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Combined market value of listed companies skyrockets by Rs. 1 trillion thus far in 2021

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

CSE’s local and foreign investor participation levels yesterday were notable despite the raging COVID pandemic and associated challenges, especially the country’s current economic woes. Investor interest pushed the market to an all-time high with its gain in value reaching the Rs. 1 trillion mark so far in 2021, market analysts said.

The combined market value of listed companies has skyrocketed by Rs. 1 trillion so far this year as CSE’s market capitalization amounted to Rs. 3.97 trillion, up 34 percent year-to-date (YTD). CSE ended 2020 with a market capitalization of Rs. 2.96 trillion, stock market analysts told The Island Financial Review yesterday.

Despite all odds, the stock market was able to establish three records; i.e. the highest retail turnover in history, highest number of trades and the All Share Price Index crossing 9000 (9008.22 in the early session for the first time in history), analysts said. Amid those developments both indices moved upwards. The All Share Price Index went up by 58.81 points and the S and P SL20 rose by 28.01 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 16.5 billion with seven crossings.

Those crossings were reported in Dipped products, where 3.1 million share volumes changed hands at Rs. 202.1 million, its share price being Rs. 65, Hayleys 1.1 million shares crossed for Rs. 129 million, its share price being Rs. 120, Ambeon Holdings 1.5 million shares crossed for Rs. 73.5 million, its shares traded at Rs. 49, Browns Investments five million shares crossed for Rs.38.4 million, its shares trading at Rs. 61.30, Colombo Land Development 1.1 million shares crossed for Rs. 40 million, its shares trading at Rs. 8, Sanasa Development Bank 750,000 shares crossed for Rs. 37.4 million and HNB (Non Voting) 173,000 shares crossed for Rs. 21.6 mllion, its shares fetching Rs. 125.

In the retail market, five top companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Rs. 5.05 billion (32.8 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 2.8 billion (325 million shares traded), Hayleys PLC Rs. 1.5 billion (13.8 million shares traded), Dipped Products Rs. 1.4 billion (22.8 million shares traded) and LOLC Rs. 921 million (1. 5 million shares traded).

Yesterday the market rallied round Browns Group entities and those were; Browns Investments, Brown and Company and LOLC. Those companies witnessed fresh buying interest as well. Highest contributors to the All Share Price Index were, LOLC 64.2 points, Browns Investments 61.1 points and Hayleys 13. 8 points. Highest negative contributor to the All Share Index was Commercial Leasing and Finance, which contributed 62.9 negative points to the All Share Price Index. During the day 648.6 million share volumes changed hands in 78000 transactions.

It is said high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in Lion Brewery Ceylon, Hayleys and HNB (non-voting). Mixed interest was observed in LOLC Holdings, Dipped Products and Sanasa Development Bank, while retail interest was noted in Browns Investments, Lanka Orix Finance and Expolanka Holdings.



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UNDP study shows need for wider public engagement of tax officials with taxpayers in Sri Lanka

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Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Finance and Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative, UNDP Sri Lanka at the launch of the research findings from the first ‘Taxpayer Perception Study’ in Sri Lanka

By Sanath Nanayakkare

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Inland Revenue Department, University of Moratuwa, and the National Innovation Agency of Sri Lanka co-convened the first-ever National Tax Dialogue to address contemporary issues surrounding taxation and fiscal policies in the island. The opening was attended by Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Finance and Ms. Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative, UNDP in Sri Lanka.

In light of the ongoing economic reforms and the need to bring in citizens’ perspectives, the National Dialogue drew attention to tax morale, social/fiscal contract, fairness in taxation, transparency and accountability of revenue institutions and digitalisation of public service delivery. The Dialogue launched research findings from the first ‘Taxpayer Perception Study’ in Sri Lanka, collaboratively conducted by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and UNDP in Sri Lanka. The nationally representative study revealed public perceptions on issues surrounding tax burden, evasion, trust in institutions, and experiences with revenue institutions which are particularly pertinent in the context of institutional reform.

By bringing together over 100 stakeholders representing diverse interests and perspectives including policymakers, legislators, bureaucrats, academia, professional bodies, private sector as well as civil society, the dialogue served as a platform for the exchange of opinions and sharing of insights across various awareness levels. The discussions led to a shared understanding of the importance of taxation for the achievement of SDGs and national development, and the need to enhance transparency and accountability in the use of tax revenue. The knowledge and insights generated through this dialogue will serve as a cornerstone for national policy-making institutions, providing valuable input for informed decision-making processes.

The event featured plenaries of global experts renowned for their exceptional expertise in the realm of taxation. Among them are Alex Cobham, Chief Executive of the Tax Justice Network; Lauren Kahn, Director of Strategy and Research, Public Digital UK; and Sudarshan Kasturirangan, Regional Programme Specialist for Asia Pacific for UNDP Tax for SDGs whose contributions enriched the discussions and provided invaluable perspectives on navigating the complexities of tax policies on a global scale.

Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Finance stated, “Taxation equips states with resources to progressively achieve SDGs. These revenues represent public resources that need to be deployed with a view to optimizing social returns. Considering this relationship, a national dialogue on taxation is a necessity and serves a constructive contribution to Sri Lanka’s democratic process.”

UNDP in Sri Lanka, Resident Representative, Ms. Azusa Kubota pointed out that “Sri Lanka’s economic crisis offers a historic opportunity to optimise the use of resources for SDG attainment. This entails concerted efforts to strengthen the linkages among planning, budgeting, monitoring and oversight and citizens’ engagement. Therefore, the National Tax Dialogue is timely to foster a whole-of-society understanding and commitment to improving tax morale for effective SDG attainment. The Dialogue assumes global significance, especially as the UN Secretary-General in February 2023 called for an ‘SDG Push’, a surge in investment of $500 billion annually in affordable long-term finance for developing countries.”

“One of the key recommendations stemming from the Tax Perception Survey is the need for wider public engagement of the tax officials with the taxpayers. UNDP is already supporting the Inland department (IRD) with such efforts in operationalizing solutions which are instrumental towards open and proactive communication and outreach,” she said.

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National economy grew by 5.3 per cent in Q1 2024: CBSL report

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Industry activities such as steel manufacturing grew by 11.8 per cent in Q1 2024

The national economy grew by 5.3 per cent in Q1 2024, contributed by all three major economic activities, states the weekly Economic Indicators report of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). Accordingly, Agriculture, Industry and Services activities grew by 1.1 per cent, 11.8 per cent and 2.6 per cent, respectively.

During January – April 2024, tea production registered a year-on-year decrease driven by unfavourable weather conditions, particularly in March and early April 2024. Although rubber production remained low in January – April 2024 compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, production has gained pace since the latter part of 2023. Coconut production recorded a marginal year-on-year decline in January – April 2024 due to the lingering impact of adverse weather conditions that prevailed in the first half of 2023.

Index of Industrial Production (IIP) in April 2024 increased by 10.3 per cent to 88.3 compared to April 2023, mainly contributed by the increases reported in the manufacture of Food products (10.2 per cent), Rubber and Plastic Products (39.0 per cent), and Wearing Apparels (9.1 per cent).

Meanwhile, on the monetary sector, the weekly Average Weighted Prime Lending Rate (AWPR) for the week ending 14th June 2024 decreased by 13 bps to 9.15 per cent compared to the previous week, according to the CBSL report.

In the first quarter of 2024, the country’s year-on-year GDP growth rate was estimated at a positive 5.3%, a significant improvement from the negative growth rate of 10% recorded in the same quarter of 2023. This growth is reflected in the increase in GDP from Rs. 3,161,963 million in the first quarter of 2023 to Rs. 3,329,583 million in the first quarter of 2024. This reflects a significant turnaround in the economic performance after the contraction experienced in the previous year and has positively influenced the perception of the economy, boosting confidence in the country’s economic stability and growth prospects.

In relation to this State Minister Shehan Semasinghe said on X,” In the first quarter of 2024, the country’s year-on-year GDP growth rate was estimated at a positive 5.3%, a significant improvement from the negative growth rate of 10% recorded in the same quarter of 2023. This growth is reflected in the increase in GDP from Rs. 3,161,963 million in the first quarter of 2023 to Rs. 3,329,583 million in the first quarter of 2024. This reflects a significant turnaround in the economic performance after the contraction experienced in the previous year and has positively influenced the perception of the economy, boosting confidence in the country’s economic stability and growth prospects.”

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Sri Lanka Insurance City Office branch relocated

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Chairman of Sri Lanka Insurance, Ronald C. Perera PC and Group Chief Executive Officer Chandana L. Aluthgama at the event

Sri Lanka Insurance Life (SLICLL) and Sri Lanka Insurance General (SLICGL) relocated its City Office Branch on the 12th of June 2024 to, 1st Floor, No 50, Hyde Park Corner, Colombo 02, to offer more convenient and efficient services to their customers.

The event was led by Chairman of Sri Lanka Insurance, Ronald C. Perera PC, Group Chief Executive Officer Chandana L. Aluthgama along with the senior management of SLICLL and SLICGL.

Representing Sri Lanka Insurance Life, Chief Business Officer Namalee A. Silva, Chief Officer – Life Dayarathna Perera, Acting Chief Financial Officer Sriyani Kulasinghe Weerasinghege, Deputy General Manager – Human Resource and Administration Rohitha Amarapala, Head of National Sales Jagath Welgama, Assistant General Manager – Life Chaminda Athauda, Assistant General Manager- Engineering Services Jeevantha Welihinda and Regional Manager – Western I – Upul Gamage. Also, Chief Financial Officer Malaka Bandara, Deputy General Manager- Support Services Chaminda Gunasinghe, Deputy General Manager/Head of Distribution – General Lalith De Silva, Acting Deputy General Manager – Underwriting – General Ms. Nadeera Gunawardene and Regional Manager Western I – Samantha Peiris were present representing Sri Lanka Insurance General.

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