By Hiran H.Senewiratne
Sri Lanka’s 2021 GDP growth prospects seem positive despite the economy contracting by 1.7 per cent and 16.3 per cent in the first and second quarters of 2020. However, the economy rebounded in the third quarter of 2020 and registered a growth of 1.5 per cent, Central Bank Governor Prof. W. D.Lakshman said.
“However, the second wave of COVID-19 is expected to have dampened the momentum in the fourth quarter of 2020. Accordingly, the economy is expected to have contracted by around 3.9 per cent in 2020, Central Bank Governor said while releasing the CBSL monetary policy review yesterday.
“Nevertheless, the economy is well poised to rebound in 2021, supported by the unprecedented policy stimulus measures introduced by the government and the Central Bank, improved domestic economic sentiments, alongside the improving prospects of the global economy, Lakshman told the media online.
He said the Monetary Board has decided to continue with its accommodative monetary policy stance.
Headline inflation is projected to remain subdued in the near term and improvements in domestic supply conditions are expected to ease price pressures on a sustained basis.
The Central Bank Governor also said the CBSL will continue to monitor domestic and global macroeconomic and financial market developments and take further measures appropriately to ensure that the economy promptly reverts to its true potential of a high growth trajectory, while maintaining inflation in the targeted 4-6 per cent range under its flexible inflation targeting framework.
Accordingly, the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, at its meeting held on January 18, 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 percent and 5.50 percent, respectively.
The Board arrived at this decision after carefully considering the macroeconomic conditions and expected developments on the domestic and global fronts, Governor Lakshman said.
“The Board, having noted the reduction in overall market lending rates during 2020, 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, Lakshman explained.
As announced in November 2020, the Board decided to introduce priority sector lending targets for the micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSME) sector to support a broad-based economic revival, in consultation with the banking community.
‘Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product is projected to grow 6.0 percent in 2021, recovering from a 3.9 percent slump in 2020, Central Bank’s Director of Economic Research Chandranath Amarasekara said.
‘We now expect the economy to record a growth of 6 percent, Amarasekara told the media.
SLIIT Business School hosts first International Conference on Sustainable and Digital Business 2022
SLIIT Business School conducted the first-ever International Conference on Sustainable and Digital Business 2022 (ICSDB) on 1st and 2nd December. The Conference presented ICSDB Excellence Awards to selected winners, recognizing distinct sustainable and digital business initiatives.
Keynote speakers at the event included Professor John Bessant, Emeritus Professor of Exeter University, Professor Jaideep Prabhu of the Judge Business School of the University of Cambridge and Professor Muthu De Silva of Birkbeck, University of London. The main address on the second day of the conference was delivered by Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
The ICSDB Excellence Awards 2022, recognized Sri Lankan enterprises who had initiated digital business initiatives, and were established as beneficial to various stakeholders under the ICSDB Index criteria of Ingenuity, Continuity, Scope, Deployment and Benefits. The ICSD Excellence Awards presented accolades under Gold, Silver and Bronze categories. An eminent group of judges including practicing managers from industries, representatives of industry bodies, and academics comprised the panel to select the winners.
USAID launch Island Plastic Challenge to help consumer goods companies address plastic waste
Island Climate Initiative
In support of the Ministry of Environment’s policy on plastic waste reduction, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) partner, Island Climate Initiative (ICI) under USAID’s global Clean Cities Blue Ocean Program, is calling on innovators around the world to design solutions to help Sri Lanka’s leading consumer goods companies reduce their plastic footprint.
Successful applicants whose solutions best address consumer goods companies’ top single-use plastic challenges will get the opportunity to pitch their technology to leading companies at a solution showcase that will be held in early 2023. Winners’ solutions may be implemented contributing to global efforts to reduce the more than eleven million tons of plastic that enter the ocean each year. The online challenge platform is now publicly open for applications at www.islandplasticchallenge.com. Innovators and start-ups, both local and overseas, are all invited to apply.
“USAID strongly believes that successful development initiatives are achieved through partnerships and collaboration. We look forward to working with Island Climate Initiative as they identify and facilitate the piloting of viable and scalable solutions to change the way we produce, consume, and manage plastic packaging waste to stem the tide of ocean plastic pollution.,” said USAID Sri Lanka and Maldives Economic Growth Advisor Mark Peters.
Cinnamon Hotels inks MoU with Skills for inclusive growth
Cinnamon Hotel Management Ltd. (CHML) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Australian Government-funded Skills for Inclusive Growth Program (S4IG), managed by Palladium International Group, to achieve several strategic results through cooperation recently signed at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo. S4IG is a program of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in accordance with the terms of a subsidiary agreement signed on March 31, 2022, between DFAT and the Sri Lankan State Ministry of Skills Development, Vocational Training, Research, and Innovation.
The MoU sets out the terms on which S4IG will plan and implement specified activities to support the reality TV show Supreme Chef Season 03. It is an exciting collaboration between the Australian Government’s aid program and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training. The intervention’s goal is to promote the hospitality industry, specifically cooking, as a viable career option for Sri Lankans. Following the success of seasons 1 and 2, this season is being delivered on a national scale. Through food experiences and culinary art challenges, the season brings together government agencies and private training institutes to support industry and highlight tourism in the country and specifically to address chronic skills shortage in kitchen.
By signing the MoU, CHML acts as the hospitality partner in providing a location for filming related to the show and assisting with the wider goals of the show, mainly to promote the local destinations and regional food specialties as well as provide internship and employment opportunities to the public. CHML will provide six-month internship opportunities for on-the-job training for the top 20 contestants of Supreme Chef Season 3, with the possibility of long-term employment at the end of the internship, and also one year of guaranteed employment for the top three female contestants of Supreme Chef Season 3. The future of the hospitality industry and, indeed, the economy depends on the quality of its human capital, and this partnership aims to elevate the skills and knowledge of the youth. Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, as a hospitality trendsetter, intends to remain at the forefront of improving and upskilling the industry where possible, and this partnership with S4IG is one such shining example.
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