Natural resources, energy and environment
Sri Lanka's most important natural resource
is precious stones, of which diamonds are most important
for exports. Almost half of the energy and electricity
consumption is covered by imported oil. The
environmental problems are primarily about deforestation
and soil degradation.
Sri Lanka is one of the world's leading producers of
gemstones such as rubies, sapphires and topazes. The
largest buyers are in the US, Japan, Europe and
Thailand. It is believed that a large number of
gemstones are also smuggled out of the country.
Major exports by Sri Lanka with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
In addition, graphite and the titanium mineral
ilmenite are extracted for commercial purposes. The
country also has limestone, quartz, mica, clay, salt,
titanium, monasite, zircon, uranium and iron.
In addition to imported oil, energy is mainly
extracted from domestic firewood and residual products
from agriculture, and to a small extent from hydropower.
Electricity is generated mainly from imported oil, but
also from coal, hydropower and wind power. In 2011, the
country's first and only coal-fired power plant was
commissioned. Sri Lanka has no nuclear power plants.
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, SL stands for Sri Lanka. Visit itypeusa for more information about Sri Lanka.
Almost all (95 percent) of the Lankes have access to
Sri Lanka has problems with both illegal logging and
land destruction, which in turn can trigger landslides.
Some watercourses and beaches are polluted by emissions
from industries and uncleaned wastewater. In urban and
industrial areas, air pollution occurs.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
516 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
531 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
18 394 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
0.9 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
52.9 percent (2015)
Temporary budget is adopted
In order to avoid Sri Lanka being left without a
state budget after the turn of the year, Parliament
approves a transitional budget for the first four months
of 2019, so that the country can, for example, pay off
debt. An ordinary state budget for the entire 2019 is
expected to be completed in February.
New Old Government
President Sirisena appoints a new government with 30
members. Prime Minister is Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Sirisena retains the post of Minister of Defense and
control of the police force. Wickremesinghe's former
Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs are returning
Wickremesinghe again prime minister
As a result of the ruling in the Supreme Court on
December 13, Mahinda Rajapaksa surrenders her claim to
the Prime Minister's post, and Ranil Wickremesinghe is
re-installed as the head of government.
HD: "Sirisena violated the Constitution"
13th of December
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President
Sirisena's decision on November 9 to dissolve Parliament
and announce fresh elections was contrary to the
Constitution. According to the constitution, the
president can announce new elections only after
Parliament has spent 4.5 years of the five-year term,
which expires in August 2020. The UNP welcomes the
decision as a victory for democracy.
The state budget for 2019 is missing
The Minister of Finance warns that the entire state
apparatus will cease on January 1, 2019, as there is no
state budget after the turn of the year. On the same
day, Parliament voted, for the second time, for
Wickremesinghe to be re-elected as Prime Minister. In
the vote, only members of his UNP with allied parties
are present. The supporters of Rajapaksa boycott the
Court rejects Rajapaksa
A higher court ruled that Rajapaksa is not empowered
to act as prime minister as long as his disputed
government cannot prove its legitimacy.
The cash flow to the government is stifled
Parliament is voting to hold all money transfers to
the Government Offices and Ministries to have control
over the country's crisis economy itself. Exceptions are
made for salary payments, pensions and basic community
service. A day earlier, the largest Tamil party
announced the Tamil National Alliance that it supported
Wickremesinghe's demand to regain the post of prime
Both heads of government are rejected
Parliament President Jayasuriya announces that he
will reject both Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe as head of
government and appoint a committee to decide on the
legislative agenda. The members present are voting to
give Wickremesinghe the chairmanship of the committee.
All supporters of Sirisena and Rajapaksa boycott the
New distrust of Rajapaksa
Parliament for the second time makes a declaration of
disbelief against Rajapaksa as new prime minister.
Fight in Parliament
Fighting breaks out during a session in Parliament.
Members from different political camps throw things at
each other and hand out fist beats. A person is taken to
hospital with minor injuries. The President adjusts the
session temporarily until the emotions have cooled down
among the members.
Rajapaksa is voted off
Parliament gathers and declares a distrust of
Rajapaksa as prime minister. Thus falls his government.
That does not mean that Wickremesinghe will
automatically become head of government because
President Sirisena is the one who appoints it. Sirisena
rejects Parliament's vote of no confidence and says that
the vote was not properly conducted.
HD reinstates Parliament
The Supreme Court enters into the power struggle
between on the one hand Parliament and Wickremesinghe,
on the other hand President Sirisena and Rajapaksa when
it annuls the presidential decree dissolving Parliament.
Thus, the Legislative Assembly can hold a vote on the
Sirisena announces new elections
President Sirisena dissolves Parliament and announces
new elections until January 5, 2019. In this way, he
avoids a vote in Parliament on the Prime Minister's
post, and Rajapaksa can lead a transitional government
until January 17, when a new parliament will meet. The
decision was made after Sirisena admitted that Rajapaksa
would not succeed in gathering enough support in a vote,
and that Wickremesinghe would receive the most votes.
Wickremesinghe's party UNP says that Sirisena violates
the constitution when he dissolves Parliament and adds
that the party will request that the decision be tried
legally. Before Sirisena disbanded Parliament, he took
control of the police by organizing it under the
Ministry of Defense and over the State Information
Agency publishing presidential decrees and proclamations
Increased support for Wickremesinghe
Tens of thousands of supporters of Wickremesinghe and
the UNP manifest their support through a peaceful
demonstration in Colombo. At the same time, the outside
world is increasing pressure on President Sirisena to
reinstate Parliament. The country's Chancellor Jayantha
Jayasuriya refuses the Sirisenas dismissal of
Wickremesinghe on the grounds that the president lacks
the power to do so.
Appointed minister is arrested for shooting dead
The recently deposed oil minister Ranatunga is
arrested after union representatives accused him of
ordering his bodyguards to shoot at a crowd outside the
state oil company on October 28. One man was killed. The
minister says the crowd attacked him and his staff and
tried to take him hostage. Trade unions in the oil
industry go on strike.
Incomplete government is presented
President Sirisena presents an incomplete government
with only twelve ministers. Rajapaksa is appointed Prime
Minister as well as Finance Minister. This government
promises quick cuts in taxes and lower fuel prices with
more goods. Both camps are trying to co-negotiate with
MPs to secure a victory in a vote on the Prime
Minister's post when Parliament opens again on November
Wickremesinghe receives Parliament's support
Parliament President Karu Jayasuriya announces that
the Legislative Assembly continues to regard
Wickremesinghe as the rightful prime minister, on the
grounds that the president has no power to dismiss the
head of government. Wickremesinghe is barricaded in its
service room and more than 1,000 followers have gathered
outside the building. One person is killed and two
injured when the newly deposed oil minister's bodyguards
shoot at a crowd trying to prevent the minister from
entering the state oil company building. The United
States calls on Sirisena to reinstate Parliament.
Privately owned newspapers describe Sirisena's actions
as a "constitutional coup". Rajapaksa says his ambition
is to hold local and general elections "as soon as
Parliament is dissolved
President Sirisena will dissolve Parliament until
November 16. This has happened since Wickremesinghe
tried to get the UNP-dominated Assembly's support to
stay in his post. Wickremesinghe refuses to leave his
office at the Government Office (Temple Trees). Sirisena
deprives him of both service cars and bodyguard
protection. From the outside world come reactions. India
says it is "closely monitoring" the development of the
event and Chinese representatives speak to both
Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa. Western diplomats hold
talks with Wickremesinghe. The two TV stations forced by
Rajapaksa supporters to stop broadcasting on October 26
resume broadcasting and now support Rajapaksa.
Power struggle leads to political crisis
President Sirisena's party UPFA leaves the
government. Contrary to the constitution, Sirisena then
dismisses Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and the
government. Sirisena replaces Wickremesinghe with
President Rajapaksa, who is sworn in as new head of
government. Wickremesinghe refuses to accept Sirisena's
decision, saying he continues to consider himself prime
minister and stresses that only parliament can dismiss
him. Finance Minister Samarawira describes the event as
"an anti-democratic coup". On the streets of Colombia,
supporters of both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa gather.
During the night, Rajapak supporters storm two TV
stations which they consider to be UNP-friendly and
force them to stop broadcasting. The United States calls
on both sides to respect the Constitution and abstain
The victims of war are entitled to damages
Nearly a decade after the end of the war in spring
2009, Parliament adopts a law that gives civil war
victims the right to compensation. An independent office
will be set up to pay compensation to survivors and
relatives of victims. President Rajapaksa's political
faction votes against the law, which they believe risks
giving LTTE supporters or their survivors the right to
compensation. Damage to the victims of the war was one
of Sirisena's promises when he was elected president in
2015. Nearly 100,000 people were killed in the civil war
between the military and the Tamil LTTE guerrilla.
New money from the US
The US announces giving Sri Lanka $ 39 million to
strengthen security at sea in the Bay of Bengal. This is
happening at the same time as China is investing large
sums in the giant New Silk Road project, where Chinese
loans are used to build ports and other infrastructure
in Sri Lanka. The money from the United States is part
of the US government's commitment to a "free, open and
legal order" in South and Southeast Asia, totaling $ 300
New loan from China
Sri Lanka's central bank is granted a loan from China
of the equivalent of one billion dollars. The loan is
seen as yet another sign of Sri Lanka's increasingly
close contacts with China, particularly in terms of
infrastructure development. The IMF, which gave Sri
Lanka a $ 1.5 billion emergency loan in June 2016, has
warned Sri Lanka to borrow more money as the country's
sovereign debt is alarmingly large. Just over a tenth of
China's foreign debt is $ 51.8 billion.
The death penalty should be applied to drug offenses
Sri Lanka will begin to apply the death penalty for
drug offenses. This eliminates a 42-year-long halt to
executions; the latest execution in Sri Lanka was
executed in 1976. The country is also to use its army in
the fight against drug traffickers. President Sirisena
says it is the Philippines' successful war on drugs that
inspired these measures. Philippines President Duterte
has waged a war on drugs since taking office in 2016.
Thousands of people have been killed as they tried to
escape arrest, and the country has been charged with
crimes against humanity.
Contested move by naval base
Sri Lanka moves a naval base to the port of
Hambantota, which a Chinese company has leased for 99
years. The government rejects speculation that the move
could mean that China is using the port for military
Sirisena is running for re-election
President Sirisena announced in a speech at a
political meeting that he will stand for re-election to
the 2019 presidential post, despite a previous statement
that he does not want to remain after the current term
of office expires.
Government crisis, Parliament dissolves
President Sirisena dissolves Parliament with
immediate effect until May 8. The decision is made a few
hours after at least 16 members of parliament, including
six government ministers, announce that they are leaving
government cooperation. All 16 defectors were allies to
Sirisena in the power struggle with Prime Minister
Wickremesinghe, who, following the victory in the vote
of confidence, pushed for supporters of Sirisena to
resign. Sirisena has replaced the ministers who have
been defunct with new temporary ones.
The Prime Minister receives Parliament's support
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe is able to pass a vote
of confidence in Parliament by a good margin, despite
the fact that 13 members of President Sirisena's SLFP
voted against him. SLFP is part of the government
coalition together with Wickremesinghe's UNP. The vote
of confidence was initiated by Rajapaksa's SLFP faction.
Sirisena and Wickremesinghe are fighting a power
struggle that is based, among other things, in different
views on economic policy and in Sirisena's attempt to
extend his term of office by one year, which was stopped
by the Supreme Court.
Sirisena reduces the prime minister's power
President Sirisena limits Prime Minister
Wickremesinghe's powers, including in contacts with the
central bank and in political decision-making. The
president's actions are part of a growing power struggle
between the two leaders.
The state of emergency is lifted
The state of emergency, introduced throughout the
country on March 6, is canceled by President Sirisena.
It was the first time in seven years that a national
emergency permit was introduced.
Calm back in Kandy
When calm returned to the city of Kandy after four
days of anti-Muslim riots, three people were killed,
some 20 were injured and some 500 Muslim homes,
businesses and vehicles, as well as some 10 mosques have
been severely burned or vandalized. The government
cancels the curfew and promises an investigation into
what has happened.
"Radical Buddhist Group Behind the Violence"
After a quiet night, the curfew is lifted during the
day. The Colombo Parliament apologizes to the country's
Muslim minority. However, occasional acts of violence
are carried out. Petrol bombs are being thrown at a
mosque south of Kandy, according to police. Among some
80 people arrested in connection with the violence are
Amith Wirasinghe, leader of a radical Sinhalese-Buddhist
group that has become notorious for attacks against
Muslims. Wirasinghe is suspected of having organized and
led the anti-Muslim riots in Kandy via social media.
Tear gas against the rattles in Kandy
A Sinhalese man is killed when the hand grenade he
intends to throw detonates in his hand. About 10 people
are injured when the grenade explodes. Soldiers and
police are deployed on Kandy's streets to curb the
situation. Then more than 200 Muslim-owned homes,
businesses and vehicles have been set on fire. Schools
are closed. Access to the internet is restricted in
Kandy and several social media sites are blocked to
prevent the spread of rumors that block the violence.
However, the ravages continue to rage, and the police
respond to them with tear gas. Later in the day,
President Sirisena visits Kandy.
An emergency permit is introduced throughout the
The violence in Kandy and its surroundings is
escalated when a Muslim man is found dead in a burnt-out
building. On the same day, violence spreads to the
eastern part of the country, where mosques and
Muslim-owned businesses are set on fire after a rumor
spread that a Muslim chef put contraceptives in food
sold to Sinhalese. President Sirisena faces a state of
emergency throughout Sri Lanka to give the police and
military increased powers to stop the violence.
Violence outbreak against Muslims in Kandy
A new outbreak of violence against the country's
Muslim minority erupts in the tourist city of Kandy in
central Sri Lanka when the Buddhist majority learns that
a Sinhalese man has been killed by a group of Muslims.
Buddhist mobs give up on homes, shops and cars owned by
The election loss leads to government reform
The government's big losses in the local elections
earlier that month lead to a government transformation.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe takes over responsibility
for law and order from the Interior Minister. The
government interprets the electoral loss as criticism of
the electorate for failing to bring charges against
members of the former Rajapaksa government.
The government loses big in local elections
The two government parties UNP and UPFA lose big in
local elections, while President Rajapaksa's new party
Sri Lankan People's Front (Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna,
SLPP) becomes the major victor and takes home 225 of the
340 seats in various local assemblies at stake. UNP gets
41 seats while President Sirisena's SLFP faction gets 11
seats. The choice is described as the quietest in
Special courts will investigate the Rajapaksa family
The government sets up special courts with three
judges in each who are commissioned to investigate
allegations of bribery and corruption committed by the
previous government under President Rajapaksa. The
decision comes after the Sirisena government received
more and more criticism for failing to fulfill the
election promises on legal settlements with the previous
government after three years in power. Two of
Rajapaksa's three sons have been charged with so-called
money laundering and other relatives are accused of
corruption. Rajapaksa himself is not among the suspects.
He calls the criminal investigations against his family
a witch hunt. The new special courts will be up and
running by six months at the latest.
The Anti-Terrorism Act receives sharp criticism
In a report from the human rights organization
Amnesty Internationalthe Lankan government is criticized
for still using the PTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act),
even though Sirisena already promised in 2015 to abolish
the harsh laws and replace them with laws that comply
with international standards and do not violate human
rights. The PTA gives the police and security forces
far-reaching powers to arrest and detain suspected
terrorists for a long time without prosecution or trial.
PTA was used extensively during the civil war that ended
in 2009. According to the government, 80 people are
being held in custody in accordance with PTA, but local
human rights organizations say it is likely to involve
several hundred interns. According to Amnesty
International, PTA still causes Sri Lanka to commit
torture, sexual abuse,
Coalition government on the verge of rupture
President Sirisena announces that he himself will
take responsibility for the country's economy from Prime
Minister Wickremesinghe and his party UNP. Government
cooperation between the UNP and the Sirisenas SLFP
faction has been extremely strained in recent times,
partly because the UNP opposed the Sirisenas attempt to
extend its term of office by one year to 2021, which was
rejected by the Supreme Court. Sirisena also recently
vetoed the government's decision to allow women to buy
alcohol. The UNP has said that it will possibly run on
its own in the 2020 election.
The president reintroduces a ban on women buying
Sri Lanka's parliament decides to abolish an old law
banning women from buying and selling alcohol, but a few
days later the president stops the law change.