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CBSL continues accommodative monetary policy stance

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The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, at its meeting held on November 25, decided to maintain the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) of the Central Bank at their current levels of 4.50 per cent and 5.50 per cent, respectively.

The Board arrived at this decision after carefully considering the macroeconomic conditions and expected developments on the domestic and global fronts. The Board, having noted the reduction in overall market lending rates so far during the year, stressed the need for a continued downward adjustment in lending rates to boost economic growth in the absence of demand driven inflationary pressures, particularly considering the significant levels of excess liquidity prevailing in the domestic money market.

In order to support the economic revival, the Board decided to introduce maximum interest rates on mortgage backed housing loans for salaried workers, while lending targets for selected sectors of the economy will be introduced in the near future. The second wave of COVID-19 has destabilised global growth prospects, but vaccine expectations have helped improve sentiments. Accommodative monetary policies adopted by almost all central banks across the globe continued amidst weak economic activity. Growing uncertainty, triggered by the second wave of COVID-19, has led central banks to further expand unconventional policy measures, including quantitative easing, while governments with adequate fiscal space continued to provide additional stimulus to their respective economies.

However, the recent breakthroughs in relation to COVID-19 vaccines have helped improve sentiments worldwide.

The Sri Lankan economy was seen as having recovered strongly during the third quarter of 2020, before the disruptions caused by the second wave of COVID-19

Available economic indicators suggest a notable recovery in economic activity in the third quarter of 2020. The onset of the second wave of COVID-19 in October adversely affected this momentum to some extent. However, the impact of the containment measures on economic activity is not expected to be large, as mobility restrictions were imposed only in selected areas, and most of these restrictions have already been lifted in many areas.

Despite this disturbance to the near term growth prospects, the economy is expected to rebound strongly in 2021 and sustain its growth momentum over the medium term, supported by the stimulus measures already in place and the effective implementation of the pro-growth policy proposals announced in the Government Budget 2021.

External sector remains resilient amidst challenging global developments Provisional data indicate that the deficit in the trade account continued to narrow significantly, on a year-on-year basis, for the sixth consecutive month in October 2020. Workers’ remittances increased for five consecutive months.



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SLT-MOBITEL AkazaLMS enables corporate employee capability development

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As SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT solutions service provider, continues to play a pivotal role in driving Sri Lanka’s digital transformation through its Cloud-managed offering, SLT-Mobitel AkazaLMS takes centre-stage as the nation’s leading Learning Management System (LMS). SLT-Mobitel AkazaLMS offers a unique, locally developed, comprehensive enterprise learning solution designed to cater to diverse training needs without compromising on quality.

Commenting on the initiative Chief Enterprise & Wholesale Officer of SLT, Lakmal Jayasinghe said “Especially in today’s competitive environment where human capital is more important than ever, companies need to create a learning strategy that aligns to robust curricula, employing relevant and available learning methods and technology. Addressing this need, SLT-Mobitel AkazaLMS Cloud is an enterprise e-learning solution hosted in Sri Lanka on the top of a private cloud, providing corporate and institutional customers the ability to deliver their own learning material to their users with zero cost infrastructure. With greater convenience and without additional IT resources, customers have access to their own training needs via a simple web browser”.

Empowering corporates and educational institutes, SLT-Mobitel AkazaLMS is a comprehensive locally developed platform, containing a self-portal where the user develops their own e-learning and purchase it as a SaaS product. Especially during these challenging times, when classroom lectures are not possible and distance learning methods vital, the SLT-Mobitel AkazaLMS facilitates exams, assignments, quizzes, etc. tailor-made and customised for corporates and educational institutes targeting their own specific needs.

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LIOC shows stability in earnings and margins compared to volatility during previous years

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First Capital expects stability in LIOC earnings and margins ahead, compared to the significant volatility witnessed during the previous years.

“With the new pricing formula, we expect a stable outlook for LIOC which is currently trading at a TTM PER of 7.5x on FY22 earnings while also trading at a PBV of 1.5x”, they said.

“The government’s implementation of the new fuel pricing formula on 24th May 22 includes all costs incurred in importing, unloading, distributing to the stations and taxes. With that, fuel prices will be revised on a monthly basis, and if necessary, it will be reviewed every two weeks. Accordingly, the next price revision was scheduled for 24th Jun 22. Considering the price revision, In addition to that, Sri Lanka’s Cabinet has approved a bill to impose a 2.5% tax on companies with an annual turnover of LKR 120.0Mn, which will only have a marginal effect on company margins.”

“With regards to investment in joint venture, LIOC has invested in Trinco Petroleum Terminal (Pvt) Ltd (TPT) in Jan-22 and acquired 49% of the stake with CPC which holds 51% of the ownership of TPT in order to develop 61 tanks at the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm and allied facilities in the Upper Tank Farm of the China Bay Oil Tank Farm. Also, LIOC has entered into a Lease of State Land with the Government of Sri Lanka for a term of fifty years to develop the Lower Tank Farm of the China Bay Oil Tank Farm,” First Capital said.

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Apprenticeship programme in partnership with Hatch MakerStudio and Vocational Training Authority

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From left: : Krishantha Pathiraja, Chairman at Palmyrah Development Board, Florian Manderschied, Head Maker at Hatch MakerStudio, Brindha Selvadurai, CEO and Co- Founder, Hatch, Eranga Basnayake, CEO and Chairman of Vocational Training Authority, Mahesh Ariyarathne, Vice Chairman of VTA

The next generation of Sri Lanka’s industry workforce is currently studying at Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutes (​​TVET) all over the country. Since the manufacturing technology is under permanent development, the requirements for TVET graduates have also evolved. In order to address the industry’s needs for skilled and competent workers, the Vocational Training Authority and Hatch MakerStudio have joined forces to pilot an innovative apprenticeship programme.

The apprenticeship programme is designed for students in the field of mechatronics, robotics, automation and CNC-technologies and is focusing on the upskill, entrepreneurial mindset and problem solving capabilities. Together with industry partners, the selected apprentices will undergo a one month training programme at Hatch MakerStudio before being placed in the companies. The programme comprises of:

Product development training

Software and rapid prototyping training

Problem solving and design thinking exercises

During the course of the apprenticeship, Hatch MakerStudio will provide supervision and support for both the apprentices and companies, in order to ensure effective skills development and utilization of working power. Students with their own specific product ideas and business models can choose Hatch MakerStudio as their place of apprenticeship.

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