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Call to ensure credible implementation of budget-2021 proposals



By Sanath Nanayakkare

In the lead up to the highly anticipated 2021 budget, Verité Research recently announced the latest results and recommendations of their annual budget monitoring study, which tracks the government’s performance and openness on key promises made in its recent annual budgets.

According to Verité Research, in the 2018 budget speech, the Minister of Finance announced that an implementation unit would be set up under the ministry to monitor the execution of the proposals. However, in response to an RTI (Right to Information) request, the Ministry of Finance claimed that such a unit did not exist. Yet, in another response, this statement was contradicted by the same ministry.

“These weaknesses in information disclosure and implementation of budget promises suggest that the budget being implemented is inconsistent with the one declared to parliament and that the government is not fully aware of how public funds are spent”, Verité said.

“For the period January – December 2017, 8% of promises tracked by our platform from the 2017 budget speech were categorised as fulfilled. At the end of the first six months of 2018, the pace of progress was slow – only 8% of promises were progressing in line with their targets. Besides, progress on 33% of proposals is categorised as either broken, neglected or undisclosed. This means that the government is either not doing what it is saying or not saying what it is doing for budget promises worth Rs. 60,200 million. The bulk of expenditure proposals in the 2018 budget (59%) is thus categorised as lagging in terms of their implementation”.

“In 2019, the platform tracked 37 promises worth Rs. 100,875 million from the 2019 budget. According to it, there is a divergence in what is said in budget speeches and what is implemented, in both expenditure proposals and policy proposals. Their analyses found that many expenditure proposals have their allocations reduced every year. In 2019, 41% of the policy proposals tracked by the platform were not implemented”,Verité has found.

Speaking at the online briefing, Lahiri Jayasinghe, Assistant Analyst – Verité Research said that the government is going to present the budget for 2021 against a background of weak global economy and challenging domestic fiscal conditions exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and therefore an effective oversight of the budget implementation process for the Financial Year 2021 would be vital.

“The government has announced its vision for a turnaround of the public sector and elimination of waste and corruption. There’s limited fiscal space for government’s operations. In this background, we suggest that there should be a parliamentary committee or an authoritative body of the Finance Ministry to whom the oversight of the budget implementation process is entrusted in order to ensure a credible implementation process in 2021 and achieve the budget’s intended targets and goals”.

“In 2019, openness on proposals was hindered by the frequent changes to ministerial portfolios. The budget monitoring process revealed that the fragmentation of ministries had resulted in a breakdown of the lines of responsibility. Even those that were tasked with oversight of the budget were not able to provide clarity on the agencies responsible for implementing specific budget proposals”.

“In 2019, no information was available on the implementation of 32% of proposals. This is a significant deterioration from the problem of missing information in the previous year, where only 13% of the proposals fell into this category of ‘no information. For a more credible budget, we recommend the following:

1. Develop and document supporting information and analysis for each proposal prior to including it in the budget.

2. Provide timely and consistent disclosure on budget implementation on ministry websites.

3. Provide better oversight through the executive and legislature (e.g parliamentary committees and structures)

4. Reduce the fragmentation of ministerial portfolios and ensure that a clear line of accountability is maintained on the implementation of each budget proposal”, Lahiri Jayasinghe said.

Deshal de Mel, Research Director joined the session for the Q&A while the presentations were moderated by Chalani Ranwala.

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Wurth Lanka makes strategic appointments in pursuit of Vision 2025



Wurth Lanka (Pvt) Ltd – the leading German based automotive car care partner recently promoted two of its long two standing employees Suranga Kekulawalage and Tharindu Rajapaksha to lead its Automotive Division and Automotive New Business Unit respectively as it focuses on achieving the Wurth Vision 2025. Established in the year 2000, the Automotive division is Wurth Lanka’s first, largest and most profitable business unit recording the highest YoY growth.

“As we celebrate our 20th anniversary of being the No. 1 trusted partner for the automotive aftermarket sector, we take great pleasure in appointing Suranga and Tharindu to lead these two dynamic divisions of Wurth Lanka to achieve our ambitious Vision 2025 targets ” said Rohan Amirthiah-Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director, Wurth Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.

“A key factor of our success in the past 20 years is the trust and confidence that we placed in our leaders and their respective teams to take the company forward to achieve our goals. We are confident that these two leaders will lead Wurth to our Vision 2025 goals” he added.

Suranga Kekulawalage joined With Lanka 14 years ago in in 2006 as a Trainee Sales Representative and rapidly progressed in his career having been promoted as Sales Consultant in 2010, Area Sales Manager in 2013 and Area Sales Manager-Key Accounts & Special Projects in 2017. He won the SLIM NASCO Award for the “Best Territory Manager” in 2015. Suranga holds an MBA from Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK (ICBT Campus) and completed his M. Sc in Strategic Marketing from the Asia e-University in 2014. He holds the title of “Certified Professional Marketer” awarded by Asia Marketing Federation and Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM). He has also completed Wurth Group’s “Learn to Lead” programme for Young Managers.

Tharindu Rajapaksha has over 15 years of experience at Wurth Lanka and started his career in 2005 as a Sales Representative. He was promoted as a Sales Executive and thereafter as a Sales Consultant. He then progressed to a Sales Consultant, Area Sales Supervisor and Area Sales Manager. He has been responsible for product marketing for the past several years and has successfully launched many new product categories. A winner of the Wurth Silver and Gold pins for his dedication and performance, Tharindu has been a winner of the Wurth 110% Club for many years. He has also participated in many of Wurth’s International Training Programmes while completing Wurth’s Learn to Lead programme for Young Managers.



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Dipped Products’ share price surges



By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The share price of Dipped Products in the CSE surged following the  world’s largest maker of latex gloves  shutting more than half of its factories after almost 2,500 employees tested positive for the coronavirus yesterday, market analysts said.

Malaysian based  “Top Glove” will close down 28 plants in phases as it seeks to control the outbreak, authorities said. Therefore, Dipped Products’ share price moved up by 5.4 percent or Rs. 16.90 at the end of yesterday’s trading, stock market analysts said. Its shares became the most sought after stocks among investors and its shares started trading at Rs. 314.10 and at the end of the trading it shot up to Rs. 331.

Amid those developments CSE activities were positive because two major listed companies have announced their annual dividend payment for their shareholders. Those companies were Kelani Tyres, which announced its interim dividend of Rs. 5 per share and Melstacorp’s  Rs. 2.50 per share. These two announcements  gave some impetus to the CSE yesterday, stock market analysts said.

At the end of the day both indices moved upwards. The All Share Price Index went up by 54.13 points and S and P SL20 by 18.88 points. The turnover stood at Rs. 2.5 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Lion Brewery, where 243,000 shares crossed for Rs. 127.7 million, its share price traded at Rs. 525, Dipped Products 289,000 shares crossed for Rs. 94 million, its share price traded at Rs. 330, JKH 400,000 shares crossed for Rs. 68.7 million, per share value being Rs. 146.80 and Distilleries 100 million shares crossed for Rs. 20 million; its share price trading at Rs. 20.

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Dialog Axiata’s Genie partners Eat Me Global to facilitate customers with secure e-payments



In light of the health and safety mandates given by government health authorities to minimise the public’s exposure to COVID-19, Genie, Sri Lanka’s first PCI-DSS-certified payment app, powered by Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, recently facilitated grocery and food delivery platform Eat Me Global with a seamless solution for quick and secure online payments.

Partnering over 150 restaurants and supermarkets, Eat Me Global enables customers to order their favourite food and produce online and have it delivered to their doorstep. On downloading the Eat Me Global app, Genie customers of the platform will be enabled with the option of using the Genie login to perform their payments while non-Genie customers can store their Credit/Debit Card on the Eat Me Global app which uses the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) certified Genie back-end for card storage. Once the card is stored customers can use the ‘One-Click-Pay’ option, which eliminates the need of entering card details for every purchase. Contactless delivery is then ensured once the successful payment is done. One-Click-Pay is an effective and secure alternative when transferring sensitive information, adding an extra level of security to credit and debit card payments and fast becoming a catalyst in fighting fraud whilst creating a seamless payment process.

Speaking on this integration, Group Chief Digital Services Officer of Dialog Axiata PLC, Renuka Fernando said “Genie is pleased to partner the one-stop supermarket hub, Eat Me Global. This partnership will facilitate customers with doorstep delivery of food and groceries whilst also enabling our partner merchants to adapt, change and thrive with cutting-edge tokenization technology in a new normal. Genie remains committed in supporting our partner merchants and customers alike with enhanced e-payment security and a convenient method for remote transactions and cashless payments – a catalyst for surviving and succeeding in the face of COVID-19”.

With reference to this partnership, Jude Kumar- CEO of Eat Me Global said “We want our customers to feel safe and have a seamless fast payment checkout when purchasing their groceries and food via our app, Genie has immensely helped enhance and simplify the payment experience with guaranteed safety”

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