‘Before you study the economics, study the economists!’
e-Con e-News 05-11 June 2022
A colonial family law firm has been caught in an illegal act involving bribery by the US embassy to seize a Russian Aeroflot aircraft. This ‘first’ law firm is linked to the colonial robbery of lands to set up plantations, and the undermining of true independence, such as the assassination of a Prime Minister and an attempted coup d’etat against another.
The seizure of the Russian plane was timed for last weekend’s news cycle, breaking out into the open on Thursday, June 2. The operation was funded by the US embassy via one of Lanka’s most powerful and infamous old law firms, FJ & G de Saram (see ee 29 May & 10 July 2021). De Saram sent their lawyers to impose a now apparently never-given court order to seize the craft.
The ‘junior attorney representing the plaintiff served notices on my client instructing to stop the aircraft…Can a lawyer perform the duty of a fiscal officer, while the duties of a fiscal officer are being governed by Fiscal Ordinance?’ asks an Additional Solicitor-General.
The Aeroflot case centres around the antics at the Colombo Commercial High Court (CCHC), set up at the urging of the USA to fast-track ‘justice’ for big capitalists. A CCHC ‘Court Registrar’ stands exposed as having ‘given several telephone calls to the Airport Navigation Centre requesting them to implement the Court Order in an unprecedented manner’.
To make matters worse, PM Ranil Wickremasinghe, wishing to assert his Asian-Saxon kinship and business-as-usual credentials, declared the game was ‘a matter between 2 private parties’, as did the Foreign Ministry.
‘Some of our officials are just playing dumb having been part of a foreign conspiracy to embarrass Russia and to exacerbate the dire situation in the country, already beset with a myriad problems.’ (see Random Notes)
• A political, economic & military alliance of Asian, African & real American countries is the need of the hour. ‘We are seeing a financially weaponized power grab by the US Dollar Area over the Global South as well as over Western Europe. Without dollar credit from the US and its IMF subsidiary, how can countries stay afloat? How hard will the US act to block them from de-dollarizing, opting out of the US economic orbit?’ (ee Focus)
• The capitalist media have turned the ongoing strangling of the economy into a matter of ‘corruption’, ‘theft’, ‘debt’, a lack of dollars and investment. This ee reproduces the claim ‘The rise of the black economy for foreign exchange in Sri Lanka must be placed at the centre of the economic collapse we are now facing’.
The Bank Employee Union (CBEU) this week states, ‘The 2 state banks provide a huge contribution to the national economy annually, by paying taxes and committing their profit dividends to the Treasury.’ Yet ee believes the real issue is why state banks have failed to invest in modern production.
The biggest robbers of foreign exchange are the multinational corporations (MNCs), though it’s all very ‘legal’. This is enabled by the day-to-day practices of transfer pricing, and misinvoicing. The biggest crime however is disinvestment. Even if the dollars are not robbed, there’s a continuing prevention of investment in long-term industrial production. This is the key to continuing underdevelopment and crucial to understanding the sabotaging of independence (ee Focus).
A1. Reader Comments –
• ee Tells it All • What’s Next? • New Revelations • Very Smooth
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Yahapahuwa, Chola & China • US Moves in on SL State Land • Importing Food since the 1950s • UNP’s Chicago Men • Importing Experts • Uber Robbery • US alternates facts in Taiwan • Buffet’s Secret • Subsidizing Communists • The United States of Corporations
A3. Random Notes –
• Aeroflot & High Court Robbery • India Seeks more Russian Oil
B. ee Focus
B1. Rise of the Black Economy for Forex and Economic Collapse – Part I: Dhanusha Pathirana
B2. Is US/NATO (with WEF Help) Pushing for a Global South Famine? – Michael Hudson
C. News Index
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: email@example.com
• ‘What happens to the dollars? E-Con-E-News of 21-27 May 2022 tells it all’ (see ee Economists)
• ‘What is the true situ and where will we be in the near future?’
• Received ee…with its many new revelations’
• ‘Last ee was very smooth…’
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘After the rule of Gamunu, Sri Lanka was colonized by the Cholas on many occasions until 1403 AD. When the Polonnaruwa kingdom fell Sri Lanka focused on Yapahuwa with the Yapahuwa Lions. It indicates that China must have helped SL to re-establish in the new seat. When the Imperial Chinese Navy took control of the Lakdiva Sea, SL was able to be independent and strong for about 50 years as the Chola power reduced and the Chinese were never interested in colonization. A century later European powers emerged colonizing SL. A critical analysis would indicate that there was no way SL could have been independent with superpowers in close range (Chola, Portuguese, Dutch, English). China is again trading with the world with the Belt & Road (BRI). They have many strong trading partners not colonies’ – ee Sovereignty, Plato
• ‘Already Sri Lanka took a loan of $154mn to be paid to a US company to carry out cadastral mapping of Sri Lanka. US companies are handling our land registries. US companies are handling our land information system. US companies are surveying our land. US companies are developing an electronic land hub for National Land Title Program for which the US embassy has even advertised for expressions of interest.’ – ee Agriculture, State Land
• ‘In the 1950s with a population of only around 7 million we imported most of our food requirements. In 2020 with a population of 22 million we were about self-sufficient in rice and many other foods. We were import dependent on a number of basic commodities such as wheat, sugar, milk and dhal. The food situation is drastically different in 2022. Our rice production has fallen by about 50% and so have many other food crops. And we do not have the finances to import the food deficit nor purchase the fertiliser, fuel and agrochemicals needed to revive food production.’ – ee Economists, Sanderatne
• ‘One of the ideological advantages that the SLFP and its offshoot, the SLPP (Pohottuva), has over the UNP and its offshoot the SJB, is its sensitivity to rural society and agrarian interests, an advantage stemming from the centre-left origins of the SLFP. The UNP was originally also a rural society-based formation but with the growth of urban capital, the UNP, being the original flag-bearer of the bourgeoisie, quickly moved into the Chicago-School export-led economic mode.’ – ee Media, Vox Populi, Gunasekera
• ‘SWRD Bandaranaike invited Sir Nicholas Kaldor to head up a commission on economic policy – a commission which included the soon-to-be-legendary Joan Robinson. A decade later PM Wickremesinghe’s father commissioned BR Shenoy (a polarising maverick economist) to draw up an economic platform for Ceylon. A decade later President JR Jayewardene requested Singapore’s PM Lee Kuan Yew to send a top expert to advise the post-1977 UNP government on economic policy, and Lee sent his economic wizard Goh Keng Swee.’
The crisis cries out for the best international brains that Sri Lanka can tap. If money is the problem, perhaps the UNDP or International Labor Organization can fund it just as the ILO commissioned the landmark report ‘Matching Employment Expectations and Opportunities’ by Dudley Seers of the IDS, Sussex, in 1970.
Three options come to mind. One is Joe Stiglitz, Economics Nobel Prize winner & former World Bank chief economist. The PM knows him personally from a Colombo visit in 2015. Stiglitz’ equity-laden perspective would help at a time when there is a strong left-propelled upsurge of mass protest. (Conversely, to help the JVP win or the FSP-IUSF overthrow the system, one could invite Ricardo Hausmann instead, given the Leftwing Latin American administrations assisted into office by their predecessors practicing his policies.)
The second and third options are India and China, or if that is acceptable to both, a joint Asian economic expert panel. China and India being economic superstars, their top specialists could draw up a surgical strategy for Sri Lanka’s survival and recovery.’ – ee Politics, Jayatilleka
• ‘Well-known foreign digital operators handling ride-sharing and transport of goods in Sri Lanka, use our road networks, fuel subsidies and state infrastructure to further their businesses, yet they have an unfair advantage over their tax paying local counterparts… Foreign digital operators have enjoyed this tax-free haven for many years. These operators, by refusing to register as local entities, do not follow any of the laws of Sri Lanka and avoid paying local taxes.’ – ee Industry, FITIS
• ‘The US State Department has changed its factsheet again over Taiwan, adding back the statement ‘We do not support Taiwan independence,’ This change was noticed on May 28 in the US State Dept’s website. This line was removed a month earlier. What’s happening? Can’t make up its mind?’ – ee Sovereignty, Biden Mess
• Warren Buffett, the world’s richest stock market investor, says he bets on companies that are like ‘strong economic castles with a long-lasting economic moat around them’. He means, he invests in companies that don’t have competition. There is another name for it – monopolies. In other words, Buffett knows that only monopolies succeed in Capitalism. It is a secret that no one told you.’ – ee Economists, What Buffet Knows That You Don’t
• ‘Of course, Vietnam is not completely forgotten by our policy-makers today – I could not in honesty make such a charge and the facts would easily refute it – but the unfortunate truth of the matter is that, in my opinion, Vietnam would in all likelihood be receiving more attention from our Congress & Administration, and greater assistance under our aid programs, if it were in imminent danger of Communist invasion or revolution. Like those peoples of Latin America and Africa whom we have very nearly overlooked in the past decade, the Vietnamese may find that their devotion to the cause of democracy, and their success in reducing the strength of local Communist groups, have had the ironic effect of reducing US support. Yet the need for that support has in no way been reduced. (I hope it will not be necessary for the Diem Government – or this organization – to subsidize the growth of the South Vietnam CP in order to focus US attention on that nation’s critical needs!)’ – Senator John F Kennedy, Conference on Vietnam, 1956 (ee Sovereignty)
• ‘The Making of the Integral State – The capitalist state & corporation are the major institutional foundations of political order in contemporary society. In the US, these twin leviathans emerged together at the end of the 19th century and have since coevolved through a dialectical historical process as 2 heads of a single system of class power. This duality is rooted in the framework of capitalist property relations: that ownership & control of capital remains in private hands means, institutional constraints must be built into the structure of state power itself, delineating the boundary between public and private authority. The capitalist corporation that is today the primary means for organizing private control over large-scale productive property is itself a creation of the law. The firm is predicated on the separation of ownership (shareholders) and control (managers) of productive assets, and the relationship between these functions, established within a structure of ‘corporate governance,’ is substantially determined by state regulation. While it shifts along with the development and evolution of the corporation and financial system, the state plays a fundamental role in shaping these economic relations. At the same time, the exercise of political power, and the organization of class hegemony, has required continuous coordination between political and economic institutions. As a fundamental basis of class power, the corporation is not merely an economic, but also a political institution. The economic power it confers upon owners and managers constitutes the material foundation upon which the state organizes the political hegemony of the capitalist class.’
‘The state is a key agent in forming and reproducing business associations. When contextualized within the specific, historically evolved linkages that traverse and interpenetrate the state bureaucracy, the legislature, the industrial policy apparatus, and corporate institutions, it becomes clear that such civil society organizations do not merely express the pre-existing interests of their constituents, but are also mechanisms through which the state organizes the political power of the capitalist class – forming an integral state. As opposed to merely advocating for a fixed agenda, business associations facilitate the systematic collaboration between state and corporate institutions that is essential for developing and implementing policy. They also serve as crucial forums for building consensus and support among business for political initiatives. Meanwhile, the capacity of state agencies to mobilize business impacts their position within the hierarchy of state apparatuses. Business associations therefore do not merely influence the state on behalf of corporations; rather, they are also important mechanisms through which the state organizes otherwise fragmented and competitive corporate power into a coherent political bloc, which then reacts back upon the state. Moreover, the networks and relays that constitute the integral state are in no way reducible to business associations, but are fundamental to the organizational structure of both state and corporation. These deeper linkages constitute the basis for the formation of business associations that are integral to the reproduction of state power and class hegemony.’
– S Maher, Corporate Capitalism & the Integral State, Marx, Engels, & Marxisms
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
“After the assassination, Dahanayake who became Prime Minister,
appointed Sidney de Zoysa Minister of the Interior.
A very reactionary police officer, credited
with even having people bumped off during the 1953 Hartal.” – Bala Tampoe
“The Coup participants identified different leaders as the prime movers.
According to Royce de Mel, Derek de Saram was the person who masterminded it.
While according to Douglas Liyanage,
“everyone knew the brains behind the Coup was Sidney de Zoysa,
although F.C. De Saram took personal responsibility,” once they were apprehended.”
(How the plot would unfold – Jayantha Somasundaram)
The Aeroflot fiasco follows the Chinese fertilizer ship snafu. These attempts to ruin relations with friendly governments have to be examined in the wake of ‘the controversial agreement with US-based New Fortress Energy last September’ – the NFE deal, ‘the government finalized at midnight’.
Lawmaker Vasudeva Nanayakkara declares the incident a conspiracy, alleging ‘the US wanted to deprive Sri Lanka an opportunity to procure crude oil from Russia at a much lower cost’.
The de Saram lawyer, President’s Counsel Avindra Rodrigo who pushed the order’s enforcement, is on the Board of Directors of Janashakthi Insurance, along with recently appointed Ministry of Finance advisor Deshal de Mel, veteran banker & Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chair Rajendra Theagarajah, as well as cricketer Mahela Jayawardena. Messrs FJ & G de Saram Corporate Services are also the Secretaries of the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL).
The country’s ‘first law firm’, FJ & G de Saram provided legal figleaf for the English robbery of peasant lands for the coffee plantations from 1841. Its key clients include: Colombo Stock Exchange, Pearson Lanka, Microsoft, Uber, IBM, Unilever SL, Carson Cumberbatch, Central Finance, Sunshine, Lanka IOC, Mahendra & Mahendra, SG Holdings of Japan, Sojitz Corp, Teejay, etc.
The law firm DL & F de Saram in 1898, spun off from FJ & G, is also one of the ‘oldest and largest’ such firms in Sri Lanka. They focus on banking & finance, and key clients include: Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Bank of America, Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi UFJ , Pan Asia Banking Corporation, etc. Their most famous lawyer is Colonel FC de Saram, the leader of the 1962 coup attempt against the government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike (see ee 10 July 2021).
The USAID-linked Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has declined to report the lawyer to the Supreme Court. Former Public Security Minister, Rear Admiral (rtd) Sarath Weerasekera, MP, wants the Judicial Services Commission and Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to ascertain the truth.
Colombo Commercial High Court (CCHC) judge SMHSP Sethunge rose swiftly in the judiciary, after aiding the rise of the US-funded Yahapalana government. From lowly magistrate, he was made a district court judge after he got rid of the SLFP leadership prior to the August 2015 elections, to support then-President Maithripala Sirisena take control of the party.
In September 2015 Sethunga was promoted as a high court judge by President Sirisena. He is of course not the only actor in this now international blockbuster. The Commercial High Court is considered ‘the most efficient in the dispensation of justice in Sri Lanka’. CHCC was originally established under the High Court of the Provinces (Special Provisions) Act No. 10 of 1996 for ‘commercial transactions’ where debt, damage or demand exceeds several (now 20) million Sri Lankan Rupees.
Promising quicker judicial verdicts to capitalists, the CCHC was set up under pressure from the US embassy, World Trade Organization etc., to profit off their patents, copyrights, etc. ee recalls this had to do with US control over the latest tech products & services, especially but not only in cyber space. The Commercial High Court had jurisdiction therefore over the cases falling under the Intellectual Property Act. All proceedings required to be taken under the IP Act had to be taken in the CCHC. It’s unclear what a ‘commercial transaction’ is, but the expression ‘commercial’ has been construed broadly as ‘having regard to the manifold activities which are integral to banking & commerce.’ And particularly ‘the export & import of merchandise, services affreightment, insurance, mercantile agency, mercantile usage, and the construction of any mercantile document’.
A cast of thousands has been involved in this game: One Aeroflot Airbus A330, 191 passengers and many goods, Bandaranaike International Airport, Minister of Ports, Shipping & Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva, the Prime Minister, Sri Lanka’s and Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministries, the Ministry of Justice, the Colombo Commercial High Court, CCHC Judge Harsha Sethunge, an unnamed CCHC Fiscal Officer (now suspended), Avindra Rodrigo PC with Counsel Aruna de Silva appearing for plaintiff Celestial Aviation Trading in Ireland, ‘instructed by FJ & G de Saram, the leading law firm from colonial times’, SL Civil Procedure Code, the Air Traffic Control Division, Additional Solicitor General Sumathi Dharmawardena PC, SDSG Mahen Gopallawa, DSG Rajiv Gunatilleke, the Attorney General, Russian Aeroflot Airlines Airport & Aviation Services.
• India Seeks Even More Russian Oil – India’s demand for cheap Russian crude is insatiable, as some of the largest Indian refiners are looking to negotiate 6-month supply deals with Russia’s oil giant Rosneft at a time when Western buyers avoid dealing with Moscow’s crude…
State-owned refiners Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum, and private firms including conglomerate Reliance Industries, as well as partly-Rosneft-owned Nayara Energy, are among those seeking additional supply from Rosneft… Rosneft would handle the insurance and shipping coverage.
With Russian crude selling at a record discount relative to Dated Brent, the cheap Russian oil is attracting India’s price-sensitive buyers to the point that Russia became the 4th-largest oil supplier to India in April…
The significant increase in India’s purchases of Russian crude has already drawn the attention of the US, which has reportedly sent a US federal government official to discuss US sanctions on Russia and try to convince India to reduce its purchases of Russian oil.
India, the world’s 3rd-largest crude importer which relies on imports for more than 80% of oil consumption, has seen a surge in imports of Russian crude… Indian imports of Russian crude are set to further jump in June.
B. Special Focus___
B1. Rise of the Black Economy for Forex & Economic Collapse – Part I: Dhanusha Pathirana
The market system has broken the lives of majority of Sri Lankans. The real value of wages has lost all its meaning with the collapse of the rupee… Despite the contraction of all economic activity and lives of ordinary men and women, one particular sector in the Sri Lankan economy is growing in leaps & bounds while pulling the rest of us into its vortex. The black economy has taken over not only the allocation of essentials like LP gas, fuel and food at exorbitant prices to the public , denying those who can’t afford, but also under our own eyes, seized the entire foreign exchange market under its fold.
The rise of the black economy for foreign exchange in Sri Lanka must be placed at the centre of the economic collapse we are now facing. The first part reviews existing views on the causes of the current crisis. The second part aims to understand the foreign-exchange black economy within the Mundell and Fleming framework for external sector stability. The third and final part will explore the immediate collective measures to prevent the worsening of economic conditions and to place the economy on a path of recovery and transformation that is inclusive and more collectively rewarding than the bankruptcy and constant state of instability imposed by the market system.
The pseudo liberal explanations of the foreign exchange crisis can be boiled down to 3 main propositions: a) fiscal & monetary policy errors committed by the current government, which we may call ‘government failure’, b) living beyond our means by overconsumption of imports, and c) collapse of the tourism sector due to the fallout from Covid-19 pandemic or as a result of an external shock to the economy.
Proponents of the first explanation, eg WA Wijewardena, Dr Harsha de Silva and Prof Rohan Samarajiva, assert that inappropriate fiscal and monetary policy measures of the Rajapaksa regime escalated the fiscal deficit. They collectively state that sweeping tax breaks announced in the 2020 budget reduced government expenditure by Rs600billion a year which in turn impelled the monetary authority to monetise public debt (print money) to fill the gap in state coffers. This led to the unprecedented depreciation of the currency and runaway inflation. They further assert that fixing the exchange rate at Rs200/US$ in 2021 promoted the growth of a black market and drained the foreign exchange inflows to the formal banking system.
Let’s review this idea from its starting point. The reduction in taxes in 2020 did lead to a decline in tax revenue of Rs525billion, which was also contributed to by the lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, its impact should be assessed by probing the net effect on the overall fiscal deficit. Since the reduction of government expenditure during the period was Rs300billion, the net effect was only Rs220bn, far lesser than Rs600bn suggested by the advocates of ‘government failure’. In 2021 tax revenue fell roughly Rs400bn compared to 2019, and the fiscal deficit reached 12.3% of the GDP. The aggregate net effect is therefore half of the figure proposed by WA Wijewardena etc.
It should be borne in mind that Sri Lanka experienced fiscal deficits well over 10% of GDP consecutively between 1978 and 1983 and there were a number of years the deficit exceeded it after 1986. The devastating nature of the ongoing crisis therefore cannot be explained by simply citing tax cuts and the budget deficit increasing beyond 12%. It is in no way a sufficient condition to trigger an economic catastrophe of this magnitude. There is an absolute deficiency of foreign exchange in the formal banking system independently of the developments in the domestic monetary base; the former cannot be explained by the latter.
Furthermore, the exponents of ‘government failure’ hold that rupee depreciation was entirely driven by the increase in money supply as a result of ballooning fiscal deficit. However, the black market exchange rate remained stable, around Rs250 /US$ when the Central Bank held the official exchange rate at Rs200/ US$ while money printing was at its peak especially throughout 2021. The black market exchange rate, which is a market-determined flexible exchange rate remained stable at this level while the monetary authorities increased rupee liquidity by as much as Rs1,400billion during the period.
Despite the significant increase in money supply, the black market rate for the US$ did not further depreciate when the Central Bank pegged the official rate at Rs200 /US$. The collapse of the rupee began only when the exchange rate was floated in early March this year.
Although this does not rule out the impact of money printing on currency depreciation, it is clear from the discussion so far that collapse of the rupee was triggered by an entirely different set of circumstances much more pervasive than the reduction of tax revenue and increase in money printing suggested by Wijewardena, Harsha de Silva and Rohan Samarajiva. In fact, the latest IMF review on Sri Lanka’s economy, published early this year, clearly states that inflation-adjusted exchange rate or the real effective exchange rate appreciated only 17% compared to the pegged rate of Rs200/ US$ maintained by the Central Bank at the end of 2021. This means, the market-determined rate of exchange of the rupee should be around Rs240/US$ at the end of 2021, which is more or less in line with the black market rate of Rs250 /$ during the period.
The level of inflation triggered by the expansion of fiscal deficit and money printing, and due to reasons not discussed here, compared to the level of inflation of our trading partners at the end of 2021, had warranted a rupee depreciation of around 17% by the end of 2021, and nothing more, according to the IMF. Nevertheless, ever since the Central Bank floated the currency this March, the rupee depreciated 90% against the US$, over 5 times the percentage suggested by the IMF. The scale of depreciation, as suggested earlier, cannot in any way be attributed to the tax cuts and ensuing money printing by the Central Bank to keep the government afloat.
Explanation of the currency’s collapse lies in the ability of foreign-exchange black market, which grew from strength to strength under the patronage of the Rajapaksa regime, to outcompete the formal banking sector in absorbing foreign exchange already available. This is clearly seen by the black market rate for US$, or in other words the free-market rate proper, remaining stable throughout 2021 when the Central Bank pegged the rate at Rs200 /US$, despite persistent money printing. This is so given that black market did not have to compete with the formal banking sector for foreign exchange by raising its rate when the official rate was fixed at Rs200/$. Hence the free-market rate remained aligned with the level stipulated by the real effective exchange rate at around Rs250 /US$.
In this setting the effectiveness of Central Bank’s monetary policy instruments like policy interest rates in controlling the course of the exchange rate disappears completely. The black market developed this capability by accumulating its own foreign reserves boosted primarily through trade mis-invoicing of the corporate elite (part II will return to this), controlling the internal price level of the goods it supplies and the tremendously high margins it can earn by funding the criminal economy like the drug trade, human trafficking, arms deals, etc.
However, pseudo liberal economists like WA Wijewardena and Harsha de Silva asserted repeatedly that raising interest rates can kill the speculative demand for foreign exchange and arrest the collapse of the rupee. Raising interest rates to increase the cost of speculation has no effect on this process simply because the rate of returns of the criminal economy cannot be matched by the interest rate of the formal banking sector without entirely decimating the rest of the economy. The activity they are trying to control through manipulating interest rates has nothing to do with speculation. Believing and publicly announcing that criminal activity will suddenly recoil, and the criminals will return to earning a fair income like everyone else when Central Bank increases policy rates sufficiently, is nothing short of insanity.
For instance, the Central Bank raised its policy rates by unprecedented 700 points in April this year when the official rate was Rs300/US$. However, subsequently, the currency collapsed as much as 27% to Rs380 /$ in commercial banks. This was so given that the black market was capable of outcompeting the formal banking channels to absorb foreign exchange by setting its own exchange rate above the official rate. It is a process engendered and stimulated entirely independent of tax cuts and money printing, repeatedly highlighted by the pseudo liberals in explaining the collapse of the currency.
The second proposition on the current crisis is the belief that Sri Lankans were living beyond the means and that we consumed more foreign exchange in the form of imported goods and services without a corresponding increase in production. The gaping hole in the trade account between exports and imports is cited as proof for this assertion. However, the composition of imports paints a completely different picture.
It is well known that close to 80% of aggregate imports are in the form of intermediary goods, investment goods, raw materials & machinery necessary for production and not for personal consumption (also repeated by Verite Research & Advocata to apparently prove that import controls are unfeasible as a means of reducing foreign exchange outflow). So when advocates of this view claim that we Sri Lankans are consuming foreign exchange in the form of imports, the question we should raise is whether the mass of the people in this country consume raw materials and machinery and rest of the investment goods? The answer is obviously ‘no’.
This brings us to the point where we now have to discuss the real reasons behind the yawning deficit in the trade account of the balance of payments and its connection with the black economy for foreign exchange, which the second part of this discussion will address.
The last proposition to investigate is the belief that ‘external shock’ of Covid-19 brought the $4.4billion tourism sector to a standstill and triggered the crisis. However, when analysing the impact of foreign exchange loss with the collapse of tourism we must look into net foreign exchange income it normally generated. In 2018 when the sector recorded its highest inflow of tourists and foreign income, the expenditure of outbound travel of Sri Lankans was $1.7billion. Further, we need to deduct the cost of imports in supplying services to foreign tourists, like transport, electricity, vehicles, food, sanitary ware, etc., that have a large import content.
According to industry standards, the import cost of the tourism sector can be estimated to be approximately 25- 30% of the gross revenue, neglecting construction costs. The net foreign exchange income of the sector during its best ever year on record therefore amounts to only around $1.5bn , not even remotely sufficient to set off a crisis of the magnitude we are currently facing. In this backdrop the fundamental factors contributing to the ongoing foreign exchange crisis will be discussed in part II. (to be continued)
(full text: ft.lk/columns/Rise-of-black-economy-for-forex-and-economic-collapse-Part-I/4-735813)
B2. Is US/NATO (with WEF Help) Pushing for a Global South Famine? – Michael Hudson
Is the proxy war in Ukraine turning out to be only a lead-up to something larger, involving world famine & a foreign-exchange crisis for food- and oil-deficit countries?
Many more people are likely to die of famine & economic disruption than on the Ukrainian battlefield. It thus is appropriate to ask whether what appeared to be the Ukraine proxy war is part of a larger strategy to lock in US control over international trade and payments. We are seeing a financially weaponized power grab by the US Dollar Area over the Global South as well as over Western Europe. Without dollar credit from the US and its IMF subsidiary, how can countries stay afloat? How hard will the US act to block them from de-dollarizing, opting out of the US economic orbit?
US Cold War strategy is not alone in thinking how to benefit from provoking a famine, oil and balance-of-payments crisis. Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum worries the world is overpopulated – at least with the ‘wrong kind’ of people. As Microsoft philanthropist (the customary euphemism for rentier monopolist) Bill Gates explained: ‘Population growth in Africa is a challenge.’ His lobbying foundation’s 2018 ‘Goalkeepers’ report warned: ‘According to UN data, Africa is expected to account for more than half of the world’s population growth between 2015 and 2050. Its population is projected to double by 2050,’ with ‘more than 40% of world’s extremely poor people … in just 2 countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.’
Gates advocates cutting this projected population increase by 30% by improving access to birth control and expanding education to ‘enable more girls and women to stay in school longer, have children later.’ But how can that be afforded with this summer’s looming food and oil squeeze on government budgets?
South Americans and some Asian countries are subject to the same jump in import prices resulting from NATO’s demands to isolate Russia. JPMorgan Chase head Jamie Dimon recently warned attendees at a Wall Street investor conference that the sanctions will cause a global ‘economic hurricane.’ He echoed the warning by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva in April, ‘To put it simply: we are facing a crisis on top of a crisis.’ Pointing out that the Covid pandemic has been capped by inflation as the war in Ukraine has made matters ‘much worse, and threatens to further increase inequality’ she concluded: ‘The economic consequences from the war spread fast and far, to neighbors and beyond, hitting hardest the world’s most vulnerable people. 100s of millions of families were already struggling with lower incomes and higher energy and food prices.’
The Biden administration blames Russia for ‘unprovoked aggression.’ But it is his administration’s pressure on NATO and other Dollar Area satellites that has blocked Russian exports of grain, oil and gas. But many oil- and food-deficit countries see themselves as the primary victims of ‘collateral damage’ caused by US/NATO pressure.
Is world famine & balance-of-payments crisis a deliberate US/NATO policy? On June 3, African Union Chairperson Macky Sall, President of Senegal, went to Moscow to plan how to avoid a disruption in Africa’s food and oil trade by refusing to become pawns in the US/NATO sanctions. So far in 2022 President Putin noted: ‘Our trade is growing. In the first months of this year it grew by 34%.’ But Senegal’s President Sall worried: ‘Anti-Russia sanctions have made this situation worse and now we do not have access to grain from Russia, primarily to wheat. And, most importantly, we do not have access to fertilizer.’
US diplomats are forcing countries to choose whether, in George W Bush’s words, ‘you are either for us or against us.’ The litmus test is whether they are willing to force their populations to starve and shut down their economies for lack of food and oil by stopping trade with the world’s Eurasian core of China, Russia, India, Iran and their neighbors.
Mainstream Western media describe the logic behind these sanctions as promoting a regime change in Russia. The hope was that blocking it from selling its oil and gas, food or other exports would drive down the ruble’s exchange rate and ‘make Russia scream’ (as the US tried to do to Allende’s Chile to set the stage for is backing of the Pinochet military coup). Exclusion from the SWIFT bank-clearing system was supposed to disrupt Russia’s payment system and sales, while seizing Russia’s $300billion of foreign-currency reserves held in the West was expected to collapse the ruble, preventing Russian consumers from buying the Western goods to which they had become accustomed. The idea (and it seems so silly in retrospect) was that Russia’s population would rise in rebellion to protest against how much more Western luxury imports cost. But the ruble soared rather than sunk, and Russia quickly replaced SWIFT with its own system linked to that of China. And Russia’s population began to turn away from the West’s aggressive enmity.
Evidently some major dimensions are missing from the US national-security think-tank models. But when it comes to global famine, was a more covert and even lager strategy at work? It is now looking like the major aim of the US war in Ukraine all along was merely to serve as a catalyst, an excuse to impose sanctions that would disrupt the world’s food and energy trade, and to manage this crisis in a way that would afford US diplomats an opportunity to confront Global South countries with the choice ‘Your loyalty and neoliberal dependency or your life – and, in the process, to ‘thin out’ the world’s non-white populations that so worried Mr. Dimon and the WEF?
There must have been the following calculation: Russia accounts for 40% of the world’s grain trade and 25% of the world fertilizer market (45% if Belarus included). Any scenario would have included a calculation that if so large a volume of grain and fertilizer was withdrawn from the market, prices would soar, just as they have done for oil and gas.
Adding to the disruption in the balance-of-payments of countries having to import these commodities, the price is rising for buying dollars to pay their foreign bondholders and banks for debts falling due. The Federal Reserve’s tightening of interest rates has caused a rising premium for US dollars over euros, sterling and Global South currencies.
It is inconceivable that the consequences of this on countries outside of Europe and the US were not taken into account, because the global economy is an interconnected system. Most disruptions are in the 2-5% range, but today’s US/NATO sanctions are so far off the historical track that price increases will soar substantially above the historic range. Nothing like this has happened in recent times.
This suggests that what appeared in February to be a war between Ukrainians and Russia is really a trigger intended to restructure the world economy – and to do so in a way to lock US control over the Global South. Geopolitically, the proxy war in Ukraine has been a handy excuse for US to counter China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).
The choice confronting Global South countries: to starve by paying their foreign bondholders and bankers, or to announce, as a basic principle of international law: ‘As sovereign countries, we put our survival above the aim of enriching foreign creditors who have made loans that have gone bad as a result of their choice to wage a new Cold War. As for the destructive neoliberal advice that the IMF and World Bank have given us, their austerity plans were destructive instead of helpful. Therefore, their loans have gone bad. As such, they have become odious.’
NATO policy has given Global South countries no choice but to reject its attempt to establish a US food stranglehold on the Global South by blocking any competition from Russia, thereby monopolizing the world’s grain and energy trade. The major grain exporter was the heavily subsidized US farm sector, followed by Europe’s highly subsidized Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). These were the main grain exporters before Russia entered the picture. The US/NATO demand is to roll back the clock to restore dependency on the Dollar Area and its eurozone satellites.
The implicit Russian & Chinese counterplan – What is needed for the world’s non-US/NATO population to survive is a new world trade & financial system. The alternative is world famine for much of the world. More people will die of the sanctions than have died on the Ukrainian battlefield. Financial & trade sanctions are as destructive as military attack. So the Global South is morally justified in putting its sovereign interests above those of the wielders of international financial & trade weaponry.
1) Reject the sanctions & reorient trade to Russia, China, India, Iran and their fellow members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The problem is how to pay for imports from these countries, especially if US diplomats extend sanctions against such commerce.
There is no way that Global South countries can pay for oil, fertilizer and food from these countries and also pay the dollar debts that are the legacy of US-sponsored neoliberal trade policy subject to US and eurozone protectionism. Therefore, the 2nd need is to declare a debt moratorium – in effect, a repudiation – of the debts that represent loans gone bad. This act would be analogous to the 1931 suspension of German reparations and Inter-Ally debts owed to the US. Quite simply, today’s Global South debts cannot be paid without subjecting debtor countries to famine & austerity.
A 3rd corollary that follows from these economic imperatives is to replace the World Bank and its pro-US policies of trade dependency and underdevelopment with a genuine Bank for Economic Acceleration. Along with this institution is a 4th corollary in the form of the new bank’s sibling: a replacement for the IMF free of austerity junk economics and subsidy of US’s client oligarchies coupled with currency raids on countries resisting US privatization and financialization takeovers.
The 5th requirement is for countries to protect themselves by joining a military alliance as an alternative to NATO, to avoid being turned into another Afghanistan, another Libya, another Iraq or Syria or Ukraine.
The main deterrent to this strategy is not US power, for it has shown itself to be a paper tiger. The problem is one of economic consciousness & will.
1. Bill Gates has a warning about population growth, WEF/Reuters – weforum.org/agenda/2018/09/africas-rapid-population-growth-puts-poverty-progress-at-risk-says-gates.
2. Lananh Nguyen, It’s a hurricane.’ Bank chiefs warn of a weakening economy,’ NYTimes, June 1, 2022.
3 Kristalina Georgieva, IMF Managing Director, ‘Facing Crisis Upon Crisis: How the World Can Respond, April 14, 2022. – imf.org/en/News/Articles/2022/04/14/sp041422-curtain-raiser-sm2022.
4 ‘Putin meets with African Union Chairperson at Sochi, June 3, 2022.’ President Sall was accompanied by Moussa Faki Mahamat, AUC Chair – en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/68564. For related discussion on sanctions: nakedcapitalism.com/2022/06/sanctions-now-weapons-of-mass-starvation.html.
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’:
(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.
• IMF team to arrive in SL on June 20
• Sri Lanka IMF staff level deal date not certain, team visit shortly: official
• IMF plans in-person Sri Lanka mission in coming weeks for policy talks
• Modi insisted Sri Lanka Power Project awarded to Adani: CEB Chief reveals to COPE
• Adani Fiasco: CEB Chairman admits he lied; says he got ’emotional’
• President denies CEB Chairman’s claims on Wind Power Project to Adani
• The fall of Anuradhapura and the lessons of history – Raj Somadeva
‘A combination of factors led to the downfall of one of South Asia’s most formidable and enduring cities. A Buddhist kingdom and arguably the oldest Theravada Buddhist kingdom in existence then, Anuradhapura enjoyed a period of efflorescence in its first seven centuries.’
• Will Plato’s beach prevent SL becoming a colony? – By Prof. Samitha Hettige
• A proposal to sell more than 1/3 of your country for $52b! – Ramanie de Zoysa
• Commonwealth Parliamentary Union (CPU) assistance sought to probe May 9: PM
• Envoys from West Asia, China and India call on President
• Who is behind the current turmoil? – Sangadasa Akurugoda
‘We remember how the then US Ambassador talked about democracy and behaved in the Parliament when President Maithripala Sirisena appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM in 2019 and how the current US Ambassador is making statements and behaving when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed Ranil as PM. What a democracy we have today!’
• Slaughter of child monks at Aranthalawa, 35 years on
• Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day – 2022: Reminiscing the dead in final battle 2009
• Is US/NATO (with WEF help) pushing for a Global South famine? – Hudson
• Pohottu As USA Proxy Part 3B & C
• Signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord
• Her Majesty’s Government permits violent non-state actors to attack Commonwealth governments.
• Initiate bilateral talks with Russia: Nine political parties tell Prez
• Government leaders trying to curry favour with US diplomats detaining Aeroflot aircraft
• Russia strongly protests over Aeroflot incident
• Was Aeroflot affair part of continuing destabilisation project here?
• Wimal, Sarath issue warning, claim destabilisation project underway
‘Both lawmakers asked whether external powers had been engaged in an operation to jeopardise relations between the two countries at a time Russia allowed its citizens to visit Sri Lanka while the West discouraged tourists.’
• Order issued suspending enjoining order against Russian Aeroflot flight
• Aviation Minister holds discussions with Russian Embassy and Russian Aeroflot
• Commercial HC Fiscal Officer suspended over conduct in enforcing order on Aeroflot Case
• Aeroflot flight departs Sri Lanka after suspension of court order
• Extended stay for Aeroflot passengers
• Grounding of flight and SL-Russia relations – Editorial
• Foreign Ministry says Aeroflot fiasco is a commercial dispute
• Lawyer’s role in Aeroflot drama: BASL won’t seek SC intervention; law firm declines comment
• Sri Lanka’s ham-handedness has dismayed traditional friends – Balachandran
• Wickremesinghe regrets Sri Lanka has alienated friendly countries – Balachandran
• GL off to S’pore for bilateral discussions
‘meet Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong, Minister for Law and Minister for Home Affairs K. Shanmugam and other senior officials… Peiris will join the 19th IISS Shangri-La Dialogue: Asia Security Summit from 10 -11 June…On the sidelines, Peiris is scheduled to have bilateral meetings with the PM of Japan, Deputy PM of Qatar, the Foreign Minister of Bahrain, Secretary of State for War of England, US Secretary of War, the High Representative of the EU and the Regional Director for Asia and Pacific of the ICRC, among others…
• Sri Lanka seeks assistance from Singapore to secure bridging financing
• Adani to set up South Asia’s largest integrated ammunition manufacturing complex
• TNA MPs do not want Army security
• TN’s Stalin assures High Commissioner to India Moragoda 2nd shipment of essential commodities
• China willing to help Sri Lanka deal with debt burden: Zhao Lijian
• China lauds India’s ‘great efforts’ to help Lanka, says S Asia its priority
• China signals readiness to work with India to help Sri Lanka and other developing countries
• International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) Texas Lawsuit to reunite Lankan family
• Ambassador Sanjiv Gunasekara calls on Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Honda Taro
• Foreign policy-making: Lessons for Lanka from India’s diplomatic crisis with Islamic states
• Black Monday violence: Sri Lanka PM writes to Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
• Borah and the English
• South Asia’s smaller countries have a principled stand on Ukraine war
‘discussion moderated by Pramit Pal Chaudhuri Senior Adviser at the Rhodium Group and Foreign Editor, Hindustan Times, with panellists Abdul Hannan Waheed, Editor and Writer, Maldives Business Standard, Gopilal Acharya, founder of the Journalist in Bhutan and Major General (Retd) Binoj Basnyat, a Strategic Analyst of Nepal, Dr. Marcus Faber, a member of the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag)’s Defense Committee…’
• US creating cold war conditions in Asia isn’t easy – Bhadrakumar
‘Only 3 weeks remain for summit meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in Madrid’
• An appalling slur on the civilisation state that is India – Bhadrakumar
• India Facing International Humiliation due to BJP’s Hateful Politics
• India defends its oil deals with Russia; refers to European duplicity
• India Seeks Even More Russian Oil
• India Has a Key Role to Play in a Possible New World Order
• India signs pact with Russia for supply of radio equipment for 24 airports
• U.S. drives half of Afghan population to starvation by not releasing frozen funds
• China, US defence chiefs square off on Taiwan, Ukraine in first face-to-face talks
‘Lloyd Austin urged Beijing to refrain from destabilising actions, while Wei Fenghe said the PLA would ‘fight at all costs’ to defend Chinese sovereignty. Both sides called for more communication and – despite the tussle over Taiwan – Beijing described the meeting as ‘candid and constructive’
• The illegal transfer of nuclear weapons materials involved in AUKUS cannot be denied
• A Fault Line in the Pacific – The Danger of China’s Growing Sway Over Island Nations
• Japan, NATO step up ties amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
• Venezuelan Leader Maduro, Iranian President Sign 20-Year Pact to Expand Ties
• Heavy damage to Damascus airport confirmed after Israeli attack
• Washington Post confirms US support critical to Saudi airstrikes in Yemen that killed civilians
• U.S. State Department and Pentagon failed to count civilians killed by U.S. weapons in Yemen
• Biden’s visit delayed until meeting Saudi demands
• Lumumba’s tooth: Belgium’s unfinished reckoning with its colonial past
• South Africa warned of US passing laws against Russian-African cooperation
• UN reports more than 200,000 face starvation as drought suffocates Somalia
• How Russia Can (And Will?) De-NATO-size Europe
• What Happens To Europe When Russia Wins
• Sergey Karaganov: It’s not really about Ukraine
‘Russia needs a safe and friendly Western flank in the competition of the future’
• Russian envoy says the U.S. asked him to defect and condemn Putin’s actions
• The scandal hanging over Ursula von der Leyen
‘Critics allege cronyism played role in award of contracts worth millions by German defense ministry’
• The Political Groups of the European Parliament
‘The Members of the European Parliament sit in political groups – they are not organised by nationality, but by political affiliation. There are currently 7 political groups in the European Parliament.’
• Some Other People’s Thoughts On The U.S. Role In The Ukraine And Europe
• Biden Works to Prolong Ukraine
• Significance of Ukrainian uranium stockpiles at Zaporizhia nuclear plant – Gonzalo Lira
• There Will Be No Peace Agreement – Gonzalo Lira
‘why there will be no “peace treaty” until Russia seizes all of Ukraine’
• What Happens To Europe When Russia Wins – Gonzalo Lira
• “Ukraine Turns to Its Oligarchs for Political Help“ – NY Times
• Olaf Scholz and Ukraine: Why Has Germany Been So Slow to Deliver Weapons?
‘information, his office was told, is reserved for only those lawmakers who are members of the Economic Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committees of the German Bundestag.’
• The EU after Ukraine
• IMF hopes to mobilise as much funding as possible to aid Ukraine
• Storms at the Summit of the Americas
• Haiti and the Americas Syllabus
• Haitian gang members storm Palace of Justice in Port-au-Prince
• U.S. imperialism dealt setback as Americas leaders snub Summit
• Bolivia’s foreign minister says the continent needs to rethink dialogue
• Bolivia rejects Washington’s definition of what is non-democratic
• Venezuelan president affirms the need for alternatives to U.S. exclusions
• Venezuela and Algeria support Palestinian and Saharawi struggles
• Peru’s president attends Summit of the Americas
• OAS ‘Murderer’ Almagro Confronted on Bolivia Coup
• Argentina urges OAS not to promote destabilization
• A Recap of My Trip to Cali and Buenaventura, Colombia with African descended communities
• Colombia: World Power of Life or Neo-Fascist Pillar?
• Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement after CSTO Council of Foreign Ministers, Yerevan,
• Biden’s Foreign Policy Is One Big Mess
• U.S. Effort to Hurt Russia Undermines Itself and the World
• Senator John F. Kennedy at the Conference on Vietnam Luncheon in the Hotel Willard, Washington, D.C., June 1, 1956
‘Vietnam represents the cornerstone of the Free World in Southeast Asia, the keystone to the arch, the finger in the dike. Burma, Thailand, India, Japan, the Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia are among those whose security would be threatened if the Red Tide of Communism overflowed into Vietnam.’
• Hungarian diplomat elected new president of UN General Assembly
• Washington Starts Blame Game Over Defeat In Ukraine
• A Ukraine Strategy for the Long Haul – Richard Haass
‘The West Needs a Policy to Manage a War That Will Go On’
• Ukraine Bits: No Ammo, More Casualties, Thin Lines, Propaganda And Passing The Buck
• How US renamed Nazis as Freedom Fighters
• Mike Pence’s chief of staff warned Secret Service of threat posed by Donald Trump
C2. Security (the state beyond ‘a pair of handcuffs’, monopolies of legitimate violence)
ee Security section focuses on the state (a pair of handcuffs, which sposedly has the monopoly of legitimate violence), and how the ‘national security’ doctrine is undermined by private interests, with no interest in divulging or fighting the real enemy, whose chief aim is to prevent an industrial renaissance as the basis of a truly independent nation.
• Govt. fully responsible for collapse of rule of law: Ex-Public Security Minister Weerasekara
‘rioters have taken the law into their hands as the government allowed them to do so in fear of United States and Western countries for the sake of human rights’
• Indian businessman nabbed with Canadian dollars & Euros worth over Rs. 40Mn at BIA
• Cabraal released on Rs. 10 mn bail in ex-CIA staffer case
• PM Ranil says officials deceived public by obtaining $ 1.5 b Yuan swap
‘Sri Lanka required to have enough foreign reserves to cover 3 months of imports to utilise the swap’
• Army Chief pays courtesies to Navy Commander
• Major General Jagath Kodithuwakku, new Chief of Staff of Army
• New Army Commander meets Air Force Commander
• Police Honours Greet New Army Commander at Police HQ
• Pakistan National Defence University (NDU) calls on the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary
• Sri Lanka’s Tri Forces participate at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pageant
• Ex-minister lambasts govt. lethargic response to investigate the organised violence
• IGP cannot control his own officers due to political appointments to key posts.
• Short-edited footage was released by the Police to the public domain
• PM’s speech referring to BASL inaccurate: BASL
• Counsel blames ex-Head of SIS for Easter carnage as he failed to share intelligence warnings
• IGP Jayasundara had passed down Indian intelligence received about impending suicide attacks to five DIGs
• Re-visiting the “Sniper” killing of Robert 19 years ago – Jeyaraj
• Crimes on the rise, police lack experienced cops to carry out investigations
• Navy detects 50 fighting cocks smuggled in from India
• Nimal Wikramanayake QC’s autobiographical memoir A Life in the Law
• SL military professor with US Department of Defence’s NATO and Indo-Pacific Commands.
• English government admits spying on Julian Assange’s lawyer
• Former CIA Director Gina Haspel personally observed torture at secret CIA black site
• European Parliament vote on Recommendation to shape EU Foreign, Security and Defence Policy
• The Wirecard Scandal Explained
• Ending Qualified Immunity in New York
‘Qualified immunity is the legal doctrine that shields public officials accused of civil rights violations’.
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.
• What happens to the dollars? E-Con-E-News of 21-27 May 2022 tells it all:
• Rise of black economy for forex and economic collapse: Part I – Pathirana
• Ranil’s 6th coming as Premier only enlarges already existing credit line to buy essential items and fuel from India.
• Top serving, retired officials appear before Public Finance Committee
• Incumbent CB Governor must be reappointed: Ex-Central Bankers’ open letter to President
‘Central Bank Retired Executive Officers’ Association (CBREOA)’
• Sri Lanka Central Bank executive warn PM over Governor appointment
• 2019 tax amendments not the sole reason for economic crisis – Attygalle
• Basil says Attygalle told him not to go to IMF
• Speaker calls for release of information about Monetary Board proceedings
• IMF says can’t affirm magnitude of financing for Sri Lanka
• IMF staff-level mission due; undecided on agreement timing
• PM: Tax cuts triggered crisis
• SL needs to return to 2019 tax system: PM
• Corporates’: Show proof of spending taxes
• Casinos owe huge sums in taxes to the IRD
• Ranil holds discussion with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva
• Ranil Requests IMF to convene India, China and Japan for SL
• Crisis-hit Sri Lanka’s president requests help from Indian, Chinese, Middle East envoys – PMD
• PM calls for parliamentary probe over cancelling of Japanese projects
• France gets its way, thanks to Brexit
‘EU member states agree that the likely introduction of an International Procurement Instrument shows how the mood in Brussels has shifted towards a more defensive trade posture’
• Non-EU countries must open their procurement markets
‘the European Parliament Plenary will debate and vote on a new law to strengthen Europe’s trade policy by opening global procurement markets to European companies – the so-called International Procurement Instrument (IPI). “We will guarantee that our European companies have the same access to the public procurement markets outside the EU as foreign companies have to the European market”, said Daniel Caspary MEP, the European Parliament’s Chief Negotiator for the IPI.
• Foreign Minister chairs webinar on economic challenges with heads of overseas missions
• CBSL Governor denies reports of dispute with PM
• Sri Lanka central bank denies rift between Governor and PM
• Ranil named first respondent in FR case filed against ex-Cabinet, Monetary Board
‘They were quoted as having said that they received instructions to use dollar reserves to hold the rupee at Rs. 203 in spite of their strong objections’
• Economic crisis shaking our very existential foundations – Kadirgamar
• Sri Lanka on the Brink – Dushni Weerakoon
‘How the Pandemic and War in Ukraine Led to Economic Collapse’
• The frightening prospect of food insecurity and starvation – Sanderatne
• Printing money similar to giving high dose of sugar to diabetic – Wijewardena
• Under-taxing and over-spending – Abeyratne
‘Sri Lanka, unlike many other countries in Asia, depends overwhelmingly on indirect taxes (VAT, import duties, excise taxes and other commodity taxes) for generating government’s tax revenue. ‘
• Ex-finance secretary S.R. Attygalle on what led to Sri Lanka’s economic collapse
• Tax policies must be complemented with expenditure rationalization – Eran
• Background to International Sovereign Bond (ISB) settlement of $500 million on January 18, 2022 – P.H.O. Chandrawansa, Former Controller of Exchange
• The Sri Lankan debt crisis: A layman’s review – Nimal Gunatilleke
‘Sri Lanka suffers from a ‘Paradox of Plenty’ or perhaps, a geostrategic ‘Resource Curse’. This phenomenon often afflicts countries blessed with abundant natural resources, like Sri Lanka. According to the Global Wealth Databook 2020 of the Credit Suisse Research Institute, the total wealth of Sri Lanka is estimated to be USD 351 billion’
• The current exchange rate arrangement
• Healthcare in a bankrupt Sri Lanka
• Only the poor in urban areas are struggling as they don’t have land to grow food
• Sri Lanka nosedives into abyss of despair – Shauketaly
‘Sri Lanka needs approximately USD 500 million every month to fund consumption requirements and appears unable to present a coherent plan to sustain previous debt. Government debt is estimated at USD 32,200 million whilst private sector debt is approximated at USD 18,000 million.’
• Need to privatise state-owned enterprises – Dissanayake, Queensland University of Technology
• Daily FT and ICC sovereign debt restructuring experts Buchheit and Volz
‘“Everyone will be looking to the IMF for that basic assessment. Once they give it, then the debt restructurers can begin their work’
• Restructuring Guru Buchheit Warns Sri Lanka on Holdout Creditors
‘For instance, India has stated that it wants China to be treated on par with other creditors in the debt restructuring process. However, China has historically preferred to hand out fresh loans as refinance rather than rework existing debt and doesn’t often share details of the credit. Sri Lanka hasn’t been able to tap a $1.5 billion swap line from China over concern that the IMF may consider it as a loan and force delays in repayment. “The main challenge I see is one of coordination among the three main creditor groups — bondholders, Paris Club bilaterals and non-Paris Club bilaterals like China and India,”
• China willing to back Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process
• Sri Lanka needs a road map to convince the private creditors
• Governments borrow with interest to pay the interest of previous borrowings.
• Who decides monetary policy?
• IMF is not comfortable in participating to pay off the bilateral creditors.
• No investment recovery plans, no focus, no end in mind.
• Sri Lanka people’s hopes fade as monetary stability eludes new PM
• To go or not to go: Basil speaks on IMF
• Business Sentiment – Barometer down The Rabbit Hole
• The future of work 1 – remote working: Roberts
• The scissors of slump – productivity per worker has collapsed: Roberts
‘The scissor blades between falling profitability and rising debt costs are closing and will eventually cut investment, jobs, prices and wages.’
• Economic Headwinds Mount as Leaders Weigh Costs of Confronting Russia
• World’s economic inter-dependencies are manifold & mutual. Sanctions have large network effects.
‘The Ukraine war is a catalyst of massive de-globalisation’
• What Buffet Knows That You Don’t – Parts 1 & 2
• IMF reaches agreement with Argentina, frees up $4.03 bln
• The Dream of a Single Latin American Currency
• World Bank warns of recession risk due to Ukraine war
• When USA No Longer Exports Carnage As A Business Model, Maybe We’ll Stop Seeing It In The Streets Here
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.
• PM exaggerates economic crisis: AKD
‘He said recently that fuel was only sufficient for one day. As a result, people lined up in queques more than the other days.’
• COPE tables third report on SOEs in Parliament
• Deputy High Commissioner negotiating with top traders in India to exchange products on a barter system, minus exchange of currency
• Revised taxes, shortages propel food prices ever higher
• NPP MP says cost of living at unbearable level
• Bridging finance dependent on agreement with IMF: Ranil
• Daily guidance on dollar/rupee rate has brought in greater stability to forex market: CB
• SL Central Bank: Current foreign exchange rate practice would be reviewed when needed
• CB revises guidelines on finance company deposit rates due to extreme volatility in T-bill yields
• Sri Lanka needs US$1 billion to return LKR to some semblance of normality: PM
• PM to submit supplementary estimate of Rs. 695 billion to Parliament today (08)
• Cabinet approves move to amend Appropriation Bill for 2022
• Financial crisis: Funding for Basil’s projects to be stopped
• Country needs $5b to ensure lives undisrupted for next 6 months; another $1b to strengthen rupee
• Sri Lanka Treasuries yields drop, 3-month down 86bp
• Sri Lanka forex reserves up in May to US$1912mn
• Reserves grow first time in five months
• UN calls for US$ 47 Mn for Sri Lanka assistance
• Pay in foreign currency if you want to perform Hajj, Govt. tells SL Muslims
• Utilization of Indian Line of Credit for Essential Goods
• Speaker calls for release of information about Monetary Board proceedings
• Central Bank removes all caps related to foreign currency deposits, swaps
‘Central Bank capped the dollar deposit rates at 5 percent, expecting that dollar income earners would convert their dollars into rupees. But it never happened and instead they started hoarding more dollars while others increasingly repatriated their earnings through grey market channels which offered them hefty premiums over the Rs.199 offered by banks.’
• Sri Lanka rupee commercial banks’ weekly quote against USD steady
• Sri Lanka sells Rs50bn of Treasury bonds
• Deepali Wijesundara responds to CIABOC article
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
• Sri Lanka Transport minister proposes train ticket price policy at half the bus fare
• Foreign remittances have to increase to at least USD 500 million a month in addition to a steady inflow of dollars from other sources, for forex crisis to be contained.
• Govt. to introduce special incentive package to migrant workers to restore remittance inflows
• Sri Lanka considers incentives for expatriate workers not using undiyal or hawala
• Family of dead Sri Lankan detainee demands apology from Japan government
• State banks have not written off any ‘bad loans’, says CBEU
• CEBEU sees ominous side of proposed changes to Electricity Act
• CEBEU threatens island wide strike over govt.’s move to amend Electricity Act
• Countrywide power outage – CEBEU
‘The main purpose behind the amendment was to allow India’s Adani Group’s unsolicited proposal for a 500 MW Wind Power Project in Mannar and Pooneryn, which would mark the end of the country’s competitive bidding process in power generation’
• PM warns CEB TUs not to go for blackout; says it will impact help sought from India
• Island-wide blackout likely in Sri Lanka on June 09 after union-ministry talks fail
• Sri Lanka President declares electricity an essential service
• Sri Lanka electricity strike called off over promised assurances on private procurement
• Sri Lanka faces blackout after midnight walkout over unsolicited deals
• Sri Lanka Electricity (Amendment) Bill passed in Parliament without amendments.
• Reservoir gates opened during CEBEU strike
• Electricity mafia accused of opening sluice gates of several reservoirs: Minister
• Planned 24-hour blackout completely illegal: PUCSL
• Court issues enjoining order preventing CEBEU from halting electricity supply
• Sri Lanka’s electricity engineers strike continues at lower intensity: sources
• Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) and Minister of Power lock horns
‘the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, which was steamrollered through Parliament yesterday’
• CEBEU to go ahead with union action
• PUCSL Chief threatens legal action against CEB trade union
• Sri Lanka power minister accuses CEB trade unions of sabotage
• State Engineering Corporation employees protest against delayed salaries
• Sri Lanka’s utility regulator to serve enforcement order on CEB over TU action
• International Institute of Health Science (IIHS) sells Sri Lankan nurses to English NHS
• Pandemic, economic recession, and access to services for victims of human trafficking
• Tea companies will face legal action if they do not increase workers’ wages: CWC Leader
• Private buses cannot operate – Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association Chairman Wijeratne
‘There are around 20,000 private buses in the country’
• Public servants given Friday holiday option to grow food
• Disability Organizations Joint Front propose National Commission
• The education system has contributed to democratizing our society
• Vitamins, supplements lacking for pre- and post-partum women, children
• Initiative launched to enhance well-being of women and children in plantation sector
‘the Centre for Child Rights and Business in partnership with Save the Children, and key stakeholders, the Planters Association of Ceylon, Plantation Human Development Trust, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs’
• 200,000 persons with bipolar affective disorder (BPD) in Sri Lanka
• From Belgrade to Ceylon: When Sri Lanka had Workers Councils – Devapriya
• What is Caste Census and why is it Important?
‘The caste census in India is still based on 1931, after which the number of backward classes has not been determined to date. This is the reason that even today, people do not get their due rights’
• France proposes plan to unblock EU’s asylum seeker pact
‘Europe was hosting more than four million Ukrainian refugees, who do not come under the asylum rules applied to other nationalities such as Syrians and Afghans’
• Latin American Conference of Social Sciences meets in Mexico
• The future of work 1 – remote working: Roberts
• How the US Child Welfare System Is Silently Destroying Black Families
• Hubert Henry Harrison – Tribune of the People
‘Hubert Henry Harrison was one of the foremost Black socialist and nationalist thinkers of the early 20th century. He was known as “the father of Harlem radicalism.”’
• Diabetics foot the bill — Big Pharma makes a killing
‘”The major five major drug companies in 2016 made $50 billion in profits. They have well over 1,000 lobbyists in Washington. They provide hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions.’
• Precarity and Green Unionism
• We Have a Problem: Live with our eyes open without allowing ourselves to be defeated
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.
• Our ancient foods – Somadeva
• May records highest food price increase in 18 years
• Troops ready for Agri Revolution: Army Chief
• Temporary Custodian (Govt) can’t distribute State Land – find better ways to help farmers!
• Govt clueless about gazetted Acts: Ownership deed for State land not required for bank loans
• Famine is a policy choice: IMF talks, Geopolitics and Disaster Capitalism – Rajasingham
• Collective Ecological Agriculture: The solution to Lanka’s food crisis – N.M. Perera Memorial Oration – 2022
• Shortage of rice forecast after Oct. 2022: CIC Professor Buddhi Marambe
‘Sunday Times Business Club discussion on food crisis’
• Inflationary pressures, dollar crisis and rupee devaluation influences CIC progress
• Sri Lanka Agriculture Minister allays fears over rice shortage
• Sri Lanka’s economic crisis spiralling into food crisis
• Sri Lanka’s ’Bath Curry’ index reveals highest food price increase in at least 18 years
• Appealing to the world for our daily rice
• UN issues humanitarian appeal on Sri Lanka
• UN launch appeal for 1.7 million in Sri Lanka hardest hit by soft-peg collapse
• Ranil moots write-off of paddy farmer loans; free State land to people
• Sri Lanka President considers decentralizing public service, youth-led cultivation after crisis
• Unilever Announces Merger of Unilever Food Solutions with Core Business
‘OOH brands including Knorr, Marmite, Viva, Horlicks and Hellman’s… Sharmila Bandara, Marketing Director – Homecare, Foods & Refreshments and Water.’
• Ceylon Chamber webinar to address food security challenges
‘presented by Director General of Agriculture Dr. Ajantha de Silva, Prof. Buddhi Marambe of Faculty of Agriculture of University of Peradeniya, National Agribusiness Council Chairman Mario de Alwis, Agribusiness Development and Ceylon Biscuits Ltd Director Rukshan Gunatilaka and Hayleys Fertilizers CEO Nandalal Perera. Panellists include Prof. Ruchira Cumaranatunga of Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of University of Ruhuna, University of Colombo Prof. Emeritus of Sociology Prof. Siri Hettige, Consultant FAO and former DG Agriculture Dr. W.M.M.A. Weerakoon, JK Marketing Services (Keells) Technical Head Fresh Produce Nirmal Hettiarachchi and MRI Head of Nutrition Department Dr. Renuka Jayatissa…moderated by Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Steering Committee Chairman and Sri Lanka Agripreneurs’ Forum Chairman Rizvi Zaheed.
Sponsors are Commercial Bank and MAC Holdings.
• Recommendations for urgent action from agripreneurial community to mitigate impending food crisis
‘The only positive signal is the offer of 65,000 tonnes of urea from India’
• The Political Economy of Fiscal Policies and Regulations to Promote Healthy Diets in Sri Lanka
• Grow More Food – Sugath Kulatunga
• Bangladesh’s potato assistance to Sri Lanka reminds the urgency of SAARC revival
• Lanka seeks food aid; UN to make global appeal on Wednesday
• UN Food Agency drafts food response plan for crisis hit Lanka
• World Food Programme (WFP) top official to visit Sri Lanka, says PM
• Govt. siphoned out millions from LRC fund for failed organic fertiliser project
• 231,000 MT of fertiliser to be imported for 2022-23 Maha season
‘fertiliser would be imported and distributed by Ceylon Fertiliser Company Ltd. and Colombo Commercial Fertilisers Ltd.’
• Sri Lanka plans to import 800,000MT of rice, no immediate shortage: Minister
• Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of India loans $55 million to purchase urea fertiliser for upcoming Maha season.
• Sri Lanka achieves self-sufficiency in peanuts in 2021
• Farmers use pack bulls to transport produce
• Colombo rubber auction trades on low volumes
• Tea production plummets; prices remain high
• Glyphosate ban to be reversed?
• Pros & Cons Of Lifting Ban On Oil Palm Cultivation – Experts differ on environmental issues
• Private sector debuts affordable new organic fertiliser product from India
‘The cost to fertilise one acre of land per season with this product is said to be Rs. 40,000’
• Fishing community of Iranawila in Puttalam express concerns about rapid coastal erosion
• 100,000 uncleared Chinese apples given to Dehiwala Zoo
• Monsoon blows away Feb deadline to remove X-Press Pearl wreck
• US-funded Oil Spill Response Workshop and Exercise gets underway for Sri Lankans
• A year since X-Press Pearl sinking, Lanka is still waiting for compensation
• ‘The “commanding heights” of the economy – the plantation sector.
• Popham — the man behind the unique arboretum in Dambulla is no more
• Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) acquires Peak Wilderness area off Erathna.
• Adopt a leopard at 8000 rupees a day
• Global Food Crisis: Domestic Self-Sufficiency in Staples is the Only Way Out
• Is Russia responsible for global food crisis? – Ambassador of Russia
• Global food shortages demand global solutions
• Accreditation for sustainable investments
‘Accreditation is the independent evaluation of the laboratories, certification bodies, inspection bodies and validation and verification bodies to ensure their competency, impartiality and integrity in delivering services to their clients.’
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.
• Amendments to Act aimed at creating monopoly over solar & wind power for foreign company
• Controversial Electricity Bill passed to liberalise power generation
• Sri Lanka parliament nods to remove tender process in power projects amid protests
• Power Minister assures retention of competitive bidding process even after amending Electricity Act
• Sri Lanka opens floodgates for corruption in power sector: Harsha
• Sri Lanka’s CEB incurs Rs. 65 billion loss in first quarter
• Sri Lanka creates ministry of technology and investment promotion & for women
• New data highlight shallowness of Sri Lanka’s industrial base
‘Construction boom adds sugar highs into industrial sector from time to time’
• BOI goes digital to draw FDI and boost business efficiency
‘Automation of import of chemicals by the BOI enterprises…’
• Purchase fuel from Russia: Vasu urges Govt.
‘“The government has decided to purchase fuel from countries in the Dollar region whereas we can purchase from Russia at a lower price. We have ignored the long-term credit facility offered by Russia just to maintain friendly ties with the USA,”’
• Russian oil possible only through long-term contracts outside tender process
• Another fuel price hike likely by mid-June: Samagi United Trade Union Force (SUTUF)
• Electricity bill should increase by a considerable percentage: CEB Chairman
• Ceylon Electricity Board to increase electricity tariff after eight years
• SLTB depots to supply fuel for tourism industry
• Laugfs Gas has a share of 30% of the customer base.
• Bring back coupons to arrest stocking of fuel
• Sapugaskanda refinery will have to shut down as it is fast running out of crude oil
• Countrywide power outage possible
• Sri Lanka opposition, energy minister clash over ending competitive bidding for private plants
• Society of Transport and Logistics (SLSTL) proposes tough measures to curb fuel import bill
• Sri Lanka’s CEB owes Rs26bn to renewable IPPs
• Sri Lanka parliament nods to remove tender process in power projects amid protests
• Litro Chairman resigns
• New Electricity Act defies wishes of people and governance: Marikkar
• Grant diesel subsidy for school vans: CTU
• Norochcholai maintenance: Hydro and fuel to the rescue?
• Sunshine says govt.’s halfhearted commitment triggered its exit from renewable energy biz
• Resus Energy connects 6.0 MW Solar PV power plant to national grid amid raging power crisis
‘in Rideemaliyedda, and connected to the Mahiyanganaya grid substation, the development rights of these projects were secured from the government’s Soorya Balasangramaya tender…’
• Shipping agents want port charges in dollars deferred
• Shipping Agents confirm continuity of export import business
• President calls for efficiency at Lankan ports to build trust internationally
• President highlights corruption during auction of imported goods confiscated at port.
• Govt. mulls joint ventures for Mattala/Ratmalana airports
• Singapore Airlines says SL cargo bookings not halted, contradicting Daily FT
• Road Development Authority (RDA) identified as State enterprise with huge mismanagement
• Several irregularities within Urban Development Authority revealed at COPE (English)
• Public interest petition seeks a halt to Central Expressway Section 3 contracts
• Garbage project in crisis: US$10m to be paid to Chinese firms
• Basil and Nadesan acquitted after contractor disputed signature
• End of the road, if payments are not made
• Government to delay payments to contractors
• Cement prices up again
• Leading producer of industrial chemicals and intermediates in Sri Lanka: CIC Chemanex
• Interchemie Netherlands appoints Dymec as exclusive distributor for Sri Lanka
‘Interchemie werken “De Adelaar” B.V, one of the largest manufacturers of veterinary products in the world, has appointed Dymec in the veterinary pharmaceutical industry in Sri Lanka’
• Harmful chemicals in liquor: Excise Dept. rejects allegations; consumer rights group warns legal action
• Federation of Information Technology Industry Sri Lanka (FITIS) urges govt. to treat int’l and local digital services equally when taxing
• “Foreign digital operators take millions of dollars out of the country every year”
‘ICT stakeholders call out unfair tax regime for foreign vs local digital services’
• Jehan Perinpanayagam new Chairman of ACCA Member Network Panel
‘Executive Committee for the year 2022/2023 includes Acuity Knowledge Partners Director Rathnakala Kumaragurunathan as Vice Chairperson along with Lanka Rating Agency CEO Adrian Perera, H.C.P. Consulting Chairman Chaaminda Kumarasiri, Ernst & Young Principle Praveen Ruberu, Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company Group Finance Head Darshana Gunasekara, Alpha Business School CEO Shehan Fernando, LAUGFS Holdings Chief Internal Auditor Prasenna Balachandran, LSEG Business Analyst Navin Karunadasa and Layer 7 Innovations CFO Suyama Jayasinghe.’
• Drug shortage: Whose fault is it?
‘three main agencies involved in ensuring the regular availability of medicines in the State health sector, and those agencies are the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC), State Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC), and the Medical Supplies Division (MSD).’
• Indian pharmaceuticals expected here in two weeks
• Utilization of Indian Line of Credit for Essential Goods
• Indian LOC: $ 200 m for meds will be fully utilised: The Treasury
• New BOI project in East unveils import substitutes, uplifts people’s livelihoods
• Softlogic to pivot to local manufacturing to blunt impact from import controls
‘January-March quarter (4Q22) profit of Rs.4.24 billion’
• Softlogic signs MoU with B’desh white goods giant Walton for local manufacturing
• Singer joins other consumer durable retailers in bolstering its domestic production capacity
• Sri Lanka’s fuel and dollar shortage dents lucrative garment exports industry
• Unilever Horana factory gets ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System Certification
• Local textile trade chokes due to Chinese imports
• Dayananda Dillimuni set up a modern lapidary under the government FIAC programme
• Sri Lanka to impose 100% surcharge on multiple imports; 200% on Chocolate related imports
• Visionary Educators: Trilicia Gunawardena at Govt. College of Art & Crafts – Parts I & II
• Upcoming Adani plant in Jharkhand to sell power to Bangladesh, will make its economy suffer
• Global air cargo market continues to contract
• Oil prices hit US $ 120 as Saudi July price rise eclipses OPEC+ deal
• Bundesbank warns Russian gas embargo would cost Germany 5 per cent in lost output
‘BASF chief executive Martin Brudermüller said a sudden stop of Russian gas deliveries could destroy Germany’s “entire economy” and could trigger the worst economic crisis since 1945.’
• Siemens Energy, BASF warn Russian gas embargo would be detrimental
• Gerhard Schroeder throws in the towel as German industry hangs on to Russian gas
‘“Russia supplies around 50% of the natural gas consumed in Germany. ‘
• Goodbye Golden Arches: rebranded McDonald’s to reopen in Russia
• Shipping Chaos Is the Latest Sign that Capitalism Is Eating Itself
‘Capitalism rests on a network of privately-owned infrastructure, with shipping at its heart – but now the industry is in chaos as the profiteering of rentier corporations sends the world system into meltdown.’
• So Why Is Gas at the Pump at All-Time Highs?
• Biden to exempt tariffs on solar panels from Southeast Asian countries for 24 months -source
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.
• CSE ops halt half an hour before closing time in the wake of growing economic uncertainties
‘opposition triggered by SLPP MPs in parliament to the passing of the 21 st Amendment to the Constitution, add insult to injury’
• CSE investor sentiment plunges to negative territory over macro-economic worries
• Sri Lanka shares recover from 4-week low on bargain hunting
• Sri Lanka stocks gain over 1-pct in mid-day trade
• Sri Lanka shares slump to one-month low; foreigners exit after PM’s cautioning
• Shares fall for 2nd week; political, economic woes dent sentiment despite Perera’s boost
• Sri Lanka market gain on speculation over business tycoon becoming MP, handling economy
• Speculation on a parliamentary role for Dhammika Perera boosts CSE
• Minister Dhammika Perera in the making
• CSE gains over I per cent as a semblance of political stability emerges
• CSE sustains positive run; low turnover a concern
• People’s Bank says recovery of NPAs a priority
• Loan rejections to rise sharply with banks turning extra cautious
• Arjuna Herath appointed to Global Digital Asset & Cryptocurrency Association Advisory Board
‘Board Member of the Colombo Stock Exchange and former Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka and Senior Partner of Ernst & Young’
• HNB Finance Group Net Profit of at least Rs. 515.6 million for the 2021-22 financial year
• Forex-starved GoSL announces tax incentives for Port City investors
• Ceylon Exchange Mentoring (CEM) receives strategic investment from Ataraxia Capital Partners to expand overseas
• Seismic Explosion Under Bernanke, Yellen and Powell
• Tech Startups and Blank-Check Companies Blow Up in Investors’ Portfolios
• Charts Show Wealth Devastation to US Investors from Wall Street’s Unchecked Corruption
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’
• Larger firms swallow smaller ones
‘many firms in manufacturing sector, retail, leisure, food, & beverage industry are for sale’
• Sunshine Holdings FY22 consolidated revenue of Rs. 32.2 billion,
• Sunshine Holdings Joins Corporate ‘Manudam Mehewara’ emergency relief initiative
‘initiated by Dialog Axiata PLC, MAS Holdings, Hemas Holdings PLC, CBL Group, Citi, Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, and PwC Sri Lanka.’
• Cabinet nod to extend loan moratorium granted to tourism industry
• TUI cancels more holidays to Sri Lanka amid Foreign Office warnings not to go
• Professional Tour Guides Alliance protest in Colombo over Aeroflot fiasco
• Sri Lanka tourism – Catch 22 situation for government?
‘Sri Lanka has an annual shortage of inflows of US $ 6 billion to accommodate the basic needs such as fuel, gas, medicine, fertiliser and food. Sri Lanka has three primary sources of dollar income – exports, tourism and worker remittances.’
• New Taxes will further damage Condominium Industry’s contribution to economic growth?
• Promoting SL’s condo projects among wealthy Indians seen as effective for-ex generator
• Govt. decides to grant 40-year tax holiday for Port City investments
• Port City Colombo’s Development Control Regulations (DCR) now enforced
• Port City announces Sri Lanka’s most comprehensive urban development rules
• Chinese Businesses of Colombo Fort
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.
• Burying the Hatchet IN Your Heads ! – Sena Thoradeniya
‘“JVP and the FSP are planning to bury the hatchet’
• Galle Face protest and reality – Sena Thoradeniya
‘Ashu Marasinghe, ex-UNP MP admits he was involved in Galle Face protests from its beginning’
• The Saffron Children
• Do we have to listen to pundits’ stories? – Nalin de Silva
• Aeroflot and Duminda Rehearsals for 21 – Nalin de Silva
• Handunetti’s Law – Nalin de Silva
• Aeroflot and other stories – Nalin de Silva
• Ranil, Sajith, Computers and Memory – Nalin de Silva
• The so-called educated and trade unions must also be freed from monopolies
• Basil’s farewell – Nalin de Silva
• A Brief Note
• SLPP losing co-op society elections indicate which way the wind blows.
• What can happen if the president resigns? Basil
• N.M. Perera and the IMF – Rasseedin, General Secretary, Ceylon Federation of Labour (CFL)
• NM’s 117th Birthday: Abolishing Executive Presidency never more topical – Wickramaratne
• President names prominent UNP stalwart as having already started money-making deals
• Playing Games (“Gema Gahanawa”) with Constitutional Reforms – Goonesekere
• 21A: Consensus on non-inclusion of provisions that required approval at referendum sought
• ‘Leftist talk alarmed them – because they had never heard this kind of talk before’
• ‘No great or regional power will allow foreign bases near its land’ – David
‘encourage the maturing of social democratic understanding and intelligence in Lanka’
• The Republic: Fiftieth Anniversary and Fifty Days of Aragalaya – Philips
• ‘The gullible Sinhala-Buddhist polity’
• District Political Authority and the G.A.
• The protests have fragmented – Devapriya
• When the Privileged Protest
• Hector Abhayavardhana and the politics of the Left – Devapriya
• Sumanthiran’s security officer found dead in Wellawatte; Army Police investigations underway
• Demand for system change also calls for early elections – USAID NPC
• What If Opinion Polls Actually Mattered?
• Ranil says Donoughmore Constitution was a success
• No single GGG representative able to convince us what the Aragalaya was about and its aim
• ‘I can’t go as a failed president, I’ve been given a mandate for five years. I won’t contest again’
• Govt. used Sinhala-Buddhist shield to maximum benefit Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thera
• Ranil W. and Rajapaksas
• 21st Amendment: Three key issues yet to be resolved
• Demand for system change also calls for early elections – USAID NPC Perera
• Why both political and economic reforms must move in parallel for a turn-around – Peiris
• Justice Minister raps EC Chairman
• Abolition of Executive Presidency may cause anarchy – Justice Minister
• Basil out, Dhammika or Renuka in?
• Protests against Basil outside US Embassy
• Basil bolts with a bang
• Basil’s broadside at Ranil
• Can Mr. Clean sit with Mr. Dirty? SJB MP asks PM
• Sri Lanka business magnate Dhammika Perera leaves director boards; speculation rife
• Sri Lanka business tycoon Dhammika Perera appointed ruling party MP
• Dhammika Perera entering Parliament is unconstitutional: USDAID CPA
• EC asked to obtain asset declaration of one of Sri Lanka’s richest men before accepting nomination
• FSP says it is silly to expect Dhammika Perera to attract foreign investments
• Committee appointed comprising UNPers to oversee essential services defunct now: PM
• Champika to function as independent MP in Parliament
• I was not running behind posts – Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe
• President vows to finish term, tells Bloomberg will not run for re-election
‘Fortunately, or unfortunately people when they are in politics for so long you can have so much baggage, you have lot of friends. Lot of people who want help are your supporters. When you go against this – I tried to go against this – you don’t get their help.” ‘
• Former PM Mahinda continues to engage in Cabinet meetings: Bandula
• Hirunika and the Presidential pardon of Duminda Silva
• Pitfalls in the Gota-Ranil diarchy – Balachandran
• There should be age bar for holding office but not for political leadership – Thanabalasingham
• President invited me to accept Premiership hours before Ranil accepted it: SF
• Sri Lankan cabinet ministers decide not to draw salaries for one year
• Basil resigns; claims no responsibility for downfall of economy
• Ruling family still holds key to Sri Lanka’s future
• Basil leaves: Sri Lanka’s former finance minister quits parliament ahead of 21st amendment
• Field Marshal says PM should be thankful to him
• SF: Some ministers are drug addicts who spend time with prostitutes at night clubs
• SJB claims entire world is waiting for Gotabaya to resign
• 21A: JVP proposes dissolution of Parliament within six months after enactment of new law
• Gota Classic and politics in the crucible of crisis – Jayatilleka
‘No country or institution wants to subsidise his continued incumbency.’
• Utilize prevailing Acts to compensate for lost lives, property during recent commotions: Dinesh
• Voters too are responsible for current crisis – Basil
• Sumanthiran complains that the man responsible for crisis still in driving seat
• Sri Lanka PM wants TNA MP’s speech probed; ‘aragalaya’ has blood on its hands, says ex-PM
• Can’t go for polls until economic crisis addressed: Sri Lanka’s Election Commission Chairman
• PM used Amarakeethi’s condolence day for his own political agenda: Shanakiyan
• “I will speak of the Batalanda Report” – Shanakiyan hits back at PM
• “The struggle of those who killed innocent man no longer peaceful,” – Mahinda Rajapaksa
• Basil will fly back to the US, where his heart is.
• BASL refutes PM’s references to purported agreement with President
• Sri Lanka PM wants TNA MP’s speech probed; ‘aragalaya’ has blood on its hands, says ex-PM
• How China Is The Most Democratic Country In The World
• On the centenary of the Communist Youth League of China: Youth is the future
• On Contradiction (1937) – Mao Zedong
‘Originally delivered as lectures at the Anti-Japanese Military and Political College in Yan’an, and revised by Mao upon the publication of his Selected Works.’
• Barack Obama Speech on Technology and Democracy
• Money Trail to the January 6 Attack on the Capitol Ignored in Public Hearing
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.
• Sri Lanka’s state-owned media institutions face economic hardship
‘Additional Secretary (Development Planning and Information) of the Media Ministry E.M.S.B. Jayasundera wrote to the heads of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited and the Independent Television Network’
• Crisis agenda for the Vox Populi and Fourth Estate – Gunasekera
• Development Journalist Forum promotes investigative journalism among university students
• Zuckerberg, Rockefeller, Google and the Privatization of Election Integrity
‘covertly orchestrated by US intelligence agencies to impose a destructive economic and social agenda on the US tied to the Davos Great Reset and UN Agenda 2030.’
• Media News Reporting Can Sometimes Be Harmful If The Context Is Confusing.
• EU promotes ‘Art for Peace’ as peace and prosperity are at stake
‘With war at the doorstep of Europe and with a deep economic crisis in Sri Lanka’
• 15 Unilever brands named ‘Most Loved Brands’ in LMD’s Brands Annual Ranking 2022
• MullenLowe Awarded ‘Agency of the Year’ For Three Years Consecutively
‘agency also proved its outstanding contribution towards its clients, Unilever Sri Lanka and Softlogic Life Insurance, that walked away with the ‘Marketer of The Year’ and the ‘Brand of the Year’ awards’
• Cricket – the only solace and pleasure during crisis
• ‘Guys, we will be the Monkeykings’!
‘A rap song about the Communist Party of China has become a runaway success in China’
• Australian Court Makes Google Pay Former Politician for Defamatory YouTube Videos
• Archeology Sensation: An Ancient City Reemerges in Iraq Reservoir
• Censorship and the War on Black America
• An Adventure of Persistence (2009) – Badiou