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City of Galle also to see reclamation of land from sea

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In real estate development, this will be a ground-floor opportunity for investors, Sri Lanka government says

New tourist city designed to span on 40 hectares of reclaimed land

An investment of US$175 million sought to complete it in three years

by Sanath Nanayakkare

The government of Sri Lanka last week invited investors across the world to come and invest in building an exclusive tourist port in the ancient city of Galle in the South of Sri Lanka, founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century and extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century.

“An investment of US$175 million is sought to establish the tourist city to attract more foreign cruise vessels to boost tourism. Return on investment (ROI) from the project is to be ensured with promising demand for marina infrastructure developments and real estate developments connected with tourism,”a panel of speakers addressing the hybrid investment symposium told the potential investors.

The speakers were from Sri Lanka Ports Authority, The Board of Investments, experts knowledgeable on foreign direct investments, tax concessions and environmental aspects related to projects of this nature. They provided answers to questions from the audience that consisted of investors keen to do business with Sri Lanka.

“The proposed new tourist space is designed to span on 40 hectares of reclaimed land, taking a cue from the Port City of Colombo, Rohitha Abeygunawardana”, Minister of Shipping said.

“The project will transform Galle like Colombo in its economic and metropolitan significance creating dividends for all people in the region,” he said. The minister said that the government would be fully conscious of any environmental impacts, and therefore, the development would take place in accordance with environmental laws of the country.

“Sri Lanka Ports Authority’s plans include changing the existing port in Galle as a fully-fledged tourist port with a 150-metre length cruise berth, reclamation to increase Galle’s land area by another 40 hectares. It will feature a modern real estate business model and a state-of-the-art cruise terminal,” the panel told the participating investors.

“The project is open for potential investors through Expression of Interest (EOI) and Request for Proposal (RFP) processes ensuring a transparent bidding process,” they said.

“The proposed development project expects to avail fully-fledged facilities in the gulf of Galle to make possible the berthing of cruise ships, luxury yachts, boats, water sports and many more activities. In real estate development, this will be a ground-floor opportunity for investors to build water bungalows, villas, apartments, restaurants, hotels etc. The goal of this development project is to ensure that everything is within the leisure traveller’s reach,” they said.

“This is a unique and valuable investment opportunity to investors who are looking to thrive on the tourism sector and earn a higher return on their investment. The development venture is going to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs for local communities sand help fulfill the macroeconomic objectives of achieving people-centric economic aspirations, Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, Minister of Plantation and Galle District MP told The Island Financial Review.

The two minister assured that both local and foreign investors would be facilitated expeditiously when they have made their bids.

The project is to be completed in 3 years and the government expects the project will help increase annual tourist arrivals up to seven million.



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Manudam Mehewara Initiative by Dialog, MAS, Hemas & CBL reach 10,000 families, invites all corporates to Join its countrywide emergency relief mission

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Emergency relief is currently being distributed across all 25 districts

In a mission to provide emergency relief to the most vulnerable communities across the country amidst the ongoing economic crisis, the ‘Manudam Mehewara’ initiative reached its first milestone of aiding over 10,000 families in-need.

 Joining hands with like-minded partners including its execution partner Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement and independent auditor PwC Sri Lanka, Manudam Mehewara was initiated by Dialog Axiata PLC, MAS Holdings, Hemas Holdings PLC, and CBL Group with the end goal of providing emergency support to over 200,000 vulnerable families and communities across the country that do not have access to essential supplies and basic necessities. ITN, Siyatha, Swarnawahini, TV Derana and Vasantham are also supporting the initiative as media partners.

Emergency relief is currently being distributed across all 25 districts, and the Manudam Mehewara programme will conduct its relief efforts until a sustainable benefit transfer system is established through an effective recovery plan. Manudam Mehewara invites all corporates to join our shared mission to support over 200,000 vulnerable families across Sri Lanka.

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Ninewells Hospital raises awareness on thyroid disease in newborns to commemorate World Thyroid Day 2022

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Ninewells Hospital, Sri Lanka’s leading woman and childcare hospital in the private sector, commemorates World Thyroid Day on 25th May by emphasising the significance of early detection and treatment of Congenital Hypothyroidism among newborns in Sri Lanka.

Congenital hypothyroidism (CHT) is a condition affecting infants from birth, and refers to an absent thyroid gland or a thyroid gland that is present but is unable to produce adequate thyroid hormones. On average, 1 in 4,000 babies are born with a severe form of CHT in Sri Lanka, while milder forms can be seen more commonly. If left untreated, the condition can affect brain development as well as normal growth in children and adolescents. Conversely, if detected and treated early, the damaging effects of CHT can be reversed and prevented completely.

“As Sri Lanka’s leading private sector childcare health service provider, we want to draw attention to the serious implications of Congenital Hypothyroidism on World Thyroid Day this year. Congenital Hypothyroidism is a condition which has a detrimental impact on postnatal development. For this reason, early detection and treatment is vital and should ideally begin within the first two weeks after birth,” said Dr. Vibash Wijeratne, Chief Operations Officer and Director, Ninewells Hospital.

In 2021 Ninewells Hospital unveiled a Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) testing facility to support Sri Lanka’s national program for screening newborns for CHT and the country’s vision for a healthier population. Since then, the hospital has carried out over 8,000 tests in 2021 and over 2,000 tests between January and May of 2022.

With the unveiling, Ninewells Hospital became the first in the private sector to introduce a TSH screening machine and became one of the only two hospitals in the country to offer this screening service.

“The screening for CHT is a simple process that is performed using a heel prick test. At Ninewells, the test report following the screening is issued within a short span of three days which is unprecedented in the country. This allows healthcare providers to begin immediate treatment to avoid development impediments in newborns and infants,” Dr. Wijeratne also said.

Ninewells Hospital is Sri Lanka’s premier women’s and children’s hospital in the private sector, providing a variety of specialty services such as Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Paediatrics, and Fertility. The hospital, which is backed by the Access Group of Companies’ visionary leadership, continues to push boundaries and raise the bar for women’s and children’s healthcare in Sri Lanka.

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SL plunges into worst economic contraction in the wake of dramatic currency collapse – CBSL Governor

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Sri Lanka will witness the worst economic contraction in its history, as it reels from a currency collapse of the rupee from 200 to 370 to the US dollar and interest rates contracted above 20 per cent, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe said.

“Sri Lanka is going through severe fuel shortages and power cuts after the credibility of a soft-peg was broken by mis-targeted interest rates in the course of targeting an output gap (printing money to boost growth) under the Keynesian ideology, Weerasinghe said while addressing the Press Club of the Sri Lanka Press Institute. The event was held at the Colombo Hilton on Monday.

Weerasinghe added: “At this juncture we cannot make normal imports for the next three to six months. Industries are saying there is no raw material. Only essential imports can be made on a priority basis in order to maintain day- to- day activities.

‘Sri Lanka’s economy contracted 3.6 per cent in 2020 amid the Coronavirus crisis and it also contracted 1.5 per cent in 2001, after a soft-peg crisis amid a civil war.

‘The latest failure of the unstable peg with the US dollar came after the Central Bank printed over two trillion rupees over two years to mis-target interest rates, leading to a steep collapse of the currency and a correction of the interest rates back to around 20 to 25 per cent.

‘The economic crisis has also spilled over into a political crisis and social unrest.

‘The rupee’s 2022 fall to 380 to the US dollar from 200 to the dollar is the worst currency crisis created by the soft-pegged Central Bank in its 72- year- old history.

‘The money printing Central Bank created its first economic crisis and output shock in 1953, bringing down growth to 0.7 per cent after triggering a now famous “hartal”.

‘An Exchange Control Act was also enacted in 1952 as the printed money from the newly set up Central Bank scrambled to go out, in a phenomenon that was repeated multiple times over the next 70 years and dragged the country into 16 IMF programs.

‘The unstable Central Bank was set up by a US money doctor in 1950 in the style of Argentina’s BCRA, abolishing a Currency Board that had kept the country stable through two World Wars and the Great Depression, where money printing above the external anchor was outlawed.

‘The worst recorded crises in the country include the 1948 uprising against the then colonial administration which took place after the British railway bubble burst, commodity prices fell and the then colonial government upped taxes. However, there is no information on the economic contraction that year.

‘Sri Lanka’s citizens burnt the houses and property of the elected ruling class on May 9, after the unstable peg collapsed in a botched float where interest rates were not allowed to go up before the float and a surrender rule pushed the rupee down.

‘Interest rates were allowed to go up after my appointment as CBSL Governor and the economy is now slowing and the headlong crash of the rupee peg has slowed.’

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