US-Indo ReColonization & IMF Death-Debt Trap

Before you study the economics, study the economists!

e-Con e-News  24-30 April 2022


May May Day Unite All Workers to Say NO to the IMF!

He may be a fool, but he’s our fool

If you think you’re better than him, you’re wrong

Randy Newman, Kingfish

A man clambers up onto that iconic statue of SWRD Bandaranaike facing that sea called Arabian, that ocean called Indian. The statue strives to stride forward, looking beyond Galle Face’s green, beyond Colombo’s colonial port and fort, that epitome of siege, of foreign bankers’ usury, of merchant agency houses’ grand theft.

     Standing on SWRD’s right forearm and hand (injured in the 1959 assassination when he was shot in the stomach) the rappeler snakes a rope knotted around his own belly, between his own legs and nooses it around SWRD’s neck. He then wraps a black flag to blindfold SWRD’s eyes. The middle-class crowd goes wild. ‘Pull the statue down’, demands an online rag called Tamil Guardian. (This same rag stated that Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar has declared his willingness to turn Sri Lanka into a state of India, which the Indian High Commission plausibly denies).

     The garotte and blindfold on SWRD recalls US torture in their Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo concentration camps, tormenting those who offer resistance to their invasions. SWRD inaugurated diplomatic links between Sri Lanka and China. He began to remove English military bases, 10 years after ‘independence’. This was too much for the whites to handle. SWRD stands in a long line of leaders in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, murdered to prevent leaders of our own choosing (see Random Notes). They now wish to murder him again.

So! Sri Lanka has been taken hostage again. Yet another explosion ‘from mysterious causes’ midst rabid consumption by a colonially installed oligarchy. People now also have to pay for capitalism’s more frequent and greater crises and shifts as well.

     The ‘Asian Financial Crisis’ of 1997 struck the day after England had to handover Hong Kong to China, crippling Hong Kong’s economy.

     Now a multifaceted US-led NATO political, economic and military strategy aims to plunge Sri Lanka into chaos. Others countries will soon crash. The latest NATO plan for Sri Lanka escalated their compromising, corrupting, and now blackmailing of a popular leadership. Character assassination. Speculators (aka ‘grey market’) attack the rupee (via banks, fund managers, rating agencies). Private merchants openly disrupt the supply of essential goods, fuel, etc. Planned food riots are foreshadowed via US-funded thinktanks like Verité – all to divert from the recolonization of the country by the USA and India.

     In 2020, NATO called for partnership with India, to deepen cooperation with their ‘Indo Pacific’ partners – the Quad Alliance (US, Australia, Japan, India) – to counter China. They now attack Russia too. They prevent Sri Lanka obtaining lower-cost fuel & funds from China & Russia, while they themselves violate at will their own sanctions against Russia and China. Their media wish us to blame China & Russia instead.

The talking guns of Geneva went quiet on ‘human rights’ on April 1, just as protests erupted across Sri Lanka; protests simultaneously broadcast to the world. From Geneva, midst the Mirihana hullabaloo, Sri Lanka was next hauled into the offices of the principal bookies at the US Treasury, etc., in the US-capital Washington: The International Monetary Fund (IMF).

     The media praised the event, saying Sri Lanka’s government has finally agreed to go to the IMF. The truth is: the white man beckoned. We’ve long been in IMF thrall. The great white father’s accountants, including a brown sahib, now hand down new orders. They demand we more actively join their latest assault (both military & economic war) against China and Russia. The white media is falsely blaming Russia for the rise in food and fuel prices. Blaming China for so-called ‘debt traps’ and corrupting leaders. The World Bank & IMF wish us to give China a ‘haircut’ first, hence the IMF & WB’s rather confused statement demanding ‘transparency’ on debt. Banks talking ‘transparency’! Ha!

     Acceding to the IMF clearly got Sri Lanka a not-so-simple pass at the recently concluded 49th UNHRC session following the tabling of the High Commissioner’s report. ‘31 nations spoke in support of Sri Lanka, while 12 spoke against’. It shows, we’re told, that Sri Lanka is ‘not isolated on the world stage with regard to human rights, as some critics claim’.

     Yet the IMF means more war to implement their ‘restructuring’ package. The IMF will demand more than a pound of flesh to attract the flies!

‘At last, IMF is viewed as the saviour’ –WA Wijewardena, Wijeya News FT economist

‘The IMF have an ideological agenda.

They’re not looking at data, they’re not interested in the data

–Economics Professor Howard Nicholas on the IMF Report on Sri Lanka

• The devaluation of the rupee, and consequent overvaluation of the US dollar, is blamed on the ‘downgrades’ by US-regulated ratings agency. These downgrades are said to be based ‘on subjective considerations of confidence’. Confidence in what? In the ability to promise funds a good steady return on their money. And what gives them happy returns? The stealing of public assets. The IMF – ‘lender of the last resort!’ wants to buy and sell off strategic assets of Sri Lanka, as signalled by the thwarted MCC agreement (that Nepal also rejected but has also now been forced to accept).

     Former US Under Secretary for South & Central Asia, Alice G Well, rated Sri Lanka as ‘a valuable piece of real estate’ in the Indian Ocean. So why do they lack confidence? Here is why:

‘Sri Lanka does not allow foreign ownership of assets fearing loss of sovereignty

– PK Balachandran, ee Focus

Our foreign and economic policy is now to be drafted via a heavily fortified cubicle in the US embassy in Kollupitiya, with the Finance Minister only required to ink in the blanks. The North Atlantic will flow into the Mahaveli and the Kelani, soon plugging up our 103 rivers, rivers that the prophetic DJ ‘Laxapana’ Wimalasurendra once hoped could energize the country.  He was undermined by such monopolies as Anglo-Dutch Shell (set up in Singapore) and Pearson (now monopolizing the selling of textbooks, even examinations to flee abroad!)

     This ee also has a Sri Lanka Association for Political Economy statement, No Surprises! highlighting the ‘Foreign Exchange Crisis’. Yet ee continues to insist: underdevelopment is the prevention of investment in modern industrialization, requiring recapture of our own home market.

• An overabundance of economic coroners are conducting postmortems. None clearly state that it’s the prevention of a modern industrial state that underlies all other maladies. This week, the guru of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), Stephanie Kelton, retorted angrily to a Bloomberg assertion that former Central Bank governor WD Lakshman used her MMT theory. Lakshman however had made a stray comment of his strategy having some likeness to MMT (see ee Focus, Kelton), which US-funded EconomyNext distorted

     Yet another US expert – Steve Hanke, Applied Economics Professor, John Hopkins University, Baltimore – pops up out of the blue, and declares Sri Lanka inflation at 120%, calling for a currency board to be located in New York! Hanke’s dubious calculus was echoed on April 22 by IMF-wannabe economist WA Wijewardena. Hanke has also demanded SL ‘dump the rupee’. Yet, ee like most of the world declare: Dump the Dollar!

     Fitch-related news-sphincter EconomyNext hypes Hanke as an ‘independent tracker’ of Sri Lanka and the ‘global’ economy: ‘a leading world expert on stopping hyperinflation… Hanke has helped set up several currency boards including in Eastern Europe… prepared a handbook on how to set up a currency including measures for war-torn countries where the monetary authority could be incorporated abroad to prevent any warlord from getting hold of reserves.’

     This week vulture trader Mark Mobius arrived to join the choir: ‘An ethical currency board would bring immediate confidence!’ Con-fidence!  

     ‘Emerging market’ guru Mobius was invited here in 2019 by mega-importer John Keells. Mobius was invited to lubricate the pleasures of the privatization of Sri Lanka government banks, the SL Insurance Corporation, transportation, eg, railways, airports. Salivating at throwing public corporations onto the stock market, he told merchants to keep investing in plantations, tourism and that always indistinct quantity – ‘manufacture’.

     Minister of Finance Ali Sabry was also made the Minister of Justice again this week. It was as MoJ that US Undersecretary Maidan Nuland met Sabry, getting him to promise to weaken laws protecting workers. The Monetary Law Act, Paddy Lands Act to promote corporate exploitation of land use, and hijacking of Railway Department’s large landholdings are also to be sold to the highest bidder/briber.

     Over the last 50 years, the US government has stage-managed the transformation of much of the world into ‘emerging market’ states – of which Mobius is another of those ‘world-renowned experts’.

     Mobius is certainly aware of Sri Lanka’s vast assets. He wants to develop the financial markets – ‘the domestic bond market… A lot of people don’t seem to realize there is an awful lot of money here, but it’s overseas or under the mattress.’

     ‘Sri Lanka stocks rise sharply for second session after Mobius’ – Vulture-fund Manager Mobius in Colombo declares, ‘A Sri Lanka currency board would bring immediate confidence.’ A Currency Board has to maintain a fixed exchange rate with a foreign currency. What is all this confidence business about? It is a con game.  So what makes Mobius nervous, the opposite of confident?

     Mobius once spoke in Colombo ofhis Sleepless Nights – ‘I’m very positive about the spread of the internet & smartphones. So if anything keeps me up at night it would be the impact of that. We are already seeing it has resulted in riots in Hong Kong, Chile & everywhere around the world you are seeing the ability of people to get together quickly & the ability to organize themselves without needing to know each other. This is a big, big change and we have to ready for the good & bad of that’ (ee 29 Feb 2020).

• ‘Emerging Market’ fund managers are now buzzing about like houseflies to rotting flesh. They smell blood. They demand cancellation of the Central Bank and its replacement by a Currency Board. They wish removal of decision-making over money supply to an unnamed foreign locale. We can only guess where. Some mutter the acronym IMF to appear hip, like they once extolled the virtues of IT, Big Data, Blockchain, etc. They know little of the IMF’s previous 16 surgical disasters, all impoverishing the country by preventing industrialization. All this talk amounts to is recolonization. Some may deem it the financial equivalent of treason.

‘Countries that colonized Sri Lanka have more obligations to help at this juncture’

– China’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Qi Zhenhong

• It’s commonplace now to speak of Sri Lanka as a theatre of geopolitical & big power rivalries. The truth is the white man, 500+years onward, still rules the waves and undercurrents of this ocean called Indian. As Japan proved in the 2nd War on the World, this power can be easily overcome. Perhaps this is why the whites keep pointing fingers at China, accused of planning to do what they have already been doing so…well.

     Sri Lanka stands naked and undefended. We stand on the threshold again of being carved up into strips like rags. This is nothing new, of course. What is new is the collapse of certain national illusions, based on high idealism. Some nationalists try to claim the political crisis has nothing to do with an economic crisis that is worldwide. The white man has always opposed truly nationalist governments, especially if they stand up for the economic rights of the majority of the people. Yet imperialism, long corrupt, ever since 1948, has promoted a fabulous system of local bribery, which it now uses to hold national leaders to ransom.

     This system of electoral thuggery and bribery (a candidate needs Rs60 million to run a campaign) was promoted to prolong the import-export plantation system and prevent the growth of any new modern industrial societies. To go beyond an economy based on the whims of white largesse or hubris, with not having to beg for favored markets (GSP+), or keep checking weather reports to see if centigrades have dipped enough to freeze out white tourists so they reappear here on the warm horizon.

• The future will record that the pandemic as a deliberate act of mass murder (by the US & EU!), well in keeping with their history of colonialism and their use of germ warfare (now exposed in the Ukraine). Responding to Covid depleted public finances, while the rich escalated their orgy of consumption, even demanding bail-outs and postponement of their own debts. Tax revenues were collapsed, soon piling up unsustainable debts. Long heavily indebted, underdeveloping countries face looming sovereign debt crises, and ‘the whole rickety architecture of sovereign debt restructuring’ will surely need restructuring itself. The US NATO answer is to escalate yet another war on the world… (ee Economists, Covid).

Contents:

A1. Reader Comments

• Home market not important for Nicholas? • Rambukkana reassures the IMF • Quality with a K? • IMF needs violence • Who authors ee? • Why IMF at all? • IMF has best jobs for Economists • Opposition Avoids Democracy

A2. Quotes of the Week

• IMF Avoids Data • Galle Face & Hidden Hand • Food, Fuel & Import Dependency • London Club, Paris Club but no Colombo Club • Abusing the Children of ‘77 • Easter, Malaysia & India • IMF’s Tech Assassins • Last Resort is China • France’s Economy • The Birth of World Wars

A3. Random Notes

• Assembly of God’s Dollars • SWRD & Capital • Attacking the Rupee • IMF could Stop Debt Trap • Wijewardena vs Rajapakse Family Wars • NGOs Unchained • Passive Voice for Actors • NGO Surveys • UNICEF’s Happy Cow • AgriBiz launches Attack • Sanasa & US Citibank • Robbing Banks • China’s early industry

B. ee Focus    

B1. No Surprises: Foreign-Exchange Crisis & Solutions  – Sri Lanka Association for Political Economy

B2. Selling National Assets Make External Debt Sustainable – PK Balachandran

B3. No, MMT Didn’t Wreck Sri Lanka: Debunking Bloomberg – Stephanie Kelton

______________

A1. Reader Comments

ee thanks Readers who send articles of interest. Please excerpt or summarize what is important about any news sent, or your comments, and place any e-link at the end. Email: econenews@gmail.com

• ‘I watched that economist’s interview. Nicholas takes a different line from ee. That the domestic market is not enough?’ [ee hopes to answer this question in the next issue]

• ‘Rambukkana was meant to reassure the IMF… ee forgot to mention , on April 17 the Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) hiked their petrol prices in Lanka by Rs35 per litre and diesel by Rs75. Next day, CEYPETCO too hiked fuel prices to match. Those petrol sheds were just trying to maximize profits by wasting people’s time. This is the so-called ‘free’ market. Enjoy!’

• ‘I ask my photography clients, is it Quality with a Q (with Swiss equipment) or Kwality with a K (made in India) they wish. It depends on budgets. All imported equipment. So what is left for us? Architects tell us if they dress a certain way and drive a certain car, they can get 10 times the fee. People waste their time, asking which school, which address, any children, etc? Wear a white long-sleeve shirt,  a tie. Cut your hair. Polish your shoes. And you can get away with murder. This is the society we have.’

• ‘Read the IMF’s history. You cannot carry out IMF policies without violence.’

• ‘Extremely well-written article on the IMF. Wonder who the author is? Thank them for taking the trouble to see through the myths and make the links…’

• ‘My main problem is, why we are going for IMF in the first place? There is no reason to go for IMF, since SL can easily get the required funds from more friendly countries. The Right is morally bankrupt, and the Left is intellectually bankrupt. Yesterday I told a friend that the SL Left defaulted long before the country.’

• ‘So Economists love the IMF because the IMF offers them a dream career goal. An earlier ee pointed out that the IMF has the best salaries and pension plans for economists. In fact, 70% of their expenses is to pay off their employees. This is why very few economists blow the whistle on IMF games.’

• ‘Opposition parties are using demonstrations to gain power, which they could not gain via elections. The president can be changed only at the September 2024 presidential election. Or by getting a 2/3 majority in Parliament, or by impeachment. The opposition has only about 50 MPs. Yet the cost of living is high, and the people are hurting. But a change can only happen through Parliament. Earlier leaders in 1971 and 1989 did not run away when there were problems. Will a person who defeated the LTTE, run away, just because people hold cardboards on a roadside? A change can happen only according to the SL Constitution. Such people are foolish. Their undemocratic acts will engender similar such responses, which they will call dictatorial.’

__________

A2. Quotes of the Week_

• ‘The IMF focuses on the wrong thing. The most important thing that the current problem relates to is the trade imbalance. Recently I had a copy of the IMF staff report on Sri Lanka, and what is incredible to me is that in 120-odd pages, they mention the trade balance only once, and only obliquely.And this is quite staggering when I show you the problem of Sri Lanka. This suggests they have an ideological agenda. They’re not looking at the data, and they’re not interested in the data.’ – ee Sovereignty, Howard Nicholas

• ‘At the same time while we do not wish to be paranoid conspiracy theorists, it must be noted that some of the present protests appear to be well coordinated and funded and quite possibly maneuvered by a hidden hand, as happened in the run-up to the change of government in 2015, engineered by the US, about which it later crowed about publicly through its then-Secretary of State, John Kerry.’ – ee Agriculture, Sordid

• ‘Sri Lanka has 3 structural economic weaknesses that were systematically reinforced via mainstream economic policies: 1) lack of food sovereignty, 2) lack of energy sovereignty, and 3) low value-added exports. These deficiencies imply that accelerating the country’s economic engines leads to more pressure on its external balance, a weaker exchange rate, higher inflationary pressures (especially food/fuel/medicine & basic necessities), and, as a result, it leads to the classic trap of external debt.’ – ee Economists, MMT economist Fadhel Kaboub

• ‘The challenge in any sovereign debt restructuring is to co-ordinate all creditors. Unlike in the past, when most were countries grouped in the Paris Club, or a few large international banks forming the London Club, there is now a plethora of private and official lenders. As the World Bank notes in its new World Development Report, the average country seeking a restructuring now has more than 20 distinct creditors, not including [ISB] bondholders. They may include non-traditional lenders, such as trading houses that paid in advance for years of commodity deliveries.

     What is needed is a modern equivalent of the Paris Club & London Club: a framework where all creditors can get together and share the pain. In a tentative form, this exists. There is a G20 framework on debt restructuring to parallel the Paris Club for official creditors, while so-called Collective Action Clauses allow, in theory, for private bondholders to co-ordinate.’ – ee Economists, Covid Aftermath

• ‘Almost 75% or more of the protestors, the most vociferous ones, are in their 20s or 30s coming from well-to-do middle-class families. Invariably, joined by a few workers and peasants who have been made desperate by the economic crunch. In addition, the usual NGO activists seeking to fish in troubled waters to further their agenda of regime change and destabilising the country ,as decided by their mentors. The remnants of the Yahapalana regime are also there seeking to come back to power riding on the backs of this youth. There are many others, professors and professionals with their own agendas and vested interests ready to lionize this hapless youth in order to ride their back.’ – ee Sovereignty, Gunadasa Amarasekera, Haththehatha

• ‘Minister Ranatunga challenged [Opposition lawmakers] over unconfirmed claims that the Easter Sunday conspiracy had been initially planned in Malaysia and then the operations moved to India ahead of the carnage on 21 April. Ranatunga asked Opposition members to reveal the identity of those who perpetrated the attacks if their identities were known to them.’ – ee Sovereignty, Church to Geneva

• ‘Debt is another form of neocolonialism, one where the colonialists have transformed themselves into technical assistants. Actually, it would be more accurate to say technical assassins.’ – Thomas Sankara (assassinated), 1987

• ‘France is a key G7 economy, the 5th largest in the world and represents around one-5th of the Euro area GDP.  In manufacturing, France is one of the global leaders in the automotive, aerospace and railway sectors as well as in cosmetics and luxury goods. It has a highly educated labor force and the highest number of science graduates per 1,000 workers in Europe. Additionally, France is one of the world’s largest exporters of farm and agricultural products… The French government provides significant subsidies to this sector…  France is linked closely to its largest trading partner, Germany, which accounts for more than 17% of France’s exports and 19% of total imports.’ – see ee Economists, Macron

• ‘Remember how WW1 arose, out of the desire to redivide the world. Today we have the same background. There are capitalist states which consider that they were cheated in the previous redistribution of spheres of influence, territories, sources of raw materials, markets, etc., and which would want another redivision that would be in their favor. Capitalism, in its imperialist phase, is a system which considers war to be a legitimate instrument for settling international disputes, a legal method in fact, if not in law.’ – Joseph Stalin, ee Politics

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A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’) _

The Assembly of God’s Dollars (AOD) – Capitalism is their religion, their priests are PR executives, their god is money, their cathedrals are the shopping malls, and their salvation is the commodity. Inanimate commodities embody the labor of millions. Commodities exude a glitter, livelier than life itself.  Living beings are also constricted into commodities to be also sold and used – human resources. This is the highway to the degenerate society of the spectacle (aka fascism). – see ee Politics, Fetishism

• SWRD Bandaranaike is a bugaboo for Colombots, who are a species of Kalusuddha (Blackwhites). They keep assassinating SWRD over and over again. Especially in the white media. For them SWRD is a traitor: English-speaking, Anglican, Oxford-educated, owner of vast lands inherited from the colonial robbery of the country. He was trained to strengthen colonialism, but faltered. Fatally.

     There are also regular attacks on Sirimavo Bandaranaike, especially the attempt in 1970-75, when her government sought to consolidate the gains of the 1950-60s, by land reform and setting up nascent industries. Yet they failed to understand that industrialization is not a stop-gap, short-term balance-of-payments and trade-deficit issue, but needs a political, economic and military strategy.

     SWRD sought to capture political power, but did not understand the link between the economy and political power, and did not understand capital. A decade after nominal independence, the English still controlled Lanka’s judiciary and the military. Language and education was institutionalized with no relationship to the economy. Capital is the earth, it is land and labor, it is a mighty river, that may dry and may flood. The economy is the architecture of capital, it attempts to harness the river. English capital set up Sri Lanka’s economic and political system. England never shared its capital, its industrial revolution, preventing the transfer of their machine-making skills.

• Attack on the Rupee – Recall how the ‘Black Market’ was renamed the ‘Kerb Market’ by those who sermonize about ‘Rule of law’, and now they call it the ‘Grey Market’. Many imports are now taking place external to the country’s banking system, claims the Chamber of Exporters. The government has belatedly moved to curb undiyal/hawala transactions. Yet there is not a hint about curbing the more blatant looting by multinational corporations (MNCs) via transfer pricing.

• ‘I have yet to meet a US politician who wants China to become the lender of last resort to the developing world.’ – English MP Liam Byrne, Chair of the Global Parliamentary Network on World Bank & IMF, Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Byrne adds: ‘According to the World Bank, as many as a dozen developing economies may be unable to service their debts in the coming months.’

     Byrne hints that Bretton Woods institutions could easily prevent debt problems from arising in the first place. He is calling for a new Marshall Plan, like the one that rebuilt war-ravaged Europe to help defeat the USSR, but now to defeat China and Russia as well.  The IMF & WB’s spring pronouncements this week, tried again to deflect from their responsibility in increasing underdevelopment, blaming China instead. The media here needs no coaching at parroting the imperialist line.

     The media hypes the protests as being against corruption, (fabricated) scarcities, drooling at the ‘donations’ and largesse offered by corporations and embassies. The masses are supposed to chatter, ‘End Corruption’, ‘Go to IMF’, ‘Privatize SOEs’, ‘China Debt Trap’.

     Conservative reactionary media have been promoting populist protests against politicians and government. ‘Rest if you must, but don’t you quit’, rah-rah-rouses Sunday Times. They are massaging protests against family rule. But this private media is the epitome of family rule. No less than the Wijewardena-owned Wijeya Group, also linked to the Upali Group. Unelected unaccountable capitalist media like to blame politicians and corruption. The media is owned by private corporations, and controlled by MNC ad firms.

     Where would the banks and property markets in London, New York and Toronto be, without the bribes paid by their MNCs to politicians in our world, who then invest their money in those countries?

• The government has no control over the flow of capital into the country to NGOS (including MNCs) or their outflow. This week saw another outpouring of organizations of young lawyers, young journalists, young entrepreneurs. All funded by very old men and women. A lot of them Dollar, Euro and Yen-funded NGOs.

     Take this infomercial parading as news, describing ‘The Sri Lanka Agripreneurs’ Forum (SLAF), as ‘a professional agribusiness organisation representing approximately 30% of the country’s population’! Agribiz! 30%? It turns out they’re somehow linked to Nestle, also now in the education business – teaching English!

     Then there is the Association of Sri Lanka Academics in Japan (SLAcJ), which are whistling sukiyaki for the Japanese war machine.

School van fares to go up by Rs1,000, blares the headline, using the passive voice. As if price raises are as a natural as mushrooms after a rain. Yet on reading more we learn it’s the ‘All Island School Van Operators’ Association (AISVOA)’ who are actively hiking prices. They give their reasons. ‘Lunch packets to go up by 20%’ – turns out to be the Canteen Owners’ Association, who then instructs canteen owners to charge whatever they can get away with.

• There’s been a fusillade of articles by former World Bank ‘economists’ offering their 2-cents on what is wrong and should be done. The unanimity with which they endorse the IMF’s panaceas, makes one recall the professors who tumbled out in protest on behalf on the chemical import mafia, led by Unilever, CIC, CTC, etc., acknowledged as the real force behind the current hoo-ha at the fort.

     Check out where these experts and analysts from: an EU, Canada and Australia-funded INGO, the Institute for Health Policy has sponsored a Sri Lanka Opinion Tracker Survey (SLOTS), pronouncing: ‘The popularity of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has collapsed, especially among women, the poor, urban and Sinhala adults.’

• UNICEF Sucks on Happy Cow: A UNICEF meme shows Mayura Ishanka, age 15, of Colombo, weeping that he used to eat cheese once a week, and now cannot afford to. What does US-funded Save the Children say about such abuse?

• ICI-CIC AgriBusiness Resumes Attack: The Academics’ Movement to Safeguard Agriculture (AMSA) Sri Lanka led by English multinational CIC-ICI director Buddhi Marambe. Senior Professor of Agriculture (University of Peradeniya). They (see ee Agriculture) claim to represent the Faculties of Agriculture & Technology, and are gunning to prevent ‘a repeat of the mistake of last year’ on the government’s ‘irrational decision to ban the imports of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, 2 important categories of agricultural inputs that have contributed significantly in achieving national food security over the past 6 decades’. AMSA should state, how many of their members are paid by the sales forces of multinational corporations and fertilizer importers? And what food security means.

     These academics’ sponsors, the MNCs, restrict production and dominate distribution. They should have organized disruptions in food supply chains. They have engineered subsequent protests, which AMSA is now designed to further shape. What is their link to League of Multinationals in Sri Lanka, led by major importers of chemicals like CTC, Unilever, Bauer, etc? Academics (what a word!) should also clarify why they have not sought to shift from dependence on imports.

Sarvodaya (from which Sanasa branched off) is among the oldest NGOs with links to the US Rockefeller Foundation. Sarvodaya has its own finance company, SDF. Sanasa Bank is said to have been weakened over the years. This week, US Citibank’s Dinithi Ratnayake was made the new Chair at SDB (Sanasa Development Bank). A long-time director andhead of Citibank NA’s Financial Institutions Group in Sri Lanka, she was also at Grindlays, Seylan Bank, SBI Emerging Asia Financial Sector Fund, and represented the Nederlandse Financierings – Maatschappij Voor Ontwikkelingslanden NV (Netherlands Development Finance Co – FMO) on the Board of SDB. She is a co-founder/Director of IDEAology Strategy Consulting, and Governing Council Member of Canada’s South Asia Partnership Sri Lanka, an NGO. (see ee Finance, SDB)

• Merchants and politicians are openly speculating against Sri Lanka’s banks, insisting they too will be pushed into bankruptcy. Yet these US megabanks globalized by merchants are tanking again. These are the same top banks, the US government bailed out: Nomura, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and French global bank BNP Paribas – aggravating recurring international crises, which only deepen underdevelopment.

     This monopoly over debt has been enforced through the growing concentration and centralization of international credit markets, active intervention by creditor states and the IMF, along the growing dependence on private credit. In Sri Lanka, orthodox economists, technocrats and rentiers share the interests and ideologies of foreign bankers, insisting on full repayment.    

     The increased mobility of capital and the growing control of finance over capital accumulation have weakened national sovereignty. The top private banks now shape the outcomes of major financial crises to their own benefit.

     The US state restructured and revived post-WW2 European & Japanese capitalism, through low-interest loans, direct grants, technological assistance, favorable trade relations (low tariffs, etc) – so Japan could sell their products to the US, economically integrating all leading capitalist countries. This also laid the basis for the spread of US MNCs, which reinforced the imperialist US state.

     European & Japanese investment in the US further deepened cross-border networks of production inputs & outputs. This increased pressures on those states to support the ‘constitutionalization’ of free trade & capital movements through bilateral & multilateral agreements, protecting the assets & profits of MNCs around the world.

The IMF’s ‘restructuring’ will demand local banks ‘restructure’ their loans, take a haircut. The NDB, BOC & Commercial Bank have dollar debts, and are most vulnerable. If the IMF haircut is over 20% these banks might collapse. This is the threat. Footnote MP Harsha de Silva’s open comments about a state bank defaulting, was to enable speculation. He is being paid in Dollars to do such hanky pinky. Union Bank, Pan Asia Bank, HDFC & Sanasa are already losing money, with large rupee debts. The CBSL jacking up interest rates caused this.

     Last ee noted, Kushan d’Alwis, member of the Central Bank’s Financial System Stability Consultative Committee (FSSCC) was appointed to the board of directors of the Ceylon Tobacco Company, owned by England’s British American Tobacco. What would Kushan do at the CTC? Is it a reward for services rendered to an English MNC? Or will he make them finally pay up in Dollars for the injury a& death they have caused?

     The FSSCC was set up in 2002. After WD Lakshman was retired as Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, 14 September 2021. Economist  Kenneth de Zilwa was reappointed as Chairman of the FSSCC, from October 6, 2021. The FSSCC, made up of private sector personalities, advises the CBSL on financial sector system stability, risk mitigation measures and macroeconomic development. The other FSSCC members are Credit Information Bureau Director/General Manager CNSN Anthony, SL Banks’ Association Chairman LHA Lakshman Silva, Finance House Association Chairman Niroshan Udage, PWC Managing Partner Sujeewa Mudalige, Institute of Chartered Accountants Vice President Sanjaya Bandara, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman Vish Govindasamy, Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry President Sherley Jayawardena, John Keells Holdings Chairman Krishan Balendra, President’s Counsel Kushan de Alwis, Colombo Port City Economic Commission Acting Director General Saliya Wickramasuriya, LOLC Holdings Group Managing Director Kapila Jayawardena, Export Development Board Director General Chitranjali Dissanayake.

     The Monetary Policy Consultative Committee (MPCC) of the Central Bank reconstituted from 5 October 2021, made up of 12 private sector and academic persons, is chaired by Sunil Lankathilake, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, and a Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The other MPCC members are Dhamitha Cooke, Chief Financial Officer, Stassen Group of Companies; Niranjan Dissanayake, Chairman, Import Section of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce; Christopher Joshua, Managing Director, Access Engineering; Sunanda Madduma Bandara, Professor of Economics; Ashroff Omar, Chief Executive Officer, Brandix; Ashok Pathirage, Chairman/ Managing Director, Softlogic Group; Dhammika Perera, Chairman, Vallibel One and Co-Chairman, Hayleys; Jeyam Perumal, Chairman, Mainettech; Kulatunga Rajapaksa, Emeritus Managing Director, DSI Samson Group; Rusiripala Tennekone, Retired Senior Banker; and Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson, Group Chief Executive Officer, Hemas Holdings.

• ‘When it came to the economy, 19th century Chinese reformers like Ho Kai and Wu Lai-woon proposed to advance the development of capitalist industry and commerce. They suggested building railways at the provincial, prefectural & county levels across the country, setting up firms to build ships and boost commerce, both of which could be undertaken by joint-stock companies set up by the public with subsidies from the government. They championed European-style management in machine-building, mining and metallurgy, and farming, forestry, animal husbandry, related production and fishery. For culture and education, they favored building schools to educate true talents and running newspapers to expand channels for views and suggestions.’ – Ho Kai, The True Meaning of the New Government

     If the US, England, the EU, Japan and India are so worried about China’s influence, why do they not set up modern industrial systems of education? It is indeed a mystery about the thousands of Sri Lankans who have studied in England, the US, Europe and Japan, let alone USSR or China. They have not seen fit to examine or disseminate the actual basis of those countries’ modern advance. Rather than being mesmerized by the affectations of Oxford and Cambridge, why do they not look at those lesser temples of learning that have imparted the science & technology that advanced industrial revolution?

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B. Special Focus_

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B1. No Surprises: Foreign-Exchange Crisis & Solutions

– Sri Lanka Association for Political Economy, 28 April 2022

The foreign-exchange crisis of the country is no surprise to the Sri Lanka Association for Political Economy (SLAPE). These are the repercussions of so-called neoliberal economic policies pursued over the past 4 decades. Economic policy gave priority to tourism & commercial activity over agricultural & industrial production. The country and society was directed towards a consumer economy, clearly dependent on debt, leading to spectacular consumer growth. The trade deficit in the economy every year since 1977 is due to these basic imperatives. The foreign debt burden was exacerbated each year by the cost of imports far exceeding export earnings.

     Under these circumstances, our association has long analyzed how we will have to eventually face the current crisis. Large-scale public investment projects with low capital efficiency, lack of competitive bidding and high costs were also a major factor in raising the mountain of Dollar debt. Although built on Dollar loans, these investments did not generate enough Dollar earnings or Dollar savings. Especially after 2009, the government invested in many highways and other infrastructure, borrowing large sums of money abroad.

     Instead of moving towards an alternative policy framework to address these root causes, governments past and present have become increasingly indebted. Sovereign bonds & other avenues were reborrowed to repay earlier loans, and reserves dwindled. A worst-case scenario was the influx of foreign commercial debt through international sovereign bonds (ISBs), which have been steadily rising since 2007.

     Loans taken 2015– 19 are now the majority of the ISBs to be repaid. All our governments have pursued this ruthless economic policy of ‘rolling over’ debt, plunging the country into serious crisis. Moreover, the future sovereignty of the nation is also seriously jeopardized by resorting to selling or mortgaging national resources to prevent the depletion of reserves.

     The economy now needs immediate help to recover. Debt restructuring would be part of such a solution. We emphasize that dealing with the IMF may be necessary in the light of the current international monetary system, but it must be done very carefully. We would like to remind: the country’s economy was plunged into the current crisis through a series of International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs. However, it is important to note that there is also a strategy to obtain necessary credit facilities from existing multilateral organizations and friendly countries to get out of trouble.

     Although SLAPE acknowledges the need for such short-term solutions, the Association emphasizes that such measures should not lead to the blocking of sustainable avenues for a long-term cure.

     In view of this, SLAPE emphasizes that government and policymakers should understand the relevance of the following criteria in selecting future economic strategies:

     1. The sovereignty of the national economy should not be compromised as a condition for obtaining any short-term credit facility.

     2. Ensure that national resources, state property & strategic hubs are not held abroad.

     3. Vitally ensure the effectiveness of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) through reform. The IMF demand for a management system that legally and constitutionally guarantees non-political and professional independence should not turn those state institutions into a burden on the country. At the same time, officials and policymakers who represent the country in negotiating agreements, must ensure that such reforms are carried out in a manner that do not pose a threat to the country and national sovereignty.

     4. Reconsider all direct taxes removed and relaxed after the last presidential election. We emphasize the need to reduce the indirect tax share of government revenue & increase the direct tax rate. Also, the government should obtain revenue by revising relevant prices & fares so tthe real costs can be borne by private vehicles as road-use charges, eliminating for those who can afford it, unfair concessions, eg highway subsidies.

     5. Any economic reforms proposed as short-term solutions should ensure adequate consumption levels for unprotected and low-income groups in the country.

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B2. Selling National Assets Make External Debt Sustainable – PK Balachandran

According to the IMF’s Dalia Hakura, to properly assess a country’s debt sustainability, the IMF takes into account all types of debt that pose a risk to a country’s public finances; if a loss-making state-owned enterprise is not able to service its debt, the burden ultimately falls on the central government, because such debt is publicly guaranteed, leading to an unexpected weakening in a country’s debt sustainability.

     Defaults can cause borrowing countries to lose market access & suffer higher borrowing costs, in addition to harming growth and investment,’ Hakura adds.

     A country’s debt-carrying capacity also depends on several factors such as the quality of institutions, debt management capacity, government policies,  macro-economic fundamentals, the global economic environment. 

     England’s Aravind Korala (managing-debt-blueprint-for-sri-lanka.co.uk) argues that going to the IMF for relief can only give temporary relief. The IMF can at best ask creditors to accept a haircut or write off a part of the debt. Unless Sri Lanka makes structural, ideological and policy changes, it will keep going to the IMF periodically for temporary palliatives, he warns.

     Korala argues that, if Sri Lankans shed some of their entrenched fears and prejudices and reform their systems, the country’s considerable resources could be greatly enhanced to enable it to borrow without anxiety about repayment.  Sri Lanka has an external debt of about US$50billion. About $6bn of that has to be repaid in 2022. Korala says, this debt, by itself, is not the problem. The issue is Sri Lanka’s inability to repay the debt on account of a lack of resources.

     The US has a $22trillion external debt. England has 5 times as much external debt as Sri Lanka. But the US and England have no debt servicing problem. They are in a position to pay back, while Sri Lanka is not. To say that Sri Lanka is poor is not correct, according to Korala. According to the Credit Suisse and McKinsey Global Institute’s global wealth report, Sri Lanka’s net wealth is $351bn, after the $50bn of external debt is deducted.

     Sri Lanka’s debt to assets ratio is 13% compared with England’s 62%. How then is England not in hotter water and Sri Lanka is?, Korala asks. The reason is that England’s debt is ‘secured debt while Sri Lanka’s debt is unsecured debt’. When foreign parties lend to an English institution, that debt is secured on assets owned by the borrowing English institution. If the English borrower is unable to repay the debt, the lender will seize that asset, sell it and recover the debt. And if there is a dispute between the borrower and the lender, English courts would resolve the matter impartially and efficiently, Korala says.

     Therefore, for debt sustainability, asset creation is very important. Modern states facilitate asset creation by both domestic and foreign investors. China have enormous assets in the US, which are helping the country grow. US citizens don’t feel insecure because of that. But Sri Lanka does not allow foreign ownership of assets, fearing loss of sovereignty. Sri Lanka can change the situation overnight by changing laws to guarantee foreigners’ ownership of Sri Lankan assets, and by guaranteeing that foreign debt will always be serviced and repaid – by law’, Korala says.

     Lenders are not in short supply, as they make money by lending. They are not even in a hurry to recover their money as long as they get the interest. But they should be assured that the borrower continues to pay interest, there is no risk of default, and the courts will help in the recovery.

     To increase national wealth that will make creditors lend confidently, Sri Lanka should enter the world economy by inviting foreign investors, allow them to acquire assets for wealth creation, and industrialize to increase export & earn foreign exchange. Sri Lanka should join the global value chain so that production, export and employment are created. Assets can be sold to make money, as indeed the government plans to do. When the Colombo Port City is fully built the total amount of wealth created by it will probably exceed $100bn, if ownership rights are granted, Korala predicts.

     Sri Lanka is in the red because of it imports more than it exports. Efforts should be made to increase exports by a diversification of products and the market. Government must not prop up loss-making companies. But allow companies to sink or swim, while encouraging technical innovation, R&D, and increased productivity. Industries and sectors in which Sri Lanka has a natural advantage should be encouraged for investment and trade, rather than try and replicate what other countries can do better. The way to ensure debt sustainability is through wealth creation with domestic and foreign investment and exports.

     Sri Lanka must also borrow prudently and not go in for expensive short-term debt as it has been doing from 2014. Writing in The Diplomat, economist Umesh Moramudali says,in the early 1990s, the majority of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt consisted of concessionary loans, most of which were provided by multilateral & bilateral development agencies such as the World Bank, ADB, JAICA. These loans had a long payback period, a considerable grace period, and were subject to a low-interest rate. Most of these concessionary loan repayments were distributed over 25-40 years with a low interest rate of around 1% or less.

     However, following Sri Lanka’s upgrade to a middle-income country, its ability to access concessionary loans provided by multilateral agencies & bilateral donors declined, he points out. Sri Lanka, therefore, had to look for alternative foreign financing sources. ‘Due to heavy reliance on International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs), Sri Lanka’s foreign debt composition changed completely. By 2019, 56% of the foreign loans were commercial borrowings, most of which were ISBs,’ Moramudali says. ISBs have a payback period of 5-10 years with an annual interest rate above 6% to be paid biannually. On top of that, there are principal payments. In other words, the total borrowed amount of an ISB is settled at the bond maturity date, all at once, rather than being distributed over the years through annual repayments, he adds. 

     Sri Lanka may have to cut down on expensive commercial loans and borrow from less-expensive sources. But the ideal solution is to canvass internationally for investments a& not loans, as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been advocating ever since he came to power in 2019.  Combined with other changes suggested by Korala, Sri Lanka may be able to avoid falling into a debt trap in the foreseeable future. – lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/24/policy-changes-needed-to-make-external-debt-sustainable/

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B3. No, MMT Didn’t Wreck Sri Lanka: Debunking Bloomberg – Stephanie Kelton

Last week, Bloomberg touted an opinion piece (written by one of its regular columnists) claiming, ‘Sri Lanka was the first country in the world to try MMT’ andt ‘the experiment has brought the country to ruin.’ A few days later, The Washington Post republished the article. So it garnered a fair bit of attention. Unfortunately, the essay offers little insight into what’s really gone wrong in Sri Lanka. But, hey, editors and writers have discovered that MMT drives clicks, so there’s no dearth of efforts to shoehorn MMT into almost anything.

     A number of people sent me the link and asked me to respond. I sat down to do just that, but then I remembered that MMT economist Fadhel Kaboub talks about Sri Lanka in some of his presentations and he’s been studying the country for years.

     Fadhel is an Associate Professor of Economics at Denison University and President of the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity. He brings deeper knowledge of the Sri Lankan economy and the policy decisions that have paved the way for their current predicament. So I reached out to invite him to respond to Mihir Sharma’s main claims about the so-called MMT experiment in Sri Lanka.

     Sharma’s big claim is, ‘2 cherished heterodox theories… became official policy in Sri Lanka and, within 2 years, they brought the country to the brink of default and ruin.’ The government has halted payments of its foreign debt and warned that it may default. Import prices are surging. It’s hard for people to buy food and fuel. There are periodic blackouts and rationing. Inflation is close to 19 % and the Central Bank has recently doubled interest rates. Sharma acknowledges that there are ‘structural factors’ at play, and he concedes that the pandemic hammered the nation’s tourism sector while the [NATO?] invasion of Ukraine made everything worse. But he argues, ‘the deeper problem’ is that the ruling elite ‘turned Sri Lanka’s policymaking over to cranks.’ One of the heterodox theories that is supposedly responsible for the crisis is MMT. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of my Q&A with Professor Kaboub.

     Question: Sharma claims , ‘Sri Lanka is the first country in the world to reference MMT officially as a justification for money printing.’ He blames former Central Bank governor, Weligamage Don Lakshman, for listening to monetary cranks who convinced him that ‘nobody needs to worry about debt sustainability’ as long as you ‘increase the proportion of domestic debt [relative to debt denominated in foreign currency].’ Is there anything in MMT that says, as long as you ‘increase the proportion of domestic debt’ you can ‘print money’ without worrying about debt sustainability or inflation?

     Kaboub: When I first read the statement of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank governor, WD Lakshman, back in 2020, it was very clear to me that he does not understand the basic MMT insights. He was under the impression that what matters in terms of monetary sovereignty is the proportion of foreign currency debt relative to domestic currency debt, and that there was no need to rethink the foundation of the economic development model that his country has used since the late 1970s. Governor Lakshman focused on the proportion of debt but never questioned what the external debt was fueling, and never articulated how a higher proportion of domestic debt was going to build economic resilience in Sri Lanka.

     MMT economists have been very clear all along that a country’s fiscal spending capacity is constrained by the risk of inflation, which is determined by the level of productive capacity (availability of real resources, productivity, skills, logistics, supply chains, etc.) and the level of abusive market power enjoyed by key players in the economy (cartels, exclusive import license holders, shell companies, cross-border traffickers, speculators, corrupt government procurement systems, etc). Therefore, increasing a country’s fiscal policy space must be done via strategic investments to boost productive capacity and regulation of abusive market power. Sri Lanka’s economic policy choices (pre-pandemic & [NATO?]-Ukraine war) do not even come close to what MMT economists would have suggested.

     As explained below, Sri Lanka has 3 structural economic weaknesses that were systematically reinforced via mainstream economic policies: 1) lack of food sovereignty, 2) lack of energy sovereignty, and 3) low value-added exports. These deficiencies imply that accelerating the country’s economic engines leads to more pressure on its external balance, a weaker exchange rate, higher inflationary pressures (especially food/fuel/medicine and basic necessities), and, as a result, it leads to the classic trap of external debt.

     Here is how it all started. Sri Lanka, like many countries in the Global South, began the liberalization of its economy in 1977, and adopted a classic IMF-style economic development model based on exports, foreign direct investment (FDI), tourism, and remittances. This development model remained tamed during the civil war (1983-2009), but it was fully unleashed in 2009, and that is when external debt began to skyrocket, going from $16billion in 2008 to nearly $56bn in 2019. The (official) value of the Sri Lankan rupee dropped from 114 to 178 USD. Thanks to a massive increase in government subsidies and transfers reaching more than 30% of government spending in recent years, Sri Lanka struggled to keep inflation below 5%. Yet, economists celebrated Sri Lanka’s great achievements with an average growth rate exceeding 5% in the decade after the civil war, and a real per-capita GDP growth putting the country officially in the upper-middle-income economy category. Sri Lanka was following the mainstream economic development model like a good student. In the decade starting in 2009, exports grew from $9.3 to 19.1billion, tourism quintupled from 0.5 to 2.5 million visitors annually, FDI inflows quadrupled by 2018 to a record $1.6bn, and remittances doubled to nearly $7bn annually. These are the 4 engines of Sri Lanka’s economic growth, but they are also the engines driving the country deeper into the structural traps of food and energy dependency, and specialization in low value-added exports.

     Here is how these engines constitute a trap: An increase in tourism induces more food & energy imports. An increase in remittances means more brain drain. An increase in low value-added exports induces more imports of capital, intermediate goods, fuel etc; and an increase in low value-added FDI does the same plus the repatriation of profits out of Sri Lanka. On a global scale, these neocolonial economic traps have suctioned $152trillion from the Global South since 1960.

     Q: Sharma argues, it was the ‘printing of money’ that caused inflation to hit record highs. He cites the rate of growth of the Sri Lankan money supply and concludes that inflation hit record highs because the Central Bank expanded the money supply by 42% from December 2019 to August 2021. Why isn’t this a critique of MMT, and how do you think about the current inflationary pressures?

     Kaboub: Sharma is wrong on 2 fronts here. First, he is assuming that the Central Bank actually controls the money supply, when in fact the money supply is an endogenous variable determined by the private sector (consumers, business & banks). The Central Bank simply accommodates the needs of the market in order to keep short-term interest rates at a stable target, otherwise it will cause all kinds of instability across financial markets. Second, Sharma is assuming that inflation is caused by an increase in the money supply, when in reality, Sri Lanka’s inflation, like many developing countries, imports its inflation via food & energy imports. The higher the pressure on the external balance, the weaker the exchange rate, the higher the inflation pressure from imported goods. Sri Lanka struggled with these pressures for a decade, and managed to muddle through by accumulating more external debt, which quickly became unbearable after the pandemic (loss of tourism, remittances, FDI, export revenues) and the massive increase in global food and energy prices after the [NATO?] invasion of Ukraine.

     The solutions to Sri Lanka’s inflation problems are not in the hands of its Central Bank. Raising interest rates in Sri Lanka will not end the war in the Ukraine, or end the pandemic-induced global supply chain disruptions.  The most effective anti-inflation tools fall under fiscal policy. It is the Parliament, and the various ministries & commissions that can design strategic investments to boost productive capacity, and have the legal authority to update and enforce antitrust laws. In fact, raising interest rates can often fuel inflation (and inequality) because it is the equivalent of an income subsidy to bond holders, and a tax on actual investors who might be discouraged from increasing productive capacity.

     Q: Sharma appears to know that he has offered a faulty representation of MMT. He anticipates some of the counterpoints that I suspect you and I would both raise. He writes, ‘proponents of MMT will likely say that this was not real MMT, or that Sri Lanka is not a sovereign country as long as it has any foreign debt.’ You have been studying Sri Lanka for a few years now. What, if anything, have policymakers done that suggest that they have been running any kind of ‘MMT experiment’ over the last 2 years?

     Kaboub: Well, this is where Sharma nails it! As I explained above, Sri Lanka’s economic policies don’t even come close to anything informed by MMT insights. Sri Lanka’s government ignored its structural weaknesses, didn’t invest in food/energy and strategic domestic productive capacity, didn’t tax/regulate abusive market power, has a corrupt political system dominated by a single family, and when it was backed into a corner after the pandemic, it doubled down on bad economic decision by claiming that agricultural fertilizers are unhealthy (when they really didn’t have the foreign-exchange reserves to pay for the imports), so they destroyed agricultural output, especially rice, in the middle of global food crisis. If the Sri Lankan government was serious about investing in healthy food or a healthy economy, it would have put forward an actual food sovereignty strategy centered on native seeds, it would have discouraged intensive monoculture farming, it would have invested in regenerative farming to undo decades of damage to the soil, and it would have supported farmers to increase yields with well-defined medium and long-term strategies. Clearly, this ‘organic farming’ experiment was sloppy at best, but it should not overshadow the fact that the roots of the agricultural vulnerability have been decades in the making.

     Q: Sharma chides the government for shunning the advice of ‘mainstream economists’ and for ‘refusing to even consult the IMF.’ Let’s assume he’s right about the Central Bank and other policymakers turning away from mainstream economists and institutions like the IMF. What kind of advice has the IMF given to Sri Lanka in the past, and what kind of economic development strategies would you recommend if officials called on you to advise them?

     Kaboub: Sri Lanka has been following the IMF instruction manual for decades. It has received 16 loans from the IMF since the 1960s, and it is currently negotiating another one. Since 1996, Sri Lanka has never been away from the IMF’s negotiating table for more than 3 or 4 years at a time. Despite the political rhetoric of the Sri Lankan government over the last couple of years, the current Sri Lankan administration has abided by the IMF’s terms & conditions of the $1.5bn Extended Fund Facility (that’s the 16th loan disbursed 2016-20). So maybe the Sri Lankan government has come to realize that the IMF instruction manual is actually harmful. The problem is that they don’t fully understand why, and they certainly haven’t identified an alternative strategy to escape from this trap.

     In terms of policy advice, Sri Lanka needs emergency assistance with immediate shipments of food, fuel, medicine, & basic necessities. Sri Lanka needs debt relief rather than debt restructuring: eg, UNDP has recently recommended negotiating debt-for-nature swaps. There are other debt swap mechanisms, eg, debt-for-development, debt-for-equity, debt-buy backs. The Sri Lanka Central Bank should be negotiating FX swap line agreements with the central banks of its major trading partners in order to stabilize the value of its currency.

     Sri Lanka should also access the IMF’s newly created $45bn Resilience & Sustainability Trust (RTS), which, unlike other IMF facilities, is actually a program that funds strategic investments to build resilience and promote sustainability. Sri Lanka would qualify for up to $1.4bn of concessional loans with substantial grace periods. However, to qualify for RTS funds, Sri Lanka must first have an existing agreement with the IMF. It needs to enter these negotiations with its own strategic vision in order to escape the IMF’s austerity and external debt trap.

     The IMF wants countries to establish an economic policy framework that leads to external debt sustainability, but its track record has been a miserable failure. Sri Lanka needs to convince the IMF and other lenders and strategic partners, that it can only escape this external debt trap if it tackles the problem at its source: eg, by investing strategically in food sovereignty (with an actual long-term strategy rather than half-baked organic farming wishful thinking), investing in renewable energy capacity (energy efficiency, public transportation, etc.), investing in education and vocational training in order to climb up the value chain in the manufacturing sector, and becoming more selective in its support for export industries and FDI projects. In other words, ending the race-to-the-bottom policies, and building resilience to external shocks.

     These strategic investments must be coupled with an actual democratization of the political as well as the economic system. The government needs to crack down on corruption, cartels, abusive price setters, and entities that enjoy exclusive economic power and have every incentive to object to the strategic investments listed above.

     The sad part of this story is that Sri Lanka is only one of many countries in the Global South facing the same structural traps, struggling with unbearable external debt, soaring food and energy prices, shortages, and rising social and political tensions.

     (Stephanie Kelton, Economics & Public Policy Professor, Stony Brook University, The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory & the Birth of the People’s Economy)

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C. News Index______________________________________________

ee News Index provides headlines & links to make sense of the weekly focus of published English ‘business news’ to expose the backwardness of multinational, corporate controlled ‘local media’:

C1. Sovereignty

(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 (machine-making) industrialization fueled by a producer culture.

• India willing to proclaim that Sri Lanka will become a State of India – Tamil Guardian

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/23/unprecedented-and-dire-economic-crisis-in-sri-lanka-there-is-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel/

• Tamil Nadu Assembly adopts resolution urging Centre to send assistance to Lanka

– island.lk/tn-assembly-adopts-resolution-urging-centre-to-send-assistance-to-lanka/

• Independent MPs call on Indian envoy; discuss country’s current situation

– adaderana.lk/news/82123/independent-mps-call-on-indian-envoy-discuss-countrys-current-situation

• Haththehathe Daruwo – Children of 77 – Gunadasa Amarasekera

– island.lk/haththehathe-daruwo-children-of-77/

• UNHRC 49th Session ended on 1st April as a success for Sri Lanka

‘reform UNHRC to blunt the “Core Group’ and omore country-specific resolutions’

– island.lk/unhrcs-49th-session/

• Will USA be able to achieve its sinister objectives in Sri Lanka? Tissa Vitarana

– island.lk/will-america-be-able-to-achieve-its-sinister-objectives-in-sri-lanka-prof-tissa-vitarana/

• US envoy makes her first visit to North

– ft.lk/news/US-envoy-makes-her-first-visit-to-North/56-733933

• TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran discloses he co-authored the SJB’s 21st Amendment:

– ft.lk/columns/None-the-saner-Fathers-of-Anarchy/4-734044

• Moragoda in intensive consultations with top level in India

‘Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who was described as most supportive as has been Foreign Minister S. Jaishanker, well informed diplomatic sources said’

– island.lk/moragoda-in-intensive-consultations-with-top-level-in-india/

• The Aragalaya, North and Sumanthiran’s Stereotyping – Jayatilleka

– island.lk/the-aragalaya-north-and-sumanthirans-stereotyping/

• Catholic Church to present their Easter case to Geneva

– island.lk/easter-sunday-controversy-new-public-security-minister-to-seek-audience-with-archbishop/

• Blast kills more than 50 at a mosque in Afghanistan

– adaderana.lk/news/82124/blast-kills-more-than-50-at-a-mosque-in-afghanistan

• Notes from Wartorn Ethiopia, Part III: Crimes of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front

– blackagendareport.com/notes-wartorn-ethiopia-part-iii-crimes-tigrayan-peoples-liberation-front

• Ukraine and Palestine; A tale of two states – Daily Mirror

– dailymirror.lk/opinion/Ukraine-and-Palestine-A-tale-of-two-states-EDITORIAL/231-235775

• US recruits Israel against Russia

‘“We believe that we can win, they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support,” – US War Secretary Austin’

– indianpunchline.com/us-recruits-israel-against-russia/

• Must-watch interview of Sergey Lavrov by Indian journalist Geeta Mohan (April 19)

– youtube.com/watch?v=ecpRrep0twE

• US narrative won’t survive defeat in Donbass

‘Per Johnson’s vision, Ukraine’s NATO membership is inconceivable. England anticipates new facts on the ground. Johnson appeared to recognise the emergent political realities as the Russian juggernaut relentlessly “grinds” Kiev’s war machine to dust’

– indianpunchline.com/us-narrative-wont-survive-defeat-in-donbass/

• The ‘Rules Based Order’ Knows No Distance

– moonofalabama.org/2022/04/the-rules-based-order-knows-no-distance

• Germany fakes delivery of old tanks to the Ukraine

– moonofalabama.org/2022/04/a-recap-of-the-war-in-ukraine-by-gonzalo-lira.html

• The international community has to take on itself the task of stopping Putin – Island

– island.lk/ukrainian-invasion-reaches-dangerous-threshold-as-human-costs-soar/

• The Little-Known International Charter At Center of Ukraine War & China’s Future Defense

– blackagendareport.com/little-known-international-charter-center-ukraine-war-and-chinas-future-defense

• NATO chief offers quick admission for Finland, Sweden despite Russia’s objection

– globaltimes.cn/page/202204/1260639.shtml

• Canada and the Overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah

– blackagendareport.com/canada-and-overthrow-kwame-nkrumah

• Prize by International Women’s Network for Democracy to Canada’s John Philpot

– blackagendareport.com/presentation-victoire-ingabire-umuhoza-democracy-and-peace-prize-international-womens-network\

• Who Will Save Tunisia’s Democracy Now?

‘”The US has studiously avoided calling his coup a ‘coup’ since it would legally trigger the suspension of US financial aid to Tunisia,”’

– newsclick.in/who-save-tunisia-democracy-now

• Brazil and Bolsonaro: Political Consolidation and New Corruption Scandals

– socialistproject.ca/2022/04/brazil-and-bolsonaro-political-consolidation-and-new-corruption-scandals/

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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.

• FM Sabry given justice portfolio

– island.lk/fm-sabry-given-justice-portfolio/

• Secretary of ruling party MP involved in orchestrating events

‘Cooperative society chairman, who hid the tanker belonging to the co-operative society, falsely claimed that two tankers were part of the regular delivery by the CPC, as ordered by the co-operative society…. Cooperative Society chairman Mr…… Basnayake, who is also the Rambukkana coordinating secretary of Minister Kanaka Herath denied hiding the fuel.’

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/news/rambukkana-eyewitnesses-contradict-police-version-of-deadly-shooting-480857.html

– island.lk/a-mandate-rendered-in-blood/

• Bid to set fuel bowser on fire: Public Security Minister makes inquiries after suspect gets bail

‘The attempt to set a bowser ablaze at Rambukkana prompted the government to decide on military escorts for bowsers and trains carrying fuel’

– island.lk/bid-to-set-fuel-bowser-on-fire-public-security-minister-makes-inquiries-after-suspect-gets-bail/

• #Rambukkana: CID arrests SSP Keerthirathna over shooting

– newsfirst.lk/2022/04/28/rambukkana-cid-arrests-ssp-keerthirathna-over-shooting/

• Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday Massacre: The “mahamolakaruwa” its pawns & those who knew – Waduge

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/29/sri-lankas-easter-sunday-massacre-the-mahamolakaruwa-its-pawns-those-who-knew/

• Sri Lanka Cardinal puts Rajapaksa in the dock over Easter attacks

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-cardinal-puts-rajapaksa-in-the-dock-over-easter-attacks-93281/

• Easter Sunday Mass Murders: Don’t play politics with the dead

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/24/easter-sunday-mass-murders-dont-play-politics-with-the-dead/

• State Intelligence Service chief calls for impartial inquiry

– dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/SIS-chief-calls-for-impartial-inquiry/108-235873

• Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith must listen to Zaharan Tape made before Easter Sunday suicide

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/27/cardinal-malcolm-ranjith-must-listen-to-zaharan-hashim-made-before-easter-sunday-suicide-mission/

• The One Law for Sri Lanka –  M Sornarajah

‘the established rule in Sri Lankan law that customary international law forms a part of the law of SL’

– island.lk/the-one-law-for-sri-lanka

• US Congress to probe assets fleecing by US citizens of Sri Lankan origin

– island.lk/u-s-congress-to-probe-assets-fleecing-by-us-citizens-of-sri-lankan-origin/

• After 42 Years of Service, Indian Army Chief Retires at 62 Years

– dailymirror.lk/news-features/After-42-Years-of-Service-Indian-Army-Chief-Retires-at-62-Years/131-236035

• Targeted suicide bombing outside the University of Karachi’s Confucius Institute

– globaltimes.cn/special-coverage/Pakistan-Blast-Timeline.html

• Ukraine – Railway Hits, U.S. War Aims, Ops Report

–  moonofalabama.org/2022/04/ukraine-railway-hits-us-war-aims-ops-report

• A Recap Of The War In Ukraine – by Gonzalo Lira

– moonofalabama.org/2022/04/a-recap-of-the-war-in-ukraine-by-gonzalo-lira.html

• Putin warns the US to back off in Ukraine

– indianpunchline.com/putin-warns-the-us-to-back-off-in-ukraine/

• Operation Gladio: How the CIA and Italy’s secret state manipulated Right and infiltrated Left

– libya360.wordpress.com/2022/04/21/how-the-cia-and-italys-secret-state-manipulated-the-right-and-infiltrated-the-left/

• The Nuclear Threat From Beyond the Ideological Compass

– blackagendareport.com/nuclear-threat-beyond-ideological-compass

• US Supreme Court weighs criminal jurisdiction on Indian reservations in Oklahoma

– radiohc.cu/en/noticias/internacionales/293275-us-supreme-court-weighs-criminal-jurisdiction-on-indian-reservations-in-oklahoma

• Report reveals extremism surging among Canadian military ranks

– radiohc.cu/en/noticias/internacionales/293114-report-reveals-extremism-surging-among-canadian-military-ranks

_____________________________________________________________

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 a modern industrial country.

• A Sri Lanka currency board would bring immediate confidence: Mark Mobius

– economynext.com/a-sri-lanka-currency-board-would-bring-immediate-confidence-mark-mobius-93526/

• Insolvent Sri Lanka Should Cancel Its Central Bank – Mobius

‘Sri Lanka’s technocrats need to be similarly prepared to leave credit creation to commercial banks, growth and jobs to the government and interest rates to an algorithm.’

– bizenglish.adaderana.lk/insolvent-sri-lanka-should-cancel-its-central-bank/
• All in the family: Growth and the IMF – Gamini Seneviratne (2001)

‘‘The IMF’ here refers to the entire complex of global predators which it orchestrates’

– island.lk/all-in-the-family-growth-and-the-imf/

• The Economy of Sri Lanka Part 1 – Kamalika Pieris

‘Sri Lanka never wanted ‘one party rule’ with one economic policy. The regular swing away from the ruling party to the opposition party meant a sharp change in economic policy as well’

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/29/the-economy-of-sri-lanka-part-1/

• Central Bank  2021 annual report presented to Finance Minister

– bizenglish.adaderana.lk/the-central-bank-of-sri-lanka-releases-its-annual-report-for-the-year-2021/

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/CB-2021-annual-report-presented-to-FinMin/273-236027

– ft.lk/front-page/Central-Bank-releases-2021-Annual-Report/44-734184

• Complex web of creditors, politics threatens Sri Lanka restructuring – Reuters

‘“Sri Lanka resisted for years to go to the IMF, and that means that the Fund is going to ask for reforms to be completed before it provides a package”…. “Sri Lanka needs at least $1 billion from the IMF. “The country needs fresh money to spend. If not, it’s going to collapse.”’

– adaderana.lk/news/82100/complex-web-of-creditors-politics-threatens-sri-lanka-restructuring-report

• MPs discuss how to overcome economic crisis by WB’s Dr. Swarnim Wagle

‘The Parliamentary Committee on Public Finance on “How to overcome the prevailing Economic Crisis in Sri Lanka” will be held today (27).’

–  timesonline.lk/news-online/Discussion-for-MPs-today-on-how-to-overcome-economic-crisis/2-1137404

• Over 50 Requests for Proposals (RfPs) to Ministry of Finance for external debt restructure job

‘for the role of financial advisors and legal consultants for managing the external debt sustainability’

– ft.lk/front-page/Over-50-RfPs-for-external-debt-restructure-job/44-734028

• A Sri Lanka currency board would bring immediate confidence: Vulture Mobius

– economynext.com/a-sri-lanka-currency-board-would-bring-immediate-confidence-mark-mobius-93526/

• Are we heading for a banking crash?

– ft.lk/columns/Are-we-heading-for-a-banking-crash/4-734042

• Why the IMF is bad for Sri Lanka, in 7 points

‘What Sri Lanka needs is long-term industrial policy. The only thing that can move our currency is demand for exports, and export industries have to be planned, protected, and supported by the government to grow.’

– ft.lk/columns/Why-the-IMF-is-bad-for-Sri-Lanka-in-7-points/4-733904

• Will the rich swallow the bitter pill?

‘But the rich lived beyond their means. Look at the number of SUVs on the streets. In Malaysia, you wouldn’t see one-tenth of the number of SUVs you see here in this country…’

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/26/will-the-rich-swallow-the-bitter-pill/

• Will Sri Lanka’s IMF Gamble Work? – Rathindra Kuruwita

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/27/will-sri-lankas-imf-gamble-work/

– reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/bp-covid-loans-imf-austerity-110821-en.pdf

– imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2009/cr09310.pdf

– imf.org/external/np/loi/2016/lka/051216.pdf

•  Sri Lanka’s Foreign Debt Crisis Could Get Critical in 2021 – Moramudali

– thediplomat.com/2021/02/sri-lankas-foreign-debt-crisis-could-get-critical-in-2021/

• A Staged Default?  SL’s Sovereign Bond Debt trap & IMF’s Spring Meetings – Rajasingham

‘downgrades are based on subjective considerations of confidence”

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/24/a-staged-default-sri-lankas-sovereign-bond-debt-trap-and-imfs-spring-meetings/

• The IMF cannot resolve our problems any longer – Harsha de Silva

– dailymirror.lk/plus/Govts-IMF-programme-a-day-late-and-a-dollar-short-Dr-Harsha-de-Silva/352-235914

• Sri Lanka economic policy officials misled President with ‘rosy picture’ : Media Minister

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-economic-policy-officials-misled-president-with-rosy-picture-minister-93656/

• The Covid aftermath requires sovereign debt restructuring

– ft.com/content/ee97ec19-5b37-4c89-83eb-e69ec17cdf89

• SL’s economic outlook uncertain: World Bank (WB)

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/SLs-economic-outlook-uncertain-WB/273-235739

• IMF forecasts 2.6% growth for Sri Lanka

– ft.lk/front-page/IMF-forecasts-2-6-growth-for-Sri-Lanka/44-733957

– themorning.lk/imf-forecasts-sl-to-grow-2-6-this-year/

• IMF wants DSF (Debt Sustainability Framework) before RFI (Rapid Financing Instrument)

– ft.lk/opinion/Extraordinary-times-need-extraordinary-solutions/14-733987

• Sri Lanka hopeful of reaching IMF initial deal in two months

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-hopeful-of-reaching-imf-initial-deal-in-two-months-93642/

• Should Sri Lanka de-dollarize? Beyond Bananas, Beaches, Bases and Dependent Development

–  Rajasingham-Senanayake

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/29/should-sri-lanka-de-dollarize-beyond-bananas-beaches-bases-and-dependent-development/

• Can Sri Lanka’s political reckoning become an intellectual reckoning? – D. Gunawardena

‘Corruption is also a convenient rhetorical device for political parties lacking a deep social base, to capitalise on cynicism and disenchantment with the political process.’

– ft.lk/columns/Can-Sri-Lanka-s-political-reckoning-become-an-intellectual-reckoning/4-734082

• At last, IMF is viewed as the saviour – Wijewardena

– ft.lk/columns/IMF-facility-Is-it-sufficient-to-deliver-prosperity-to-Sri-Lankans/4-733862

• Sri Lanka can trigger food shortages as in medicines with new trade controls: Bellwether

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-can-trigger-food-shortages-as-in-medicines-with-new-trade-controls-bellwether-93650/

• China “sad” that Sri Lanka went to IMF and defaulted: envoy

‘Now China was waiting for IMF talks to progress and wanted more information on debt restructuring. Sri Lanka will negotiate with the Paris Club of western donors, other lenders like China and India, multilateral and separately with bondholders. “We are closely monitoring the IMF discussion between Sri Lanka and IMF,” …However China will continue to disburse old loans as agreed, he said’

– economynext.com/china-sad-that-sri-lanka-went-to-imf-and-defaulted-envoy-93468/

• China makes signing FTA a condition for helping Sri Lanka

‘Colombo has been unresponsive on two proposals the Chinese had been making: First, the formation of a grouping of Island States with Sri Lanka in the lead, and Second, the formation of a dispute-settling mechanism outside the current system… The IPS study points out that in 2015, Sri Lanka had a comparative advantage vis-à-vis the world, in 566 products, out of which, the island nation  exported 243 items to China. There were an additional 299 products with trading potential vis-à-vis China. Sri Lanka can push for a place in the Chinese market for vegetable products, rubber and plastics.’

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/25/china-makes-signing-fta-a-condition-for-helping-sri-lanka/

• China hopeful of FTA talk resumption with Sri Lanka

‘Sri Lanka imported $3.5 billion worth of Chinese goods in 2020 which is 22 percent of the total imports, mostly raw materials for garments, machines and electronics, metals, transport equipment and chemicals, followed by India which accounted for 19.2 percent of the total imports in the same year.’

– economynext.com/china-hopeful-of-fta-talk-resumption-with-sri-lanka-93475/

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/PMs-Secretary-to-work-out-team-for-FTA-talks-with-China-ambassador/273-235732

• SL’s negotiations with IMF will unavoidably impact securing USD 2.5 bn from China

– dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/SLs-negotiations-with-IMF-will-unavoidably-impact-securing-USD-2-5-bn-from-China/108-235663

– ft.lk/front-page/Discussions-with-IMF-impact-2-5-b-assistance-from-China/44-733937

• ‘China’s Debt Trap’ is only a myth – Chinese Ambassador

‘Debt Trap is only a myth, created and hyped by some foreign media and politicians intentionally,”’

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/25/debt-trap-is-only-a-myth-chinese-ambassador/

• China prefers to refinance its debt to Sri Lanka instead of restructuring

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/China-prefers-to-refinance-its-debt-to-Sri-Lanka-instead-of-restructuring/273-235792

• China Must Be Treated as Equal Sri Lanka Creditor, India Says

– colomboguardian.com/china-must-be-treated-as-equal-sri-lanka-creditor-india-says/23690/

• China won’t get special treatment in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring – CB Chief

‘China has openly told Sri Lanka that it is not in favour of debt restructuring as it will have to do the same to other debtors’

– economynext.com/china-wont-get-special-treatment-in-sri-lankas-debt-restructuring-cb-chief-93676/

• As dominant creditor, China must ‘step up’ on debt restructuring, Indonesia’s Indrawati says

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/As-dominant-creditor-China-must-step-up-on-debt-restructuring-Indonesias-Indrawati-says/273-235731

• No, MMT Didn’t Wreck Sri Lanka: Debunking Bloomberg, Stephanie Kelton with Fadhel Kaboub

– stephaniekelton.substack.com/p/no-mmt-didnt-wreck-sri-lanka

• Sri Lanka to cut foreign debt, ride Modern Monetary Theory: CB Governor (December 1, ‘20)

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-to-cut-foreign-debt-ride-modern-monetary-theory-cb-governor-76479/

• Economic Crisis: The Myth Of Debt Trap Vs The Reality Of Identity – Sankar, EurasiaReview

‘The root cause of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis and all of the other problems that the nation has been dealing with for decades is the country’s identity crisis and sense of insecurity.’

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/25/sri-lankas-economic-crisis-the-myth-of-debt-trap-vs-the-reality-of-identity-oped/

• How the Yahapalanaya Govt booby trapped the Rajapaksa Govt – Sad Sri Lankan

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/25/how-the-yahapalanaya-govt-booby-trapped-the-rajapaksa-govt/

• President must redirect flows of funds to profitable investments in the poor parts of Sri Lanka

‘The wealth of the country flows out on the purchase of luxury cars and other luxury goods – all helping the west economically, but damaging the growth of investment and jobs here. Most responsible Singaporeans would consider that imprudent and reckless spending’

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/23/the-singapore-success-story/

• India’s Finance Minister Sitharaman asks IMF, World Bank to give Sri Lanka low-income tag

‘Sitharaman is said to have argued that due to Sri Lanka’s dependence on the tourism sector, the shock to the country’s economy was largely exogenous in nature and caused by the pandemic.’

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/24/fm-sitharaman-asks-imf-world-bank-to-give-sri-lanka-low-income-tag/

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Sitharaman-asks-IMF-WB-to-give-Sri-Lanka-low-income-tag/273-235738

• Sri Lanka’s long standing welfare-state days are numbered – Sunday Times Editorial

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/editorial/no-early-end-to-the-crisis-no-easy-way-out-either-480823.html

• S&P cuts Sri Lanka sovereign rating to selective default (SD)

‘a bond coupon payment was missed on 1.25 billon US dollars of sovereign bonds’

– economynext.com/sp-cuts-sri-lanka-sovereign-rating-to-selective-default-sd-93481/

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/S-P-places-Sri-Lanka-under-Selective-Default-as-country-missed-coupon-payments/273-235787

• Cabraal says if rupee depreciation is too steep, “fix” it at value deemed appropriate

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Cabraal-says-if-rupee-depreciation-is-too-steep-fix-it-at-value-deemed-appropriate/273-235733

• IMF urges Sri Lanka to tighten monetary policy, raise tax to address debt woes

– reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/imf-urges-sri-lanka-tighten-monetary-policy-raise-tax-address-debt-woes-2022-04-26/

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/IMF-urges-Sri-Lanka-to-tighten-monetary-policy-raise-tax-to-address-debt-woes/273-235795

• IMF, WB cite Sri Lanka as case study for tackling rising debt

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/news/imf-wb-cite-sri-lanka-as-case-study-for-tackling-rising-debt-480906.html

• World Bank President David Malpass Interview with Tom Keene on Bloomberg Surveillance

– worldbank.org/en/news/speech/2022/01/18/transcript-wbg-david-malpass-interview-on-bloomberg-surveillance

• World Bank’s Malpass Wants New Debt-Resolution Process

‘Malpass called for a new process for restructuring debt burdens for developing nations amid concerns about a lack of transparency over how much they owe to China’

– bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-20/malpass-calls-for-new-debt-resolution-process-amid-china-worries

• Twitterati are urging further price hikes

‘mass scale demonstrations “articulating raw outrage without an alternative policy, plan, or program” can be co-opted by IMF-speak on austerity and welfare cuts’

– island.lk/political-authoritarianism-and-neoliberal-tinkering/

• IMF playing politics in demanding stability as a precondition for support

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/business-times/imf-help-not-so-easy-480396.html

• IMF bailout prospects become bleak

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/business-times/imf-bailout-prospects-become-bleak-480406.html

• Government did not obtain immediate relief from IMF in Washington – USAID NPC

– island.lk/bridging-divides-for-governmental-change-to-obtain-international-assistance/

• IMF to support SL by working closely with authorities on their economic programme

– island.lk/imf-to-support-sl-by-working-closely-with-authorities-on-their-economic-programme/

• UNP leader sounds dire warning to bankers in Colombo

‘The value of funds held in fixed deposits and value of funds held by EPF and ETF funds will decline by at least 59%’

– island.lk/economy-unp-leader-sounds-dire-warning/

• Media Minister Godahewa blames all regimes and ex-trio for current crisis

– ft.lk/front-page/Media-Minister-Godahewa-blames-all-regimes-and-ex-trio-for-current-crisis/44-733962

• Sri Lanka, China in talks over alternative proposal for debt restructuring: Minister

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-china-in-talks-over-alternative-proposal-for-debt-restructuring-minister-93503/

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/26/ill-timed-unconventional-decisions-huge-foreign-credit-led-to-current-crisis/

• Political stability and IMF assistance vital to resolve economic crisis – Sanderatne

“IMF staff had determined last month in an annual economic review that Sri Lanka’s public debt was unsustainable, and the country needs to take steps to restore debt sustainability prior to any IMF lending, including the emergency RFI.”

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/columns/political-stability-and-imf-assistance-vital-to-resolve-economic-crisis-480696.html

• Battered with fuel prices – Abeyratne

‘The intense demand for policy reforms to enhance export growth over the past 10-20 years has fallen on deaf ears!’

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/business-times/battered-with-fuel-prices-480377.html

• Gambling for Redemption: IMF, Debt and What’s In Store for SL

‘The situation where we don’t go to the IMF and delay it isn’t new to Sri Lanka…A lot of other countries have done the same. It’s common enough that there’s a term for it called “gambling for redemption” where you essentially hope as a government. It brings hope because it has happened for so many countries like Thailand and Indonesia and many of them have recovered quite well”.    

– dailymirror.lk/insight/Gambling-for-Redemption-IMF-Debt-and-Whats-In-Store-for-SL/374-235772

• Reserves will run empty by June, predicts First Capital

‘Foreign reserve crisis could be elevated through the sale or lease of state-owned commercial assets. Accordingly, it was identified that as much as $ 8.1 billion could be raised through the sale of shares of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation ($0.3 billion), sale of shares of Sri Lanka Telecom ($ 0.5 billion), lease of Colombo Port City land ($4.0 billion), investment at Colombo North Development Project, long-term lease of Ratmalana Airport ($ 0.4 billion), long-term lease of Mattala Airport ($0.3 billion), and long-term lease of Katunayake International Airport ($2.0 billion)’

– themorning.lk/reserves-will-run-empty-by-june-predicts-first-capital/

• Foreign exchange at core of current crises – Director General (Planning) Ministry of Transport

– island.lk/towards-economic-recovery-tapping-hidden-potentials/

• IMF’s prescriptions could be challenging – Balachandran

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/24/policy-changes-needed-to-make-external-debt-sustainable/

• US Advocata Study on banks affected if International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs) and Development Bonds (SLDBs) are restructured

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Loans-under-moratoria-down-over-10-by-2021-end/273-235870

• Economic crisis grows public disaffection with all politicians, but President worst affected – Poll

‘Institute for Health Policy (IHP) SLOTS opinion survey.’

– ft.lk/front-page/Economic-crisis-results-in-growing-public-disaffection-with-all-politicians-but-President-worst-affected-Poll/44-734027

•  Powerful Dynasty Bankrupted Sri Lanka in Just 30 Months – Kai Schultz

– bizenglish.adaderana.lk/a-powerful-dynasty-bankrupted-sri-lanka-in-just-30-months/

• CB’s Anti Money Laundering (AML) arm’s FIU, stopped investigating money launderers

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/business-times/doings-at-the-central-bank-480336.html

• Is Nepal going Sri Lanka way? Himalayan nation rushes to save forex, fears loom of crisis

– themorning.lk/is-nepal-going-the-sri-lanka-way-as-himalayan-nation-rushes-to-save-forex-fears-loom-of-economic-crisis/

• China to increase support for real economy via monetary policy tools: PBC chief

– globaltimes.cn/page/202204/1260000.shtml

• Summoning the spirit of Bretton Woods

‘I have yet to meet a US politician who wants China to become the lender of last resort to the developing world. Almost 40% of poor countries’ debt payments this year are already owed to Chinese entities. That share is bound to increase unless the Bretton Woods institutions are equipped to prevent debt problems from arising in the first place.’

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/sunday-times-2/summoning-the-spirit-of-bretton-woods-480694.html

• Macron government will change nothing, except probably for the worse – Roberts

‘Like other G7 economies, the French economy is suffering from the global supply chain breakdown, rising energy and food prices and the Ukraine war.’

– thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2022/04/25/fragmented-france/

• Has globalisation ended? – Roberts

‘Apart from inflation and war, what grips current economic thought is the apparent failure of what mainstream economics likes to call ‘globalisation’.  What mainstream economics means by globalisation is the expansion of trade and capital flows freely across borders.’

– thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2022/04/27/has-globalisation-ended/

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C4. Economy (Usually reported in monetary terms)

ee Economy section shows how media usually measures economy by false indices like GDP, etc., in monetary terms, confusing money and capital, constantly calling for privatization, deregulation, moaning about debt & balance of payments, without stating the need for modern industrial production.

• Govt. slaps ban on imports via “Open Account”

– ft.lk/front-page/Govt-slaps-ban-on-imports-via-Open-Account/44-734186

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-to-ban-open-account-imports-to-curb-undiyal-hawala-93677/

• Sri Lanka to lift forced dollar conversion rule on services exports: CB Governor

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-to-lift-forced-dollar-conversion-rule-on-services-exports-cb-governor-93702/

• Food inflation recorded at 29.5% in March 2022

– island.lk/food-inflation-recorded-at-29-5-in-march-2022/

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-inflation-soars-to-29-8-pct-in-april-2022-after-money-printing-93678/

• Prices of essential items up by 140% since 1st of January 2022

– newsfirst.lk/2022/04/28/prices-of-essential-items-up-by-140-since-1st-of-january-2022/

• Central Bank’s High interest rates cause consternation among businesses running on loans

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/news/high-interest-rates-cause-consternation-among-businesses-running-on-loans-480870.html

• Bank lending grinds to a halt

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/business-times/bank-lending-grinds-to-a-halt-480416.html

• Banks may withstand debt restructuring pressure– Acuity

. IMF and creditors would consider a restructuring of the LKR debt as a last resort, given the enormous stress on the financial system, which could do more harm than good..

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Banks-may-withstand-debt-restructuring-pressure-Acuity/273-235736

• Sri Lanka post-bankruptcy; impact on banks?

– dailymirror.lk/editorialbusiness/Sri-Lanka-post-bankruptcy-impact-on-banks/340-235620

• Weak operating conditions heighten risks of insurers: Fitch

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Weak-operating-conditions-heighten-risks-of-insurers-Fitch/273-235735

• Exporters warn of closures as SL banks lose credibility

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/business-times/exporters-warn-of-closures-as-sl-banks-lose-credibility-480421.html

• The total amount due to the state banks is one trillion rupees: Ranil

– island.lk/economic-challenges-looming-says-ranil/

• Sabry outlines three-pronged strategy to resolve debt crisis; apologises to the people

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/news/sabry-outlines-three-pronged-strategy-to-resolve-debt-crisis-apologises-to-the-people-480900.html

• Govt. continues money printing amidst unrest

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/business-times/govt-continues-money-printing-amidst-unrest-480424.html

• Sri Lanka sells all offered Treasury bills, 3-months 23.53-pct

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-sells-all-offered-treasury-bills-3-months-23-53-pct-93575/

• Treasury bill yields moderate for second consecutive week

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Treasury-bill-yields-moderate-for-second-consecutive-week/273-235869

• Sri Lanka sells 2025 bonds at 22.01-pct, 2027 at 22.16-pct

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-sells-2025-bonds-at-22-01-pct-2027-at-22-16-pct-93644/

• ‘Domestic debt, bonds will not be restructured’

– themorning.lk/domestic-debt-bonds-will-not-be-restructured/

– island.lk/no-restructuring-of-domestic-debt-says-cb-governor/

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/CBSL-assures-domestic-debt-will-remain-untouched-during-restructuring-process/273-236029

• Sri Lanka budget deficit 12.2-pct of GDP in 2021

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-budget-deficit-12-2-pct-of-gdp-in-2021-93622/

•  Sri Lanka’s Central Bank seeks foreign currency donations

– newsfirst.lk/2022/04/28/sri-lankas-central-bank-seeks-foreign-currency-donations/

• Finance Minister says no choice but to raise sales tax

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/29/finance-minister-says-no-choice-but-to-raise-sales-tax/

– themorning.lk/no-choice-but-to-hike-vat-sabry/

• Measures in the offing to control informal forex reserve transfers out of SL

– island.lk/measures-in-the-offing-to-control-informal-for-ex-reserve-transfers-out-of-sl/

• Central Bank Bond scam: SC stays order of High Court

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/news/bond-scam-sc-stays-order-of-high-court-480892.html

_________________________________________________________________________

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

• Alternatives ready if tanker owners go on strike: Minister Kanchana

– newsfirst.lk/2022/04/30/alternatives-ready-if-tanker-owners-go-on-strike-minister-kanchana/

• Ceylon Private Fuel Tanker Owners’ Association to halt operations from today (30)

‘The Association has requested for a 60% increase in transport fees in line with the fuel price hikes.’

– newsfirst.lk/2022/04/30/private-fuel-tanker-owners-to-halt-operations-from-today-30/

• First ever single day, countrywide, strike action in Sri Lanka

‘organized by 54 unions taking the lead ‘

– island.lk/the-true-power-play-in-parliament/

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-brought-to-standstill-claim-unions-after-massive-island-wide-strike-93649/

• 1,000+ unions go on strike in Sri Lanka demanding govt resignation

‘Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Director-General Mangala Yapa discussion with Inter Company-Employees Union (ICEU) President Wasantha Samarasinghe confirmed trade union action’

– island.lk/strike-today-to-pressure-president-govt-to-quit/

– economynext.com/1000-unions-to-go-on-strike-in-sri-lanka-on-april-28-demanding-govt-resignation-93570/

– dailymirror.lk/latest_news/More-than-thousand-trade-unions-join-for-strike-today/342-235876

– ft.lk/front-page/Massive-token-strike-today-to-buttress-anti-Rajapaksa-protest/44-734025

– timesonline.lk/news-online/Islandwide-General-strike-cripple-services/2-1137415

– newsfirst.lk/2022/04/28/major-trade-union-action-today-28-public-services-affected/

• TUs threaten continuous strike unless President, govt. resign immediately

‘Over 5,000 workers of the Katunayaka Export Processing Zone too held a demonstration opposite the Evariwatte Road. Thousands of workers from the Watupitiwala Export Processing Zone marched to the Nittambuwa Junction in solidarity with the unions. Estate sector workers too joined the strike’

– island.lk/tus-threaten-continuous-strike-unless-president-govt-resign-immediately/

– themorning.lk/over-10000-trade-unionists-at-colombo-fort-rally/

• Women protest against rising CoL led by the Women For Rights (WFR)

– timesonline.lk/news-online/In-pictures-Women-protest-against-rising-CoL/2-1137414

• Railway controllers to join 24-hour strike tomorrow

– dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Railway-controllers-to-join-24-hour-strike-tomorrow/108-235841

– adaderana.lk/news/82084/train-services-disrupted-due-to-mass-trade-union-action

• Sri Lankan IT Professionals staged a protest at Galle Face yesterday

– ft.lk/front-page/Sri-Lankan-IT-Professionals-staged-a-protest-at-Galle-Face-yesterday/44-734187

• Shock increase in bus fares to near 50% forces workers to skip the bus

‘In addition, the cost of engine oil and spare parts have doubled’

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/news/fares-shock-forces-workers-to-skip-the-bus-480807.html

• Sri Lanka private bus union chief wants slain revolutionary’s son to lead youth protesters

‘“It’s not just Indian imperialism; by now even Chinese imperialism has destroyed this country,”’

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-private-bus-union-chief-wants-slain-revolutionarys-son-to-lead-youth-protesters-93465/

• Countrywide strike certain if PM doesn’t implement Mahanayakes’ proposals: Gemunu

– dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Countrywide-strike-certain-if-PM-doesnt-implement-Mahanayakes-proposals-Gemunu/108-235682

• Widespread suffering and pessimism among masses countrywide: Survey

‘Confidence in Democratic Governance Index (Wave 2) conducted by Social Indicator (SI), the survey research arm of the Centre for Policy Alternatives… 1200 sample respondents from the four main ethnic communities (Sinhala, Tamil, up Country Tamil, and Muslim).’

– ft.lk/front-page/Widespread-suffering-and-pessimism-among-masses-countrywide-Survey/44-734177

• Fish prices soar in the north owing to fuel issues

– timesonline.lk/news-online/Fish-prices-soar-in-the-north-owing-to-fuel-issues/2-1137408

• Business disrupted at country’s biggest fish market

– island.lk/business-disrupted-at-countrys-biggest-fish-market/

•  Navy apprehends 13 attempting to travel to India via boat

– newsfirst.lk/2022/04/30/navy-apprehends-13-attempting-to-travel-to-india-via-boat/

• Public Finance Committee members urge Finance Ministry to see whether import tax reductions are passed on to consumers

– island.lk/public-finance-committee-members-urge-finance-ministry-to-see-whether-import-tax-reductions-are-passed-on-to-consumers/

• HCL Tech says no biz impact or hiring slowdown in SL amid economic crisis

– ft.lk/front-page/HCL-Tech-says-no-biz-impact-or-hiring-slowdown-in-SL-amid-economic-crisis/44-734125

• All academic staff are busy collecting documents to show they deliver quality

– island.lk/education-worthy-of-this-moment-of-crisis/

• Hemas Pharmaceuticals with Pharmaceutical Society of Sri Lanka uplifts pharmacists’ skills

– island.lk/hemas-pharmaceuticals-with-pharmaceutical-society-of-sri-lanka-uplifts-pharmacists-skills/

• APIIT Business School Launches APIIT Athwela in Collaboration with Nestlé Lanka Plc

‘With a current student population of 1,500 students and an annual intake of over 600 students, APIIT Sri Lanka is the largest provider of English degree programmes in Sri Lanka’

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/education/apiit-business-school-launches-apiit-athwela-in-collaboration-with-nestle-lanka-plc-480611.html

• Sri Lanka’s Gateway group plans Colombo Port City school with British partner

‘Speaking at the event, Deputy Chair of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council (CWEIC) Sir Hugo Swire had urged the English companies to collaborate with and invest in Sri Lanka’

– economynext.com/sri-lankas-gateway-group-plans-colombo-port-city-school-with-british-partner-93646/

• A labour leader who even the English feared – A.E. Goonesinha

‘In his autobiography he says “My collection included a biography of the liberator of China, Sun Yat Sen, presented to me by the late Anagarika Dharmapala with the words “this is the kind of work you should be engaged in”.’

– dailymirror.lk/opinion/A-labour-leader-who-even-the-British-feared/172-236033

• China’s Xi calls for ‘all-out’ infrastructure splurge to rescue economy

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Chinas-Xi-calls-for-all-out-infrastructure-splurge-to-rescue-economy/273-235866

• Decent Work for All is the Prescription for a Healthy Pandemic Recovery in Ontario

‘precarious employment has been a key driver of the pandemic. Workers in low-wage, precarious jobs still don’t have access to permanent protections’

– socialistproject.ca/2022/04/decent-work-for-all-healthy-pandemic-recovery/

• From Practice to Theory, or What is a White Woman Anyway? (1996)

– redsails.org/what-is-a-white-woman-anyway/

• Harvard leaders and staff enslaved over 70 Black and Indigenous people

– radiohc.cu/en/noticias/internacionales/293220-harvard-leaders-and-staff-enslaved-over-70-black-and-indigenous-people

_________________________________________________________________________

C6. Agriculture (Robbery of rural home market; Machines, if used, mainly imported)

ee Agriculture emphasizes the failure to industrialize an agriculture that keeps the cultivator impoverished under moneylender and merchant, and the need to develop the rural home market, monetization and commercialization, to produce, rather than import, agricultural machinery.

• Real corporate academics now lament for not opposing govt.’s disastrous agricultural policy

‘This pressure group and think-tank comprises 16 experts in agriculture and technology led by Snr. Prof. Buddhi Marambe and others like Snr. Prof. Anura Kumara, Snr. Prof.T. Sivanandan, Snr. Prof. Janendra Costa, Snr. Prof. Saman Dharmakeerti and Dr. Warshi Dandeniya among others’

– timesonline.lk/news-online/SL-agricultural-think-tank-to-safeguard-industry/2-1137413

– island.lk/real-experts-now-lament-for-not-opposing-govt-s-disastrous-agricultural-policy/

• Organic fertiliser transition: Farmers providing early warning of food shortage – US Verite

– dailymirror.lk/features/Organic-fertiliser-transition-in-Sri-Lanka-Farmers-were-providing-an-early-warning-of-a-food-shortage/185-235933

• No Maha cultivation if Yala doesn’t produce enough seed paddy

– themorning.lk/no-maha-cultivation-if-yala-doesnt-produce-enough-seed-paddy/

• Myanmar white rice controversy: House probe on, Trade Ministry claims agreement rescinded

– island.lk/myanmar-white-rice-controversy-house-probe-on-trade-ministry-claims-agreement-rescinded/

•  Rice imported under Indian LoC at concessionary prices

– newsfirst.lk/2022/04/30/rice-imported-under-indian-loc-at-concessionary-prices/

• Canteen Owners’ Assn. allows members to use own discretion on pricing

– dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Canteen-Owners-Assn-allows-members-to-use-own-discretion-on-pricing/108-235824

– ft.lk/front-page/Canteen-Owners-Association-decides-not-to-stipulate-prices-for-F-B/44-734029

• Sordid politics of environment and big money

‘The public have a right to know how the government dealt with the vessel’s local Agent, Presidential Award winner Sea Consortium Lanka of Setmil Group, accused of suppressing information about the acid leak… the Customs, Trade Ministry, BOI, and the CEA deceived the public on garbage imports’

– island.lk/sordid-politics-of-environment-and-big-money/

• Bringing Mahaveli Water to Kantale One Year Ahead of Schedule

– island.lk/bringing-mahaveli-water-to-kantale-one-year-ahead-of-schedule/

• Sri Lanka’s water prices likely to rise with no revisions in 10 years – officials

– economynext.com/sri-lankas-water-prices-likely-to-rise-with-no-revisions-in-10-years-officials-93594/

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-water-board-eying-price-hike-93594/

• Department of Agriculture (DOA) says hardly any time to import fertiliser for next Yala season

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/business-times/agriculture-blunder-needs-reckoning-480360.html

• Rubber auction prices hit all-time high

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Rubber-auction-prices-hit-all-time-high/273-235863

• Rubber sector unable to unleash full support as it receives little govt. attention: SLAMERP

‘Last year, the rubber sector fetched about US $ 1.2 billion export earnings, the best year for the sector’

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Rubber-sector-unable-to-unleash-full-support-as-it-receives-little-govt-attention-SLAMERP/273-236025

• Brown’s Udupussellawa & Hapugastenne appoint new Board Members

‘Hapugastenne Plantations includes tea, rubber, timber and other commercial crops. Hapugastenne and Udupussellawa Plantations comprise of 30 tea farms and 20 processing centres which sit within six of the seven agro-climatic region’

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Udupussellawa-Hapugastenne-appoint-new-Board-Members/273-235730

• Tea production in 1Q22 dips by 15% YoY

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Tea-production-in-1Q22-dips-by-15-YoY/273-236023

• Valuable funds squandered in SL’s 100,000 tasks initiative in 14,021 Grama Niladhari areas

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/business-times/valuable-funds-squandered-in-sls-100000-tasks-initiative-480354.html

• Air Force hands over third batch of organic fertiliser produced by it to Lak Pohora

– island.lk/air-force-hands-over-third-batch-of-organic-fertiliser-produced-by-it-to-lak-pohora/

• The Anchor vs. Nespray competition

‘Anchor triumphed…having Rosy Senanayake as the face of Anchor where the entire country knew her as the ‘Anchor mother’’

– island.lk/girdling-the-globe-the-anchor-vs-nespray-competition/

• Nuwara Wewa under spotlight Former Ministers land reclamation activities cause concern

– dailymirror.lk/expose/Nuwara-Wewa-under-spotlight-Former-Ministers-land-reclamation-activities-cause-concern/333-235711

• California officials order water restrictions for six million

– radiohc.cu/en/noticias/internacionales/293277-california-officials-order-water-restrictions-for-six-million

_____________________________________________________________________

C7. Industry (False definitions, anti-industrial sermons, rentier/entrepreneur, etc)

ee Industry notes the ignorance about industrialization (versus handicraft and manufacture), the dependence on importing foreign machinery, the need to make machines that make machines, build a producer culture. False definitions of industry, entrepreneur, etc, abound, and the need for a holistic political, economic and military strategy to overcome domination by merchants and moneylenders.

• Many imports now taking place external to country’s banking system: Chamber of Exporters

– ft.lk/business/Chamber-of-Exporters-calls-on-Govt-to-ensure-prudent-fiscal-policy/34-734157

• Chevron Lubricants Lanka perturbed by move to grant licences for nine new lubricant players

‘Only two companies, Prista Oil Holding EAD and Petronas Lubricants (India) Private Limited, commenced sales operations as of the third quarter of last year…In addition, GP Global Mag L.L.C, GS Caltex Corporation, Lukoil Marine Lubricants DMCC, Total Oil India Private Limited, Idemitsu Lube India Private Limited and Liqui Moly GMBH were also granted licences…an independent laboratory through the Industrial Technology Institute to test the conformity of lubricants to standards, … is yet to be operationalised..’

 – dailymirror.lk/business-news/Chevron-Lubricants-Lanka-perturbed-by-move-to-grant-licences-for-nine-new-lubricant-players/273-235734

• Mainline medicine manufacturing companies and importers stop supplying medicine to pharmacies

‘Most of the medicine varieties and ingredients were imported on credit’

– dailymirror.lk/insight/Rupee-depreciation-causes-massive-drug-medical-equipment-shortage/374-235047

• Sri Lanka to get US$400mn ‘shortly’ from World Bank, for LP Gas, fertilizer

from Contingency Emergency Response Components (CERC) in already approved loans and re-allocation of existing facilities’

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-to-get-us400mn-shortly-from-world-bank-for-lp-gas-fertilizer-93519/

• CEB monthly income of Rs.22 billion, purchases Rs.18 billion electricity from private power plants

– ft.lk/top-story/Electric-shock/26-733954

• Sri Lanka’s CEB costs skyrocket 155-pct amid soft-peg failure

– economynext.com/sri-lankas-ceb-costs-skyrocket-155-pct-amid-soft-peg-failure-93516/

• National grid risks losing 1200MW as CEB defaults on payments to renewable energy operators

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/National-grid-risks-losing-1200MW-as-CEB-defaults-on-payments-to-renewable-energy-operators/273-235864

• Sri Lanka eyes unsolicited renewable energy deals amid forex crisis

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-eyes-unsolicited-renewable-energy-deals-amid-forex-crisis-93511/

• Power generation, fisheries, and exports to be allowed to import fuel directly

– ft.lk/front-page/Govt-conditionally-liberalises-fuel-imports/44-733955

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-to-allow-fuel-import-for-select-sectors-after-shortage-93506/

• How privatization of public assets takes place: Lanka Marine Services to JKH in 2002

‘it is not only the politicians who are corrupt but the secretaries, the corporate bigwigs in Sri Lanka as well as the foreign investors.’

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/24/how-privatization-of-public-assets-takes-place-in-sri-lanka-lanka-marine-services-to-jkh-in-2002/

• Fuel price hike without formula or stabilisation fund sparks mayhem

‘Losses at the fuel stabilisation fund set up on March 30, 2020 by the Treasury to alleviate government finances when prices rise or fall in the world oil market, has raised many questions’

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/business-times/fuel-price-hike-without-formula-or-stabilisation-fund-sparks-mayhem-480339.html

• Sri Lanka should expand the Refinery at Sapugaskanda

– island.lk/the-state-in-sri-lankan-nation/

• More blows to Lanka: UAE fuel supplier imposes credit squeeze

‘He said a proposed purchase with a Singaporean company to supply 95,000MT of crude oil too had been postponed earlier due to a delay in opening the required letters of credit. A request made from China to supply finished products too has so far not drawn a response. The contract lapsed in December last year.’

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/news/more-blows-to-lanka-uae-fuel-supplier-imposes-credit-squeeze-480908.html

• Sri Lanka owes US$390 mln to PetroChina for 12 fuel consignments – envoy

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-owes-us-390-mln-to-petrochina-for-12-fuel-consignment-envoy-93463/

• Adani Group’s renewable energy company gets better payment terms than us from government

– island.lk/adani-groups-renewable-energy-company-getting-better-payment-terms-than-us-from-government/

• Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals (CPST) to probe ownership change of bowser to Port City

– dailymirror.lk/latest_news/CPSTL-to-probe-ownership-change-of-fuel-bowser-to-Port-City/342-235830

• Gas distribution commences after price hike

– newsfirst.lk/2022/04/28/gas-distribution-commences-after-price-hike/

•  Litro to import gas from Thailand at 10$ gain

– newsfirst.lk/2022/04/30/litro-to-import-gas-from-thailand-at-10-gain/

• Passing on burden to consumers not a solution to power crisis: renewable energy stakeholders

‘“For the CEB to survive, consumer tariff must be increased by 325 percent and for the country to survive the consumer tariff must be increased to at least 405 percent,” Windpower Association’

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Passing-on-burden-to-consumers-not-a-solution-to-power-crisis-renewable-energy-stakeholders/273-236028

• Wind Power for Sri Lanka’s Energy Requirements – Karunaratne

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/24/financing-fuel-for-the-production-of-electricity/

• Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) has flouted rules like nobody’s business!

– island.lk/slsi-has-flouted-rules-like-nobodys-business/

• Health services “critical”: Govt. seeks lifeline from professional and foreign donors

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/news/health-services-critical-says-minister-govt-seeks-life-line-from-professional-and-foreign-donors-480904.html

• Italy to grant Rs. 125 m in-kind emergency medicine and medical equipment

– ft.lk/news/Italy-to-grant-Rs-125-m-in-kind-emergency-contribution/56-733925

• Int’l Red Cross’ humanitarian assistance, including medicine, for cash-strapped Lanka

– island.lk/intl-humanitarian-assistance-including-medicine-for-cash-strapped-lanka/

• Indonesia donates 3.1 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka

‘essential medicines and medical equipment’

– adaderana.lk/news/82096/indonesia-donates-31-tonnes-of-humanitarian-aid-to-sri-lanka

• Prices of 60 varieties of medicinal drugs increased by 40%

– adaderana.lk/news/82122/prices-of-60-varieties-of-medicinal-drugs-increased-by-40

• Essential medical supplies from India reaches Peradeniya Hospital

– newsfirst.lk/2022/04/30/essential-medical-supplies-imported-under-indian-loc-handed-over-to-peradeniya-hospital/

• Cement, soap price hikes to record levels

– ft.lk/front-page/Cement-soap-price-hikes-to-record-levels/44-733940

• ‘Soap price hike is due to depreciating rupee’ – Hemas

– themorning.lk/soap-price-hike-is-due-to-depreciating-rupee/

• Pioneer construction firm Sierra entrusted with refurbishment of John De Silva Theatre

– bizenglish.adaderana.lk/pioneer-construction-firm-sierra-entrusted-with-refurbishment-of-john-de-silva-theatre/

• Timber Corp. transferred just Rs.100 million out of Rs. 1.4 billion profit to Treasury – COPE

– timesonline.lk/news-online/Timber-Corp-transferred-just-Rs-100-million-out-of-Rs-1-4-billion-profit-to-Treasury-COPE/2-1137407

• Free trade zone manufacturers express concerns on prolonged national catastrophe

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Free-trade-zone-manufacturers-express-concerns-on-prolonged-national-catastrophe/273-235788

• Local industries under ‘close down’ threat: Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI)

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Local-industries-under-close-down-threat-says-CNCI-chief/273-235786

• Govt. to allow direct fuel imports for priority sectors under new licensing system

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Govt-to-allow-direct-fuel-imports-for-priority-sectors-under-new-licensing-system/273-235789

• SLPA to collect all payments from shipping lines in US dollars

‘through navigation, stevedoring and income from terminals from shipping lines in US dollars instead of Sri Lankan rupees’

– dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/SLPA-to-collect-all-payments-from-shipping-lines-in-US-dollars/108-235793

• State Institutions should send significant portion of their earnings to State Treasury: COPE

– dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/State-Institutions-should-send-significant-portion-of-their-earnings-to-State-Treasury-COPE/108-235831

– ft.lk/front-page/Severe-cuts-on-State-sector-expenditure/44-733956

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-cuts-capital-budget-to-save-soft-pegged-rupee-93546/

• Foreign airlines cut flights; cargo carriers insist on payments in dollars

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/news/foreign-airlines-cut-flights-cargo-carriers-insist-on-payments-in-dollars-480902.html

• Amid fuel shortage, SriLankan flights diverted to Mattala to “manage” fuel at BIA – official

– economynext.com/amid-fuel-shortage-srilankan-flights-diverted-to-mattala-to-manage-fuel-at-bia-official-93569/

• SriLankan Airlines – The unacceptable explanation to COPE

– island.lk/srilankan-airlines-the-unacceptable-explanation-to-cope/

• Cancelled light rail project: Lanka rejects claims for billions as compensation from Oriental Consultants Global Co Ltd of Japan (OCG), the lead partner, to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/news/cancelled-light-rail-project-lanka-rejects-claims-for-billions-as-compensation-480897.html

• Saudi Arabia may cut June crude prices to Asia from record highs

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Saudi-Arabia-may-cut-June-crude-prices-to-Asia-from-record-highs/273-236022

• Mexico calls meeting of regional lithium producers

– radiohc.cu/en/noticias/internacionales/293162-mexico-calls-meeting-of-regional-lithium-producers

______________________________________________________________________

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., and the rule of moneylenders, preventing investment in modern production.

• US Citibank’s Dinithi Ratnayake new Chairperson at SDB (Sanasa Development) bank

‘Director, Head of Financial Institutions Group at Citibank N.A in Sri Lanka, also at Grindlays, Seylan Bank, SBI Emerging Asia Financial Sector Fund Ltd., and Nederlandse Financierings – Maatschappij Voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V. on the Board of Sanasa Development Bank, a Co-Founder/Director of IDEAology Strategy Consulting, Governing Council Member of South Asia Partnership Sri Lanka, an NGO. Major SDB shareholders are Iconic Property Twenty Three, (15%), Nederlandse Financierings Maatschappij Voor Ontwikkerlingslanden NV (11%), Ayenka Holdings, (10.9%), Belgian Investment Co. for Developing Countries SA/NV (10%), Senthilverl Holdings (9%).

The Board of Directors: Chairperson D. Ratnayake, S. Amaratunge, P. Subasinghe, S.L. Thilakarathne, C. Kumarasiri, H.P. Premaratna, B.R.A. Bandara, J.A.L.G. Jayasinghe, T. Wijemanna, S.H.S. Nandasiri, F.K.C.P.N. Dias and A.N.P. Sooriyarachchi.

– ft.lk/opinion/Dinithi-Ratnayake-new-Chairperson-at-SDB-bank/14-734001

• StanChart 6% rise in Q1 profit; charges US$107mn due to SL rating downgrades

‘emerging-markets-focused lender benefited from rising interest rates aimed at controlling inflation.’

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/StanChart-profit-beats-estimates-charges-US-107mn-due-to-Sri-Lanka-rating-downgrades/273-235943

• Sri Lanka equities, sovereign bonds an investment opportunity: Mark Mobius

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-equities-sovereign-bonds-an-investment-opportunity-mark-mobius-93522/

• Fitch places 12 NBFIs on Rating Watch Negative on tightening operating conditions

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Fitch-places-12-NBFIs-on-Rating-Watch-Negative-on-tightening-operating-conditions/273-235868

• SDB bank Total profits for 2021 Rs. 909 million

‘total operating income grew by 9 per cent YoY to reach Rs.7.4 billion.’

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/business-times/sdb-bank-reports-strong-growth-in-2021-480357.html

• Serenity Group – Uganda clarifies on alleged link to Rajapaksas

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Serenity-Group-Uganda-clarifies-on-alleged-link-to-Rajapaksas/273-235737

• Traders at breaking point on margin calls, lobby for moratorium

‘corporates in ’21 that posted ‘highest ever’ profits did so due to external factors’

‘– sundaytimes.lk/220424/business-times/traders-at-breaking-point-on-margin-calls-lobby-for-moratorium-480370.html

• Sri Lanka exchange halts again after 13 per cent plunge

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/25/sri-lanka-exchange-halts-again-after-13-per-cent-plunge/

• Blood in the bourse but buy before it runs dry

– ft.lk/top-story/Blood-in-the-bourse-but-buy-before-it-runs-dry/26-733944

• CSE dogged by trading halts; political instability takes its toll

– island.lk/cse-dogged-by-trading-halts-political-instability-takes-its-toll/

• CSE suffers circuit breaker below one minute of starting trading

– island.lk/cse-suffers-circuit-breaker-below-one-minute-of-starting-trading/

• Rs. 600 b in value at CSE wiped out in two days: YTD loss now at Rs. 2.6 t

– ft.lk/front-page/Rs-600-b-in-value-at-CSE-wiped-out-in-two-days-YTD-loss-now-at-Rs-2-6-t/44-733958

• With multiple triggers, capital market participants are suggesting a rethink on circuit breakers.

– ft.lk/front-page/With-multiple-triggers-spotlight-falls-on-circuit-breaker/44-733959

• Sri Lanka stocks end with strong recovery; Expolanka leads

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-stocks-end-with-strong-recovery-expolanka-leads-93573/

• CSE on a sharp re-bounce following two days of steep fall

– island.lk/cse-on-a-sharp-re-bounce-following-two-days-of-steep-fall/

• CSE gains for second consecutive day; buying interest in blue chip shares

– island.lk/cse-gains-for-second-consecutive-day-buying-interest-in-blue-chip-shares/

• Sri Lanka stocks rise sharply for second session after Mobius comments

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-stocks-rise-sharply-for-second-session-after-mobius-comments-93637/

• Sri Lanka stock market edges up amid eroding sentiment over political deadlock

– economynext.com/sri-lanka-stock-market-edges-up-amid-eroding-sentiment-over-political-deadlock-93684/

• US stock market convulsions due to Congress making Fed a supervisor over global megabanks

– wallstreetonparade.com/2022/04/fed-chair-powell-telegraphs-the-perfect-storm-for-wall-streets-megabanks-rapid-rate-hikes-hitting-234-trillion-in-derivatives/

• Global Megabanks Are Tanking – The Same Ones the Fed Bailed Out in 2019

– wallstreetonparade.com/2022/04/global-megabanks-are-tanking-the-same-ones-the-fed-bailed-out-in-2019/

• Markets Climb a Wall of Worry but a War, a Pandemic, Soaring Inflation and Opaque Megabanks Spell Big Trouble

– wallstreetonparade.com/2022/04/markets-climb-a-wall-of-worry-but-a-war-a-pandemic-soaring-inflation-and-opaque-megabanks-spell-big-trouble/

• Banks on Wall Street as Hapless Victims of Archegos Fraud. Nobody’s Buying It.

– wallstreetonparade.com/2022/04/justice-department-and-sec-portray-serially-charged-banks-on-wall-street-as-hapless-victims-of-archegos-fraud-nobodys-buying-it/

___________________________________________________________________________________

C9. Business (Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)

ee Business focuses on the rentier diversions of the oligarchy, the domination by a merchant mafia, making money from unproductive land sales, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of corporate press releases disguised as ‘news’

• Ceylon Tobacco Co’s first and only Sri Lankan Chairman/Chief Executive S.V. Wanigasekera

– island.lk/ceylon-tobacco-co-and-the-emergence-of-sri-lankas-cut-flower-industry

• Receipt, bill, or invoice for goods in possession made mandatory

‘All manufacturers, producers, store owners, and traders are now required to have a receipt, bill, or invoice for goods in their possession, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) stated.’

– themorning.lk/receipt-bill-or-invoice-for-goods-in-possession-made-mandatory/

• Fitch places seven insurers on Rating Watch Negative

‘National Insurance Trust Fund Board, HNB Assurance, HNB General Insurance, People’s Insurance, Continental Insurance Lanka, Co-operative Insurance, Sanasa General Insurance…Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation.

– island.lk/fitch-places-seven-insurers-on-rating-watch-negative/

• Fitch downgrades Singer and Abans

– ft.lk/front-page/Some-rated-corporates-more-affected-by-stressed-environment-Fitch/44-734180

• Sri Lanka Insurance posts a record profit of Rs. 11.7 billion before taxation for 2021

– island.lk/sri-lanka-insurance-posts-a-record-profit-of-rs-11-7-billion-before-taxation-for-2021/

• Hemas to withstand economic pressures due to its defensive cash flow: Fitch

‘Hemas is the market leader in pharmaceutical import and distribution in Sri Lanka and … and hospitals, which are benefitting from the ageing population in the country…’

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/Hemas-to-withstand-economic-pressures-due-to-its-defensive-cash-flow-Fitch/273-235867

• Excellent Expolanka ends FY22 with Rs. 694 b revenue, Rs. 73 b profit

– ft.lk/front-page/Excellent-Expolanka-ends-FY22-with-Rs-694-b-revenue-Rs-73-b-profit/44-734129

• JKH throws weight behind peoples’ demands & engagement with International Monetary Fund

– island.lk/jkh-throws-its-weight-behind-peoplesdemands/

• Maliban says it pushes for merit based political, social system to regain growth

– dailymirror.lk/business_247/Maliban-says-it-pushes-for-merit-based-political-social-system-to-regain-growth/395-235672

• Efforts to promote wide-ranging South Indian investments in Sri Lanka

‘targeting the use of the free trade agreements… discussing with major South Indian industrialists to open up cement factories, electrical car manufacturing plants, sugar factories and mining plants’

– island.lk/efforts-to-promote-wide-ranging-south-indian-investments-in-sri-lanka/

• McLarens scoops National Business Excellence Awards with French Ambassador

– bizenglish.adaderana.lk/mclarens-group-makes-waves-at-prestigious-awards-ceremonies/

• National Logistics Awards, organised by Sri Lanka Logistics & Freight Forwarders Association

‘over 500 representatives from freight forwarding, shipping, courier companies and airlines’

– bizenglish.adaderana.lk/mclarens-group-makes-waves-at-prestigious-awards-ceremonies/

• SL to simplify residence visa issuance methodology to attract foreign inflows

–dailymirror.lk/business-news/SL-to-simplify-residence-visa-issuance-methodology-to-attract-foreign-inflows/273-235794

– ft.lk/front-page/Cabinet-approves-issuance-of-long-term-residence-visa-for-foreign-investors/44-733960

• Association of Inbound Tour Operators v. Tourism Development Authority

‘The SLAITO is a not-for-profit organisation that first came into existence in 1975 and is the apex body representing the DMC or tour operators in Sri Lanka’

– dailymirror.lk/business-news/SLAITO-says-members-stand-by-their-President/273-235865

______________________________________________________

C10. Politics (Anti-parliament discourse, unelected constitution)

ee Politics points to the constant diversions and spectacles and the mercantile and financial forces funding the political actors, of policy hijacked by private interests minus public oversight.

•  Financial Institutions emphasize protecting democracy to assist SL

‘The SL delegation in Washington also met the President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB)..the South Asia Regional Director of International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the Secretary-General of the Paris Club. The Indian delegation, led by their Minister of Finance, reassured India’s enhanced commitment to support SL…including direct bridging finance in credit lines for petroleum and other essential imports and deferment of accumulated Asian Clearing Union (ACU) liabilities, and through multilateral agencies.

– newsfirst.lk/2022/04/30/financial-institutions-emphasize-protecting-democracy-to-assist-sl

• Coterie of private sector bigwigs round the President are hoping for a miracle

‘Some of them are accused of promoting policies that have resulted in the current situation and also getting government contracts’

– ft.lk/columns/Rajapaksa-castle-crumbling/4-734146

• Humiliating defeats suffered at co-operative society elections

– island.lk/get-priorities-right/

• Barricades fitted with spikes sprang up in the Colombo city yesterday

– island.lk/dead-man-walking/

• Rest if you must, but don’t you quit – Sunday Times

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/news/rest-if-you-must-but-dont-you-quit-480750.html

• A handful of Richards died but the Ranjithans died in their thousands – Seneviratne

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/24/the-brink-and-beyond/

• PM tried to give solutions, but most turned down due to executive powers: Senthil Thondaman

– dailymirror.lk/hard-talk/PM-tried-to-give-solutions-but-most-were-turned-down-due-to-executive-powers-Senthil-Thondaman/334-235963

• Is Singapore a role model we must emulate? – Susirith Mendis

‘Singapore has 1,427,500 migrant workers comprising 38% of its labour force… Singaporean citizens (36%) are of the view that migrant workers should not be given equal pay for equal work; should not receive same work; and should not be able to join unions.’

– island.lk/is-singapore-a-role-model-we-must-emulate/

Other countries can mention God – but Sri Lanka can’t mention Buddha

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/25/other-countries-can-mention-god-but-sri-lanka-cant-mention-buddha/

 Judicial Intervention to prevent bloodbath – Kulatunga

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/24/judicial-intervention/

• Corporates fattened themselves on a dysfunctional Government increased profits during covid

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/columns/long-may-civil-and-peaceful-disobedience-to-an-uncaring-government-last-480702.html

• The deadlock continues: JKH Joins

‘Big business, in the shape of a statement by JKH, the country’s biggest listed conglomerate, has also thrown its weight behind the agitation’

– island.lk/the-deadlock-continues/

• Memories are short? It is time to learn from mistakes not vilify leaders

‘The increasing number of protests, strikes, marches spurred on by the hardships faced by the people point out to a scenario that is being choreographed by unseen hands’

– lankaweb.com/news/items/2022/04/29/memories-are-short-it-is-time-to-learn-from-mistakes-not-vilify-leaders/

• President cannot be removed constitutionally through No-Confidence or Impeach motion

– island.lk/the-state-in-sri-lankan-nation/

• Main opposition, JVP not in agreement with Govt dissidents

dailymirror.lk/latest_news/Main-opposition-JVP-not-in-agreement-with-Govt-dissidents/342-235874

– ft.lk/top-story/Brothers-in-a-brawl/26-734023

• FSP leading ‘Gota Go Home’ campaign wants Parliament to take charge, dilute executive

– island.lk/fsp-leading-gota-go-home-campaign-wants-parliament-to-take-charge-dilute-executive-powers/

• “I will surely punish thieves and corrupt and develop the country in two years” – Fonseka

– dailymirror.lk/hard-talk/I-will-surely-punish-the-thieves-and-the-corrupt-and-develop-the-country-in-two-years-Sarath-Fonseka/334-235846

• Prof Nalin on Alahapperuma’s move

– island.lk/economic-political-social-crisis-takes-a-turn-for-the-worse/

• Sobhitha Thero – Nalin de Silva

– kalaya.org/2022/04/blog-post_23.html

• Bhikkhu and Kapu – Nalin de Silva

– kalaya.org/2022/04/blog-post_24.html

• The Mastermind Behind the Mahanayake Theras’ Statement – Nalin de Silva

– kalaya.org/2022/04/blog-post_25.html

• Dallas and Mahinda – Nalin de Silva
– kalaya.org/2022/04/blog-post_37.html

• The fate of the monks – Nalin de Silva

– kalaya.org/2022/04/blog-post_26.html

• Wimal Weerawansa & the Children of ’77 – Nalin de Silva

– kalaya.org/2022/04/blog-post_27.html

• Rahula Thero, where are you? – Nalin de Silva

– kalaya.org/2022/04/blog-post_46.html

• Nirvana  – Nalin de Silva

– kalaya.org/2022/04/blog-post_28.html

• Sri Lanka’s Tamil National Alliance still undecided on no confidence motion

– economynext.com/sri-lankas-tamil-national-alliance-still-undecided-on-no-confidence-motion-93539/

• UNP to support NCM being mooted against President by TNA

– ft.lk/front-page/UNP-to-support-NCM-being-mooted-against-President-by-TNA/44-734024

• The Opposition’s Group of 40: Confusion & Clarity – Jayatilleka

‘no Interim Administration formed under the presidency of Gotabaya Rajapaksa will enjoy a shred of public legitimacy. ‘

– island.lk/the-oppositions-group-of-40-confusion-clarity/

• None the saner: Fathers of Anarchy – Jayatilleka

– ft.lk/columns/None-the-saner-Fathers-of-Anarchy/4-734044

• Truly insane: An all-party administration under Gota – Jayatilleka

– island.lk/truly-insane-an-all-party-administration-under-gota/

• People’s-revolt yes; Arab-Winter no – David

‘The forces that can now enter the equation and tilt the balance are state employees, teachers and workers in the services (transport, electricity, banks, communications, petroleum, airports). Unless this class intervenes decisively on the side of the youthful idealists a purely middle-class liberal movement is doomed.’

– island.lk/peoples-revolt-yes-arab-winter-no/

• Is the “House of Rajapaksa” Falling Down? – Jeyaraj

– dailymirror.lk/opinion/Is-the-House-of-Rajapaksa-Falling-Down/172-235563

• ‘People are miserable, they have risen. They are in a rage – Udugama

– island.lk/new-political-culture-altruistic-leaders-can-save-sri-lanka-deepika/

• SL biz community urges repeal of 20th amendment

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/business-times/sl-biz-community-urges-repeal-of-20th-amendment-480342.html

• EU-funded Institute for Health Policy Sri Lanka Opinion Tracker Survey (SLOTS)

– island.lk/popularity-of-president-gotabaya-rajapaksa-has-collapsed-says-slots/

– ft.lk/front-page/Economic-crisis-results-in-growing-public-disaffection-with-all-politicians-but-President-worst-affected-Poll/44-734027

• Can we cleanse state institutions by getting rid of only rogues in the garb of politicians?

– island.lk/sinners-stoning-sinners/

• Premadasa Made Kehelwatte Famous

– island.lk/premadasa-made-kehelwatte-famous/

• J. V. Stalin interviewed by Roy Howard (1936)

– redsails.org/stalin-and-howard/

• Pakistan’s Godfathers – Tariq Ali

– newleftreview.org/sidecar/posts/pakistans-godfathers

• Commodity Fetishism and Imran Khan: Right-Wing Populism in Pakistan

– socialistproject.ca/2022/04/commodity-fetishism-imran-khan-populism/

• In India, Religion and Neoliberal Individualism Have Converged

– newsclick.in/India-Religion-Neoliberal-Individualism-Converged

• Dialectical Materialism is the Worldview and Methodology of Chinese Communists – Xi Jinping

– redsails.org/cpc-worldview-and-methodology/

• The Most Powerful Jew in the World

‘Kolomoisky is the oligarch that funded the 2019 run for President by Zelensky’

– haaretz.com/premium-the-most-powerful-jew-in-the-world-1.5315512

__________________________________________________________

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.

• Recent cases of threats to journalists and HR defenders: USAID’s CPA launches report

– ft.lk/news/Recent-cases-of-threats-to-journalists-and-HR-defenders-CPA-launches-report/56-734176

• “Galle Face. It is the people’s art. It is a performance…They are suffering but they are singing”

‘featured this year in the Venice Biennale and represented by the Saskia Fernando Gallery….

Thenuwara’s installation is at the European Cultural Centre – Palazzo Mora, Strada Nova, Venice’

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/plus/i-am-first-an-activist-then-an-artist-480456.html

 • Kudumbigala monastery of Gothabhaya (250-205 BC) of Ruhuna dedicated 105 caves to monks

– sundaytimes.lk/220424/plus/from-ancient-times-a-monastery-amidst-rock-and-jungle-480460.html

• Learn from the Panda brothers in Hainan

– bizenglish.adaderana.lk/learn-from-the-panda-brothers-in-hainan/

• It’s a ‘US disease’ to make an issue of China in all aspects

– globaltimes.cn/page/202204/1260565.shtml

• Media Are Now Whitewashing Nazis They Had Previously Condemned

– moonofalabama.org/2022/04/azovreplist.html

• Obama Wants Censorship

‘While Facebook and Twitter are already arms of the state, and restrict access to anyone who strays from their narratives, Obama would like them to do more harm.’

– blackagendareport.com/obama-wants-censorship

• Isaac Asimov on George Orwell’s “1984” (1980)

‘George Orwell in 1984 was engaging in a private feud with Stalinism, rather than attempting to forecast the future. He did not have the science fictional knack of foreseeing a plausible future and, in actual fact, in almost all cases, the world of 1984 bears no relation to the real world of the 1980s. ‘

– redsails.org/asimov-on-1984/

• Clevinger was one of those people with lots of intelligence and no brains

– redsails.org/clevinger/

• How Not To Report On Ukraine

– moonofalabama.org/2022/04/how-not-to-report-on-ukraine.html

• Mislabeling as “imperialist” towards any enemy of US imperialism is one tactic used to deceive

– blackagendareport.com/imperialism-0

• Xochimilco, 1914

A short animated film about the historic conversation between Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata in Xochimilco (then, a town just south of Mexico City, these days it’s just another neighborhood) in 1914. Based on original stenographic recordings, two days afterwards they marched on the capital and Porfirio Diaz fled the country. By Mexican art collective called Los Viumasters.

– vimeo.com/14989467

• Musk gets Twitter for $44b, to cheers and fears of ‘free speech’ plan

– ft.lk/front-page/Musk-gets-Twitter-for-44-b-to-cheers-and-fears-of-free-speech-plan/44-733965

• Trump-tied SPAC roars back as Truth Social tops app store

– radiohc.cu/en/noticias/internacionales/293216-trump-tied-spac-roars-back-as-truth-social-tops-app-store

_________________________________________________

email: econenews@gmail.com

blog: eesrilanka.wordpress.com

_________________________________________________

Published by ee ink.

This site is inspired by the dedicated scholarship and work of S.B.D. de Silva, author of "The Political Economy of Underdevelopment"

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