Sri Lanka opposition moves no-confidence motion over derivative losses

Dec 08, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s main opposition has put forward a no-confidence motion against the government Monday on the eve of a budget vote, involving an exotic derivative deal that brought hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to a state-run oil firm. The United National Party has handed over the motion to the parliamentary general secretary, a parliamentary reporter said.

Nimal Siripala de Silva, a senior minister in the ruling administration had proposed that a party leaders meeting be called at 1.30 pm to reach agreement on debating the issue on the same day.

Party leaders later agreed to hold the debate in January.

The motion came amidst a vote for Sri Lanka’s 2009 budget, which political analysts initially expected to be passed comfortably later in the day.

A previous reading of the budget was comfortably passed with a 42 vote majority with 127 voting in favour and 85 against, in an assembly made up of 225 members on November 15.

The derivatives deal involving Citibank, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, and Sri Lanka state-run People’s Bank and private listed Commercial Bank has resulted in estimated marked-to-market losses in excess of 700 million dollars to state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), according to so