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Dialog Axiata pays tribute to all healthcare staff supporting the COVID-19 pandemic efforts

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Photographed left to right: Harsha Samaranayake, Senior General Manager - Brand and Media, Dialog Axiata PLC, Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Executive, Dialog Axiata PLC, Dr. S.H. Munasinghe, Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Asela Gunawardena, Director General of Health Services, and Dr. Anver Hamdani, Director MTS, Coordinating In Charge/Covid-19

Extends ‘Suwa Diri’ communications facility

Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, launched ‘Suwa Diri’, a free communications facility for the healthcare sector, paying tribute to all healthcare staff supporting the national efforts in curbing the pandemic and working tirelessly on the front-line to care for all those affected by COVID-19, while putting their own lives at risk.

The ‘Suwa Diri’ communication facility extended in appreciation of all healthcare staff aims to further support their COVID-19 response efforts while staying connected to their families and loved ones. The package offers 1,000 D2D minutes, 1,000 D2D SMS, and 6GB anytime Data per month for a period of three months, free of charge, and will be extended to all healthcare staff nominated by the Directors of hospitals island-wide and will be managed by the COVID-19 Coordinating Unit of the Ministry of Health.

Dr. Anver Hamdani, Director Medical Technological Services and Ministry Coordinator in charge of COVID-19 said, “On behalf of the Honourable Minister of Health, Secretary of Health, the Director General of Health Services, Additional Secretaries, and the Deputy Director Generals, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Dialog Axiata who had been a pioneer partner during this pandemic from day one. Dialog has been extending their greatest support by providing so much of infrastructure facilities, medical equipment and also coming up with a proposal going beyond supporting and assisting patient care facilities to extending support to the welfare of the healthcare workers through this ‘Suwa Diri’ connectivity bundle, which is a timely initiative to motivate and propagate all our critical healthcare staff who’ve been tirelessly working to curtail this pandemic.”

Commenting, Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Executive of Dialog Axiata PLC said, “We launched this programme to pay our tribute to the healthcare staff across the country, tirelessly combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and extend our heartfelt appreciation for their unwavering efforts to protect and heal our communities. We are incredibly grateful for their dedication and perseverance to care for all Sri Lankans despite the ominous challenges we face today, and will continue to be by their side and support their endeavours through the power of connectivity and technology.”

The initiative follows a host of similar connectivity projects by Dialog to support the national healthcare efforts during the pandemic, including the facilitation of free connectivity to Public Health staff and free broadband connectivity to vaccination centres, intermediate centres and COVID treatment centres.



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‘Dollar reserves in SL plummet drastically, putting the economy in jeopardy‘

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Key personnel at CNCI forum

By Steve A. Morrell

Sri Lanka’s dollar reserves have declined from $ 7.15 billion in 2019 to $ 2.8 billion currently. The President conceded economic failures although reasons for such failure were not explained, chairman, National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) Canisius Fernando said.

Fernando added recently at a forum: “Forex reserves are insufficient to expedite payment of import bills. More so that cost incurred on container traffic for imports and or exports was on a rising spiral. In comparison to cost of container shipping recorded at $ 2,800 earlier, it is now $ 12,000, indicating a rise in multiples of 250.

“Additionally, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP +) affecting our trade with EU countries, placed Sri Lanka’s reputation at a risk, meaning that countries could veer away from Sri Lanka prompted by a possible inability to honor our trade commitments. The clear example being trade with the US. Rather than await goods and services transactions with Sri Lanka, that could invariably take three months, US economists and their trade sector opted to transact trade with countries in close proximity to US shores.

“Dearth of container traffic and rising cost for on- loading and off- loading of cargo seriously affect trade imbalances. Consequently, the credit worthiness of the Sri Lankan economy is affected, which in turn seriously affects the GDP.

“Worker wages which were static because of trade shut- downs caused demands for increased wages. Wage demands of Rs 1,500 from employees became a major phenomenon in most sectors. The question at issue was the hypothetical position of business establishments of about 4000 employees demanding increased wages. This would cause closure of those companies resulting in unemployment.

“The proverbial domino effect of such repercussions would cause further chaos in the economy.

“There was no proper policy in most sectors. Suspension of the import of fertilizer and consequent confusion would, in the short run, result in famine and food shortages. Already this was evident in the public panic caused by having to stand in line to purchase essentials. That the crisis is upon us and the question of a quick solution is not feasible in the current context of the economy.

“Foreign investors are lured by the possibility of cheap labour in Sri Lanka to establish their businesses here, but in this instance too, this is only a hypothetical situation but not the reality.”

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Supuni Products gives back by way of welfare initiative, helps to uplift the needy patients with chronic illnesses

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Supuni Products first started in 2016 when the business proprietor, Supuni Lakmalie along with her husband only had Rs. 150 as investment. With that small amount, they purchased kollu (lentils) and kurakkan and ground them using a grindstone. This was the beginning for them and today, Supuni Products is a booming enterprise that specializes in ground spices and cereal, operating from the town of Nildandahinna, Walapane. Their products are of very high quality and 100% natural and consists of 15 different spice and cereal products including chilli, coriander, turmeric, pepper, curry powder, kurakkan, lentil (kollu) etc.

In 2018, Supuni Products received the opportunity to supply kurakkan flour and cereal to be included into the Poshana Malla, which is a nutrition package prepared for pregnant women, instigated by the government. The success of their business was such that they were able to gain an equity of over Rs. Four million during the past three years.

As part of a welfare initiative, they have also pledged to allocate one rupee for every kilogram of product sold, towards supporting patients with financial difficulties and require emergency surgery and for those with chronic diseases. While having had to run a business in the confines of their own home, the grant offering they received from the enterprise project allowed them to complete construction work of their new factory. She now hopes to expand the business, improve their supply chain, and create new employment opportunities.

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Dialog Enterprise offers Dell Technologies Cloud IaaS in Sri Lanka

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Dialog Enterprise, the corporate solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, is working with Dell Technologies Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) in Sri Lanka to offer Dell Technologies Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions to customers to innovate and scale rapidly, reduce costs and increase performance of business-critical infrastructure.

“Together, with our combined forces, we bring the only hybrid multi-cloud partnership in the country, giving access to private clouds as well as to our existing public cloud, and for on-premises infrastructure, robustly powered by Dell Technologies and VMWare. Envisioning a one-stop multiservice solution for all enterprise requirements, we strive continuously to keep to the changing landscape strengthening the cloud play in the arena,” said Navin Pieris, the Vice President – Enterprise Business and Large Enterprise Sales, Dialog Axiata PLC.

Rather than making capital investments in hardware, storage and servers to maintain them, enterprises can harness and scale IaaS resources when needed, paying only for infrastructure services they consume. Mitigating and allowing for any threat of data loss, the cloud partnership also offers cyber recovery as a service with a guaranteed uptime of 99.95%, end-to-end management of data centers and 24×7 support with zero operational burden on the customer. Ensuring the same standardization, self-service, automation and analytics capabilities that exist in the public cloud, the partnership facilitates secure private clouds for customers along with servers, storage and customized enterprise, private and/or public cloud solutions as required by enterprises.

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