“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
e-Con e-News 19-25 June 2022
• In April, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat publicly announced that India will become Akhand Bharat (Unbroken India) in 10 to 15 years. Bhagwat provided ‘the first timeline’ for the RSS goal of Akhand Bharat gorging on Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Bangladesh Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Maldives. India’s Prime Minister N. Modi rather calls Akhand Bharat a ‘cultural’ objective. The media tends to refer to the RSS as Mahatma Gandhi’s killers (and who knows how many other Gandhis, see Random Notes).
• Senior RSS and ruling Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) National General Secretary Ram Madhav met our President and their PM in mid-June, to secure the Adani encroachment. Another Indian delegation parachuted in this week to thwart US moves, right after the IMF perched to sign already negotiated sales. On Monday, the delegation from the US Treasury, which controls the Brettons Woods triplets – the World Bank, IMF and WTO – gatecrashes Colombo. Expect no staged demonstrations.
• Hundreds of mechanised Indian fishing trawlers encroached on Sri Lanka’s seas again. This time ‘legally’, after a ‘breeding ban’, meant to replenish fish shoals, was lifted 2 days before. Northern fisher folk protested, appealing, not to Colombo but to India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and TN Chief Minister M. K. Stalin, through their offices in Jaffna. Fisherfolk complain they lack adequate fuel.
Coincidentally, an unnamed official of the Ceylon Petroleum Co. (CPC, which is being threatened with total privatization again) lamented the refusal by India’s Oil Corporation (LIOC), which controls one third of Sri Lankan’s retail fuel distribution, to import larger quantities of oil through the Trincomalee terminal, which they have also taken over. If the LIOC imported more fuel, Sri Lanka wouldn’t have to rely on India’s foreign credit for fuel imports, the official noted (see ee Sovereignty).
• Colombo’s stock market jumped high, after several weeks of enforced somnolence. Even the rupee was held steady. Why, the bullishness? The IMF arrived in town on Monday and US lame-duck President Joe Biden drew Sri Lanka’s ambassador into a handshake.
India and the USA keep jostling to slice up the country, sending in ‘delegations’ of diplomatic and economic guns, one after another. EU Envoys, meanwhile, reminded Sri Lankato ‘consider European countries as friends’. We must have forgot. Canada’s envoy jumped a train to Jaffna (a site of ‘genocide’ according to his government, who are among the world’s leading experts on the subject). He tweetered that he thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and safety that Sri Lanka’s much-besieged rail lines offer (just after a worker fell off a bustling carriage).
The much-feted Australian cricket team, who offered supposed dollar-free adrenalin boosts to fans of the colonial game, did not jump the trains, and took luxury road transport instead.
• Just as Australia’s former PM was casting his vote in their recent election on May 21, the commander of their Joint Agency Task Force Operation Sovereign Borders, Rear Admiral Justin Jones, revealed that a ship had ‘been intercepted in a likely attempt to illegally enter Australia from Sri Lanka.’ The PM then promised to keep Australia safe. It was a perfectly timed doosra, even if that PM lost the match.
No one is allowed to examine how these propaganda scenarios are engineered, which PR advisor implemented this: How the ship left Sri Lanka, who was on the ship, who ensured it would arrive just in time for election day, etc.
• The attack on Sri Lanka’s rupee escalated after capitalists (traders, rating agencies, etc.) claimed they had no ‘confidence’ in the economy. They also insist this lack of trust is also because they are not allowed to fully monetize Sri Lanka’s immense resources of land and labor. Hence, the PM, with media present, handed out deeds to legally grant ‘ownership in coastal Puttalam, etc. The PM promises to issue between 1,000 and 3,000 deeds to land ‘owners’ weekly. These lands are expected to end up in the hands of foreign monopolists, as people are pushed into further debt.
• Selling off Grandma’s Crown Jewels – Credit Suisse and Conservation International (CI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) – all Rockefeller-Exxon-linked experts in international finance and environmental conservation – are dangling funds for ‘Debt for Nature Swaps’ (DFNS). DFNS grabs strategic ecological locations: In SL, they will use the Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC, which ee calls a Plantation-Elephant Conflict), Sinharaja, Sri Pada, watershed streams and rivers, etc.
Coincidentally (or astrologically) Sri Lanka’s ‘legal advisers’ Lazard and Clifford Chance, claim themselves to be world’s leading experts on DFNS. DFNS have been foisted on Belize (last month), Costa Rica, Uganda, the Seychelles, Indonesia and Philippines.
• Vulture Sabotage – ‘Last Tuesday, a privately held bondholder (based in Caribbean tax hideout St. Kitts and Nevis) sued Sri Lanka in the US District Court in Manhattan over the country’s alleged default on a $1 billion sovereign bond maturing in July. Hamilton Reserve Bank served a court summons to Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the UN Mohan Peiris, just as an International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff mission arrived in Sri Lanka to continue talks on a bailout program.
Their lawsuit states that the default is being ‘orchestrated by officials at the highest levels of government, including the ruling Rajapaksa family and accused Sri Lanka of excluding bonds held by domestic banks and other interested parties [China?] from an announced debt restructuring’.
These ‘favoured Sri Lankan parties stand to be paid principal and interest in full, while the bonds’ –also broadly held by US pension funds – remain indefinitely in default and unpaid, causing American retirees tremendous suffering from potentially massive losses of up to 80 percent of their original investment value,” lawyers for Hamilton Reserve were quoted as saying by Bloomberg (see Random Notes)
• Everyone (almost) is crying for a plan. Finally. After decades of assassinations, official and unofficial coups and terror, to prevent exactly that – at least industrial plans. Everyone – including that airy category called ‘artist’ – is even talking economics. Finally. Yet a plan for what? Economics for whom? The media’s politicians’ plan is to talk up ameliorating the pain soon to be inflicted by the IMF on the ‘vulnerable’ (only?).
• ee reproduces a statement from the Coalition For Economic Democracy (see ee Focus). The CED examines odious debt and dedollarization. It only has one sentence at the end mentioning the dreaded word, ‘industry.’ Again, we note that Sri Lanka’s economic underdevelopment has less to do with ‘debt’ and mostly to do with the prevention of modern industrialization.
• Flying Dollars – eecontinues Dhanusha Pathirana’s important delving into ‘Foreign Exchange & Sri Lanka’s Economic Collapse’. He examines how dollar fly out through trade mis-invoicing or manipulation of export and import invoices by the corporate elite, and the ensuing expansion of black market for foreign exchange.’
Voluble capitalist echo-chambers like EconomyNext, run-on economists like WA Wijewardena, and US-funded think tanks like Advocata, which usually blabber about the ‘rule of law’ have euphemized this ‘Black Market’ as a ‘grey market’ and a ‘kerb market’. ee wishes to assure readers that this so-called ‘Black Market’ is actually the whitest market of them all.
• Outside of misinvoicing, etc., we wonder about the capital stolen by multinational corporations through technological rents, royalties, licensing rights, technical assistance fees, etc., prevention of technology transfer, and marketing know-how.
No economist is willing to quantify how much of the so-called debt we owe was for buying imported machines, experts, ‘services’, etc.
If there is no loud saturated and repeated call for real industrial policies to even make a pin, we will get the same set of merchants ruling us for ever, imposing their dream to turn Sri Lanka into a casino tax haven money laundering tourist brothel.
A1. Reader Comments –
• ee’s grasp • IMF Delays ‘foreseen’
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Bankers love Sri Lanka’s shocks • Rich doing fine • Ministers demand headlines • UN’s Universal Grab • US Fed Sans Frontiers • FB’s selective community standards • India Twists Arms • Cabinet & Commissions • South-South Integration • Europe’s Problems World Problems • Think Tanks Dunk Media
A3. Random Notes –
Australia fakes refugee game • India Western Problems • Hamilton’s Killing • Cardinal & Napoleon • India’s Observer Research Foundation • US Foreign Policy Diaspora • US Moves on Thinktanks • Social Democratic Delusions • Mexico’s Emperor & Debt
B. ee Focus
B1. Rise of Black Economy for Foreign Exchange & Sri Lanka’s Economic Collapse – Part II: Dhanusha Pathirana
B2. A Call for Debt Justice, Debt Cancellation & Transparency in IMF Negotiations: Coalition for Economic Democracy (CEDSL)
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,
• ‘Time and space has not diminished at all ee’s grasp of events in this country’
• ‘Re: IMF delays: Foreseen, thanks for sending ee around’
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘A shock therapy like this can be a good reset on how the country goes forward’ – Association of Professional Bankers of Sri Lanka, ee Economy
• ‘…honestly embarrassing and unspoken in polite company, but you should know how rich people are doing at this time of terrible suffering. We’re mostly fine, and it’s a crime. For a brief period, the collapse hit everyone and the suffering was – if not equal – at least shared. Everyone got power cuts, everyone lost money, everyone struggled to get fuel and food…
Then the unelected Ranil Wickremsinghe became PM, unelected billionaires like Dhammika Perera become MPs, and the country became an almost pure oligarchy, backed by foreign powers. Then things started getting better for the rich, while everyone else got even more f-ed. Ranil stabilized things for us and bought us time to regroup and consolidate our privileges once again… – ee Economists, How the Rich are Doing in Sri Lanka
• ‘Resolutions at the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council: The shoddy handling of issues there both by the Foreign Ministry in Colombo and the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva has aggravated the situation with the last resolution calling upon member countries to resort to universal jurisdiction to deal with instances of human rights violations. Most damagingly an external evidence gathering project has been initiated… The call for resort to universal jurisdiction has also been a cause for concern. That proviso makes violators liable for arrest in the countries which exercise universal jurisdiction to face charges under their laws.’ – ee Economists, IMF
• ‘When the US Federal Reserve raises interest rates, as it did Wednesday, the impact does not stop with the US, but the fallout can be felt beyond US borders, hitting shopkeepers and consumers in Sri Lanka also. The 0.75% is the largest single increase since 1994. The immediate impact is borrowing costs going up and the US dollar appreciating making imports of goods and services for Sri Lanka more expensive. Almost immediately, the Bank of England also raised the base rate to 1.25%. The European Central Bank has indicated, if inflation keeps rising, a 50-basis-point interest rate increase cannot be ruled out.’ – ee Economists, IMF
• ‘In the case of Sri Lanka, notice how much pro-LTTE, separatism and anti-Sinhala/Buddhist posts never fall into the ‘community standards’ and get blocked, but the moment any responds nullifying the pro-LTTE, separatism etc – they get reported and are blocked by FB and other social media.’ – Victim, ee Sovereignty
• ‘The arm-twisting began on the eve of former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s visit to New Delhi last December seeking alms. He was told in no uncertain terms, Colombo needed to ink projects that were promised and in the pipeline for years as a prerequisite. These included oil tank farms near Trincomalee port and energy projects in the East and North-East. They shooed away any presence of the Chinese wanting to do business in the area, no doubt with ulterior motives for themselves. Now comes the next stage, to entrench the ‘big boys’ of Indian business – the Adanis, Tatas, Ambanis, into the local commercial landscape. These proposed investments cannot be outside a fair and competitive procurement process, exactly what India and the US criticized Chinese investments in Sri Lanka for: lack of transparency. They also seem to concentrate around ports and coastal areas patently with extra-commercial agendas of the Indian Government. In fact, the Indian media has questioned what a high-ranking RSS/BJP functionary close to the political hierarchy in Delhi was doing in Colombo last week and if he was lobbying for the Indian corporate big boys with the blessings of its Ministry of External Affairs.’ – ee Sovereignty, Free Shipment
• ‘In the allocation of Cabinet portfolios, there is a premium in obtaining a ministry where the Minister has control of many resources and possibilities of large commissions.’ – ee Economists, Sanderatne
• ‘The International North-South Transportation Corridor is a classic South-South integration project: a 7,200-km-long multimodal network of ship, rail and road routes interlinking India, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, all the way to Finland in the Baltic Sea. Technically, picture a set of containers going overland from St Petersburg to Astrakhan. Then the cargo sails via the Caspian to the Iranian port of Bandar Anzeli. Then it’s transported overland to the port of Bandar Abbas. And then overseas to Nava Sheva, the largest seaport in India. The key operator is Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, which has branches in both Russia and India.’ – ee Economists, St Petersburg
• ‘Europe has to grow out of the mindset that Europe’s problems are the world’s problems, but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems… the world cannot be [as] Eurocentric as it used to be in the past… If I were to take Europe collectively, which has been singularly silent on many things which were happening… in Asia, you could ask why anybody in Asia would trust Europe on anything at all.’ – India Foreign Minister S Jaishankar at the GLOBSEC 2022 forum in Bratislava, Slovakia (ee Sovereignty, India-Quad)
• ‘Just as thinktanks can directly shape public policy and elections, they play a large role in shaping the public narrative about US government policies. Many of the experts discussing the most pressing political issues of the day on TV networks, like CNN, Fox News, work at thinktanks. The op-ed pages of NY Times and Washington Post are filled with the musings of thinktank scholars. Most of the astute political analysts you hear on National Public Radio and other radio outlets also work at thinktanks. In short, thinktanks are the engine driving public debate about public policy.’ – ee Sovereignty, Thinktanks
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_________________
This week, while imperialists jockeyed for greater control over Sri Lanka, Australia announced 50 SL Navy personnel will join US-led war games: RIMPAC Exercise 2022 begins on July 04, and involves all four Quad navies. All this is supposed to be ‘in line with overall Australian strategy to prevent Sri Lanka becoming a launch pad for people smugglers’ boats’.
Here is a white-settler imposition, based on the ultimate piracy, looting and genociding continents with convicts, involved in camouflaging their insidious role of still waging war on the peoples of Asia and the Pacific. Sri Lanka’s capitalist media, so busy only with ‘corruption’ by politicians and public officials, must have been paid off to ignore what could easily be a major ‘scandal’, not just exposing the farce of capitalist elections.
Instead, all television and media was a frothy sea awash in a yellow fog. Australia’s cricketers, who refused to play in Colombo when an earlier terror was being waged on Sri Lanka, were hailed as great heroes. All for flying in midst – what the media bills – as ‘Sri Lanka’s worst crisis since independence.’ (No point enlarging on the pre-‘48 plantation game).
Australia’s ‘assistance’, food, ‘healthcare’ (not to enable local production of these items but to prolong Sri Lanka’s economic crisis) dominated media headlines. One news organ hilariously misspelled, ‘Australia’s navel [sic!], technical and material assistance welcomed’.
It is common in the white world for ‘Black riots’ to erupt before a political leader announces an election or unpopular policy, or during another downturn in opinion polls. The former ruling ‘Liberal’ party however lost the election because imperialism has decided they need a more ‘liberal’ woke apparition to cover up white-settler Australia’s escalating role in the latest war games.
‘India has an intellectual tradition. It goes back a long way. It is a Brahminical tradition. The Brahmins still hold power in India. They are nationalists. They have Western knowledge but still hold on to their traditions. They first look at their country. Although India did not exist before the advent of the English, there were not only intellectual traditions in the North and the South but also mutually absorbed.
Today, those 2 traditions are united except in Tamil Nadu. The English-led West is still using Tamil Nadu, especially its Catholic Church, against India. Today both the ruling party and the opposition in India have joined together to control Sri Lanka. It’s dangerous. Their unanimity means that they agree to impose their authority on us.
India is working with the West in some respects because of China. But they also operate independently of the West. This is especially true of Russia. India also pursues a policy independent of the West with regard to Sri Lanka. If it shifts sometimes it is because of the pressure from Tamil Nadu.
Today the economic crisis in this country is being used by the West as well as India to impose domination on us. The powerful Indian delegation that arrived in Sri Lanka the day before yesterday, came for that purpose. They do not like the pressure of the West on us. India does not want Western influence in Sri Lanka to increase.
Today we have to deal with these pressures. But we have no plan. We are still just trying to borrow dollars. We have not yet thought of (in the long run) of planning a productive economy that suits the country…’ (ee Sovereignty, India’s Influence)
• Sri Lanka’s ISB holders assume they’ve successfully foisted blame on China for the ‘debt trap’ by using their ‘Financial Advertising Complex’, a media subset of the Military Industrial Complex. They have now banded together, while a supposedly rogue fund, Hamilton Reserve Bank seeks to do an end run, to pressure Sri Lanka.
‘Hamilton Reserve Bank is demanding immediate payment of $257.5million of principal plus interest, saying Sri Lanka had stopped servicing its sovereign debt and missed payments on 2 other bonds, causing a cross-default. The $1billion ISB maturing in July is trading at a 60% discount on the Singapore Stock Exchange. If the bank bought the bonds after Sri Lanka defaulted they would make a killing when the full value is repaid. If the Collective Action Clause is absent in the legal agreement between the GoSL (Govt of SL) and the July ISB creditors, the US court ruling will favor the Hamilton Bank, thus also sabotaging the ongoing sovereign debt restructuring efforts.
Collective Action Clauses were globally enforced only after the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the creditors over Argentina on their 2001 defaulted bonds, in June 2014. The July ISB on which Hamilton Bank is suing Sri Lanka was issued in 2012, which suggests that Collective Action Clause may not be present in the agreement between the creditors and the GoSL. If the bank bought the bonds following the default knowing there’s no Collective Action Clause in the agreement (we can’t verify this so far) it will be a classic case of a vulture fund trying to rip off a country through its economic collapse…
To find out when they bought the bonds and at what price, we have to file a Right to Information (RTI) request for that info. We should also request the agreement to check on the Collective Action Clause. The information on when Hamilton Bank bought the bonds, before or after the default, is with Singapore Stock Exchange. The CBSL will request it only if someone files a RTI. In the case of Argentina, NML Capital bought Argentine bonds after they defaulted. They sued Argentina demanding they repay the entire face value of the bond which they bought at a massive discount from the secondary market. Argentina had to pay over $2bn when NML Capital invested only around $180mn. The case was in 2012.’ ((see ee Economists, Bondholder sued)
• Catholic Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, criticizing the present administration, made reference to ‘the French revolution that brought untold misery on the Catholic community before the French political and military leader Napoleon Bonaparte restored the much-desired freedom to the Catholic community’. Could someone please tell this holy father that Napoleon first ensured French people could communicate directly with heaven only via Paris rather than through the Italy’s tax-shelter Vatican alone, and Napoleon put priests on a salary of francs?
• India’s Observer Research Foundation (ORF), which regularly passes editorial judgement on Sri Lanka, was founded by the Dhirubhai Ambani family, much of its budget provided by Ambani’s Reliance Industries (see ee Economists, Bhowmick). ORF includes Indian Ambassadors, top media, Indian Navy, civil servants, a former CEO, National Intelligence Grid, Indian National Security Council Advisors, and of course, the Indian intelligence agency Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) – see ee 11 September 202
• It is common to hear that US foreign policy is run by Israel, or some other diaspora: Anglo-Saxon, German, French, Irish, Cuban gusano, etc. They could of course be members of the same imperialist complex. The US doesn’t merely subsidize Israel because it’s ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’. Israel, etc, perform actions desired by the US power structure.
• Foreign-funded thinktanks and NGOs, fronts for multinational corporations, are out of control in Sri Lanka, claiming to represent ‘civil society’. US last week introduced ‘a bipartisan bill’ in its House of Representatives to curb ‘foreign influence’ in the US political process. The bill arrives just after Ret Gen John Allen’s resigned as president of the Brookings Institution – the most prominent ‘liberal’ thinktank in the US. He is accused by the FBI of secretly lobbying on behalf of Qatar and obstructing investigation into his alleged lobbying and influence activities on behalf of the Qataris.
‘Thinktanks are supposed to be the intellectual backbone of DC. Their rigorous research guides policy discussions, and their staff shape media narratives, lobby Congress and the executive branch, and even help to write US laws.’ The influence assumes ‘US thinktanks are advising policy-makers on the best policies to advance US interests’.
Thinktanks are awash in foreign money. In fact, foreign governments donate tens of millions of dollars to the USA’s most prominent thinktanks, influencing what these institutions do (or don’t) say. Thinktanks exploit loopholes in US lobbying laws, like the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
• ‘In 1867, the last monarch of Mexico, Emperor Maximilian, was executed by Mexican Republican forces. The USA had just nominally ended their ‘civil war’, where the industrial North had grabbed Southern slave plantations, which were seen as cotton colonies of England’s textile mills.
Liberal and Conservative factions, ruling their southern neighbor Mexico, had escalated their own civil war from 1857. Liberal forces led by Benito Juárez won the war and took control in January 1861. Many Mexican generals and patricians continued to engage in guerrilla warfare and assassination.
European empires realized the US would be unable to enforce their Monroe Doctrine midst a civil war. This doctrine, enacted in 1823 by President James Monroe, officially stated, ‘the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.’
The Mexican government was in heavy monetary debt to France, Spain, and England. To disrupt the new hostile liberal government taking over, they began to call on repayments that bankrupted Mexico. President Benito Juárez paused making these payments, prompting these three empires to invade the country and fund Conservative factions.
Mexican conservatives wished to restore a monarchy to resist liberal reforms. Europe’s Habsburg family had ruled over Mexico from 1521-1713, and Mexican conservatives enticed Ferdinand Maximilian, younger brother of Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph, to become monarch. He agreed in 1863 after French troops and conservatives retook most of the country. England and Spain then condemned the invasion and pulled out their military units in Mexico.
His reign was violently contested. After the USA finally ended their civil war in 1865, they pressured France to leave. French troops fled Mexico and Maximilian’s regime soon fled their base in Mexico City. On May 15, the Emperor was captured…’
B. Special Focus_
B1. Rise of Black Economy for Foreign Exchange & Sri Lanka’s Economic Collapse – Part II: Dhanusha Pathirana
Import over-invoicing has a devastating impact on the economy and on the welfare of the masses compared to export under-invoicing
Part I of this discussion reviewed liberal explanations on Sri Lanka’s economic collapse, showing collective failure in explaining the magnitude of the crisis which far exceeds both quantitative and qualitative limits of their reasoning. The following analysis attempts to address this deficiency by showing the impact of capital flight through trade mis-invoicing or manipulation of export & import invoices by the corporate elite and the ensuing expansion of black market for foreign exchange in Sri Lanka.
This network of illicit financial flows is also capable of absorbing foreign inflows like workers’ remittances, diverting it away from the formal banking system and in turn creating a dual exchange rate system. Consolidation and expansion of black market for foreign exchange forms the basis for a ‘foreign exchange liquidity trap’ rendering the monetary policy mechanism of the central bank more or less ineffective, especially in setting parameters to exchange rate fluctuations.
It triggered the collapse of the currency value by as much as 90% within a matter of weeks which is over 5 times greater than rupee depreciation warranted by real exchange rate appreciation as per IMF calculations as of February 2022. The process has now brought us face-to-face with a catastrophic humanitarian crisis marked by soaring inflation and an acute shortage of food, medicine and fuel hand in hand with rising unemployment.
Global Financial Integrity (GFI), an international organisation dedicated to the study and assessment of capital flight from underdeveloped and newly industrialised economies through trade mis-invoicing, published a report titled ‘Illicit Financial Flows from 134 Developing Countries 2009-18’ on 16 December, 2021. The report contains a startling piece of information on capital flight from Sri Lanka through trade mis-invoicing. Between 2009 and 2018 a staggering $41.5billion was transferred out of Sri Lanka by the corporate elite through trade mis-invoicing at an annual average rate of $4.15bn (Table E, p59). In April 2022 Sri Lanka defaulted $51bn in foreign debt, whereas foreign exchange illicitly transferred out by the corporate elite is as much as $41.5bn between 2009 and 2018 alone.
Despite the absence of data for the next 3 years there are clear signs in the economy that the process accelerated especially in 2021. Domestic industrial output contracted over 5% as per industrial production index of Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) in 2021, while imports of machinery, raw materials and investment goods increased phenomenally, mainly accounting for the increase in import bill during the year showing clear evidence of import over-invoicing by corporates. Sri Lanka’s highest ever import bill was recorded in 2021 during a period that saw acute foreign-exchange liquidity shortages, import controls hand in hand with collapsing foreign reserves.
Before addressing the magnitude of capital flight through trade mis-invoicing, let us briefly look at how it is carried out. The 2 methods of trade mis-invoicing employed for capital transfer across national boundaries are import over-invoicing and export under-invoicing. Importers and exporters over-invoice their bills in commodities where taxation is close to zero. In Sri Lanka raw materials, machinery and other investment-related imports are mostly tax-free, and constitute nearly 80% of the total imports expenditure annually including fuel imports. Import over-invoicing manipulates the price, volume and quality of the product to show a higher expenditure than the value of the consignment of imported goods. Expenditure that is in excess of what is imported is transferred to offshore accounts of the importer. Export under-invoicing does the reverse by understating the actual export value and transferring the excess to offshore accounts of the exporter.
It is important to note that the annual average volume of capital transferred through mis-invoicing is significantly greater than Sri Lanka’s current account deficit in the balance of payments. The annual average current account deficit was $2.3billion from 2009-18, whereas the annual average capital flight through trade mis-invoicing was $4.15bn, indicating Sri Lanka’s ongoing economic collapse and balance-of-payments crises it periodically faces can be entirely attributed to trade mis-invoicing by the corporates (see graph below).
Furthermore, we have to assess the welfare loss of capital transfer by estimating the loss of income stemming from the withdrawal of funds from the economy. A moderate rate of return of 10% on capital transferred from 2009-18 would produce an additional loss of $22.9bn during the period. If the entire stock of $41.5bn was reinvested within the economy during the next 4 years at 10% return, the loss of return due to capital transfer is $16.6bn. Both calculations assume that returns are not gainfully reinvested.
Total loss of foreign exchange triggered by trade mis-invoicing from 2009-18 alone therefore amounts to a staggering $81bn, which is equal to Sri Lanka’s 2021 GDP. On the other hand, Sri Lanka lost around 30% of remittances over the years due to funds being channelled through black market (CBSL estimates) which amounts to around $2bn each year. Recently the flow of remittances collapsed even further due to black market activity, wiping out its inflow by around $6-6.5bn this year, equal to Sri Lanka’s entire fuel bill in 2021.
Foreign reserves required to consolidate black-market activity are provided by capital transfers through trade mis-invoicing, which in turn enables the flow of remittances to divert from official banking channels. The heart of the black market for foreign exchange therefore lies in trade mis-invoicing. On the other hand, it is needless to say the losses of Government tax revenue, colossal declines in tax to GDP ratio and the tremendous losses of social welfare over the years due to expansion in black markets, are enormous. It is in this context we should understand the ongoing economic collapse of Sri Lanka, rather than through liberal explanations trying to inflate the tip of the iceberg of the problem…
Laws must be updated and reinforced to reflect the severity of the outcome of illicit capital transfers. Many people lost their lives from the consequences of lack of essential supplies like medicine, food and fuel, triggered by the lack of foreign exchange available in the banking system. Laws should be strictly enforced and updated to punish whoever involved in illicit capital transfers which should be considered tantamount to manslaughter.
There should be coordinated efforts by the monetary authority, customs and the banking system as a whole to achieve this end together with the intelligence units of the security forces to gather information. However, it is difficult to expect that the banking system would comply given that the corporate elite owns the commercial banks leading to conflict of interests when monitoring its own financial transactions.
Professor Arun Kumar of Jawaharlal Nehru University, author of Understanding the Black Economy and Black Money in India, 2017, emphasises the need to strengthen law enforcement in a coordinated manner and the need to build social and political resistance of the masses against black market activity by increasing public awareness of the problem. He notes, the Indian economy would be 7 times larger and therefore per capita income 7 times higher than the present level, in the absence of capital transfers by its elite since the 1970s. If so, India would have been the world’s largest economy by now.
//In this light we must also delineate the difference between import over-invoicing and export under-invoicing with respect to their access to foreign exchange in the financial markets. Import over-invoicing has a devastating impact on the economy and on the welfare of the masses, compared to export under-invoicing. The former is a method of purchase of foreign exchange that the importer had no involvement in producing. Therefore, its extent is not restricted by the volume of production. Import over-invoicing can purchase foreign exchange circulating in the domestic financial market unrestricted by the importer’s own economic activity. In contrast, capital transfer through export under-invoicing is limited by the value of export receipts. The excess of foreign exchange purchased by the importer over and above the value of the consignment of goods imported is supplied also through other non-export-related inflows like labour remittances, foreign debt inflows like ISBs, foreign direct investments, and foreign portfolio investments; the importer gains access to all forms of foreign inflows when over-invoicing.
For instance, it is conventionally held by liberal economists like WA Wijewardena, Prof Prema-Chandra Athukorala and Harsha de Silva that wasteful unproductive infrastructure projects of the Government and over-estimating expenses and embezzling project funds escalated Sri Lanka’s foreign debt problem. The crisis is therefore reduced to corruption and mismanagement in the State sector. However, we must note that the largest share of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt is not accounted for by project loans, and the Government regularly borrowed from international capital markets and bilateral sources to boost foreign reserves and meet balance of payments deficits. In this light former Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe publicly announced that Sri Lanka does not have physical assets equal to Government foreign borrowings.
This can be explained by capital flight through import over-invoicing. The importer gains access also to Government’s foreign borrowings aimed at meeting balance of payments deficits and boosting foreign reserves such as ISBs and bilateral loans. These foreign inflows including hard-earned labour remittances were transferred out of the economy in billions each year by the corporate elite through import over-invoicing, the so-called engine of growth of the liberal economist. It explains the absence of physical assets equal to Government foreign borrowings over the years and also shows that market mechanism on its own only ensures the welfare of the elite, as opposed to an efficient and fair resource distribution promised in economics textbooks. It rather ensures economic and social devastation for the mass of the people in the third world.
In this context Sri Lanka is currently facing the stage reached by most African countries in late 1980s when import over-invoicing drained foreign-exchange liquidity in domestic financial markets to the extent that it is no longer possible and capital transfer through the trade account is then more or less restricted to export under-invoicing (see GFI report, 2021). Collapse of Sri Lanka’s exchange rate by nearly 90% since early March and the runaway inflation it triggered, hand in hand with the disappearing real value of wages, should be understood in this context.
Prema-Chandra Athukorala asserts that the ongoing crisis was triggered by the non-tradable sector accounting for around 70% of the GDP. However, it is clear from the discussion above that despite the over-expansion of the non-tradable sector and the ensuing stagnation of production, Sri Lanka would not have faced a balance-of-payments catastrophe in the absence of capital flight through trade mis-invoicing. This is clear by annual average current account deficit remaining approximately half of capital transfers through trade mis-invoicing 2009-18, disregarding the gains lost through non-investment of capital in the domestic economy.
In response to the growth of black economy in the foreign-exchange market Drs WA Wijewardena & Harsha de Silva claim that, rather than trying to wipe out the black economy through coordinated law enforcement, domestic interest rates should be increased sufficiently to stem speculative demand which in turn would redirect foreign inflows to the official banking system. However, the Mundell and Fleming model on balance-of-payments equilibrium delineates that, out of monetary policy independence, fixed exchange rate and free flow of capital only two conditions can be attained simultaneously without impeding external sector stability.
What Dr Wijewardena et al are proposing is to give up monetary policy independence to achieve exchange-rate stability while allowing free flow of capital regardless of it being legal or illegal. This proposed arrangement is incapable of resolving the issue, given that as demonstrated above, the outflow of capital through trade mis-invoicing and the loss of remittances gathered pace over the years regardless of the domestic interest rate. This indicates the gradual flourishing of a liquidity trap in the foreign-exchange market in Sri Lanka, portrayed by the flow of capital becoming increasingly unresponsive to the domestic interest rate.
Also, the rate of interest cannot be increased beyond a certain point without raising unemployment, loss of production, and therefore creating disequilibrium in labour markets. Hence, the appropriate combination in the Mundell and Fleming framework is to retain monetary policy independence and fixed exchange rate while controlling the free flow of capital including its illicit component.
– ft.lk/columns/ Rise-of-black-economy- for-forex-and-economic- collapse/4-735813
B2. A Call for Debt Justice, Debt Cancellation & Transparency in IMF Negotiations: Coalition for Economic Democracy (CEDSL)
The CEDSL is a group of concerned academics, activists, agricultural, fisheries and industrial workers, students, businesspeople, trade unionists and professionals based ‘in country’ and overseas including the diaspora, who uphold the values of economic rights and justice in public policymaking.
In the wake of 2 years of economically-devastating Covid-19 lockdowns, quantitative easing and money printing globally, we call on international actors to heed the people’s demands for a ‘debt jubilee & cancellation’ as a priority.
We wish to draw your attention to key issues regarding the current debt crisis and its social, political and economic impacts which are not adequately represented in public discussion, yet crucial to the wellbeing and security of Sri Lanka’s citizenry.
A call for debt justice – International support is welcome to ease the economic burden on the people of Sri Lanka which includes shortages of fuel, food and medicines that impact livelihoods and health, increasing poverty and inequality. However, due to an International Sovereign Bond (ISB), debt trap and depreciation of the SL rupee against the US dollar, sustainable solutions are needed rather than short-term sale of strategic assets that benefits ISB holders and hedge funds that sustain dependent development.
In May/June 2022 Sri Lanka’s debt was estimated to be $51billion with current debts of $5bn to be paid to ISB holders and hedge funds like BlackRock, which secured huge US government ‘Covid-19 bailout’ funds to asset-strip and impoverish countries around the world during lockdowns.
Contrary to widespread media disinformation about the sources of debt and the causes of default, this is the first time that Sri Lanka, in April this year, defaulted as an independent state. It is the debt owed to ISBs that amounts to almost 50% that has caused the default at this time.
The Asian Development Bank and World Bank have indicated willingness to roll over their multilateral debt, so too the bilateral debt-holding Asian countries including Japan, China and India. Along with debt cancellation there is need for de-dollarisation and trading in a basket of currencies. The loss of such autonomy and sovereignty due to the ISB debt trap and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stepping in to devalue the currency is at the root of the current shortage of food, fuel, meds, fertiliser, gas, etc. The purported shortage of ‘exorbitantly privileged’ dollars is the most devastating impact of the entire ‘staged’ default.
While the return of stolen assets by the Rajapaksa family, some who are US citizens, is vital, we believe that there is an even greater need for ‘debt justice’, a ‘debt jubilee’, and ‘debt cancellation’, and the current international financial architecture is not fit for purpose, particularly, the IMF which works for the global 1% and imposes austerity on the rest.
Transparency in IMF negotiations – The gross lack of transparency in ongoing negotiations between the IMF and government is a consequence of an inherently unequal relationship between Sri Lanka and the IMF, where the US and former European colonial powers have overwhelming decision-making power. While the IMF demands ‘transparency’ and that all creditors be treated ‘equally’, the names of the ISB holders behind Sri Lanka’s default are a closely guarded secret!
In 2019 Sri Lanka was classified by the World Bank as an Upper Middle Income Country (MIC), making it ineligible for concessionary development loans, and forcing it to borrow from private capital markets at high interest rates. The new government that came to power cut taxes, causing a significant loss of government revenue. The 2019 Easter bombings and policies undertaken during 2 years of militarised Covid-19 lockdowns have triggered the current debt crisis leading to the staged default. After being World Bank MIC classified, just 3 years later in 2022 certain international actors want Sri Lanka to be re-classified a ‘Least Developed Country’ (LDC), and the island to join the world’s poorest of the poor1 – in Washington Consensus parlance, a ‘Highly Indebted Poor Country’ (HIPC).
LDC status will mean a significant loss of economic and foreign policy autonomy and sovereignty at a time when it is vital that Sri Lanka and other developing countries act in their own self-interest rather than be forced to join geostrategic blocs that are being formed in the Indian Ocean region, such as the QUAD, at this time of Cold War 2.0.
We consider that the peoples’ sovereignty and national policy autonomy is being undermined through non-transparent deals with politicians who are not democratically elected and have a history of amassing ‘odious debt’, the burden of which citizens are being forced to bear. Particularly notable on the accumulation of odious debt are the current odious, newly appointed Prime Minister, implicated in the country’s biggest financial fraud over the Central Bank bond scam, and the President, a US citizen until 2019, whose family wallows in nepotism. They are now negotiating with the IMF to sell national assets?!
There is a clear pattern of disinformation, exaggeration & fear-generation regarding Sri Lanka’s debt in local and global media messaging. This understates the intrinsic Wealth of the Nation, its strategic assets, and the strengths of this country given the failure to differentiate between illiquidity and insolvency in the context of a proposed IMF fire sale of assets and State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
The IMF’s traditional approach to debt restructuring though privatisation of SOEs, austerity measures, and fire sale of assets of countries merely causes more problems and places the burden on the poor, as is evident in Argentina, to Greece and Lebanon. However, odious debt is an outcome of speculative and reckless ISB lending sans due diligence to governments that lack legitimacy and are known to be corrupt. In fact, the IMF which works for the Global 1% is a part of the problem & not the solution. So too are processes of datafication, manipulation of matrices, indices and algorithms to ensure ‘pumping & dumping’ of countries into the MIC debt trap, LDC or HIPC status, and Paris Club ‘solutions’ of asset-stripping of countries.
Southern voices to be heeded – There’s an urgent need for Southern voices and perspectives in development, debt cancellation and debt justice in the International Aid Architecture, as many countries in the Global South face a similar situation of odious debt as an outcome of speculative and reckless lending by ISB traders who must be also held accountable.2
The demand of many Sri Lankans is for debt cancellation and de-dollarisation and trading in a basket of currencies, not IMF re-structuring: eg, to enable the purchase of discounted oil and gas from sanction-hit Russia perhaps in exchange for tea. Sri Lanka should have the economic and foreign policy sovereignty to source its needs from any country that offers good value for money.
A firm ‘No’ to IMF fire sale of strategic assets & asset-stripping: A list has already been prepared of strategic lands, airports, ports, transport, telecom frequencies and energy infrastructure to be privatised. The dastardly sale of the Yugadhanavi power plant to US-based New Fortress has already further compromised national security and policy sovereignty and autonomy.
Today the interests of Sri Lanka are being represented by foreign law firms, Lazard & Clifford Chance in so-called IMF negotiations with ISB traders. On numerous occasions, Lazard, which has been involved in both advising on privatisation and then profiting from its advice, has undervalued the price of state companies, enabling its asset management branch to purchase the stock at low prices and re-sell it for considerable profit.3
If the debt negotiations are so complex that Sri Lankan law firms and accountants cannot represent the interests of the citizens of the country, and the debt data is itself contested, the debt is odious, its holders unknown, and the negotiations not transparency, then fundamental question arise regarding legitimacy, transparency and accountability of the very process of so-called IMF negotiations. Such concerns were also raised in IMF negotiations in Greece, Lebanon and Argentina and other countries.
The United Nations Charter and international law affirm the Right of Peoples to Self-Determination and permanent sovereignty over their wealth, resources and economic activity as a precondition for the realisation of all human rights. So too, principles of sovereignty and independence of states, equality in relations with other states, and national policymaking autonomy cannot be eroded by global Covid-19 and other ‘pandemic’ and climate catastrophe narratives.
Sustainable solutions: Long-, medium-, short-term – We seek much more than debt relief, and demand ‘debt justice’! While the crisis in Sri Lanka is being framed as a ‘humanitarian disaster’, it is quite clear it is more complex, with economic, political, social and geopolitical dimensions and dynamics.4 Solutions must hence be duly designed, tailored and targeted to improve the lives of the most vulnerable, and to restore sovereignty to the people of Sri Lanka and their State.
1. We demand a ‘debt jubilee’ and to write off the odious debts held by ISB debt holders like BlackRock (that also holds Adani stock), that engage in reckless lending that has debt trapped several countries including Sri Lanka…
2. We call on the Government to urgently begin a process of de-dollarisation and trade in a basket of currencies in order to restore Sri Lanka’s monetary sovereignty and pursue a course of development that promotes South-South cooperation and responds to the needs and aspirations of the Sri Lankan citizenry. The relevance of the current International Development Architecture for Sri Lanka and other debt-trapped countries in the Global South must be questioned. Sri Lanka needs to reconsider its relations with institutions like the IMF, WB, OECD, Paris Club of Donors, in a manner that affirms not dismantles its sovereignty and policy autonomy, both exercising the ability to negotiate as an independent country free of IMF conditionality and US sanctions, and working in the interests of its citizens.
3. We call on the Government to immediately stop all initiatives and actions underway for the privatisation of strategic assets, including lands, airports, ports, telecom frequencies, transport and energy infrastructure, and reverse all actions already commenced or implemented as valuations did not consider the island’s geostrategic value and security concerns.
4. We call on the Government to develop a National Energy & Food Security Policy based on analysis cognisant of the current global energy wars, geopolitics and climate catastrophe discourses. Of utmost importance in ensuring food security is the maintenance of food supply chains, and prioritisation of fuel for the Fisheries and Agriculture sectors in the context of fuel rationing; rationalisation of taxation, and targeting the wealthy – to enable the most vulnerable groups such as farmers, fishers, precarious workers in the informal sector, and small and medium enterprises to regain their livelihoods…
5…There is an urgent need for a ‘Buy local’ State-led consumer education program so that citizens support local industry and manufacturers.
…The loss of such autonomy and sovereignty due to the ISB debt trap & IMF stepping in to devalue the currency is at the root of the current shortage of food, fuel, meds, fertiliser, gas, etc. The purported shortage of ‘exorbitantly privileged’ dollars is the most devastating impact of the entire ‘staged’ default.
1 Should Sri Lanka join the ranks of the ‘Poorest of the World’s Poor’? – lankapage.com/NewsFiles22/Jun13_1655134777.php
2 Cf. OXFAM report ‘Inequality Kills’
3 The Privatization Industry in Europe, Sol Trumbo Vila & Matthijs Peters, Transnational Institute Ttni.org/files/publication-downloads/tni_privatising_industry_in_europe.pdf
4 A new Quad Humanitarian & Disaster Relief Mechanism – colombopage.com/archive_22A/Jun15_1655268284CH.php
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.
• Wimal alleges US envoy thwarted police, threatening to withdraw IMF
‘The US Ambassador had phoned a certain minister and asked whether there was a move to remove the protesters…that minister had told her that he was unaware of it. Then, the Ambassador had told the minister that if they were removed, it will destroy the IMF discussions…‘Galle Face protest had lost its original motives at present and it now consisted of only some thugs who were planning to unleash anarchy in the country…If the protesters had their original motives, they would not have blocked the entrances to the Presidential Secretariat when IMF delegation was visiting here”
• Sri Lanka must not overlook Russia in favour of IMF, says MP Weerawansa
‘The reason Sri Lank hasn’t signed any agreements with Russia with regard to fuel purchase or other assistance was fears of losing out on an IMF programme. Just waiting for IMF doesn’t resolve the pain on the ground. Why are we pinning everything on the IMF? The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka had also told a former government minister at the start of the Galle Face anti-government protests that if protesters were taken into police custody, Sri Lanka would have to step out of the IMF programme…
Are we trying to get out of this crisis by being caught in a western trap?”
• Russia has offered to help solve shortages of fuel, fertiliser here, says ex-president Sirisena
• Mahinda Samarasinghe meets Joe Biden
• Pohottu As USA’ S Proxy Part 5B
• Has Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe commenced implementing the MCC Project in Sri Lanka? – Garvin Karunaratne
• Indian influence
‘India does not want Western influence in Sri Lanka to increase’
• India, Quad and BRICS: Shifting realities in Indo-Pacific region
• CPC perturbed by Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) failing to play a bigger role to resolve fuel crisis
‘LIOC controls one third of the retail fuel distribution and it could import larger quantities of oil through the Trincomalee terminal. However, the company had shown little interest in expanding retail fuel distribution…if LIOC imported more fuel to Sri Lanka it wouldn’t have to rely on foreign credit for fuel imports’
• High Commissioner Moragoda discusses stabilisation and recovery of Lankan economy with Indian External Affairs Minister
‘Foreign Secretary of India Shri Vinay Kwatra as well as senior officials of the Ministry of External Affairs of India and the High Commission of Sri Lanka in New Delhi also participated’
• Finance Minister of India assures her fullest support to economic recovery process in Sri Lanka
• How the economic crisis in Sri Lanka is affecting Indian businesses?
‘Automotive firms like Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, and TVS Motors had stopped exports of vehicle kits to Sri Lanka and halted production at their Sri Lankan assembly units due to its precarious forex reserves and fuel shortages. According to Dezan Shira & Associates, instability in Sri Lanka could affect Indian Oil, Airtel, Taj Hotels, Dabur, Ashok Leyland, Tata Communications, Asian Paints, and State Bank of India’
• Adani project: Issues not over, COPE questions ex-CEB Chair interpretation of private investment
• Senior RSS and BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav met President and Premier
‘Earlier, India was more interested in setting up Sri Lanka’s version of the BJP based in Jaffna’
• Indian delegation meets President, PM; discusses more money, ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy
‘led by Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra…included Shri Ajay Seth, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, V Anantha Nageswaran, Chief Economic Advisor and Kartik Pande, Joint Secretary, Indian Ocean Region at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs… Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay and Deputy High Commissioner Vinod K Jacob also joined…’
• India’s rulers see Sri Lanka as Indian province…
‘Hindu nationalist ideologues in New Delhi are flirting with a dangerous revisionist history of South Asia’
• Tamil Nadu BJP Chief Embarks On 4-day Sri Lanka Visit (April 30)
• There’s nothing called a free shipment of fuel
‘Colombo getting sucked in, willingly or otherwise, into the vortex of India’s geopolitical agenda for this neck of the woods?’
• Official letters show CEB Chairman was instructed to facilitate Adani projects
‘while none of the ministerial portfolios Namal held at the time were related to power and energy, he facilitated crucial aspects of the Adani visit,’
• Ban ends, hundreds of mechanised Indian fishing trawlers in Lankan waters again
• Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra calls on Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardane
‘Indian Foreign Secretary was accompanied by High Commissioner of India Gopal Bagley and Ministry of External Affairs of India Joint Secretary Kartik Pande. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka Additional Secretary South Asia B. Kandeepan, Director General South Asia W. Dharmapala, and General Economic Affairs Director Chandana Weerasena ‘
• US Pressures Sri Lanka to Curb Powers of President to ‘Safeguard Democracy’ (May 09)
‘The US, England as well as India have been urging Colombo to devolve the powers of the executive presidency, a concern shared by domestic political groups such as Tamil National Alliance and SJB’
• QUAD could lead way to avoid SL’s economic implosion: Chairman of US Committee on Foreign Relations
• A foreign policy for transforming Sri Lanka – Prasad Kariywasam, former Ambassador to US
‘Ideological baggage as well as social and ethnic prejudices of yester years must be abandoned. They must be replaced by universally accepted value systems that prevail in modern democracies.’
• England monitoring SL situation, ready to support
‘England has the joint fifth largest share in the IMF and is a major contributor to the UN and WB’
• English Parliament discusses attaching HR conditions to IMF bailout
‘MP Eliot Colburn also pointed out that while the economic crisis on the island has indeed led to increased militarization in Sri Lanka, the Rajapaksa Government continues to fall apart. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Vicky Ford insisted that the current economic situation in Sri Lanka does not distract the country from human rights’
• Economic situ in SL should not distract efforts to improve human rights: England
• Consider European countries as friends of Sri Lanka: EU Ambassadors
‘The President said nearly 90% of the country’s population resided in rural areas, and 75% of those people depended on agriculture’
• Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal (TMVP) informant spills the beans in Geneva
• Flight SU-289 and the future of Sri Lanka-Russia ties
‘Sri Lanka should refrain from doing the bidding of other countries, prioritising its ties with Russia’
• Refugee ships move on mysteriously convenient Australian election schedules
• Australia to assist Sri Lanka to overcome economic crisis within IMF policy framework
• Aussie Cyber Security minister here
• Minister of Foreign Affairs meets Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs MP Clare O’Neil
• Australia Minister of Home Affairs Clare O’Neil announces $50 m boost for Sri Lanka
‘Australian Border Force/Department of Home Affairs APM Commissioner Michael Outram, Joint Agency Task Force RAN – Commander CSC Justin Jones, Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka David Holly, First Secretary Ashley Alderton’
• Australia leans on Sri Lanka to contain boat people as currency crisis worsens
• Australia stresses importance of ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’
‘The Australian delegation included Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram APM, Commander of the Joint Agency Task Force Rear Admiral Justin Jones, Commander, Transnational Operations of Australian Federal Police Richard Chin, Ambassador and Assistant Secretary of People Smuggling and Human Trafficking Branch Lucienne Manton, Australian High Commissioner in Colombo David Holly and the Deputy HC Amanda Jewell.’
• Canadian High Commissioner takes a train to Jaffna
• Open letter to Canadian High Commissioner in Colombo: Declaration of May 18 as Tamil Genocide Day by Parliament of Canada
• GL to attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda
‘Sri Lanka is among the eight founding members of the Commonwealth…’
• Port City Colombo to star at CHOGM in Rwanda this week
• Diplomatic corps must promote “national” interest, defined by economic imperatives
• President meets envoys of Southeast Asian countries seeking to boost trade, investment
• SL, Bangladesh commit to boost ties on 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations
• Sri Lanka PM talks debt restructuring, One China policy with Chinese envoy
• Wang Yi says China, India should meet each other halfway
• The Neocon’s Dream – Decolonize Russia, Re-colonize China
• What return should India’s Mamata Banerjee give Bangladesh against PM Sheikh Hasina’s ‘Mango Diplomacy?
• Extremists storm India-backed yoga event in Maldives
• US bid to rope Nepal into a semi-military project fails – Balachandran
• Suspicious about military content, Nepal rejects US disaster mitigation programme – Balachandran
‘Uzra Zeya, US Under Secretary of State for civilian security, democracy, and human rights, and US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues made a highly publicized visit to Nepal in May….the US Ambassador, Randy Berry, met Tibetan refugees and went to upper Mustang to visit Tibetan monasteries. The Commanding General of the US Army Pacific, Gen. Charles A. Flynn, was the next to visit Kathmandu…It is learnt that India too was not in support of the SPP as it feels that the pushy US will unsettle the traditional special relationship between the Indian and Nepalese armies. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is to visit the US in mid-July….Deuba has to keep in mind that he has to face tough parliamentary elections in November this year.’
• President Xi speaks mind of developing countries: foreign minister
‘stability by promoting fairness, justice and solidarity while opposing bullying, hegemony & division’
• US-China détente on the horizon
• US military forces smuggle wheat crops from northeast Syria
• West at inflection point in Ukraine war – Bhadrakumar
‘The big question today is at what point Russia retaliates against the countries who are involved in the gun-running business in Ukraine if they accelerate on that path’
• Southern Ukraine is the priority in NATO planning
• Russian media airs videos of two missing US military veterans in Ukraine
• Top English general tells every soldier to prepare to fight Russia in potential World War Three
‘A a battle in Europe is looking very likely’
• Russia can’t guarantee that captured US troops won’t face death penalty – Kremlin
• Retired US Army Colonel assesses Ukraine can’t last out autumn as Russia is “overwhelming”
• President of Ukraine hosted by the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs
• Eight lessons from the US-Ukraine War – Joseph S. Nye
When the Viasat satellite network was hacked, Zelensky continued to communicate with world audiences through the many small satellites provided by Starlink.’
• Two Big Errors About Russia – By Helmholtz Smith
‘First is the idea that the Russian economy is feeble, unbalanced and dependent on income from the West. The second is that Putin is the chief of a band of thieves…’
• Ukraine SitRep – Zolote Cauldron Closes – Lysichansk Blocked
• Ukraine conflict day 122: Kyiv pulls out of Sievierodonetsk as Russian forces close in
• The United States – the Pacific bully
‘The US conducted 105 nuclear tests in the Pacific, mainly in the Marshall islands, between 1946 and 1962, as part of its program to develop thermonuclear bombs…England tested 40 thermonuclear bombs on an islands in the Kiribati group between 1957 and 1962… France conducted 41 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1966 and 1974 in French Polynesia.’
• Why Does the United States Have a Military Base in Ghana?
• Haiti| UN: 20 organizations say “No to the renewal of BINUH!”
• Summit of the Americas Flops While Workers Summit Exposes Cracks in the Imperial Façade
• Empire’s Fleeting Leadership in Its Yard
• Argentina will ratify its sovereign right over the Malvinas Islands at the United Nations
• Venezuela Celebrates Petro’s Win in Colombia as US Loses its Latin America ‘Bastion’
• Nicaragua a ‘Dictatorship’ When It Follows US Lead on NGOs
• Let’s Fight World War 3 Over Lithuania: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix
‘The so-called populist sentiments on the US right are manipulated toward the agendas of oligarchy and empire in exactly the same way as the progressive sentiments on US’s so-called left. The whole thing is subject to very aggressive and very effective narrative control.’
• US Government’s Investigation Into Brookings Should Worry Think Tanks
‘US think tanks accepting foreign government funding may have just gotten harder…
• Explain It to Me, Please
‘If you want a war with Iran, Russia, China and Venezuela tell me why and how it would benefit the USA’
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.
• Armed forces have become the only guarantor of law and order, life and private property.
• Row at Sri Lanka fuel queue leaves four injured: police
• Police advised to video if situation goes out of control at filling stations
• Police to take legal action against unlawful collection and sale of fuel
• BASL cautions law enforcers to act with restraint when dealing with hard-pressed public
• Galle Face protesters arrested near Finance Ministry granted bail
• Jehan Appuhamy, Jagath Manuwarna and two others granted bail
• Amnesty International calls for release of detained Sri Lanka protestors
• Committee probing recent riots obtains statement from fmr Army Commander
• Presidential pardon for Royal Park murderer: Ven. Rathana denies Sirisena’s accusations, lodges complaint with CID
C3. Economists (Study the Economists before you study the Economics)
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.
• How The Rich Are Doing In Sri Lanka’s Collapse: We’re mostly fine, and it’s a crime
• Call for debt justice, debt cancellation and transparency in IMF negotiations – Coalition for Economic Democracy in Sri Lanka (CEDSL)
• IMF & Argentina – Lessons for Sri Lanka: Waduge
• The Rotten Roots of the IMF and the World Bank: Jamie Martin
‘need to understand the first international institutions of economic governance, such as the League of Nations and the Bank for International Settlement, which emerged in the wake of World War I’
• IMF EFF Arrangement likely to be during the first quarter of 2023
• IMF looking forward to help Sri Lanka
‘The delegations includes: Peter Breuer, Chief of the Debt Capital Markets Division, Monetary and Capital Market Department, Masahiro Nozaki, Senior Economist in the Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund, Tubagus Feridhanu Setyawan, International Monetary Fund Resident Representative to Sri Lanka, Anne-Marie Gulde-Wolf, Deputy Director of the Asia and Pacific Department, Dr. Chandranath Amarasekara, Alternate Director at the IMF’
• Sri Lanka should have fallback position if talks with the IMF fail to yield expected results
• Sri Lankan bondholders announce formation of group
‘More than 30 institutional holders of the 11 outstanding series of international bonds issued by Sri Lanka have organised a bondholder group…The aggregate outstanding bonds, totalling US$12.6 billion, constitute approximately 50% of Sri Lanka’s total foreign currency denominated central government debt. The group comprises funds and accounts managed or advised by a variety of institutions based in the US, Europe and Asia, include Amundi Asset Management, BlackRock and its subsidiaries, Eaton Vance Management, Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. LLC, HBK Capital Management, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Neuberger Berman, T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., and Wellington Management…The group has retained White & Case and Rothschild & Co as legal and financial advisors respectively… Sri Lanka has hired Clifford Chance and Lazard as legal and financial advisors to restructure its foreign debt. The Clifford Chance team is being headed by London-based partner, Deborah Zandstra, who has advised Argentina’
• US bondholder Hamilton sues Sri Lanka following debt default
‘Hamilton Reserve, a St Kitts and Nevis based bank, has filed suit in the Federal Court of New York Southern District, advised by lawyers Bleichmar Fonti & Auld against Sri Lanka.’
• Hamilton Reserve Bank serves Summons to SL Ambassador to UN
• IMF talks with Sri Lanka must also focus on corruption, aid diversion: Soros Open Society Foundation President Malloch-Brown
• PM begins talks with 10-member visiting IMF delegation here for 10 days
• Govt to enter into official level agreement with IMF in July: PM
‘Currently, Sri Lanka is in need of USD 550 million to meet its monthly fuel needs.’
• SL expects IMF bailout by end of July 2022
‘If we receive the IMF seal of approval, the world will once again begin to trust Sri Lanka. An approval from the IMF will help us secure low-interest loans from other countries as well.’
• IMF, India and global finance-capital have made it clear they prefer RW
• IMF of today very different from IMF of 15- 20 years ago: 14th CB governor Coomaraswamy
‘It’s now or never to implement structural reforms, says 14th governor of Central Bank…current account deficit attributable to an anti-export bias in the policy framework’
• Sri Lanka PM Says Economy ‘Has Completely Collapsed,’ Unable to Buy Oil
– asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Sri-Lanka-crisis/Sri-Lanka-prime-minister-economy-has-collapsed ‘
• Cabraal claims Central Bank has returned to ‘fixing’ exchange rate via ‘guidance’ rate
• Decision to float rupee was not unilateral – Cabraal
‘there will always be conflicting opinions among stakeholders as to the value, timing and methodology to be followed in “fixing”, or “floating” or “pegging” a country’s currency.’
• IMF team begins talks with SL PM in parallel to debt advisory consultations
‘The Economic Stabilisation Committee head former Treasury Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe and Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena…’
• Teams from US Treasury and India will arrive here on June 27: PM
‘Delegation consisted of Ambassador Kelly Keiderling, Deputy Assistant Secretary/US Department of State, Robert Kaproth, Deputy Assistant Secretary/US Treasury, John McDaniel, Economic Chief/US Department of State and Catherine Reynolds, Deputy Director for South Asia/US Treasury.’
• Sri Lanka plans donor conference with China, India and Japan
The government also delayed publication of its first quarter GDP data, due on Wednesday, because its census and statistics department did not receive all required inputs on time,’
• Rise of Black Economy for Foreign Exchange and Sri Lanka’s Economic Collapse – Pathirana
– ft.lk/columns/ Rise-of-black-economy- for-forex-and-economic- collapse/4-735813
• Rise of Black Economy for Foreign Exchange and Sri Lanka’s Economic Collapse – Part II
• Famine Is a Policy Choice: IMF Talks, Geopolitics and Disaster Capitalism – Part 1: Rajasingham-Senanayake
• Famine is a Policy Choice: The Afterlife of Covid, Institutional decay, & Privatization – Part 2: Rajasingham-Senanayake
• “Economic crisis cannot be resolved overnight” – Moramudali
“Since 1950s, we import more than we export, and this has become a problem because our expenditure is more than our income. When we import, we have to pay in dollars. As a country that does not print dollars, we were dependent on foreign loans to pay for the imports. However, with the credit rating getting downgraded, we lost access to international financial markets, and multilateral organizations and other countries were hesitant to give loans to us.”
• COPE examinations are postmortem exercises – Sugath Kulatunga
• The Sri Lankan debt crisis: A layman’s review Parts 1&2 – Nimal Gunatilleke
• Economic reforms imperative for economic stability and growth – Sanderatne
‘Many reforms are difficult to implement due to their political unpopularity and the ideological-political culture of the country.’
• A child’s guide to Prema-chandra Athukorala chinthana on import substitution: Wijewardena
• Government or the Central Bank has no economic recovery plan – Colombage
• Paying foreign debt from domestic income – Abeyratne
• Crisis aggravated after new govt, PM took over: AKD
• JVP asks govt. to reveal plan, if any, to save economy within one week, or resign
• Opposition team of pessimist-economists make guesses and forecasts at daily media conferences
• Dollars or brains: What will solve Lanka’s debt puzzle?
‘Had we done something like Central Planning, as they did in Korea and many other countries, the long-term goals would have appeared there. We never did such planning after 1972-77.’
• SL needs 30-year master plan for economic prosperity: ‘Citizens for Accountable Governance’
• An economic and political crisis management plan
• A Rescue and Reset Plan for Sri Lanka
‘“Sri Lanka’s Multi-Billion Ocean-Air Expressway”…The carriage of 30% of world trade annually via 85,000 ocean and air crossings using the SLiMDOE short-cut across Sri Lanka and abutting the Dondra Head in the southern tip has enabled global economies to gain US$ 100 billion during the last decade whilst damaging our economy’
• IMF demands plan – Laksiri Fernando
‘IMF officials asking government to show a viable macroeconomic plan, among other conditions, before they lend dollars, as Sri Lanka had not heeded these requests several times before.’
• Social safety net spread to console vulnerable segments
• Ruling elites of the South are slavishly dependent on the West
‘Why go to Western entities for this purpose? Does not SL have the required expertise?…Ground-breaking study: North-South: A Programme for Survival’ – The Report of the Independent Commission on International Development Issues under Willy Brandt (1980, Pan Books)’
• SL’s sorry plight – who is to blame? – so-called politicians and public officials
• Gotabaya cornered: New Delhi
‘absence of a blueprint for survival’
• Foreign Exchange Crisis
‘One of the main strategies to resolve the current Foreign Exchange crisis would be to increase export earnings and reduce expenditure on imports.’
• Remove anti-export bias, regulatory framework and failed import substitution of the 1970s
• Launch massive private sector led effort to increase our export income
• Sri Lanka meltdown exposes China loan policy: 5 things to know – Marwaan Macan-Markar
‘Beijing could complicate Colombo’s IMF talks as other borrowers watch closely’
• How Sri Lanka’s Financial Crisis Could Become the World’s
• Economically fractured Sri Lanka making a comeback, thanks to Russia – Kanika Batra Arora
• UN & LDC – Should Sri Lanka join ranks of “Poorest of the World’s Poor”? – Thalif Deen
• Understanding the Economic Issues in Sri Lanka’s Current Debacle – Soumya Bhowmick
‘This paper analyses six crucial economic issues that have led to the Sri Lankan crisis: the impact of the 2019 tax cuts on the domestic economy; successive BOP crises; a series of IMF bailouts that went wrong; the sudden disastrous switch to organic farming; the downfall of the tourism sector following the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings; and soaring external debt.’
• Economist Steve Hanke measures SL inflation at 130.14% / year
• Sri Lanka economic crisis: Steve Hanke on currency board and flawed pegs
• Laos faces public backlash as economy teeters toward default – Marwaan Macan-Markar
• What’s behind Sri Lanka’s crippling debt crisis? The first domino to fall in a global debt crisis
• Governments will sink in a world drowning in debt
• Why Sri Lanka’s Economy Collapsed And What’s Next
‘Sri Lanka sits in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, and so letting a country of such strategic significance collapse is not an option.’
• Xi Jinping’s speech at opening ceremony of BRICS Business Forum
• This New Anti-China Import Law Will Hurt US Consumers
• China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs English BRICS Summit
• The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
• St. Petersburg sets the stage for the War of Economic Corridors
‘the world’s new powers gather to upend the US-concocted “rules-based order” and reconnect the globe their way’
• Major creditors willing to discuss 2020-defaulter Zambia’s debt restructuring
• Global Planned Financial Tsunami has Just Begun – Engdahl
‘The June 15 decision by the Fed to impose the largest single rate hike in almost 30 years as financial markets are already in a meltdown, now guarantees a global depression and worse.’
• More Than External Factors, Companies’ Greed Causing Inflation
• Study Shows Excess Corporate Profits in the US Have Become ‘Widespread’
‘Influential U.S. economists – former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers chief among them – have argued that solving high inflation would require pushing down wages and throwing millions of people out of work.’
• The future of work 2 – working long and hard: Roberts
‘Long hours at tedious jobs can be avoided if workers had greater control over their employment, conditions and schedules.’
• Participatory Economics: What, Why, How – Alexandria Shaner and Michael Albert
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.
• New data collection process by Central Bank
‘International Transactions Reporting System (ITRS) with the participation of Licensed Commercial Banks (LCBs) and Licensed Specialised Banks (LSBs).’
• Association of Professional Bankers forum ‘Implications of the Current Economic Conditions – Where do we Stand?’
‘Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Vice Chairman and Senior Partner and Head of Tax at Ernst and Young Duminda Hulangamuwa, Central Bank Deputy Governor Yuvette Fernando, Moderator KPMG Sri Lanka and Maldives Retd. Managing Partner Reyaz Mihular, Royal Ceramics Lanka Managing Director and Pan Asia Bank Deputy Chairman Aravinda Perera and Seylan Bank Director/CEO and Sri Lanka Banks’ Association Chairman Kapila Ariyaratne’
• Verité ‘Infrastructure Watch’ tracks transparency of large-scale infrastructure projects
‘60 ongoing large-scale infrastructure projects worth over Rs. 1 trillion. The Right to Information Act No. 12 of 2016 mandates the responsible minister to proactively disclose all information related to projects that exceeds US$ 100,000 and Rs. 500,000 for foreign and locally funded projects, at least three months prior to commencement.’
• National inflation hits 45.3% in May; food prices soar 58%
• Sri Lanka rupee quoted weaker at 370 to the TT dollar
• Sri Lanka guidance peg dropped by rupee to 361.75 to US dollar
• Sri Lanka central bank own Treasuries holding tops Rs 2 trillion
• Sri Lanka’s export prices rise, but import prices surge more sharply
• US extends fresh funding of US$ 5.75 mil
‘provide cash assistance, short-term jobs, and agriculture supplies such as seeds directly to crisis-affected people to meet their basic needs’
• Hambantota Port Chinese loan not included in SL’s external debt: Auditor General
• New 20 rupee coins
• Sri Lanka rupee steady despite dollar shortage
• Sri Lanka amends limit on foreign currency possession
• SL urges those who possess forex above the prescribed limit, to invest these funds in banks
• Sri Lanka central bank owned Treasuries top Rs2trillion
• Allegations against Customs: PCOI makes 117 recommendations
• Sri Lanka Medical Association writes to PM on tobacco and alcohol taxes
‘Sri Lanka incurred an economic loss of Rs. 214 billion even in 2016’
• Legal liquor demand drops by about 30 percent, COPF reveals
• Excise Department goes for digitisation to enhance tax revenue
• Putin Approved Protocols To Defer Cuban Debt Payment
• Ukraine President Zelensky sponsor oligarch Kolomoisky looted IMF aid via his bank
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
• Family of dead Sri Lankan detainee demands apology from Japan gov’t
• Fishermen protest against rising costs: All Ceylon Fisheries Federation
• Sri Lankans trapped in livability crisis as wages massively fall behind inflation
• Discussions to increase minimum wage “significantly” to begin shortly
Prior to the presentation of 2022 budget, the trade unions proposed the monthly minimum wage to be increased to Rs.25,000. However, the negotiations were unsuccessful as unions and employers failed to reach consensus.’
• Parliament to give more powers to Labour Tribunal Presidents
• Sri Lanka expands state workers 11-pct under revenue based fiscal consolidation, 2014-21
• Committee to study granting 5 years leave to govt employees to work in private sector
• Crisis-hit Sri Lanka finally starts to deal with bloated public sector
• National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) 3-point proposal to absorb State workers into private sector
• Two wheels now only option for workers
• Acute nutritional issues, malnutrition situations among children escalate: GMOA
• Govt responsible for delayed surgeries: Doctors Association
• How to improve women’s access to the workforce
‘by improving childcare, funding maternity leave and making transport safer’
• Sri Lanka ranks low in progress made on achieving gender equality
• SL representative for UN Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
• Another 35 Australia-bound illegal migrants held in Panadura
‘Residents of Trincomalee, Mannar, Batticaloa, Negombo, Kalpitiya and Nuwara Eliya areas, aged from 6 to 56 were handed over to the Colombo Harbour Police’
• 100,000 jobs up for grabs for Lankans in Romania
Romania has opened up jobs in the construction, IT and tourism sectors… About 2500 Sri Lankan workers are currently employed in Romania’
• Immigration Dept. requests for more manpower to meet pent-up demand
• Government mulls issuing bearer bonds to boost worker remittances
• State intervention sought to prevent continuous exploitation of foreign employment seekers
• Minimum age for SL women working abroad amended to 21
• Sri Lanka sees more boat people events as economic crisis worsens
• Public employees going abroad must settle all debts
• NRFC a must for public officers obtaining no pay leave for foreign employment
• Fuel crisis: Most schools closed next week
• Federation of University Teachers Union (FUTA) opposes UGC decision to close universities temporarily
• JVP women’s wing accuses govt. of opening liquor shops while closing down schools
• Schools in Sri Lanka to open for three days as fuel crisis continues
• Urgent action on national education policy: Sujata Gamage and Tara de Mel, Education Forum
• Autonomy and the University: critical remarks – Sivamohan Sumathy
• We Need to Return to the English Medium – Goolbai Gunasekera
• Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) and Australian Palladium International Group to increase skills in tourism
• Colombo YMBA helps digital entrepreneurs contribute to economy
‘over 200,000 digital freelancers in SL and they have no recognition…most digital freelance entrepreneurs fear they will get caught to taxes which is why they’ll not bring money into the country.’
• SL apparel industry highlights impact of crisis on its workers
• Beauty pageants… when we are in dire straits!
• The Russians who are leaving
‘The problem with Russia stems from a political culture shaped by Byzantine Orthodoxy and Mongol domination, and an economy based on raw materials extraction.’
• Chilean copper workers begin national strike
• Brussels cost-of-living protest attracts tens of thousands
• England Looks to Israel for Ideas on How to Curb the “Problem” of Asylum Seekers
• English Rail Workers Stage Biggest Strike in 30 Years
• Thousands gather in U.S. capital for Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Rally
• Involuntary Servitude in the Prison System
• U.S. Supreme Court ends constitutional right to abortion
• The AFL-CIO’s Cold War
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.
• Sri Lankan landowners without deeds to be legally granted ownership: PM
‘arrangements have been made to issue between 1,000 and 3,000 deeds to the land owners weekly’
• Immediate and short-term interventions proposed to mitigate impact of current economic crisis on food and nutritional security – National Science Foundation
Agriculture currently occupies around 40% of the land and consumes over 80% of the fresh water resources of the country. There are about two million farmers, who account for 25% of the workforce of the country; yet, they contribute only around 6% of the GDP, which shows the low productivity of both land and labour and the poor value addition in agriculture….Gramasevaka Niladhari (14,002), Samurdhi recipients (3.3 million), Development Officers (c. 100,000) , Vidatha Resource Centre Officers (260), Agricultural Research and Production Assistants (>8,000) etc. should be mobilized and harnessed as required for the above interventions at the Divisional Secretariat (331) or Agrarian Service Centre level (565) as appropriate.’
• Rice mill owner Dudley Sirisena censures Parliament, alleges Ranil betrayed yahapalanaya
• Dudley gets heated during millers press conference
• Rice millers divided over government-imposed controlled prices
‘Araliya being a top producer of Keeri Samba while Rathna being a key producer of Nadu…SME rice millers stressed that the government should have imposed the price controls on rice six months way before the harvesting period, instead of waiting until the last moment…’
• Verbal clash between rice mill owners; say rice mafia not created by Araliya
• Dudley’s Drama
‘Hungry masses are angry, and nobody will be safe if their anger spills over onto the streets’
• Sale of rice or paddy for animal feed production banned from today
• India on behalf of Sri Lanka placed order for urea from Oman
• China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) and Sri Lanka China Society (SLCS) distribute food parcels
• Australia responds to WFP call for USD 60 mn to feed Sri Lankans
• During war years (1939-45) efficient system of rationing for rice and essentials was introduced
• Sri Lanka seeing first Yala paddy harvest from North and East: Minister
• Sri Lanka’s food inflation soars to an unbelievable 50%
• Govt. to handover 1,215 hectares of Kandakadu farm to Army and 500 acres to Rehab. Dept. for cultivation
• Coconut prices set to skyrocket amid crisis
• Sri Lanka chicken, egg production plunge amid soft-peg collapse
• Sri Lanka identifies 5000 acres for sea cucumber cultivation
• SL company caught up inTuna export scam: Lakshadweep MP, his nephew under CBI scanner
• Blue Economy harnessing vast resources in the ocean surrounding our country is neglected
• Open accounts payment ban to be lifted for 10 essential food items
‘1. Rice, 2. Wheat flour, 3. White sugar, 4. Red dhal, 5. Milk powder, 6. Big onions, 7. Potatoes, 8. Dried chillies, 9. Dried sprats, 10. Watana dhal
• Strategy for restoration and rebuilding Sri Lanka’s agri-food sector
• University dons propose plan to tackle food crisis
• Railway Dept. lands to be leased to grow food crops
• Natural resources best way to overcome economic crisis – Chandima Wijegunawardena
• Sri Lanka considering dollar tea auction: Minister
• Colombo Tea Auction sees approx. 6 MnKgs come under hammer
• Minister Amaraweera: please spare North-East forest land – DM Editorial
• Kalutara and its Pioneer Rubber Planters
• Anton Rajendram of the Ceylon Planters’ Society (CPS)
• How Can Developing Countries Confront Biopiracy?
• Top 10 Potash Countries by Production (Updated 2022)
‘Nutrien, the world’s largest potash company, is based in the Canadian prairie province of Saskatchewan.’
• US trained Honduran military officer sentenced for murder of Berta Cáceres
• Thousands of Dutch farmers protest against emissions targets
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.
• Future of Engineers, Engineering Sector & Sri Lanka
• SL’s offshore oil and gas potential to be showcased in London
Bell Geospace, leaders in gravity gradiometry, has conducted the first aerial mapping of petroleum resources in Sri Lanka in Q4 of 2021 and Wintermoon Geophysics will talk at SEAPEX (South East Asia Petroleum Exploration Society) Asia Pacific Conference in London on 30 June.
• JKH borrows USD75 mln from Fairfax Canada to fund India’s Adani Group JV port terminal
• Rethinking Sri Lanka’s industrialisation – Devapriya
‘crisis would not have come to pass if government was committed to production and industrialisation.’
• Underhand deals and mafia generate fuel queues
‘The CPSTL is in charge of distributing CPC fuel and the CPC pays a commission for this service. The two institutions have made a priority list to distribute fuel…If the remaining fuel is distributed fairly across the country based on the priority list, these queues would not exist,…This is a mafia and those who are involved work as a team. Therefore no one is exposed. Even the minister or the chairman cannot control this mafia’
• CPC monopoly to end with govt. inviting multinational companies: Minister
‘Not only the CPC and the LIOC, but also companies of other oil producing nations must be given the chance to supply and distribute oil. Companies like Shell and Caltex were in Sri Lanka earlier. We made a serious error when we gave the CPC a monopoly’
• CEB bid for new gas turbines at Kelanitissa blows a fuse, once again
• Electricity Act amendment may see new power plants
• Inverters: Beating the power crisis
• High salaries of few top officials of Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) are powerful union leaders
• Illegal payments to CEB staff amounted to Rs 3,679 mn
• Last year, CEB recorded staggering increase of Rs 590 mn in additional payments
• As fuel crisis worsens; Govt. goes for unsolicited proposals
• Low-fuel flashing light on; country grinding to a halt
• Information blackout as fuel stocks run out
• Human kindness and racketeers’ wickedness intersect at fuel sheds
• Athurugiriya fuel station clash: Seven suspects remanded till tomorrow
• Sustainable fuel bill for road transport
‘Current public transport carries 50% of trips using just 16% of fuel used for road passenger transport.’
• Controversy over LPG supplier in ‘influential’ deal
• Litro may go for bulk buying as opposed to ad-hoc purchasing to end gas queues
‘Litro Gas opted for the second lowest bid of a minimum quantity of 100,000 MT at USD 129 from Omani Trading (OQ Trading)’
• Firewood cooking and its effects on human health
• We use 12 million tons of firewood per year. 46% of total energy supply is from bio mass
• No gas even at unprecedented prices: The growing plight of the housewife
• 4 filling stations allocated to supply fuel for health workers.
• SLTB depots to issue fuel for private buses
• Sri Lanka private bus services hit by fuel hoarding, tyre price hike
• Uncertainty over fuel supplies
• CPC burdened by staggering losses due to overstaffing & other state agencies not settling debts
• Racketeers are hoarding fuel and selling it on the black market.
• Victim of gas explosion files lawsuit claiming damages
• Further delay in Petrol, Diesel and Crude Oil Shipments: Minister
• Sri Lanka facing virtual standstill after indefinite delay of fuel shipment
• Sri Lanka has 50% more vehicles than we should!
‘for our population of 21.6 million, Sri Lanka has around 5.6 million vehicles in operation (cumulative registrations are higher at over eight million). Our vehicle-person ratio is approximately 1:4 or precisely 26 vehicles per 100 people.’
• Sri Lanka loses Rs.94bn from concessionary vehicle permits per annum
Sri Lanka annually offers up to 10,000 concessionary vehicle permits, most of which are used to import vehicles, which are either luxury or with higher engine capacity, losing the government a thumping Rs.94 billion per annum. This is almost equivalent to the Rs.97 billion the Treasury earns from the private vehicle imports in a year’
• Three-wheelers employ nearly a million drivers
• Over 500 containers carrying essentials stuck in port as authorities combat illegal fund transfers
• USD 1.2 bn received for leasing out H’tota port to China ‘misused’
• National airline’s liabilities greater than its assets, audit report reveals
• Shady deal to extract ilmenite from Cement Corporation (SLCC) at Aruwakkalu.
• Korean SPA Packaging to restore Embilipitiya Paper Mill
• Banking and financial sector is killing already crippled SME sector
‘with recoveries and legal actions, while imposing high-interest rates of 30% on facilities obtained previously at low rates of 7-8% in an unfair manner.’
• PM appreciates support from Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) and Sri Lanka Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Rubber Products (SLAMERP)
• “Mastering” Sri Lankan craft for EU market
‘coordinated and facilitated by the Cultural Relations Platform for the EU Delegation in Sri Lanka’
• China recognizes Bangladesh success through praise on BD PM for building Padma bridge
• How WTO Discussions on the TRIPS Waiver led to a Disappointing Outcome
‘rich countries managed to prevent a meaningful outcome’
• Russia limits exports of noble gases, a key ingredient for making chips
• Sanctions against Russia could disrupt a US-Europe rare earths supply chain setting back Europe’s attempts to reduce reliance on China
• World cannot allow Russia, China to dominate critical minerals market: Canadian Minister
‘China is the biggest global player in critical minerals — the world’s largest producer of half of the 31 minerals and metals Canada has listed as critical to its economy…Wilkinson said, in the written forward to a draft of his promised critical minerals strategy, released this week.’
• Shortage of beer bottles combined with 40% increase for cost of beer bottles!
• EU MEPs back mandatory gas storage as Russian supplies dwindle
• Protests over rising energy costs continue in Italy
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.
• SL can come out of crisis sooner if right things are done: Fairfax Founder
creating a business-friendly environment for the private sector, encouraging foreign direct investments, reforming State-owned enterprises along with privatisation and fast-tracking tourism revival…Fairfax Group owns a 13% stake in JKH having invested around $ 120 million…Fairfax Group also owns 15% in JKH Group entity Nations Trust Bank and 80% stake in general insurer Fairfirst.’
• Millennium IT Software gets SEC surveillance system modernisation contract
‘The government expects to finance the cost of the procurement via the World Bank-funded Financial Sector Modernisation Project. The International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank has already committed US$75 million as funding for the project.’
• Bank of Ceylon records a net pre-tax profit of Rs. 43 billion
• Fitch downgrades Bank of Ceylon’s (BOC) Foreign Currency IDRs to RD
• Janashakthi’s Orient Finance Rs. 470.7 million in Profits Before Tax (PBT) FY 2021-22
• Pan Asia Bank ties up with Ria Money Transfer, US-based third-largest remittance platform
• R. Rajnikanth appointed as Life Insurance Corporation of India (Lanka) CEO/MD
• Credit card interest rates flirt with 40% as banks respond to ward off pressure on asset quality
• Dilshan Wirasekara appointed as new CSE Chairman
‘ CEO First Capital Holdings, linked to Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), German Investment Corporation (DEG), and Proparco – a subsidiary of the Agence Française de Development (AFD), an alumnus of INSEAD Business School in Fontainebleau, France, and AOTS, Tokyo, Japan’
• Drop in CSE market capitalization; net foreign outflow Rs. 40 million
• Sri Lanka stocks reverse falling trend on IMF discussion; concerns remain
• CSE gains over 1.5 per cent within first hour of trading
• CSE sponsors key debating competition: Dr. N.M. Perera Memorial Challenge Trophy
• Sri Lanka stocks gain for third day amid worst foreign outflow in three weeks (23)
• Expolanka Holdings’ dividend payment peps share market (24)
• Sri Lanka stocks gain for 4th consecutive session to hit over 1-wk high
• Market heavyweights, Lanka IOC and Expolanka Holdings, boost CSE
• Colombo stock market succeeds to end 3 weeks of losses
• Sri Lanka stocks gain for 4th consecutive session to hit over 1-wk high
• JPMorgan Chase’s Derivatives Spike by $14 Trln in First Quarter to Six-Year High of $60Trln
• Crypto Victims’ Cries for Help Are Piling Up at a US Federal Complaint Center
• Has Crypto Endangered Federally-Insured Big Banks? Ask State Street
• After Crypto Piled into Campaign Coffers, Sweetheart Legislative Bill for Crypto Introduced
• As the Speeding Crypto Train Crashes, Scientific and Engineering Experts Tell Congress that Both Crypto and Blockchain Were a Sham from the Beginning
• Is the Crypto Threat to U.S. Financial Stability $889 Billion or $10 Trillion?
C9. Business (Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business focuses on the rentier diversions of the oligarchy, the domination by a merchant mafia, making money from unproductive land sales, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of corporate press releases disguised as ‘news’
• UNDP-led private sector giving facility launched to help society’s vulnerable segments
‘Private sector actors include Hemas Holdings, Dilmah Ceylon Tea Co, Brandix Apparel and Daraz’
• Leasing customers group to default until Govt. provides solutions
• Tourism moratoriums need extension
• Corporate sector deleveraging hits snag mid soaring rates; asset disposals to cut debt delayed
• SL to roll out multi-phased ‘National Single Window’ project with WB funding
‘Sri Lanka ratified the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in mid 2016 and it came into force since February 2017… Sri Lanka is obliged to establish and maintain a place (a single window) to submit documents and data required to be submitted to the authorities of the participatory trade (import, export and re-shipping) process.’
• Eshana de Silva steps down, Sriyan Cooray succeeds as National Development Bank Chairman
‘Under Eshana’s short stint, Norwegian Investment Fund for developing countries – Norfund became the bank’s largest shareholder investing Rs. 2.8 billion in acquiring 9.99% stake….28 years at HSBC, Speville M and W, KPMG Ford Rhodes Thornton, he is a Non-Executive Director of Orient Finance’
• NDB Wealth Management appoints Ruwan Perera as new CEO
‘NDB Wealth is a 100% owned subsidiary of the NDB Capital Holdings, a subsidiary of NDB Bank’
• John Keells Holdings to raise US$ 75mn via private placement of shares to Fairfax Financial
‘In January 2020, Fairfax bought 10.7% in JKH for Rs.22.7 billion from Malaysia’s sovereign Fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad. Fairfax through Citigroup Global Markets Ltd Agency Trading Prop Securities A/C held 4.5% stake in JKH.’
• JAT Holdings FY2021/22 Gross Profits grew 58% to LKR 2.603 billion
• Abans Finance records consistent growth in profits; FY 2021 / 2022 records Rs 615 million PBT
• Luminex profit increased 64% to reach Rs. 489 million in 2022
‘a leader in telecommunication engineering electrical engineering low tension and high-tension electrical engineering,… primary telecommunication engineering services provider for Sri Lanka Telecom and Dialog Axiata, and a civil engineering service provider for the National Water Supply & Drainage Board and the Ministry of Defence and many private and public sector clients.
• Ajith De Silva, appointed to Brown’s Associated Battery Manufacturers Board
‘ABM is the local manufacturer of Exide, Lucas and Dagenite Automotive batteries in Sri Lanka.’
• Immigration issues first-ever ‘Golden Paradise’ long-term visa
• Port City Development Regulation irregularities come to the forefront
• COPE questions disbursing of Hambantota Port lease funds
• Fulbright Scholar Kanaka becomes first Asian woman to be elected as CIMA President
• Maneka (Mickey) Wickremasinghe: Entrepreneur and artist
• Samsung Australia fined $ 9.7 m over false water-resistance claims
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.
• Sri Lanka’s novice MPs apply for personal firearm: report
• Group formation and culture of Galle Face protesters – Sena Thoradeniya
• Casting the Dhamma Aside and Embracing Dollars – Nalin de Silva
• Hoole’s monasticism – Nalin de Silva
• A Proposal for Sajith & Ranildasa – Nalin de Silva
• Cricket and Country – Nalin de Silva
• A New Round Peaceful Human Rights at Athalgama – Nalin de Silva
• Sinhalas wearing yellow and turning yellow – Nalin de Silva
• The Galle Face Green I Saw in a Dream
• Post-May 9 Authoritarian Turn: Leftists Creating Demons
• Sri Lanka’s crisis of survival: What the Opposition shouldn’t do – Jayatilleka
‘Sometimes it takes surgical military intervention to: (a) depose an obdurate ruler whose irrationality and very presence create chronic instability; (b) tamp down anarchy on the streets; (c) introduce or midwife an alternative (‘socialistic’) model of planning, production and distribution; (d) transition to elections and civilian rule once the worst is over.’
• Committee on Public Finance (COPF) on Economic Meltdown
‘The unholy alliance between the Finance Ministry and monstrous institutions, such as the CEB, should be investigated and a mechanism put in place to protect the public interest.’
• Private sector firms pulled out GGG support after counter-violence and Ranil appointed PM
• Prime Minister Ranil never used communalism to win elections: USAID NPC Perera
• SJB, SLFP and NPP walk out of Parliament
• Sajith sirens President, PM to quit; says SJB-led interim all-party Govt. will end crisis
• Open letter to Sajith: Lead or leave
• Right of Reply: ‘Open letter to Sajith: Lead or leave’
Cooray, you have reached the highest echelons in the financial sector, even taking seats on the Boards of large banks; how can you be this ignorant of the need to build policy credibility and show political capital to our lenders and bilateral partners?’
• Sri Lanka opposition-MP-turned-minister lambasts opposition leader over boycott
• Sri Lanka protestors in human chain against President, PM as currency crisis bites
• MP Dhammika Perera should disclose assets and liabilities to the public – IRES
• Supreme Court dismisses FR petitions against appointing Dhammika Perera as MP
‘the original Parliament Elections (Amendment) Bill ratified by the House in 1988 did not contain provision for the appointment of ‘any member’ of a political party to fill an NL vacancy; this undemocratic section was smuggled into the Bill after its ratification.’
• Speaker conveys Supreme Court determination on constitutional amendments proposed by SJB
• 21A finally gets Cabinet approval
• Officials appearing before COPE to take oath following Ferdinando fiasco
• President must resign and credible Govt. formed for country’s to progress: Harsha
• Opposition shrinks from challenge for fear of being exposed for its incompetence before election.
• SJB Protest opposite PM’s private residence
• Sri Lanka PM wants opposition to call off boycott to proceed with reforms
• SLPP MP queries mysterious death of JVP Leader Wijeweera in custody
• JVP kicks off countrywide protests from Sunday to chase away the govt.
• Form an all-party government: People’s Movement for Reforms
• French citizen of Lankan descent decries attack on her Piliyandala home
• 1952 premier stakes: How and why of the controversy over Dudley’s appointment
‘Dudley Senanayake, 41-year-old son of the Late Rt. Hon. D.S. Senanayake, was invited this afternoon by the Governor-General, Lord Soulbury, to form a Government. Lord Soulbury took this step after he arrived by B.O.A.C. Plane from London shortly after 12 noon today.’
• Turmoil in Trinco as Chelva’s ashes arrive (1977)
• Sri Lankan racist politics has cost us goodwill of Middle East – Latheeef Farook
• Protest site library opens new chapter in Sri Lanka
‘in India, libraries were a fixture in the farmers’ protests and at the Shaheen Bagh protest in Delhi, a part of the Gezi Park protests in Turkey, Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement, the Occupy Wall Street movements in the US and the protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in Egypt.’
• West Must Prevent Sri Lanka from Becoming South Asia’s Lebanon – Godwin, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
‘the grievances now driving these popular movements are as much a possible threat as an opportunity.’
• I was always labelled as a racist – Wijesdasa Rajapaksa (Video)
• Protest held in front of UN office condemning recent arrests of seven protesters
• Who brought the country to this level? – Cardinal
• Cardinal slams ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour,’ demands total overhaul
‘Long queues at Passport Office indicate public rapidly losing confidence in the government’
• Yellow is our colour, SJB are the architects of the Aragalaya
• Sajith says Govt. 21st A Bill won’t curtail incumbent President’s powers
• Red Power in Colombia, Left’s Rise in France Challenge to Pro-US Policies?
• Hubert Harrison, Tribune of the People: Part Three, The Struggle for Equality
‘a foremost Black socialist and nationalist thinker, known as ‘the father of Harlem radicalism.’’
• Why Trump Is Coming Back, The Free Press Doesn’t Exist, and Clothes Are Wearing Us
‘I’d rather die than die abroad, but for at least a few years, we’ll join the mass migration out of this island and overseas.’
• Jeremy Corbyn on the establishment campaign to stop him becoming PM
‘34 major national stories attacking Corbyn as a “threat” to English security had come from elements within the national security state’
• The Activist’s Antidote: A Conversation about Depression, Hopelessness, and Burnout
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.
• Is Sri Lanka a victim of social media manipulation – Waduge
• Refrain interfering in duties of new media activists – Media Law Forum (MLF) to IGP
• The Sunday Times wins Publishers’ award for investigative reporting
‘secretive use of shell companies by Ramalingam Paksaralingam, a former top bureaucrat with powerful political connections, to invest in a private school in Sri Lanka and property in London.’
• A 40-year island chronicle seen from the front seat – Kotmale Sirisena
• The Pen is a Major Tool (1950) – Deng Xiaoping
‘Anyone who cannot write should learn to write and those whose writing is poor should gradually improve it.’
• How Dystopian Art Became Utopian Advertising
• Why It’s So Hard To Talk About Feelings
‘My wife and I have been having the same few fights for nearly a decade, usually about food. These fights never get ‘solved’ because it’s never really about what we’re talking about. It’s about all the things we haven’t been talking about’
• Reading the “Unreadable” Marx (2005)
‘the capitalist mode of production and accumulation, and therefore capitalist private property, have for their fundamental condition the annihilation of self-earned private property: in other words, the expropriation of the labourer.’
• Western Media’s Shock and Bias Ukraine – Russia Coverage
• China denounces English and US complicity in Assange case
• Stella Assange says Julian was stripped naked and left isolated in his cell
• Shanté Paradigm Smalls’ “Hip Hop Heresies”