open economy to be reviewed: CB Governor
‘it is essential that foreign exchange leakages for non-essential imports and outward investment are minimised, thereby allowing the domestic production economy to reap the intended benefits from easy monetary conditions,’
• Central Bank pledges to stick to single digit interest rates
‘Wants banks to funnel low-cost funds to start-ups, industry expansion into high growth areas’
• Sri Lanka extends new exchange controls till July 02, 2021
• Restriction on outward remittances on capital transactions extended till July 01, 2021
• Non-essential import restrictions for 6 more months
‘a small group of corporate élites will grab benefits from the production-oriented strategy of restricting imports making the poor poorest due to loss of livelihoods during COVID-19.’
• Due to sin of floating rupee country has to pay extra Rs 1,155 bn in settling foreign debt
• SL economy to contract 3.9% in 2020: CB Chief
• Sri Lanka’s economy to grow 3.3% in 2021: World Bank
• All clear for a stronger GDP growth trajectory in 2021 – Asia Securities Research
• Rise in Mergers and Acquisitions as companies steer COVID -19
‘On December 17, Sunshine Holdings PLC announced the merger of its healthcare business consisting of Sunshine Healthcare Lanka and Healthguard Pharmacy with the healthcare arm of Akbar Brothers.’
• Purchasing Covid vaccines: Diplomatic level talks completed with Russia, India, China
• US$ 2.5bn currency swap deals with China and India
• Sri Lanka swap with Peoples’s Bank of China in advanced stage: Minister Cabraal
• Central Bank printed a record Rs. 650 b in 2020
• Sri Lanka sells Rs40bn in bills in first auction, CB bill stock Rs738bn
• Sri Lanka Development Bonds in more foreign currencies, direct bond sales eyed: CB Governor
‘In 2020, Sri Lanka had also taken loans from the foreign currency banking units of banks, a practice which was discontinued in favour of Sri Lanka Development Bonds, which had a secondary market’
• Govt. for pro-growth policies, says PM
• Not a single LC of BOC turned down due to downgrading: BOC chairman
• Sinister move to allow private companies to run expressways: SJB MP
“The total debt of local tourist industrialists has been estimated at Rs. 350 billion and no opportunity is provided for these industrialists who have been affected.”
• President sets one year deadline for Lanka Salt to earn profit
‘The organization with 90% ownership of the company’s capital by the ETF and 10 % by the employees transformed itself into a profit making venture. President Rajapaksa stressed that it is absolutely necessary for every company under Employees Trust Fund (EPF) to earn profits’
• President appoints 18-member DeRegulation Commission to simplify existing laws
• The State Timber Corporation incurred a loss of Rs. 1,146 million since 2016
• Inland Revenue’s income deficit in 2018 is Rs. 1.3 trillion
‘More than Rs. 3 billion should be paid again to a Singaporean company every time a tax amendment is made to the computerised system ‘RAMIS’ to streamline tax collection…stablished at a cost of over Rs. 4 billion.’
• SOE losses surge as State banks’ profits swoon
‘If not for the lower earnings of the three major State banks—Bank of Ceylon (BoC), People’s Bank and National Savings Bank (NSB), due to the effects of the pandemic, the cumulative profits of the SoEs would have turned positive as a number of other State-owned businesses improved their financial performances in 2020 even amid virus related disruptions to their operations.’
• Central Bank hopeful of PayPal’s arrival in Sri Lanka
‘Sri Lankan digital entrepreneurs are compelled to rely on intermediaries, who would charge almost 14 percent of the income earned as various fees to obtain their payments for their gigs, particularly with the US and European companies.’
• India’s economic recovery will benefit Sri Lanka – Dr Jaishankar
• China Sentences Ex-Finance Chief to Death on Corruption
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
• Port workers protest over ECT controversy
• Planters Association Opposes Wage Increases
‘Planters Association (PA) Media Spokesman and Hayleys Plantations Managing Director Roshan Rajadurai queried the reason for demanding an increase when all other sectors were going through pay cuts and job losses.’
• Taste of tea soured by worker issues – Editorial
• Sri Lanka to take-over plantations company hospitals with land
• Junior hospital staff in Puttalam district go on strike
‘About 1500 junior staff at District Hospitals, Base Hospitals and Rural Hospitals have gone on strike over failure to pay overtime allowances due to them from November and December last year’
• Pilots slam UL management for failing to implement COVID-19 protection measures
• EPF’s equity investment grows and CB revises guidelines
‘The highest sum of Rs.448.73 million has been invested in Access Engineering PLC ….also in in ACL Cables PLC, Aitken Spence PLC, Hayleys PLC..’
• Recognising garment workers
‘Their workforce numbering nearly 350,000 in and outside investment zones and directly and indirectly, is much higher than the workforce on tea and rubber plantations managed by plantation companies.’
• New seafarers association to help increase SL seafarers to 50,000
• 4,000 jobs for poor youth from North and East under govt scheme, assures Minister Devananda
• Free quarantine for all expatriate workers hereafter: Namal
• SJB demands Govt. repatriate stranded migrant workers
‘• Fixed income earners, dependent on retirement pensions affected by low deposit interest rates
• Minimum age of employment to be raised from 14 to 16
‘Four Bills including amendments to the Shop and Office Employees (Regulation of Employment and Remuneration) Act, Employment Of Women, Young Persons And Children Act (No. 47 of 1956)- Section 9, Minimum Wages (Indian Labourers) Ordinance and the Factories Ordinance No. 45 of 1942 will be taken up for debate’
• UNDP’s Global Human Development Report (HDR 2020) was handed over to Prime Minister
‘Life expectancy at birth increased by 7.5 years. Average years of schooling increased by 2.3 years.’
• Gender equality and food security in rural South Asia
‘Globally, nearly 690 million people were hungry in 2019…. hunger in Asia has declined since 2015, the continent still accounts for more than half of the world’s hungry, or undernourished, at approximately 381 million people…. 29 percent of agricultural workers in SL are women’
• Indian killed when a boiler exploded in Kotadeniyawa factory
‘the factory is run by an Indian company employing a large number of Indians’
• Sri Lanka should start fund to bring back stranded workers: Harsha
‘the Foreign Employment Bureau had a fund of 10 billion rupees, a part of which had could be used.’
• Foreign Ministry attends to monumental task of repatriating thousands stranded overseas
• SLIM ‘Leading Liyo’ to empower female professionals
The Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing panel discussion to address the ‘Role of Gender Equality in accelerating Economic Revival’… including Thusitha Molligoda, Senior Investment Officer, Asian Development Bank; Dr. Ravi Fernando, Chairman / CEO, Global Strategic Sustainability Pvt Ltd. / Visiting Lecturer in Residence INSEAD Business School, France; Himalee Madurasinghe, Chief Executive Officer, Kantar Sri Lanka and Thilanka Abeywardena, Vice President, SLIM / Chief Marketing Officer Lead, South East Asia New Markets, Microsoft Sri Lanka Pvt Ltd. The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Janaki Kuruppu, Founder / Chairperson, Mother Sri Lanka Trust / Former Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tea Board and Former Chairperson, Regional Development Bank…”the Female Board Room representation in Sri Lanka is 8%, which is way too low in comparison to neighbouring India and Bangladesh.”
• Public Servants take oaths to implement President’s manifesto
‘State officers of the past had to take an oath to uphold the Constitution.’
• Chinese province grants women two days’ paid ‘period leave’ a month, but some fear it will lead to workplace discrimination
• Persistence through Revolutions
“Can efforts to eradicate inequality in wealth and education eliminate intergenerational persistence of socioeconomic status?
• Sick as a Dog: Field Notes from a Medicare disaster in Canada
“The Canadian Medicare system, the most revered of all government programs, has been transformed from a wonderful idea–that Canadians should have-cradle-to-grave health care of equal quality across the country without reference to the ability to pay– into a system of conflicting systems rapidly losing public trust while hoovering up to half of most provinces’ budgets.”
• Hundreds of Google Employees Unionize, Culminating Years of Activism
• Trumpism Will Endure
‘a right-wing response to the objective conditions of economic decay and a perceived moral decay that emerged from a coalition of important sectors of the white working class and middle class with the predominantly white Evangelical churches and with traditional white anti-government conservatives.’
• Hopes for 2021?
‘Minority senior citizens are reckoned to comprise a majority of the 110,000 nursing home deaths highlighted in the New York Times yesterday: a massacre equal in number to a common estimate of those killed by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.’
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.
• Developing agri sector key aim of Budget 2021: President
‘Says import substitution will benefit farmers’
• Five mafias obstructing growth in agri-sector – Minister
‘The Minister stated that these large scale mafias such as paddy, rice, vegetables, seeds and fertilizers are completely destroying the future of agriculture in the country.’
• Finance Ministry instructed to submit report on sugar tax scam
• PM instructs authorities to provide credit facilities to small and medium-scale rice growers
• SL Army establishes Agriculture and Livestock Corps Unit
• Over 7500 Cattle Infected with New Virus
• Human environment-friendly agricultural practices “very low”: National Audit Office
‘Between 2013 and 2017, the country brought in 28,640 metric tons of pesticides. More than half of it was herbicides. But the audit observed a continuous demand for Profenofos, Carbosulfan and Fenobucarb, all of which were insecticides.’ By June last year, 80 importers were listed with the Office of the Registrar of Pesticides.’
• Turmeric farmers ‘complain’ of substandard harvest due to import controls
• Consuming foods with artificial flavors and coloring inevitably lead to kidney diseases
‘The Secretary of the Association of Oncologists claims that 76 new cancer patients are admitted every day on average. There’s more. Unilever adds SDBS to soaps such as Lux and Lifebuoy, something that’s not done in any other country.’
• Land registration goes digital
• Coastal reservoirs: A paradigm shift in the development of water resources
‘According to the National Water Supply and Drainage Board, 8.4% of the population still has no access to safe drinking water…. the unused water flowing to the sea is estimated to be approximately 25% of the total annual runoff of the country.’
• Geological explanation of the recent Earth tremors near Victoria Dam
• Lanka Sathosa Chairman says he was neither sacked nor was there a ‘rice scandal’
• Govt. sets new guaranteed prices for paddy
• Selling paddy stocks to private millers: CID probes PMB officers
• Sri Lanka to ban use of maize for production of alcohol & ethanol
• Sri Lanka state-run trading firm to buy paddy at Rs50-Rs44 a kilo
• Trade Ministry to set fix price for 10 essential commodities for six months
• Where have all the fish gone?
‘The status of Sri Lanka’s coastal fish stocks-harvested over or a little beyond the continental shelf – is not any better…the seas around Sri Lanka are full of fish – that unfortunately is not true’
• Sri Lanka begins seafood exports to Ukraine from Mattala
• Amaraweera denies allegation SL fifth largest marine polluter
• Rwandan help to fight Fall Army Worm part of on-going cooperation – Army spokesman
‘a number of Rwandan officers are graduates of the Kotelawela Defense University’
• Sena Caterpillar – Why Entomologists from Rwanda?
‘The authorities appear to be unaware that in Sri Lanka there are many qualified Entomologists who could have advised on control of SC. What a shame.’
• SLIMA urges govt. fall in line with countries and UN on using cannabis for medical purposes
• Focus more on developing tea, rubber, coconut and minor export crop plantation sector
‘Sustained economic growth is always accompanied by technological improvements that enable people (labour), land, and existing capital to become more productive.’
• George Steuarts makes a Rs. 3.50 per share offer for tea exporter HVA Foods
The directors of HVA are Messrs. Rohan Fernando (chairman), Ms. Varuni Amunugama Fernando (non-executive), BSM de Silva (Independent non-executive) and D. Hettiarachchi (Independent non-executive)… George Steuarts, originally an agency house managing plantations, is now into manifold activities including pharmaceutical import and distribution, tea, insurance broking and consultancy services, money broking, financial consultancy, travel, leisure, hotels (operates three hotels) and many more. Dilith Jayaweera heads the group. He’s into television (Derana) and newspapers…’
• Tea as a subject in Peradeniya University curriculum will help recognize its economic potential
‘The panel discussion included the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. Gamini Pushpakumara, Tea Commissioner, Jayantha Edirisinghe, Deputy Chairman, Planters’ Association of Ceylon, Senaka Alawathegama and Brian Baptist, a representative of the Brokers’ Association of Ceylon.
• Tea output projected to recover this year
• Cardinal condemns tourism zone in Muthurajawala
• Development project places Nawala wetland at risk
• Farmers suspected of poisoning birds that raid their paddy fields
‘Farmers are alleged to have poisoned birds in Eluwankulama area bordering the Wilpattu Forest’
• “Sri Lanka has an answer and it’s coming from the village”
‘Sri Lanka’s new ‘economic trinity’ combining agriculture, craft and sustainable tourism,’
• CENS: Worst rape of environment last year in country’s history
‘The Centre for Environmental and Nature Studies estimates that Sri Lanka lost more than 10 acres of forests on a daily basis from January to December 31, 2020.’
• MER for jumbos obstructed by ‘land work’ Two-legged ‘white elephants’ with crooked mindset threaten Hambantota wild elephants
• Angry villagers attack wildlife office after two leopard attacks kill one and injure one
• SL blue whale is a superb athlete. Is she also a scholar? Considerations on cetacean brainpower.
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.
• Govt gives green light for mining iron ore at Chilaw
‘The Environment and Industries Ministries have joined hands to utilise an iron ore found at Panirendawa, Chilaw, where some 87 million tonnes of the raw material is available’
• New Industry Ministry Secretary
‘Career civil servant Anish Pelpita yesterday assumed duties as the new Secretary to the Ministry of Industries held by Wimal Weerawansa.’
• Pasan Wanigasekara to assume duties as BOI Director General
• COPE to summon five Govt. institutions this month
‘The Independent Television Network (ITN), Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship fund, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the Coconut Development Authority are to be summoned before the COPE’
• COVID-19: JVP tells govt. magic cannot help tackle pandemic
• Combined solar system for Sri Lanka
‘Sri Lanka has over six million houses, with an average roof area of around 75,000 hectares, which could generate in excess of 160 GW of energy from roof-top solar.’
• Central Expressway: COPE barking up the wrong tree
• Professionals who opened LCs before import ban want their vehicles
• Govt. urged to update book value of imported ceramic products
“As of now the ceramic industry of Sri Lanka has 20,000 employees, and with the current government policy, manufacturers are willing and ready to invest around Rs.20 billion to expand their current production and to set up new factories, which will in turn create around 15,000 – 20,000 new job opportunities for our youth”
• Pharmaceutical Industry opposes Import Controls
‘the National Medicine Regulatory Authority of Sri Lanka has imposed a price ceiling on 73 molecules’
• New Amami factory in Kadawatha declared open by Ranil de Silva
‘the first SL to manufacture and supply amenity kits for tourist hotel services…. All these products are 100% manufactured locally using local raw materials and the factory employs over 50 people.’
• Law to liberalise gem mining licence before P’ment soon
• Ban limestone quarrying near Victoria – Experts
• UDA repeals 29 development plans, raising concerns
• SL will commence exporting smart meters this year: Minister Alahapperuma
‘Ante LECO Metering Company (Pvt) Ltd. is a subsidiary of LECO, where 70 per cent of the shares are owned by LECO and 30% by Ante Meter Company Ltd. of China. This is the only Energy Meter Manufacturing Company here and it will supply the total requirement of household electricity meters to the Ceylon Electricity Board and LECO -Lanka Electricity Company.’
• History and design: Making the connection
‘At the upcoming Sri Lanka Design Festival (SLDF) this month, Channa will look at some of the country’s design history’
• Lankan-born Louiqa Raschid makes Sri Lanka proud in computer science
‘Professor, Robert H. Smith School of Business and the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies… named a Fellow by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).’
• Several Anglos with SL origin make it to the Queen’s New Year Honours list
• Prof. Ravi Silva of Surrey Univ. gets highest English honour title CBE
‘a founding director of the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTec) in 2008, a private- public partnership where he acts as an advisor and sits on the board of directors. Since 2005 he has worked with the National Science Foundation (NSF), Sri Lanka to establish nanotechnology…He spent a year in 2008, acting as an Advisor to the Minister of Science and Technology in Sri Lanka..’
• Delhi HC Allows Intervention Applications in Copyright Case Against Sci-Hub, Libgen
• ‘Matter Of Public Importance Concerning Entire Scientific Community’ : Delhi HC Refuses To Restrain LibGen Publications
• Twitter suspends Sci-Hub account amid court case in Delhi
‘Twitter suspension “happened right after Indian scientists revolted against Elsevier and other academic publishers’
• England could be mass-producing its Covid shot. Shame we junked our industrial base
• A Harvard professor says an alien visited in 2017 and more are coming
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.
• Alastair Corera appointed chairman of Citizens Development Business Finance PLC
‘He was Country Head of Fitch Ratings Lanka Limited for two years from 2004 to 2006 and prior to that functioned as General Manager of Forbes ABN-AMRO Securities Pvt Ltd. And joining the CDB Board as Non-Executive Director with effect from December 31st 2020 is Chartered Marketer Samitha Hemachandra who has over twenty years’ experience in marketing and is General Manager Marketing of Ceylinco Life and Director of Ceylinco Healthcare Services.
• Browns investments says ‘no undisclosed price-sensitive information’
• Fmr. Directors of Swarnamahal Jewellers Ltd re-arrested
• NAML’s National Equity Fund surpasses ASPI by over 40%
‘National Asset Management Limited is a subsidiary of Union Bank of Colombo PLC and an associate of DFCC Bank PLC.’
• ComBank launches CBC Finance as successor to Serendib Finance
• Investor sentiment improves in the wake of CBSL statement
• CSE market cap crosses Rs.3 trillion mark
• CSE’s ASPI forges ahead crossing 7,000-point mark first time since 2015
• LOLC Investments disposes its stake in BPPL Holdings
‘LOLC’s fully owned subsidiary LOLC Investments Ltd., has sold its 26.25% stake in BPPL Holdings, exporter of brushes using recycled material, to parent’s Executive Director Kalsha U. Amarasinghe for Rs. 1.3 billion.’
• People’s Leasing offers Rs. 60 b as loan relief to over 75,000 customers impacted by COVID
‘product portfolio includes leasing, auto loans, fixed deposits, savings accounts, housing and business loans, gold loans, margin trading, factoring, and Islamic financial services. People’s Leasing Conglomerate consists of six subsidiaries – People’s Insurance, People’s Micro-Commerce, People’s Leasing Property Development Ltd., People’s Leasing Fleet Management Ltd., People’s Leasing Havelock Properties Ltd., and its latest foreign venture, Lankan Alliance Finance Ltd., in Bangladesh.
‘”When I became the Ambassador to Russia only 456 tourists had arrived in Sri Lanka in 2005. I increased this figure to 86,000 tourists per annum”’
• “I am the Godfather of Russian tourists” – Udayanga Weeratunga
• Death and Mayhem Inside US Capitol Building and Stock Market Gains 437.8 Points. Why?
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’
• Sri Lanka fails to See the Value of Street Vendors
• Credit card spend slides in November as virus fears cut consumption
‘ Total outstanding credit card balance declines to Rs.114.1bn from Rs.115.6bn in Oct.
Sri Lanka had a total outstanding credit card balance of Rs.121.489 billion by the end of 2019.’
• Ex-JKH Jit Gunaratne joins CIC Holdings Board
‘The Board of CIC Holdings comprises Harsha Amarasekera (Chairman), M.P. Jayawardena, Rusi S. Captain, Steven Enderby, P.R. Saldin, S. Fernando, Sujeewa Mudalige and Jit R. Gunaratne.’
• Zafir Hashim in to John Keells PLC Board
• Murali Prakash to step down from Ambeon Group
• MTD Walkers owners say deal with Lakma Holdings off
• Minority shareholder seeks SEC intervention: Controversy Over MTD Walkers AGM
• Cabraal promotes local payment platforms
• Browns Investments shares appreciate
• Parking in the hub of Colombo with ‘Hydeparking’
“there is constant surveillance and monitoring of the premises with CCTV and 24×7 Security on site. …ensures disciplined parking layout. … Hydeparking is managed and operated by David Pieris Motor Company (Private) Limited, a member of David Pieris Group of Companies.
• Parliament set to approve tax concessions for CIFC this week
• Udayanga’s Ukrainian tourists bend the rules, star hotels arm-twisted to slash rates
• ACL Cables achieves (SL) A+ ICRA Lanka credit rating for 4th consecutive year
‘ACL Cables retains a market share of 70% as a group enjoying a dominant market position in the cable industry as the No. 1 cable in Sri Lanka.’
• Fairfirst Insurance pioneering the Cyber Insurance Segment
‘Cybersecurity market is to be worth in excess of US$430 billion by 2027.’
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.
• It will take a lot to bury 2020, but let’s give thanks for being alive – Island Politics
• Mixed bag of issues for ruling alliance: More difficult than 2020 – Times Political Editor
“People are concerned about unemployment, travel restrictions, the worsening economy and the skyrocketing cost of living due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, they are not concerned of the political situation. People only want COVID-19 eradicated before PC elections.” – JVP
• Get to grips, Gota!
‘In my opinion, most of the fault lies not with the President but the politicians around him!’
• Must the President do all the work?
• SLPP constituent proposes recognition of dissidents, stricter controls on lawmakers et al
• Delusion Unlimited!
‘Deputy Leader of the United National Party (UNP), Ruwan Wijewardene, has stated that his party will dialogue with the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) with a view to forging an election pact.’
• SJBers panic over Champika’s 43rd brigade
• Marriage of Blues on the rocks?
• CBK: ‘I am SLFP Chairperson’
‘The SLFP’s prolonged stay in the Opposition from 1977 to 1994 was due to internecine clashes among its leaders including the members of the Bandaranaike family.’
• SL needs confidence boost to lift it out of morass; time for a national approach to governance?
‘The governance model has to change if Sri Lanka is to learn a lesson from its position as a State that seems destined to fail if life goes on as usual’
• Arthashasthra, for new thinking on Sri Lanka statecraft
‘no attention has been paid to increasing economic productivity and building state capacity.’
• On bargains struck with the devil and a New Year with little cheer
‘The sorry sight of a meekly genuflecting Minister of Health before a crowd of militant monks in front of the Presidential Secretariat who were insisting that, ‘they’ brought this Presidency and this Government into power and that, ‘no Muslims’ were involved in that exercise is just an inkling of potential hatreds and misery that 2021 holds in store for Sri Lanka.’
• Lankan Ministry of Epidemics denies appointing panel on disposal of COVID dead
• Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam’s rejection of Provincial Councils – sour grapes
• SLFP with its 1.5 per cent attempts Hara-kiri?
• The Pohottuwa Government of Sri Lanka Part 2 C4b
• Checking ‘de-democratisation of the state’ through vibrant civic activism
• Whose post-pandemic century?
‘the real dividing line is not political but geographical. Regardless of whether a country is democratic or authoritarian, an island or continental, Confucian or Buddhist, communitarian or individualistic, if it is East Asian, Southeast Asian, or Australasian, it has managed COVID-19 better than any European or North American country.’
• Lankan names on Queen’s 2021 honours list
• The Political Odyssey of Arthur Rosenberg, Germany’s Forgotten Marxist
• US Electoral Fraud
• Whispering hope from a white-washed sepulcher
‘The Biden-Harris administration is expected to take effective steps to end white racist supremacy which has led to the plunder of poor people and poor countries for centuries. Sri Lanka also was a victim.’
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.
• Mass Media Minister promises to probe ITN losses since 2016
• Cabinet nod to amend Press Council Law to include new media
• Obstacles to the right to freedom of expression on social media must be defeated: FMM
• Unbowed and unafraid, Lasantha spoke truth to power – Jeyaraj
• Lasantha’s daughter seeks relief from UN
• Fund for theatre sans a burden to govt.
‘Of all the arts in Sri Lanka, the theatre, is the most uncared for, neglected, considered unworthy of development.’
• Professor Vini Vitharana
• Spicy breezes from the strategic Isle of the Indian Ocean
‘As Somanader referenced 77 years ago, we should not be limiting ourselves to providing eggs and honey for the construction of forts thereby ensuring someone’s prosperity – and not ours.’
• The Queen gives nod to Senior Conservative Party Advisor
‘Gaj Wallooppillai, the International Secretary of the world’s oldest political party, was given the honour of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.’
• Meeting the Maha Mudaliayar as a young ASP
‘the Bandaranaikes had been ‘Poosaris’ of the Nawagamuwa Devala who had got contracts from the British Government to supply labour and metal for the construction of the Colombo-Kandy Rd.’
• A documentary on musician and singer Gration Ananda
• Search for Ehelepola’s grave in Mauritius
‘someone who took the trouble of cleaning the grave. Someone who carried flowers and laid them for a man who died 165 years ago.’
• Memories of life in Russia in 1971
• Yet More About the Burghers of Ceylon/ Sri Lanka
‘He was able to convince the higher authorities of the Colonial Government to abandon the idea of replacing Royal College with a University College.’
• A People in-between East and West
• Battuta in Lanka: Not just the past but a contemporary narrative too
• Enhancing the Delights of Reading
• Please note ee’s new email address: eConeNews@gmail.com.
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