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Adani wind farms in Mannar and procedural challenges in Swiss auction



India’s Adani Group, which has committed SL’s single largest FDI in the power sector by committing to invest over a billion dollars in setting up ~500MW wind projects in Mannar and Pooneryn region, is facing resistance from a lobby group. The reason is unclear, says Vinayak Maheswaran – an equity and economic analyst at an equity markets platform who was also a former analyst at Wells Fargo Advisors.

He puts forward his argument as follows.

“Initially they said the project harms the environment. This when the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) was done by a renowned professor and the government promised to implement the suggestions made in it and by public to minimize environmental impact. Several other Renewable Energy Organizations, Climate Organizations, environment organisations like the National Environment Caucus, Youth for Renewable Energy Organization, Sri Lanka Blue Green Alliance too conducted their own studies and have decided to back the project.”

“Then they raised questions on process not being followed. Sri Lanka’s Electricity Act allows proposals under G-2-G mechanism and the Adani’s project falls under this. The laid down process being followed for ages is government floats an RFP (Request for Proposal) and developers respond against it. As per procurement guidelines, any tender needs to go through the same process of Technical Evaluation by Project Committee of CEB & thereafter tariff negotiation by Cabinet Appointed Negotiation Committee (CANC). This was followed and done for the Adani project, which has been approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL). So where is the question of process not being followed?”

“In spite of the government negotiating an extremely competitive tariff (USC 8.26 or LKR 24.78/ unit), those against it are complaining on it being high and are seeking a Swiss auction (where new players are allowed to bid below the finalized tariff). Are they aware that Swiss auction is illegal in SL, and like most nations, SL too has put an end to this practice, citing procedural challenges? Incidentally, the same Swiss auction is not being demanded on other similar projects which have been cleared in the recent past and at a higher tariff. Double standards, anyone?”

Tariff negotiated by the government is clearly the best SL is getting currently is evident from the table below.

“None of the other recently approved projects are facing any opposition, inspite of their tariffs being higher. Take the example of an Australian firm which has proposed a 700 MW of Solar + Battery capacity with a tariff of 16 cents. Applying the same argument levelled against Adani that global benchmark tariffs for wind projects is lower than the finalized tariff, then this project’s global benchmark tariff is 9-11 cents. Has SL agreed to pay an extra US$ 1.9 billion over 25 years on this project? There is no whimper of protest for that.”

“Another example is the 100 MW Odamavadi Solar project, whose tariff too has been approved at 8.75 cents. As per the argument being made, when benchmarking with global benchmark of 2-3 cents, have we have agreed to pay an extra US$ 350 million over 25 years on this project?

What’s the real reason behind those opposed to the project? Why do we want to chase Adani away, which is reposing tremendous faith in the country by investing in during our time of crisis. Its success will attract fresh investments and will also help SL meet its sustainability goals. On government and civil society’s end, we must ensure the environment and CSR commitment made by it is met.”

“Policymakers and concerned citizens need to look at the larger picture of if somebody has the appetite for implementing such large scale RE projects, why aren’t they doing so, instead of delaying the existing ones? Does it not show that they are not interested in making any investments but rather derailing the projects coming on ground? There are many other wind & solar sites available in the country. Why aren’t they putting money where their mouth is and set up projects there at global benchmark tariffs they themselves are quoting?”

“SL needs RE energy and needs it quick. It needs partners who will offer competitive tariffs and set up projects in time and budget. Hence their antecedents are important. Adani Group is amongst world’s largest RE players and is setting up world’s largest RE park in India. It has a reputation to keep by completing the project in time and budget.”

“SL hasn’t seen a project of this scale which can potentially upend its energy dynamics and take the country closer to self-reliance and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The Mannar + Pooneryn projects will save US$ 270+ Mn annually by displacing higher cost fuel-based tariffs. The project will generate ~1,500 million units of power per year – corresponding to meeting energy demand of 0.6 million households and equivalent to cutting 1.06 Mn tons of CO2 emission per year,” Maheswaran argues.

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NCE highlights costs of Customs officers’ trade union action



‘The recent actions taken by the Sri Lanka Customs Officers Union, including a two-day sick leave campaign and work-to-rule initiatives, have had profound implications across Sri Lanka’s business community, particularly affecting exporters and importers. These actions were initiated due to perceived grievances and unmet demands from the Customs Officers Union on various issues, the National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) is quoted as saying in a press release.

The release adds: ‘Jayantha Karunaratne, president of the National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka highlighted the significant disruptions caused by these actions. He emphasized that the work-to-rule approach has resulted in substantial delays in clearing imported goods at ports and checkpoints, causing disruptions in production schedules and logistical operations. These delays have particularly impacted exporters, who face stringent deadlines to fulfill international orders, leading to strained relationships with overseas buyers and potential financial penalties for missed deliveries.

‘Additionally, these disruptions have imposed additional costs on businesses. Importers have incurred demurrage charges due to extended delays in clearing shipments, impacting profitability and operational efficiency. For exporters handling perishable goods like seafood and fresh produce, delays have posed substantial challenges, sometimes resulting in significant financial losses and resource wastage from spoiled goods.

‘The NCE underscored Customs’ critical role in facilitating trade and economic activity in Sri Lanka, stressing that efficient and predictable Customs processes are crucial for maintaining the competitiveness of Sri Lankan businesses globally. Given that exports are pivotal to Sri Lanka’s economy, disruptions to Customs operations can have far-reaching impacts on economic growth, employment, and overall national prosperity.

‘Expressing serious concern about potential escalations, the NCE warned that prolonged strikes or ongoing disruptions could further destabilize business confidence and investor sentiment. They urged swift and constructive dialogue between the Customs Officers’ Union and relevant authorities to address grievances and find mutually beneficial solutions. Restoring normalcy and reliability to Customs operations, they emphasized, is imperative to support the resilience and growth of Sri Lanka’s export sector amid challenging global economic conditions.

‘In addition to operational disruptions, exporters are increasingly voicing frustration and concerns about Sri Lanka’s future business environment. Many are contemplating relocating operations to countries offering more stable and predictable trade conditions. This potential exodus poses significant economic risks, including job losses, reduced export revenues, and diminished investor confidence.

‘Shiham Marikar, Secretary General/CEO of NCE, stressed the urgent need for Sri Lanka to address these challenges promptly to retain and attract businesses. He emphasized the importance of creating a supportive environment for exporters characterized by efficient Customs processes, regulatory stability, and supportive government policies. Such an environment is crucial for retaining existing exporters and attracting new investments, thereby fostering economic growth and enhancing competitiveness in global markets.

‘Highlighting the competitive nature of the global economy, the NCE emphasized the necessity for Sri Lanka to maintain a reliable and efficient trade infrastructure to remain competitive internationally. Addressing exporter concerns and ensuring a stable business environment should be a top priority for policymakers and stakeholders alike.

‘It is crucial for the government to take swift action to prevent recurring disruptions caused by the Customs Officers’ Union. The recent disruptions have disproportionately affected Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which are the backbone of Sri Lanka’s economy. SMEs, operating with smaller margins and less flexibility, are particularly vulnerable to delays and uncertainties in trade operations.

‘These disruptions not only impact daily SME operations but also undermine their competitiveness in domestic and international markets. Many SMEs rely heavily on timely imports and efficient exports to sustain operations, making disruptions detrimental to their growth and viability. Prolonged instability in trade operations risks SMEs relocating or downsizing operations in Sri Lanka, posing significant threats to employment, economic growth, and overall stability.

‘The NCE urged the government to implement robust measures to prevent future disruptions, including constructive dialogue with Customs officers and reforms enhancing Customs efficiency and predictability. Creating a stable and supportive business environment is crucial for protecting SMEs and fostering their growth, thereby contributing to Sri Lanka’s economic resilience and prosperity’.

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Elevating customer experiences, Sampath Bank partners with Royal Colombo Golf Club



The team from Royal Colombo Golf Club, including Amrith De Soysa – Captain, Gehan Siribaddanan – Vice Captain, Ms. Geera Gajamugan – Director of Administration and Shiran D. Rahuman – Manager of Marketing & Membership Services, stands on the left. De Soysa is seen receiving the main sponsorship from Ms, Ayodhya Iddawela – Managing Director of Sampath Bank PLC, surrounded by Tharaka Ranwala, SDGM – Marketing, Customer Care and Card Centre, Pujitha Rajapaksa, Chief Manager – Marketing and Shantha Kalawitigoda, Manager – Events & Activations.

Sampath Bank is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the prestigious July Monthly Medal Event at the Royal Colombo Golf Club (RCGC), scheduled for the 12th and 13th of July 2024. The sponsorship was formalised during a cheque-handing ceremony on the 10th of July, marking a significant collaboration between Sampath Bank and the RCGC.

The July Monthly Medal Event is a highlight on the golfing calendar, attracting over 300 golfers from across the country. The event will be held over two days, culminating in an award ceremony on the second day. Sampath Bank’s involvement acknowledges its commitment to fostering customer satisfaction and providing exceptional experiences for its valued customers.

Participants in the event will enjoy a variety of activities, including a golf practice session with coaching, the main golf tournament, and an exclusive Cheese & Wine evening on the first day for Sampath Bank customers. Following the two-day tournament, there will be a grand award ceremony and a cocktail event to honour the winners. This initiative not only promotes golf but also provides a unique platform for high-net-worth individuals to engage in a distinguished social setting.

Commenting on the sponsorship, Tharaka Ranwala, Senior Deputy General Manager Marketing, Customer Care & Card Centre, said, “Sampath Bank has always been a strong supporter of all sports, though golf has traditionally been less highlighted, despite its popularity among elite and high-net-worth customers within the banking industry. Sponsoring this event aligns perfectly with our new vision and strategy, which emphasises a greater focus on corporate customers and high-net-worth individuals. Although this is our first partnership with the Royal Colombo Golf Club, we bring extensive experience from our previous collaborations with the Tamil Golf Association’s events in the UK and Canada.”

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Asiri Hospitals and NITF sign landmark agreement to provide tangible healthcare benefits for all Agrahara members



Asiri Group of Hospitals, trusted for high standards in patient-centered care has signed a landmark agreement with the National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF), to provide comprehensive concessions to all government employees through the Agrahara Medical Insurance scheme.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Dr. Manjula Karunaratne, Director/Group CEO of Asiri Hospitals, and Gamani N. Liyanarachchi, CEO of NITF, during a ceremony held recently.

The event was attended by several distinguished participants from both organizations. Representing NITF were Sagala Abhayawickrama, Chairperson, Samil Thushara, AGM Operations, Nimali Pathirana, AGM Insurance, Prathibha Welikanna, Asst. Manager Legal, Nuwan Dissanayake, Asst. Manager Marketing, Dammika Weerakoon, Acting AGM Finance.

Asiri Hospitals was represented by Nihal Ratnayake, Director Operations Asiri Central Hospital, Indresh Fernando, Chief Process Officer, Bhathiya Jayasinghe, Group Head, Business Development, Dhananjaya Bandara Dela, Head of Business Development, Government Sector.

The enduring partnership aims to offer tangible healthcare benefits and the renowned comprehensive healthcare services offered by Asiri Hospitals to all NITF Agrahara members. It marks a major milestone in Asiri Hospitals’ commitment to build long-term collaborations that benefits the community. It also reaffirms Asiri Hospitals’ position as a trusted healthcare provider ensuring healthcare is more accessible, affordable, while uplifting the living standards of the public service.

Importantly, Agrahara members are eligible to seek treatment from any hospital in the Asiri group or its laboratories. The agreement also introduces a cashless admission scheme for NITF members, simplifying the process and enabling seamless access to Asiri Hospitals’ services without the need for upfront payments. Members can benefit from waived admission fees, reducing the financial burden for those seeking medical care. Room rates are also heavily discounted.

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