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Efforts underway to promote investment from Austria to Sri Lanka

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The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Vienna in collaboration with the Vienna Chamber of Commerce (WKO) organized a hybrid webinar to promote investment from Austria to Sri Lanka.

The hybrid webinar was attended by Regional Manager for Asia & Pacific Region Johannes Brunner, Commercial Attaché of the Austrian Embassy in India Bernd Andersson together with Austrian companies while Chairman of the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Sri Lanka Prasanna Gunasena,  Executive Director of Investment Promotion Prasanjith Wijayatilake, Director of Investment Promotion Nilupul de Silva, Head of Ecosystem of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka Darshan Maralanda, Deputy Director of Export Development Board of Sri Lanka Udeni Wijekoon,  and officials from the Foreign Ministry took part in the event virtually.

Austrian companies representing health, renewable energy, environmental technology and vocational training sectors who are keen to invest in the region, particularly in Sri Lanka were selected by the Vienna Chamber of Commerce. The said companies were namely Odelga Med Engineering GmbH, AME International GmbH, Med-El Elektromedizinische Geräte GmbH, VAMED Engineering GmbH. VACE Systemtechnik GmbH, M-U-T Maschinen-Umwelttechnik-Transportanlagen GmbH and Global Hydro Energy GmbH.

The Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to Austria Majintha Jayesinghe welcomed the participants by stating that Sri Lanka has set an ambitious plan to facilitate investments that can have a transformative impact on the economy. The Government is doing its utmost to create an enabling environment to attract more investments. The Ambassador emphasized that special relations between Sri Lanka and Austria have grown exponentially covering a multitude of areas with mutual benefits and called on everyone to join this transformative journey by investing in Sri Lanka.

Regional Manager for Asia & Pacific Region from the Vienna Chamber of Commerce Johannes Brunner highlighted the importance of the webinar to further expand the cooperation between the two countries. It was also pointed out that potential investments from Austria are focused in the fields of renewable energy, pharmaceutical industry and vocational training. It was further highlighted that Sri Lanka needs to develop projects that could attract these investments especially during the Covid pandemic. The participants also expressed their willingness to facilitate the request to procure high quality medicines from Austria to Sri Lanka.

Prasanjith Wijayatilake provided a detailed brief on emerging investment opportunities. Sri Lanka is a vibrant destination with over 1,200 foreign companies engaged in various economic sectors including IT services, tourism, food processing, logistics, education and large-scale infrastructure. It was further stated that Sri Lanka is on the right track to achieve a 5-7% GDP growth rate in the next decade based on a knowledge-driven economy. The Executive Director explained the conducive investment climate with new policies and tax incentives. The briefing also focused on five priority sectors to drive FDIs, namely manufacturing, ICT, hospitality and tourism, agriculture and food processing, construction and infrastructure. The BOI Executive Director also elaborated on the newly created specialized economic zones for pharmaceutical and textile items in Hambantota and Batticaloa.



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Cabinet approves rationalization of VAT exemptions and abolition of SVAT System

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The Cabinet of Ministers granted concurrence to the resolution forwarded by the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies to remove most of the releases from Value Added Tax (VAT), further retaining releases that ease the pressure on low – income families to secure the fundamental sectors of the economy as well as the releases for sectors such as education, health and agriculture, as well as to revise the provisions applicable for the Value Added Tax (VAT) act so that the Simplified Value Added Tax (SVAT) methodology can be canceled with effect from 01.01.2024 by introducing a more formal methodology for repaying the Value Added Tax (VAT) and to instruct the Legal Draftsman to prepare a draft bill for the purpose.

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Venora Lanka Power Panels to set up assembly plant in Australia

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Sagara Gunawardene

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Sri Lanka- based, export- oriented manufacturer, Venora Lanka Power Panels (Pvt) Ltd, with a state of the art electric panel factory at the Export Processing Zone, Biyagama, will set up an assembly plant in Australia.

“Once we set up the electric panel assembly plant in Australia, we will export all our panels from Sri Lanka and that plant will do 30 percent value addition to the product to supply that market, the company’s chairman/ Managing Director, engineer Sagara Gunawardena told The Island Financial Review.

Gunawardena said that the company is a value- addition assembly plant and he would be investing AUS $ 2 million for the project to be set up in Melbourne and hire 100 engineers and other professionals. He explained that the venture has enormous potential.

Venora Lanka provides power panels to mega projects in Sri Lanka and exports to Bangladesh, Maldives, Kenya, Ethiopia, Seychelles and Myanmar. Panel assembling is strictly in compliance with IEC 61439 standards, it was explained.

Gunawardena added: ‘I firmly believe that, being a truly customer focused organization, every employee and every process in the organization has to be aligned behind delighting customers. Therefore, at a time when the country is facing a major dollar crisis, my company would be aiming at bringing dollars into the country, while providing employment for local professionals, especially engineers.

‘At Venora Lanka we do not try to change customers’ mindsets. Instead, we take time to understand what they really want and focus our brand on delivering that. Venora is values- driven first and cost- driven second – creating a unique brand proposition.

‘Since the US dollar rate has come down, it is our concern that importers and suppliers do not change their prices, which is really affecting the manufacturing sector.

Company sources added: ‘The company has several wings of operation, such as local and overseas projects, switch board assembling, telecommunication infrastructure installations, earthing, lighting and surge protection, incorporating world renowned brands.

‘Venora Lanka Power Panels is the first Sri Lankan company to receive the licence, in accordance with the UK Trade Mark Act 1994, to use the trade mark “Best Enterprise”. It won a global award at the event, ‘Golden Awards for Quality and Business Prestige’, held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2015.

‘Within a short span of time, with the perfect blend of progressive thinking and expertise, Venora Group has expanded to consist of, Venora International Projects, Venora Telecom, Venora Industrial Solutions and Venora Lanka Power Panels (BOI approved). Further, Venora has established its overseas presence through Venora Engineering Kenya and Venora Engineering Myanmar.’

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Share market moves into positive territory; indices up

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By Hiran H. Senewiratne

CSE trading got off to a positive note yesterday but during the last session of the day the momentum slowed. However, the market is now moving towards positive territory following the Central Bank announcement of a downward trend in interest rates, market analysts said.

Amid those developments the market witnesses improvements in both indices and in the turnover.

The All- Share Price Index up by 12.8 points and S and P SL 20 rose by 6.97 points. Turnover stood at Rs 710 million with one crossing. The crossing was reported in JKH which crossed 430,000 shares to the tune of Rs 60.2 million; its shares traded at Rs 140.

In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; JKH Rs 212 million (1.5 million shares traded), Access Engineering Rs 44.7 million ( three million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 34.5 million (264,000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 28.6 million (5.3 million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 23.8 million (4.7 million shares traded), Capital Alliance Rs 22.9 million (615,000 shares traded) and First Capital Holdings Rs 19.2 million (574,000 shares traded). During the day the 31.4 million shares volumes changed hands in 9000 transactions.

Yesterday, the Central Bank’s US dollar buying rate was Rs 285.16 and the selling rate Rs 298.85.

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