Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Education to deploy 10 Education Channels which are provided absolutely free over Dialog Television and in ViU App. In the first phase, four channels were launched on 7 September 2021, which will be increased to a total of ten in the coming months. These channels are accessible over Dialog Digital Satellite TV and on any smartphone by downloading the ViU Mobile TV app and it is made available absolutely free without any PayTV subscription charges or data charges.
The content for these channels are developed by the State Ministry of Education Reforms, Open Universities and Distance Learning Promotion and the National Institute of Education as per the national curriculum. The new set of channels namely, Nenasa O/L Sinhala (Ch. 22), Nenasa O/L Tamil (Ch. 23), Nenasa A/L Sinhala (Ch. 24) and Nenasa A/L Tamil (Ch. 25) can be accessed by all Dialog Television customers as well as ViU Mobile TV App users without any data charges on the Dialog network. These four channels are dedicated to support all students to prepare for the upcoming G.C.E. O/L and A/L examinations and cover lessons conducted by the country’s best educators with immersive, engaging and innovative teaching techniques. Furthermore, the ViU Mobile TV App available on Andriod, IOS, and Huawei app gallery, provides the facility to rewind the TV channel for up to 2 hours and catch up past 3 days missed programmes to relearn important topics.
Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Education said, “Against the backdrop of the pandemic, the education sector was adversely affected, prompting us to find quick solutions to ensure the learning continuity of our children. This initiative by the Ministry of Education to ensure that every child has access to education through accessible, new technology will become a new revolution in the education sector.”
Commenting on the initiative, Hon. Susil Premajayantha, State Minister of Education Reforms said, “The National Institute of Education and the best educators of Government schools came together with the Ministry of Education, the State Ministry of Education Reforms and all other relevant State Ministries to develop this exceptional educational content in line with national curricula standards. We would like to thank Dialog for once again extending these convenient platforms free of charge to the Government bodies, the educators and all students.”
“I see this initiative as the biggest transformation in Sri Lanka’s education sector. I am very pleased that children from all across Sri Lanka will be significantly benefitting from this programme. The National Institute of Education and Dialog made a great deal of effort to compile the educational content. I am confident that this initiative will greatly service both the children and the country’s education sector”, said Former Minister of Education and current Foreign Minister, Hon. (Prof.) G. L. Peiris.
“The Minister of Education and the Ministry of Education were able to advance the national-level programme of digitising and modernizing the country’s education sector to the next level with Dialog’s ‘Nenasa’ initiative. It is our belief that education system restructuring should be integrated with technology. Together with Dialog, we look forward to preparing our children towards the next technological revolution in the country”, said Hon. Namal Rajapaksa – Minister of Youth & Sports and the State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development.
Commenting, Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Executive of Dialog Axiata PLC said, “We are pleased to launch these education channels for free to all schoolchildren across the country as part of our efforts to enable uninterrupted education during these challenging times. Extending A/L and O/L content via the Nenasa Sinhala and Tamil channels is part of Dialog’s overarching efforts in providing schoolchildren across the country with equitable access to education to achieve their aspirations.”
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 national-level Nenasa initiative; Nenasa Smart School, Nenasa App and the toll-free 1916 distance learning helpline. In addition to extended free access to Nenasa TV channels, Dialog also extended free access to the Guru TV Channel (Ch.20) through Dialog Television and the ViU Mobile TV App. Dialog also endeavoured to provide 100,000 schoolchildren in need with Data Scholarships under the ‘Nana Diri 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.
Central Bank looking at proposal to permit dollar-paid vehicle imports
Duty too must be paid in hard currency
The central bank is looking at a proposal to allow persons who can pay in foreign exchange to import vehicles and pay taxes in hard currency, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said last week.
He said that this was a proposal made by certain parties whom he did not identify making clear it was at a proposal stage with no decision taken. But it was under examination.
Asked whether Non-Resident Foreign Currency (NRFC) account holders – now called Personal Foreign Currency Accounts – would be permitted to use their resources to import a vehicle provided they would pay the applicable duty in hard currency, he said that he did not see why not.
“If the vehicle is paid for in hard currency and not converted rupees, and the duty also accrues to the government in hard currency, I don’t see any harm, in fact it would be good,” he said.
It would also mean that there’s are new vehicles coming into the country not paid for by rupees converted into hard currency plus a hard currency duty stream, an analyst said.
Banning vehicle imports on account of the present foreign exchange crunch has cost the government an immense revenue stream.
Forex pressure eases – CB
By Shyam Nuwan Ganewatte
The Central Bank says that pressure caused by shortage of foreign exchange is easing gradually towards better.
“Earnings from exports marked a notable improvement and recorded over US dollars 1 billion for the third consecutive month in August 2021. Expenditure on imports has also increased, partly reflecting the surge in global commodity prices, resulting in an expansion in the trade deficit during the eight months ending August 2021, over the corresponding period of last year. Outlook for tourism improved with the easing of travel restrictions globally and the successful vaccination drive domestically. Despite the moderation of workers’ remittances observed in recent months, a rebound is expected in the period ahead with the improved growth outlook for major foreign employment source countries and greater stability in the domestic foreign exchange market. The realisation of foreign investments in the real sector and the timely adoption of remedial measures by the Central Bank as enunciated in ‘The Six-month Road Map for Ensuring Macroeconomic and Financial System Stability’ are gradually easing pressures in the domestic foreign exchange market,” the Central Bank says.
The CBSL said that it continued to intervene in the foreign exchange market to provide liquidity for essential imports, including fuel. The depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee against the US dollar is recorded at 6.8 per cent thus far in 2021.
It said that the gross official reserves were estimated at US dollars 2.6 billion by end September 2021. This, however, does not include the bilateral currency swap facility with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) of CNY 10 billion (equivalent to approximately US dollars 1.5 billion). Gross official reserves are expected to improve with the measures that are being pursued by the Government and the Central Bank to attract fresh foreign exchange inflows, as outlined in the Six-month Road Map, thereby reinforcing the stability of the external sector in the period ahead.
Samarasinha to promote ‘Commercial Diplomacy” among German states
Nihal S. Samarasinha has been appointed as Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka for three Federal States in Germany, which includes Hessen, Rheinland Palatinate and Saarland.
He would be mainly promoting commecial diplomacy in the three states.
He presented his credentials to State Minister Axel Wintermeyer along with 18 other Consuls General and Honorary Consuls at the official State Residence Villa of the Minister President of Hessen.
Samarasinha, born in Sri Lanka and migrated to Germany in 1972 is the Chairman and Managing Director of Millennium Hospitality Advisory Company providing advisory services and managing and operating hotels of several international hotel brands based in Frankfurt am Main. He is an alumni of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo, and graduated from the Heidelberg Hotel School, Germany, American Hotel and Motel Association, Michigan USA; Holiday Inn University, Atlanta USA and from the Ramada International University, New York.
His focus in Finance throughout his career made him a proven financial expert with vast analytical skills.
Samarasinha has held senior management positions in organisations such as Holiday Inn WorldWide (Europe) as Director of Finance; Canadian Pacific Hotels – Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) as Regional Comptroller and Ramada International Hotels and Resorts as Vice-President of Finance and Internal Audit for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), India and Sri Lanka. He has been engaged in the hospitality industry since 1972 with remarkable success.
Over the years Samarasinha has developed strong bonds with Sri Lankans in all parts of Germany and had assisted them in numerous ways long before he was first appointed Honorary Consul for the Federal state of Rheinland Palatinate in 2010.
He is a co-founder of the Diplomatic Council in Frankfurt along with the former Sri Lanka’s Consul General in Frankfurt Buddhi Athauda, The Diplomatic Council acted as a springboard to promote Sri Lanka Tourism, Trade and Culture in an environment of commercial diplomacy.
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