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Celebrating women and achieving an equal future in a pandemic world



Daraz, Sri Lanka’s largest online market place, has decided to hero the women of Sri Lanka, a little bit extra this Women’s Day. This International Women’s day, the world is embarking on a #ChoosetoChallenge campaign, aimed at inspiring a world that is more aware of the plight of women and therefore more inclined to change.

The International Women’s Day Missions for 2021 include celebrating women in tech and innovation, applauding equality for women in sport, educating women on health choice decisions, building inclusive workplaces so women can thrive, increasing visibility of women creatives and forging women’s empowerment worldwide.

As an online platform, Daraz has contributed greatly to celebrating women in tech and innovation. To further emphasize the contributions made by women, Daraz is creating a separate platform on the site on Women’s Day to uplift all women sellers. With over 800 women entrepreneurs selling more than 20,000 products ranging from electronics to groceries, clothes, fashion, accessories, cosmetics and toys, bags and a range of handmade products, Daraz is aiming at empowering the women of Sri Lanka. Over two million rupees’ worth of investment will be borne by Daraz and its women entrepreneurs on a free shipping promotion this Women’s Day.

By giving them a platform through which to showcase their innovation and creativity, Daraz is ensuring the increased visibility of Sri Lankan women’s creatives. By streamlining a platform to allow women to take the reins in their own lives, Daraz has shown their commitment to the welfare and development of opportunities for women, on a large scale. Speaking to Sheromi Priyadharshani, who after retirement from the army, was able to start focusing on her passion in making stuffed toys and handlooms, she said, “I am from a small town where there isn’t enough visibility for my products but thanks to Daraz, I am able to sell my products island-wide. I am thankful to Daraz for this opportunity.”

With specific focus on the mission of forging women’s empowerment, Daraz has already paved the way for numerous women, young and old who have utilized the online platform to sell their own products, passed down through generations or enable creative outlets for those no longer employed full-time. It is not an isolated incident designed specifically for Women’s Day. Daraz has facilitated the chance for numerous women across the country to make a name for themselves. By encouraging independence and self-sufficiency not only via their online marketplace but also through numerous educational and training schemes, Daraz aims at being a pillar of support to the women of Sri Lanka.

Nishadi Edirisinghe, the founder of Dreamy Collections adds, “I found out about Daraz when I was shopping online. Inspired by what I saw, I thought that I too could start my own business straight from the comfort of my own home. The online marketplace is increasingly more popular so after attending a workshop, I was able to set up my own business through Daraz. Any woman can easily set up their own business and sell via Daraz.”

Numerous other women sellers have been able to kick-start their careers from the comforts of their homes thanks to Daraz, who has encouraged them to take their futures into their own hands.

Conversing with Muditha Premarathne of Daraz, “We believe that women play an important role in the future of our country. Women sellers are important contributors to our platform and we would not be able to carry out our services successfully without them. By ensuring that our women sellers feel empowered and motivated to pursue their passions and dreams, we believe that we are contributing to the future of our country. These women deserve a spotlight on their efforts and by empowering them, we hope to encourage the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

Daraz is more than just a one-stop shop. They are investors in the future of Sri Lanka and in the sustainability of women-led businesses, which they believe go hand-in-hand. By supporting self-sufficiency of women and providing training schemes to assist them as they navigate the online marketplace, they have chosen to challenge themselves and the rest of the country, to take note of and empower women.

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‘Govt. lacks mechanism to recover USD 40 billion spirited out of SL from 2008 to 2018’




By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The government doesn’t have any mechanism to recover the USD 40 billion that was siphoned out of the country illegally from 2008 to 2018 by Sri Lanka’s business elites, Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Peradeniya Dr. Kalpa Rajapaksha said.

“Most people think that the IMF loan is a victory for Sri Lanka without knowing its risk factors. These are exceptionally high because one of the main impacts would be for the banking sector whose liquidity is due to weaken on account of high tax impositions and certain economic reforms, Dr. Rajapaksha told The Island Financial Review.

Dr. Rajapaksha added: ‘The tax relief given during President Gotabaya Rajapaksha’s tenure triggered this issue, which cost government coffers more than Rs 450 billion. However, Sri Lanka has to carefully follow IMF recommendations taking its history into consideration. It is said that Greece and Ethiopia and several other countries absolutely failed by following IMF recommendations in the past.

‘We are in the dark as to the method of economic recovery because the government is attending to deeper, burning issues in the country, such as reduction of poverty and ending economic inequities.

‘The imposition of heavy taxes on people, especially professionals, via a wealth tax and a heritage tax by 2025 and the increasing of direct taxes, such as VAT, on low income classes, without taking into account the need for a wage hike, will iraise the poverty level and widen wealth inequalities.

‘Inflation at the global level is very high and strategies are required to increase exports and cut down the heavy import dependency of the economy. This is a prerequisite to address all economic woes.

‘The previous ruling party squandered and stole billions of dollars but the present government not having any plan to recover that money is a tragedy. Therefore, promoting neo- liberal principles is impossible under the current corruption scenario.

‘Further, the IMF has set the target of reducing the debt to GDP ratio to 0.7 per cent in 2023, along with their recommendations. Many people doubt the achievability of these aims.’

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Global banking sector instabilities affect local bourse



By Hiran H.Senewiratne

CSE trading got off to a positive start but later turned negative yesterday due to huge selling pressure. The reasons being investor worries over a domestic debt restructuring mechanism after having secured the IMF loan and the negative global scenario when it comes to the banking sector, market analysts said.

According to analysts, during the last week strategically important banks in the global economic system went through credit default swaps, especially Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and Credit Suisse Group AG. But another leading European Corporate Bank possibly facing a credit default swap, created some ripple effects for economies like Sri Lanka, analysts said.

The All- Share Price Index went down by 134.1 points and S and P SL20 declined by 51.6 points. Turnover stood at Rs 871 million with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in NDB, which crossed 1.2 million shares to the tune of Rs 51.6 million; its shares traded at Rs 43 and Aitken Spence 772,000 shares crossed for Rs 47.1 million, its shares traded at Rs 61.

In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, SLT Rs 82 million (717,000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 52.8 million (8.2 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 50.1 million (298,000 shares traded), Tokyo Cement (Non- Voting) Rs 36.5 million (388,000 shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 33.6 million (251,000 shares traded), ALC Cables Rs 33.3 million (406,000 shares traded) and Sunshine Holdings Rs 27.2 million (633,000 shares traded). During the day 45.4 million share volumes changed hands in 15000 transactions.

The market is generating revenue from SLT over news of it being divested; moreover, there has been interest for the hotel and tourism indexes, since tourist arrivals and earnings have been attractive, an analyst said.

It is said that Treasury bond yields opened steady on Monday, while the rupee opened weaker at spot market, dealers said.

A 01.07.2025 bond was quoted at 30.75/31.00 per cent on Monday, up from 30.90/31.20 per cent on Friday. A 15.09.2027 bond was quoted at 28.00/70 per cent, up from 28.00/50 per cent from Friday. The Sri Lanka rupee opened at 322/325 against the US dollar, weaker from 320/325 a day earlier.

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Holding ‘Raid Amazones’ for second consecutive year in SL, a rare honour for her – Head of Marketing Srilankan Airlines



Flying start to ‘Raid Amazones'

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

More than 250 female French athletes arrived in Sri Lanka for the challenging ‘Raid Amazones’ adventure event that took place last week in Kandy. They arrived in Sri Lanka for the second consecutive year, which was a big achievement for the country when it comes to the tourism sector, Head of Marketing SriLankan Airlines Saminda Perera said.

“For the first time in ‘Raid Amazones’ history they selected one country for two consecutive years, which could be considered a great honour for Sri Lanka. This would enable more French tourists to arrive in Sri Lanka in the future, Perera told the media recently during the event in Kandy. ‘Raid Amazones’ will hit the streets of the fabled hill capital, Kandy, with the participation of over 250 female athletes.

‘Raid Amazones’ is a well-known annual destination adventure event originating in France, which features female athletes competing their way through a range of challenges, such as, orienteering, mountain biking, canoeing, riding, running and archery.

“Sri Lanka was chosen over rival destinations by the event’s founders due to the unparalleled warmth of its people and support on the ground to pull off a successful event. Their decision is also due to SriLankan Airlines’ tireless marketing efforts to secure the popular trail on successive occasions for Sri Lanka in its hour of need for international tourism support, Perera said.

Saminda Perera

Tourism sources added: “During the 21st edition of the trail, the participants will be able to connect with a potpourri of natural and historical highlights as they trek through the Kandyan plateau in Central Sri Lanka.

“Their journey, though, would begin from the moment that they step onboard SriLankan Airlines to fly from Paris to Colombo, on an aircraft dedicated to ‘Raid Amazones 2023’.

“Named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kandy, the iconic setting of ‘Raid Amazones 2023’, is renowned for two of the most recognizable cultural symbols that define Sri Lanka.

“SriLankan Airlines partnered Raid Amazones in 2022 soon after recommencing operations to Paris.

“SriLankan Airlines, together with Connaissance de Ceylan, the official ground- handling partner of the event, will go all out to ensure that the French group experiences the best in Sri Lankan hospitality.

“This event will especially help create more awareness of Sri Lanka as an adventure travel hotspot among French travellers and the rest of Europe, where ‘Raid Amazones’ is sought-after and attracts adventure-seekers.”

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