‘CB continues to maintain equilibrium between capital formation and economic growth’
by Sanath Nanayakkare
The Monetary Board of the Central Bank has noted the need to continue the monetary policy support to maintaining the trend of declining lending rates which is crucial for capital formation, which in turn increases investment and helps boost the economic activities post-pandemic, Central Bank Governor Prof. W.D Lakshman said yesterday.
He made this comment when the Central Bank announced its third Monetary Policy Review for the Year 2021.
Lakshman added: “The Central Bank is on a monetary policy easing cycle for almost two years now. The subdued growth which prevailed in 2019 was exacerbated by the pandemic in 2020. Warranted monetary policy easing on an unprecedented scale along side fiscal policy support and intervention by the Central Bank with measures such as policy rate reduction and large liquidity injections helped many businesses and individuals to avoid severe hardships.”
“We are beginning to see the impact of bold policy measures reflected in the sharp turnaround in economic activities, favourable developments in employment, improved credit conditions helping the economic revival and faster than expected rebound in a number of high frequency economic endeavors.”
The following are some excerpts from the statement issued by the Central Bank on its monetary policy stance.
“The merchandise trade deficit continued to narrow during January 2021, while preliminary data for February 2021 showed a further reduction in the trade deficit, driven by a larger contraction in expenditure on imports over earnings from exports. Workers’ remittances continued to record a healthy growth thus far in 2021 and this momentum is expected to continue in the remainder of the year. The tourism sector is expected to recover gradually with the opening of the borders along with the successful rollout of vaccinations locally and globally.”
“Meanwhile, the Central Bank and the government continue to engage with investment and lending partners to secure foreign financing and remain committed to honouring foreign currency debt service obligations on time. Although the Sri Lankan rupee experienced some volatility recently, the continuation of the existing restrictions on non-essential imports and certain foreign exchange outflows, among others, is expected to help cushion pressures in the domestic foreign exchange market. Gross official reserves were estimated at US dollars 4.1 billion (excluding the swap facility with the PBOC), with an import cover of 3 months, at end March 2021.”
“Growth of credit extended to the private sector gathered pace in February 2021. This momentum is expected to continue, supported by low lending rates, surplus liquidity in the domestic money market and the expected rise in lending to micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) sector. Credit to the public sector, particularly net credit to the government, from the banking system continued to grow, resulting in a notable expansion of domestic credit and an acceleration of broad money growth.”
Share investors worried over Wealth and Heritage tax
By Hiran H Senewiratne
CSE trading kicked off on a positive note yesterday but the momentum could not be sustained for long owing to investor worries that the government is planning domestic debt restructuring involving the imposition of a wealth and heritage tax on citizens, market sources said.
Amid those developments both indices moved downwards. The All -Share Price Index went down by 131 points and S and P SL-20 declined by 46.8 points. Turnover stood at Rs 3.4 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Agalawattte Plantations, which crossed 45.3 million shares to the tune of Rs 1.5 billion, its shares traded at Rs 35, CTC 420,000 shares crossed for Rs 269 million and its shares traded at Rs 640, Cargills 100,000 shares crossed to the tune of Rs 24.5 million; its shares traded at Rs 245 and Hayleys 300,000 shares crossed for Rs 24 million; its shares traded at Rs 80.
In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, SLT Rs 234 million (two million shares traded), Hayleys RS 121 million (1.5 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 106 million (115,000 shares traded), Softlogic Capital Rs 69 million (5.6 million shares traded), CTC Rs 65.3 million (101,000 shares traded), Sampath Bank RS 54.7 million (one million shares traded) and Commercial Bank RS 52.5 million (801,000 shares traded).During the day 164 million share volumes changed hands in 20000 transactions.
Brandix ‘RightToRead’ initiative gains momentum enriching Sri Lanka students and transforming learning
Inspired by the challenge to provide Sri Lankan children with better access to learning materials and the transformative power to read and comprehend English, Brandix launched the ‘RightToRead’ project in 2018 in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
Accordingly, Brandix introduced the ‘ReadToMe’ English learning tool, created by English Helper – India, to improve reading and comprehension skills of Sri Lankan students. Last Monday, Julie Chung, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, visited Susamayawardhana Vidyalaya in Borella, to observe progress of the project and experience how children and educators in Sri Lanka engage with educational technology.
Brandix Lanka Limited, Director, Ajit Johnpillai, said: “Education is the most powerful tool to enrich communities and futures, and Brandix is committed to build a strong foundation for transformational learning for students across Sri Lanka. The progress we have made with RiteToRead over the past two years is promising, and the potential for change in the education sector harnessing such digital technologies is immeasurable. Brandix will continue its commitment to deliver Inspired Solutions for the people of Sri Lanka.”
Dialog TV Boosts Resilience and Capacity with Norsat Satellite Earth Station
Hytera, a leading global provider of professional communications technologies and solutions, is proud to announce the successful deployment of a new backup satellite station for Dialog TV, Sri Lanka’s No.1 satellite Pay TV service provider. The project was fulfilled in 2022 by Hytera and its subsidiary specialized in Satellite Communications (SatCom), Norsat International Inc. The new station enhances the resilience and capacity of Dialog TV’s existing system and ensures continuity of service in the event of damage due to natural disasters.
Dialog TV provides coverage over the entirety of Sri Lanka through the Intelsat 38 Ku-band satellite. As the business expanded, it opted for a backup solution to support its existing satellite station and to strengthen the network’s disaster tolerance.
Hytera and Norsat provided an end-to-end satellite earth station solution that includes the installation, integration, and setup of satellite antennas, a transmission and receiving system, a new network management system (NMS), and a carrier monitoring system (CMS). The NMS makes routine work easier and simpler for on-duty staff, as equipment status, parameter monitoring and configuration, and remote control of the devices can be viewed and accomplished via a single interface. The CMS monitors the carrier spectrum status of satellite signals in real-time and ensures stable signal transmission and receiving.
“We are excited to have been able to work with Dialog TV on this important project,” said Kevin Sun, Sales Director for Hytera South Asia, “Our ability to seamlessly integrate our new equipment and software with Dialog TV’s existing systems has helped to ensure a stable and reliable service for their millions of customers across Sri Lanka.”
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