The Economy:
Sri Lanka container volumes rise to nearly 50 percent
In the first quarter of 2024, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) reported a significant 48 percent increase in container volumes, reaching 652,766 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU). This surge, attributed to factors like the Red Sea crisis, contributed to a 49.81 percent rise in transshipment throughput. The Port of Colombo experienced a 24.20 percent increase in volume, totaling 1.72 million TEU.

Government plans to finalise foreign debt restructuring by June
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs Minister announced plans to finalise foreign debt restructuring next month, aiming to reduce payments by USD 17 billion. He emphasized negotiations with private investors and recent endorsements from Japan and Iran. The Minister highlighted Sri Lanka’s non-aligned foreign policy and efforts to secure support from major partners like the United States, France, India, and China. He also mentioned Saudi Arabia’s interest in investing and ongoing diplomatic efforts regarding detained Sri Lankans in Myanmar and youth involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Sri Lanka’s Browns Investments becomes world’s biggest tea exporter
Lipton Teas and Infusions is partnering with Browns Investments to transfer its tea estates in Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania to ensuring they meet new quality, social, and environmental standards worldwide. Browns will invest in Lipton estates in these countries by 2025, creating jobs and promoting sustainable practices. Proceeds will be reinvested in East Africa, supporting education, climate change mitigation, and
smallholder farmers. Lipton is a global tea leader, while Browns manages plantations in Sri Lanka and Kenya at present.

Politics & Policy:
Presidential Election to be held between 17 September 17 and 16 October this year
The 2024 Presidential Election date has been officially set by the Election Commission to fall between September 17 and October 16.

Sri Lanka approves wind power deal with Adani Green Energy Limited
The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Adani Green Energy Limited of India to develop wind power stations in Mannar and Poonerin, north-west of Sri Lanka. Adani Green Energy Sri Lanka Limited won the tender for 20 years at a rate of USD 8.26 cents per kilowatt of electricity generated under the project. This rate is slated to be much lower than the current cost per electricity unit for Sri Lanka, according to the Energy Minister of Sri Lanka.

No import of vehicles expected in near future, say Vehicle Importers’ Association of Sri Lanka (VIASL)
The VIASL clarified that no vehicle imports, including lightweight ones, will occur before the Presidential election or within the current year. Following discussions with the Finance Minister. the VIASL President stated that importation is anticipated to resume in about a year, with buses and lorries being the initial focus for tourism purposes. Electric and fuel-powered vehicles are under consideration. The State
Finance State Minister indicated a four-stage plan for resuming imports subsequent to an impact report on lifting import restrictions on vehicles.

Sri Lanka will draft laws to address climate change
President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized Sri Lanka’s need for a green economy, announcing plans for new legislation to address environmental and climate change issues. Speaking at the Sri Lanka Climate Summit, he highlighted the urgency of adapting to climate change and transitioning to a low-emission economic framework. The proposed legislation aims to ensure government policies focus on transforming into a competitive, export-oriented economy while achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

What you need to know;
Exporters call for action to boost foreign exchange earnings
Sri Lanka’s major export associations came together in a joint media conference, urging immediate action to boost the country’s stagnant merchandise exports. The coalition, which includes leading organizations like the National Chamber of Exporters, Sri Lanka Shippers Council, Joint Apparel Association Forum of Sri Lanka, Tea Exporters Association, Sri Lanka Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Rubber Products, Exporters Association of Sri Lanka, and Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies,, highlighted various challenges, from inconsistent policies to bureaucratic hurdles and taxation complexities. They emphasized the pressing need for policy reforms and infrastructure improvements to revitalize Sri Lanka’s export sector and enhance its global competitiveness.

Sri Lanka apparel exporters ask for removal of mandatory foreign exchange conversion rule
Sri Lanka’s apparel exporters are pressing the central bank to scrap a mandatory currency conversion rule for export proceeds, citing an appreciating rupee due to deflationary monetary policy. While acknowledging the removal of restrictions on forex movement between banks, exporters stress the urgency of abolishing mandatory conversion to sustain fair trade and profitability.

Disclaimer – This Advisory is intended for circulation among JAAF stakeholders only.
Please do not circulate or share on social media.

This Advisory, written for our partners interested in developments in Sri Lanka against the backdrop of the current crisis, is an update on the one issued last week. This document summarises results covering significant political and economic events. The Advisory includes economic, political, social and governance perspectives. It draws on news reports, analyses, Government announcements and documents, and other sources that we may be in contact with or have access to. This Advisory was prepared by the Strategic Communications Unit of Adfactors PR Lanka.
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