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Sri Lanka passes legislation to revamp power sector, attract renewable energy investment

Sri Lanka’s parliament on Thursday approved a law to attract investment in renewable energy and cut losses at the state power monopoly, measures the country has committed to under a $2.9 billion IMF program.

The 225 lawmakers approved the new legislation by a majority of 44 votes, speaker Mahinda Abeywardena said.

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera told parliament the electricity bill would make the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) monopoly more profitable and attract investment in the renewable energy sector.

“Sri Lanka has set a target of generating 70% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. It is estimated that Sri Lanka will need $12 billion over the next six years to achieve this target. So we need to open up the sector to attract that investment,” he said.

Sri Lanka is struggling to emerge from a two-year financial crisis that has seen its dollar reserves fall to record lows and the economy shrink by 2.3 percent last year.

As part of a $2.9 billion program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it agreed to reform its state enterprises to make them profitable. This included unbundling the CEB so that transmission, generation, and other services would be run as separate entities.

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