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Eco Spindles marks Global Recycling Day; boosts plastic recycling efforts in Sri Lanka



Currently boasts 17 Collection Centers including 3 MRFs, 7 more to be established

Commemorating Global Recycling Day 2022, Sri Lanka’s leader in plastic bottle recycling, Eco Spindles (Pvt.) Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of BPPL Holdings PLC, announced its plans to accelerate the expansion of its Material Recycling Facilities (MRFs) around the country.

Eco Spindles, together with its project partner Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka, introduced its MRFs to collect multiple forms of recyclable waste such as aluminium, glass, paper and other forms of plastic waste, to help develop and strengthen regional waste collection networks and process the collected polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, a company news release said.

“The objective is to increase the collection and recycling rates in the regions where the facilities are commissioned. The company aims to establish one MRF per district by the end of 2024 and will ensure that recyclable waste is collected through partnerships with schools, local authorities, waste collectors, volunteers and coastal communities,” it said.

“Over the last year, the company has made significant efforts to boost and strengthen the plastic recycling sector in Sri Lanka by recycling 62 million PET bottles between 2021 and 2022. Since its inception, Eco Spindles has recycled 452 million PET bottles.”

Commenting on the strategy, Eco Spindles Recycling CEO Manoj Udawatte stated that “MRFs will send their vehicles to collect this recyclable waste and pay the collectors. The collected recyclable waste is then taken to the facility, where PET plastic, for example, is segregated, baled, and crushed. It is after this process that Eco Spindles receives this PET from the facilities, and we turn this into value-added products such as recycled polyester yarn and monofilaments used in brushes and brooms, to name a few.” In addition, the other forms of collected waste are sold to other manufacturers, including glass bottles, aluminium extrusion and paper producers.

“When we initially commissioned our MRFs, there were around 70 collection points, and now there are about 220. By the end of this year, we will strategically establish 400 collection points which entail a network of bins and bags to drop off consumer plastic and other recyclable waste around each MRF,” he added.

So far, there are three MRFs in Ratnapura, Negombo and Panadura, with another currently in development in Matara. The company plans to add another six MRFs around the country, including in Galle, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Kurunegala, Gampaha and Trincomalee, in 2022/23.

The release explained the company raises awareness on proper plastic waste disposal methods through its ‘Waste 2 Value’ app. There are 447 bins placed around the Western Province to dispose of recyclable waste, which can be located through the app. The company aims to increase this figure to 700 in the Western Province alone. In other areas such as Anuradhapura, Galle and Matara, there are over 100 bins. The company aims to increase this figure to 300. There would then be over a total of 1,000 drop off bins in set locations by the end of 2022.

“Despite the challenging state of our economy, I am proud to say that we have moved forward and ensured that our operations and expansion plans are successful, and we aspire to drive further our sustainable practices towards a strengthened circular economy and greener society,” commented BPPL Holdings PLC Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer – Dr. Anush Amarasinghe. “With the pandemic and loss of jobs, we have and will continue to provide opportunities for lower-income communities to earn wages through recyclable waste collection. We ensure that our collectors are incentivised and rewarded for their efforts.”

Eco Spindles is also renowned for its efforts to influence and educate school children on identifying recyclable waste and disposing of it responsibly. For example, its MRF partner in Ratnapura, Ceylon Emerald Way, has targeted more than 100 schools to educate school children on proper waste plastic disposal in the Ratnapura District alone and also is in the process of providing waste plastic disposal bags and bins.

Founded in 1984, BPPL Holdings PLC, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Eco Spindles (Pvt.) Ltd and Beira Brush (Pvt.) Ltd. exports recycled polyester yarn, monofilaments and professional and household cleaning tools to international markets in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand, with a considerable market share in each region. The group also produces household cleaning brushes retailed locally under the brand ‘Tip Top’.

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Sri Lanka still ‘under test’ before it can receive crucial second tranche from IMF



From left: Sarwat Jahan, IMF Resident Representative in Sri Lanka, Katsiaryna Svirydzenka, Deputy Mission Chief for Sri Lanka, IMF, Peter Breuer, Senior Mission Chief for Sri Lanka, IMF, Huong Lan 'Pinky' Vu, Communications Officer, IMF at the press briefing held at the Central Bank head office in Colombo yesterday.

by Sanath Nanayakkare

International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff concluding their visit to Sri Lanka yesterday reaffirmed their support to Sri Lanka to move out of the ongoing economic crisis, but did not specify an exact timeline for releasing the second tranche of its Extended Fund Faculty (EFF) arrangement to Sri Lanka.

The IMF mission team led by Peter Breuer and Katsiaryna Svirydzenka that visited Colombo from September 14 to 27, is yet to be convinced that it has received a robust programme from the Sri Lankan authorities where they indicate how they would be addressing the persistent revenue shortfall besides outlining progress in foreign debt restructuring which would give Sri Lanka a breather to balance its financing requirements as it starts to repay its foreign debt.

“We had constructive and productive discussions with the Sri Lankan authorities on economic performance and policies underpinning the first review under the IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement. The people of Sri Lanka have shown remarkable resilience and the authorities have made significant progress on important reforms. The discussions will continue towards reaching a staff-level agreement in the near term that will maintain the reform momentum needed to allow Sri Lanka to emerge from its deep economic crisis, Peter Breuer said.

“The objectives of the IMF-supported program will continue to focus on restoring macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability, while protecting the poor and vulnerable, safeguarding financial stability and stepping up structural reforms to address corruption vulnerabilities and unlock Sri Lanka’s growth potential, he said.

However, the press briefing given by the IMF team yesterday signaled that they needed to see more economic and financial policies to support the approval of the First Review of the program under the EFF arrangement.

“Sri Lanka has made commendable progress in implementing difficult but much-needed reforms. These efforts are bearing fruit as the economy is showing tentative signs of stabilization. Inflation is down from a peak of 70 percent in September 2022 to below 2 percent in September 2023, gross international reserves increased by $1.5 billion during March-June this year, and shortages of essentials have eased. Despite early signs of stabilization, full economic recovery is not yet assured. Growth momentum remains subdued, with real GDP contracting by 3.1 percent in the second quarter on a year-on-year basis and high-frequency economic indicators continuing to provide mixed signals. Reserve accumulation has slowed in recent months, he said.

Speaking further Peter Breuer said: “Sustaining the reform momentum is critical to put the economy on a path towards lasting recovery and stable and inclusive economic growth. The authorities have met the program’s primary balance targets and remain committed to this important pillar of the program so as to support their efforts to restore debt sustainability. However, revenue mobilization gains – while improved relative to last year – are expected to fall short of initial projections by nearly 15 percent by year end, in part due to economic factors.

“The onus of fiscal adjustment would fall on public expenditure if there were no efforts to recoup this shortfall. This could weaken the government’s ability to provide essential public services and undermine the path to debt sustainability. To increase revenues and signal better governance, it is important to strengthen tax administration, remove tax exemptions, and actively eliminate tax evasion.

“Against continued uncertainty, it also remains important to rebuild external buffers through strong reserves accumulation. Building on the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s success in controlling inflation, refraining from monetary financing will help keep inflation in check. Other challenges include maintaining cost recovery in electricity pricing.

“The government has made steady progress on structural reforms. Key legislations passed in Parliament, including the new Central Bank Act and the Anti-Corruption Act, could improve governance if implemented effectively. The IMF Governance Diagnostic report would inform future reform measures to strengthen governance when published.

“A new welfare benefit payment scheme was enacted with new eligibility criteria that aims to improve targeting, adequacy, and coverage of social safety nets. To ensure financial stability, steps were taken on conducting bank diagnostics, developing a roadmap for addressing banking system capital and liquidity shortfalls and improving the bank resolution framework.

“The authorities have also made headway on regaining debt sustainability through the execution of the domestic debt restructuring and advancing discussions with external creditors. As Sri Lanka is restructuring its public debt which is in arrears.

“Executive Board approval of the first program review requires the completion of financing assurances reviews. These financing assurances reviews will focus on whether adequate progress has been made with debt restructuring to give confidence that it will be concluded in a timely manner and in line with the program’s debt targets.

“Discussions are on-going, and the authorities are continuing to make progress on their plans for revenue mobilization targets, anti-corruption efforts, and other important structural reforms.”

The IMF team held meetings with President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Dr. P. Nandalal Weerasinghe, State Minister Shehan Semasinghe, Chief of Staff to the President Sagala Ratnayaka, Secretary to the Treasury K M Mahinda Siriwardana, and other senior government and CBSL officials, during the visit. The IMF team also met with parliamentarians, representatives from the private sector, civil society organizations, and development partners.

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‘Imposing minimum room rates on five star hotels could ruin tourism sector’



Tourists in Sri Lanka

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The imposing of a minimum room rate on five star hotels on the basis of a recent gazette notification is actually killing the industry. Room rates, accordingly, could henceforth rise to between 80 percent and 100 percent, top travel and tourism industry expert Chandana Amaradasa said.

“The minimum room rate of a five star hotel currently comes to about US $ 65 but with the new gazette notification it would go up to US $ 170 per day. But our competitors, such as, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam are maintaining a minimum room rate of US$ 80 to US$ 85, Amaradasa told The Island Financial Review.

Amaradasa said that the tourism industry is just picking- up and ‘this type of move is detrimental to the entire sector because these room rates are normally determined by demand and supply and not by gazette notifications.

Amaradasa added: ‘At present, Colombo five star hotels are mainly patronized by Indian tourists, corporate clients and MICE tourists. This will not only impact hotel revenue but the outside supply chain as well. Nowhere in the world is the tourism industry regulated in this manner and this would enable our competitors, such as, Vietnam and Thailand to attract tourists.

“As a long term consequence, some of the airlines could also pull out of Sri Lanka and hotels will halt recruiting new staff and training them with the limiting of their revenue sources.’

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ADL’s journey continues: Unveiling new offices in Indonesia and Malaysia for tech excellence



Axiata Digital Labs (ADL), the renowned technology hub of Axiata Group Berhad, is proud to announce the grand opening of two new offices in Indonesia and Malaysia. These strategic expansions, respectively, mark significant milestones in the company’s journey since it’s inception in 2019. This signifies ADL’s unwavering commitment to revolutionizing the telecommunications industry and propelling the global rate of digital transformation.

The inauguration of these state-of-the-art offices exemplifies the dedication ADL has towards expanding its footprint and harnessing the power of innovation across Southeast Asia. As the first CMMI 2.0 Level 3 IT organization in Sri Lanka and an ISO-certified company, ADL is well-positioned to lead the charge in transforming traditional telcos into techcos through its groundbreaking Axonect Product Suite.

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