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A collaborative initiative between British Council Sri Lanka and Muslim Aid Sri Lanka

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The British Council of Sri Lanka in partnership with Muslim Aid successfully completed the Active Citizens Social Action for Climate Change initiative in the Trincomalee District earlier this year. The overall programme entailed six unique projects designed to mobilize youth to take action against one of the greatest threats affecting the global population at present: Climate change.

The Six projects carried out under the Active Citizens initiative include: Kinniya Climate Resilience, Parijatham, Muthur Guardians, Tidy Tide, Diamond Model Village and Man Grow.

Kinniya Climate Resilience project aimed to create climate change awareness and promote social leadership among youth in Trincomalee. In that regard, a one-day workshop addressing crucial issues connected to climate change and resilience was arranged for senior students of Al Irfan Maha Vidiyalayam in Kinniya, where youth were urged to engage in clean-up campaigns, participate in tree planting and other remedial efforts.

The project Parijatham, carried out in the Potkeni Village, focused on poverty relief and environmental change. A volunteer for the initiative noted: “The villagers are dependent on home gardening and agriculture for their livelihoods. Devastating amounts of chemical fertilizers are used here in the interest of having higher yields. The project intended to incentivize organic agricultural practices and instill healthy eating habits among the community.”

Muthur Guardians carried out a ‘shramadana’ (clean-up) to eliminate algae and pollutants from water bodies in Nadutheevu, Muttur. According to a participant, extensive pollution in the region has resulted in a surplus of nitrogen and phosphorous causing algal blooms to spread at an alarming rate. Algal blooms produce harmful toxins, create ‘dead zones’ and hurt industries that depend on clean water.

Intending to minimize ocean pollution and plastic litter, the Tidy Tide project strived to raise awareness by organizing beach clean-ups and installing waste bins with the support of the Trincomalee Urban Council, volunteers, and residents.

Under the Diamond Model Village project, 20 targeted families were incentivized to embrace organic farming in Muttur, Trincomalee. The project also entailed activities such as constructing a greenhouse, reforestation and educating the community on the benefits of organic farming via industry experts.

The sixth project, Man Grow, attempted to mitigate frequent natural disasters in Kinniya by planting mangroves along the coastline. Mangroves form dense ecosystems that act as walls or barriers against wind, storm surge and other natural disasters. A participant, Fahmeedha Haneef said: “Climate change is a universal crisis – one that can only be productively addressed through intercultural dialogue. The project served to bring communities closer together and we are hopeful locals will continue to work together to manage, mitigate and overcome the challenges the six projects intended to address.”

While tackling climate change was the primary objective of the initiative, it also served to promote social cohesion among different ethnic and religious communities. The organizers are pleased with the reception and outcomes of this project in the Trincomalee district and thus intend to extend it to other parts of the country, too, once normalcy is restored.

The British Council Sri Lanka has a number of projects planned as part of the Climate Connection programme leading to COP26 hosted by the UK, in Glasgow, Scotland, from 1 to 12 November. Youth engagement and our youth leadership programme will continue to remain the main vehicle for addressing climate change issues at the community level, bringing positive change to society at large.



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Seven factors of concern at upcoming Monetary Policy Review

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is scheduled to announce its latest monetary policy review on 20th January 2022, with all eyes on dwindling foreign reserves and foreign currency exchange in the country.

In this context, First Capital Research has named 7 factors of concern that could be taken into account at the upcoming monetary policy review. They are as follows.

* Foreign Reserves USD 3.1 billion – Dec 2021

* Inflation CCPI 12.1% – Dec 2021

* GDP Growth -1.5% – 3Q2021

* Private Credit LKR 60.5 billion – Nov 2021

* 03M T-Bill rate 8.38% as at 12.01.22

Liquidity and CBSL Holdings LKR -364.0 billion and LKR 1.42 trillion

Balance of Trade (BOT) and Balance of Payment (BOP) USD -6.5 billion and USD -3.3 billion for Jan-Oct 21

First Capital Research’s Policy Rate Forecast – Jan 2022-Apr 2022 notes that they believe the CBSL may highly consider tightening the monetary policy rates in this policy review but given the concerns over economic growth, there is a probability of 40% for CBSL to maintain its policy stance at current levels.

“With high frequent indicators improving in line with expectations, we have eliminated any probability of a rate cut. We expect a continued increase in probability for a rate hike in order to prevent overheating of the economy amidst the given fiscal and monetary stimulus,” they said.

As per First Capital’s view, CBSL either can choose to hike policy rates by 50bps or 100bps or hold policy rates steady, while a rate cut is off the table due to the high debt repayment and the high domestic borrowing requirement.

First Capital believes that there is a 60% probability for a rate hike due to the remedial actions required in achieving external stability.

However, there is also a 40% probability to maintain the policy rates at its current level in order to further improve the high frequency indicators.30%, they noted.

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Sri Lanka’s dash brand enters international markets

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Multichemi International Ltd, which manufactures and distributes a wide range of products under dash, one of Sri Lanka’s leading detergent and household care brands, has begun exporting its products to several international markets in Asia and Oceania, with plans also to enter Africa. The dash brand includes a wide range of products in car care, household care, home fragrances and laundry care sectors. Multichemi International Ltd, which has been awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification, is a Sri Lankan pioneer in environment-friendly cleaning products, having launched the country’s first biodegradable, safe cleaning products over 28 years ago.

Amila Wijesinghe, General Manager of the Company said,”Having conquered the domestic market, we are now ready to capture the international market. We are confident that our products which are of high quality will receive a good demand overseas as well. The feedback we have received so far from our overseas customers is extremely encouraging. We are dedicated to taking our products to the international market, to bring in foreign currency to the country and help uplift the economy”,

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Janaka Abeysinghe appointed SLT CEO

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Sri Lanka Telecom PLC has announced the appointment of Janaka Abeysinghe as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from February 1, 2022.

The incumbent CEO Kiththi Perera will be overseas on leave for a period of two years to pursue higher studies, according to a stock market filing by the company.

Abeysinghe joined SLT in 1991. In his present role, he leads the enterprise and wholesale business of SLT that provides integrated voice and data solutions to enterprises, government institutions, domestic telco operators and global wholesale carriers.

In his career at SLT spanning 29 years, he has held a number of senior positions, including general manager Enterprise and International Sales and has extensive experience in the areas of Enterprise Digital Services, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Data Communications, Business Development, Domestic and International Switching Operations and Global Wholesale Voice & Data Business.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Kansas, USA and a BSc degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering with a First Class Honours from the University of Moratuwa.

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