Sri Lanka embraces 2024 leaving a difficult year behind
By: Staff Writer
January 01, Colombo (LNW): As 2024 approaches, it’s time to reflect on the past and anticipate the future for Sri Lanka as the treasury confirmed that the Government was well-equipped with sufficient funds to hold the upcoming elections scheduled for mid this year.
As Sri Lanka welcomes New Year 2024, some new rules including tax revisions such as VAT hike comes into effect as it’s the first day of the month several changes will come into effect.
This year, more than 40 countries, including seven with large populations, are scheduled to hold national elections, potentially leading to significant changes in leadership.
The Treasury disclosed that the Government was well-equipped with ample funds to conduct the upcoming elections scheduled for this year.
The Election Commission (EC) recently stated that it had submitted a total budget estimate of Rs. 10 billion to the Treasury for three upcoming elections, including the Presidential Election this year.
As per the EC report, the forthcoming Presidential Election is expected to take place between 16 September and 17 October next year, and the anticipated date for the General Election is 2025.
Meanwhile, President Ranil Wickremesinghe recently informed Parliament that both the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections were scheduled to be held next year.
As per Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) statistics, the trade deficit narrowed in October and November 2023 compared to a year earlier, as a result of the combined impact of an improvement in exports and a compression in imports.
Exports recorded a Year-on-Year growth for the first time since September 2022 Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports increased by 4.4% to US$ 968.8 Million in November 2023 compared to October 2023 as per the provisional data released by the Sri Lanka Customs.
However, it is a 2.67 % decrease when compared to the value recorded in November 2022.
Monthly workers’ remittances continued to exceed $ 500 million and recorded a notable increase in November 2023, compared to the corresponding period in 2022. Tourist arrivals soared during the festive season, contributing to high earnings from tourism.
Foreign investments in the Government securities market continued to record a net outflow since July 2023, but remained positive on a cumulative basis during the year.
Gross official reserves amounted to $ 3.6 billion by end-November 2023. The Sri Lankan Rupee continued to remain stable against the US Dollar during November 2023.
The Central Bank absorbed $ 117 million from the domestic foreign exchange market on a net basis during November 2023. Overall, the Central Bank has purchased around $ 1.8 billion on a net basis during January to November 2023.
Furthermore, the Central Bank in its ‘Financial Stability Overview 2023’ released on Friday (29) has stated that the easing of domestic monetary policy since mid-2023 is anticipated to facilitate the recovery in financial intermediation, which was witnessed through the gradual recovery in banking sector credit during Q3 of 2023.