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Deficit in trade account during January- April widened to $ 2.94 billion

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The cumulative deficit in the trade account during January – April widened to $ 2.94 billion from $ 2.69 billion recorded over the same period in 2020.

Central Bank said both exports and imports were significantly higher in April, compared to the lockdown period in April 2020, although both were lower compared to March. Cumulatively, exports were up 29.6% to $ 3.8 billion in the first four months of 2021, whilst imports were up 20% to $ 6.7 billion of which non-fuel imports were up 17.6% to $ 5.35 billion.Central Bank said the major contributory factors for this outcome were sharp rise in value of fuel imports, machinery and equipment, textiles and textile articles, chemical products and plastics and articles thereof. Recording the highest ever value for a month of April, earnings from merchandise exports in April increased by 189.8% to $ 818 million, from a significantly low value of $ 282 million recorded in April 2020 amidst the island wide lockdown measures due to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.Earnings from exports in April, however, were 25.2% lower than the export earnings of $ 1,094 million recorded in March, reflecting the impact of the beginning of the third wave of the pandemic and the festive holiday-related developments in April.Earnings from all subsectors of industrial goods exports improved substantially by 302.5% to $ 647 million in April, YOY. On a month-on-month basis, earnings from industrial exports declined by 22.0%, except for the subsector of petroleum products; leather, travel goods and footwear (mainly footwear); animal fodder (mainly dog/cat food); and printing industry products (mainly currency notes). Earnings from textiles and garments; rubber products; machinery and mechanical appliances; and gems, diamonds and jewellery mainly recorded declines compared to March. Meanwhile, earnings from the export of petroleum products improved in April over the preceding month due to higher exports of naphtha, while earnings from bunker and aviation fuel declined with the significant reduction in volumes of aviation fuel and bunkering fuel supplied to aircraft and ship arrivals, despite the increase in the average prices of these export products.Export earnings from all subsectors related to agricultural goods increased by 37.7% to $ 165.6 million in April, compared to a year ago, though contracted by 35.6% compared to March. Despite higher export prices, export earnings from tea declined substantially compared to the previous month due to lower export volumes. In addition, export earnings from spices (mainly cinnamon, pepper and cloves), coconut (both kernel and non-kernel products), seafood and minor agricultural products declined notably in April over March.  Earnings from all subsectors under mineral exports were also higher in April (by 332.9%) than export earnings in April 2020, but lower (by 10.3%) than export earnings in March. The decline in April over March reflected lower earnings from subsectors of earths and stone (mainly quartz), and ores, slag and ash (mainly titanium ores).The export volume index and the unit value index increased by 182.0% and 2.8%, respectively, on a YOY basis, in April. This indicates that the increase in export earnings was due to the combined impact of higher export volumes and prices.Expenditure on merchandise imports in April increased by 52.1% to $ 1.7 billion from low import expenditure of $ 1.12 billion in April 2020, when the effects of the first wave of the pandemic and low global petroleum prices were present. The YOY increase in the import expenditure was driven by the increase in imports of intermediate and investment goods. However, import expenditure in April was considerably lower (by 11.4%) compared to March ($ 1.92 billion), although import values in both March and April were higher than pre-pandemic levels.With declines recorded in both food and beverages and non-food consumer good categories, expenditure on the importation of consumer goods in April declined by 7.9%, compared to April 2020 and by 26.6% compared to March. 



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SLT-MOBITEL powers ANANKE IoT Services to shine at Globee® Awards

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SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT, Telecommunications and Mobile Services Provider, is proud to announce its partner ANANKE IoT Services (Pvt) Ltd has been conferred a Gold award under the ‘Start-up of the Year – IT Category’ at the 16th Annual 2021 IT World Awards. Organizers of the world’s premier business awards programs and business ranking lists, The Globee® Awards; recognised ANANKE IoT’s Smart Bins Project, powered by NB-IoT technology from SLT-MOBITEL, the undisputed leader of IoT services and related digital transformation in Sri Lanka.

SLT-MOBITEL’s NB-IoT network enables the entire device connectivity chain of the Smart Bins Project and is Sri Lanka’s only such network to-date. NB-IoT is the GSMA standard for Low-Power-Wide-Area Internet of Things connectivity, which is particularly suited to ensure the battery life of a sensor extends to up to 10 years. As the only telco to offer this advanced technology in Sri Lanka, SLT-MOBITEL was perfectly positioned to support ANANKE IoT Services for quick deployment of its Smart Bins solution. This is the first large-scale NB-IoT enabled hardware project in Sri Lanka and utilizes, ANANKE IoT’s in-house built proprietary platform. (SLT)

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Dialog Television extends access to Nenasa and Guru TV education channels free of charge

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Furthering its efforts to ensure that no child is left behind in continuing their education, Dialog Axiata Group, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, extended free access to its education bouquet Nenasa Sinhala, Nenasa Tamil and Guru TV channels through Dialog Television and ViU App.

Despite the learning loss that ensued the pandemic, Dialog remains committed in its resolve to ensuring that children across the country have equitable access to education. Both Dialog Television prepaid and postpaid customers can access these channels for free. Nenasa Sinhala (Ch. 24) and Nenasa Tamil (Ch. 25) cover grade 3 to 13 Government syllabi, while Guru TV (Ch. 22) covers grade 5 to 13 Government syllabi, all conducted by qualified teachers with immersive, engaging and innovative teaching techniques. Furthermore, this education channel bouquet and over 160 supplementary lessons and educational content can also be accessed via ViU App on any smartphone, ViU Hub and ViU Mini for free, without any data charges on the Dialog network.

Commenting, Chirantha De Zoysa, Head of Business – Dialog Television said, “Extending Nenasa Sinhala, Nenasa Tamil and Guru TV education channels for free is part of our overarching efforts in providing schoolchildren across the country with equitable access to education to achieve their aspirations. While the pandemic has magnified the disparities in education and underscored the importance of inclusive education, Dialog remains resolute in continuing to bridge this gap.”

This is yet another initiative by Dialog in its continued efforts of supporting students across the country with their educational endeavours. In addition to this initiative, Dialog powers a range of educational platforms under the Nenasa initiative; Nenasa TV, Nenasa Smart School, Nenasa App and the toll-free Nenasa 1916 distance learning helpline. Dialog also endeavoured to provide 100,000 schoolchildren in need with Data Scholarships under the ‘NanaDiri Data Scholarship’ programme to facilitate their online learning from home. Furthermore, the company extended free access without any data charges to e-Thaksalawa, the National Learning Content Management System (LCMS)/Learning Management System (LMS) and to all official e-Learning platforms of State Universities under the purview of the University Grants Commission.

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Allianz Insurance and HSBC Sri Lanka partner to offerworld-class insurance products to HSBC Premier customers

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Allianz Insurance Limited (Allianz Lanka) has entered into an agreement with HSBC Sri Lanka to offer the bank’s affluent customers two world-class insurance products with flexible 0% installment plans, namely Global Health Medical Insurance that provides high quality healthcare services worldwide, and Student Companion to provide insurance solutions for students travelling overseas for education. These new offerings are part of a 10-year exclusive bancassurance distribution agreement signed between the Allianz Group and HSBC covering key markets in Asia such as Australia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Sri Lanka.

In recent times, increases in the cost of living and unexpected medical expenses due to the pandemic, have put pressure on many customers and their families. Due to these uncertainties, customers are looking for the assurance of a safety net, which protects their loved ones, both locally and overseas. Value added services such as international family care support with access to advice from overseas doctors/international care specialists have proven to be even more valuable today for customers.

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