Connect with us

Business

EMA calls for enforcement of COVID-19 safety amidst re-start of events

Published

on

Following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Colombo, the Event Management Association (EMA) issued comprehensive guidelines for hosting COVID-safe events and called for strictest possible adherence from stakeholders.

The EMA’s Handbook, lists out detailed safety and hygiene standards and protocols to ensure that all future events will be hosted in a responsible manner – minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission at events in order to avoid further shutdowns of an industry that is already on the verge of collapse after 14 months of closure.

The EMA represents the interests of an array of business segments, from event management companies, wedding planners, equipment rental companies (sound systems, lighting, LED, etc.) stage & set fabricators, furniture & infrastructure rental companies, and digital creatives companies to venues, florists, musicians, event support services, entertainers, dance troupes, artists, designers, technicians and many more. In total, the entire sector is estimated to contribute as much as Rs. 30 billion towards the national economy.

“We express our collective gratitude to the Government for taking a positive decision that will allow our members to earn a living after several painful months. While we welcome the opportunity for events to be hosted once more, extremely strict enforcement of comprehensive safety protocols is essential to avoid transmission of COVID-19 at events.

“When events were previously allowed, we have been disappointed to see many instances when these measures were totally disregarded. If such carelessness recurs and further COVID-19 cases arise, another shutdown will risk permanently destroying what is left of our industry. For the sake of all those employed and the families who depend on our industry, this cannot be allowed to happen. We therefore call on all stakeholders to implement and enforce our recommendations immediately and without compromises,” Roshan Wijeyaratne, President, EMA stated.

“Many event companies have made massive investments into infrastructure, equipment, and development of skills with investments ranging from Rs. 10 Mn to Rs. 800 Mn per business. They are now on the brink of collapse and are struggling to pay wages and meet financial commitments. Without assistance, they face impending bankruptcy. This will affect 130,000 direct and 600,000 indirect jobs and the people and families who depend on our industry for their livelihood,” Sajith Kodikara, Vice President, EMA.

Events are considered essential to businesses as a vital tool of ‘live communication’ which enables a cross-section of industries to present new products to the market and generate sales. In that regard, a high frequency of corporate events is often correlated with a healthy economy.

For countries that are beginning to emerge from COVID-19, face-to-face meetings and events are a priority feature of work they are looking to restart. A study of 125 New Zealand-based organisations found that 97% are planning to hold a business event in 2021 – up from 94% of respondents to a survey conducted in May 2020#. Another recent study found that business travel has increased by 55% since restrictions eased while 37% of respondents expect to resume travel in 2021.

“Another crucial factor to consider is the potential for Sri Lanka to be positioned as a ‘safe event hub’ for MICE and destination event tourism which will accelerate Sri Lanka’s economic revival. That is provided we are able to get the health crisis under control with a scientific approach and a sustainable way forward for the industry. If we delay, we will most certainly lose out on business to other countries in the region,” Nishan Wasalathanthri, Treasurer Member, EMA.

In emulation of global best-practices adopted as a solution to ensure compliance of guidelines, the EMA Handbook proposes the appointment of ‘safe-event ambassadors’ tasked with reporting on non-compliance of guidelines.

“The handbook is created to simplify the organisers’ tasks of planning and hosting events and to mitigate the risk of weaker standards being applied. While the guidelines are already comprehensive, we expect to update it with additional information shortly,” Minha Akram, Committee Member, EMA added.

The Association also expressed its support for the Government’s efforts to control the pandemic and re-start the Sri Lankan economy.

“As with many sectors of the economy today, our industry is in dire peril. There is however a light at the end of the tunnel, in the form of mass vaccination. We take great encouragement from the Government’s emphasis and continuing rollout of vaccines to the public and request the prioritization of vaccines for industry members.

“In order for all sectors of the economy to scale up activity, and have a meaningful chance at recovery, we need to achieve 60% vaccination as soon as possible. Only then will we be able to see larger scale events take place. We also take this opportunity to urge the public to continue cooperating with public health measures to speed our progress to recovery,” Gerry Jayasinghe, Advisory Counsel, EMA said.

The EMA handbook will be available online on www.emalk.org from July 19, 2021.

 

 



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

Sri Lanka’s Ceylon tea prices weak, output fall expected

Published

on

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka tea prices remained weak in the third week of July amid with slightly lower volume being sold from a week earlier, and industry expecting crop intake to fall, as rains ease and fertilizer problem starting to be felt, industry officials said.

Preliminary information from estates indicated that crop volumes may fall in the coming weeks, market participants said. There had also been quality issue in recent auctions brokers said.

There are anecdotal evidence of tea farmers experiencing problems in getting fertilizer on time after Sri Lanka banned chemical fertilizer.

On the buying side, currency problems in Turkey has also hit purchasing power.

Sri Lanka sold 6.8 million kilograms of tea in the auction of July 19 and 20, down from 7.1 million kilograms a week earlier.

It was made up of 0.95million kilograms of Ex-Estate teas (mainly high grown teas sold while in the factory itself to retain quality) and 2.8 million kilograms in Low Grown (Leafy/Tippy) teas.

Low Growns

Last week the Low Grown tea sale average was 630.10 rupees up by 7.77 rupees from a week earlier. BOPF teas maintained prices from last week.

This week, a few select BOP bests gained while the rest maintained last week’s prices.

Select best FBOP/FBOP1were firm and then eased marginally as the sale progressed. Bests and cleaner below bests gained while the rest maintained prices.

Well-made varieties and cleaner below bests FBOPF/FBOP1’s in general maintained steady prices while others declined following lower quality.

High Growns

Last week, the High Grown auction average was tea sale average of 545.47 rupees.

This week in BOP teas, select best and best westerns dropped 20-30 rupees a kilogram.

Brighter below bests declined by 10-20 rupees a kilogram while the balance along with the plainer varieties held firm prices from last week.

BOP Nuwara Eliya prices were irregular following lower quality.

Better Udapussellawa’s declined 20 rupees per kilogram whereas the balance were firm towards the end of the auction. Uva’s maintained last week prices.

In BOPF category, a few best westerns went up by 50 rupees a kilogram while the others gained to a lesser extent.

Brighter sorts in the below best category went up by 30-50 rupees a kilogram while the balance teas along with plainer varieties were irregular. BOPF Nuwara Eliya’s followed a similar trajectory to the BOP teas.

Better Udapussellawa’s were irregular while the rest together with the Uva’s maintained.

Medium Growns

Last week, the Medium Grown auction average was 520.13 rupees up 2.37 rupees from a week before. This week well-made OP/OPA’s gained 10-20 rupees while the balance were firm and as the sale progressed, gained marginally.

BOPF better sorts were lower, brokers said, while well made BOP teas maintained and the rest declined by 20-30 rupees a kilogram.

Select Best FBOP’s eased in general.

 

FF1’s declined 10-20 rupees a kilogram,.

CTC

High grown BP1s were irregular while PF1 better teas gained 20 rupees a kilogram.

Mid grown BP1s declined 10-20 rupees a kilogram while PF1s followed a similar trend to their BP1 teas. Low grown BPIs better sorts gained 20 rupees a kilogram, while better PF1 teas gained 10 rupees while the rest were irregular.

Crop and weather

Westerns and Nuwara Eliyas recorded a slight decline in crop whilst the Uva/Udapussellawa and Low grown districts maintained, Ceylon Tea Brokers said.

A general decrease in crops were seen in the previous weeks, leading to low volumes at this week’s auction.

The Department of Meteorology forecasts heavy showers with strong winds in the Nuwara Eliya region, eavy showers are expected in the Ruhuna and Sabaragumwa, in the coming week.

The Western planting districts including Nuwara Eliyas reported bright mornings with scattered evening showers. The Low grown region had bright mornings with scattered evening showers.

 

 

Continue Reading

Business

Some Sri Lanka firms could be hit on import controls as reserves fall: Fitch

Published

on

ECONOMYNEXT – Some Sri Lankan firms could be hit while firms in essential goods may be less affected and import substitution firms could benefit if import controls are tightened on weak external finances, Fitch, a rating agency said.

“Sri Lanka sovereign’s weak external finances will affect corporates importing non-essential finished goods such as consumer durables more than corporates importing essential finished goods such as pharmaceuticals, food or clothing,” Fitch said.

“At the same time, we believe restrictions are less likely in the near term on the importation of raw materials for the domestic manufacture of essential products such as personal care, or for those industries serving as import-substitutes such as tyre and footwear manufacturers.”

Inflated Reserve Money

Sri Lanka’s central bank has been injecting liquidity (inflating reserve money supply in excess of the external monetary anchor or peg) keeping interest rates and credit out of line with the balance of payments and triggering forex shortages.

The central bank has lost foreign reserves as the liquidity was used in state salaries and later in cascading bank credit, and the news money redeemed against foreign reserves for imports or debt payments at a non-credible peg (convertibility undertaking).

The convertibility undertaking has far shifted from around 185 to 203 to the US dollar since early 2020. After convertibility was restricted for trade transactions, as well as some capital transfers banks started to ration dollars.

Parallel exchange rates have also risen as a result.

Due to Mercantilist beliefs – which are also taught in Keynesian universities – monetary instability has been blamed on imports, and authorities tried to control imports.

In Sri Lanka oil often is blamed for currency falls, though liquidity injections in 2015 created a currency crisis as global oil prices collapsed.

However as credit driven by the new liquidity shifted to permitted areas, the trade deficit had exceeded the 2019 levels by May 2021.

In June some import restrictions were relaxed.

Non-Essential

Among Fitch Rated firms, consumer durables sellers were likely to be most affected.

“Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC (AA(lka)/Stable) and Abans PLC (AA(lka)/Stable) are the most exposed among Fitch-rated corporates to tighter import controls, due to the discretionary nature of their products,” the rating agency said.

“A tightening in import controls may exert pressure on both entities’ ratings, owing to low headroom. However, the availability of buffer inventories, a degree of local manufacturing, and potential group synergies in the case of Singer, could help mitigate the impact in the near term.”

Meanwhile firms that critics call crony import substitution firms which have actively lobbied politicians for protection in the past to create a domestic ‘black market’ at high prices could benefit.

“We expect sales volumes for domestic manufacturers to rise in the near term as they attempt to fill shortages created by import restrictions,” Fitch said.

“Therefore, corporates such as the domestic tyre manufacturer Ceat Kelani Holdings (Private) Limited (CKH, AA+(lka)/Stable), footwear manufacture and retailer DSI Samson Group (Private) Limited (DSG, AA(lka)/Stable), as well as electric cable producer Sierra Cables PLC (AA-(lka)/Negative), may be long-term beneficiaries as their products serve as import substitutes.”

Neutral

The impact on alcohol, beverage and phamarceuticals may be neutral.

“We believe pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors such as Hemas Holdings PLC (AAA(lka)/Stable) and Sunshine Holdings PLC (AA+(lka)/Stable) are less likely to see tighter import restrictions despite significant import exposure,” Fitch said.

“This is because of the essential nature of their goods, and limited availability of their products in the local market.

“Hemas and Sunshine have limited domestic manufacturing capabilities for certain generic drugs, while around 90% of the pharmaceutical products they sell are imported.

“This is because domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing is at a nascent stage, with producers lacking the technological know-how and infrastructure near term as they attempt to fill shortages created by import restrictions.”

 

 

Continue Reading

Business

Sri Lanka Insurance holds Annual General Meeting via Zoom online platform

Published

on

Sri Lanka Insurance holds its Annual General Meeting via Zoom online platform on 7th July 2021. The Chairman and Board of Directors were participated for the meeting from their respective locations adhering to the Covid 19 health and safety standards issued by Health authorities.

During the Annual General Meeting, it was declared that the company has closed year 2020 in a positive note recording phenomenal growth with exceptional service innovations.

Sri Lanka Insurance the premier insurer to the nation recorded stellar performance in 2020 to record a Profit before taxation of Rs. 7.9 billion for the year2020 , with a strong improvement in combined Gross Written Premium (GWP) of Rs. 39.4 billion denoting growth of 16.65%.

In the year of 2020 Sri Lanka Insurance reported 29.9 % growth in life insurance premium increasing to Rs.19.8 from 14.8 billion whilst Sri Lanka Insurance General reported 6.27% premium growth increasing to Rs.20.1 billion. General insurance contributed 51% towards the total GWP whilst Life Insurance contributed 49 %.

In continuing with its tradition of leadership, Sri Lanka insurance in 2020, surpassed its own record to declare a sum of Rs.8.6 billion as bonus to policyholders. The cumulative life insurance bonus paid out during the past 15 years tops a massive Rs.73.2 billion making the SLIC bonus payout unmatchable.

“Inclusive insurance or as I like to call it “Insurance for All” is something I have consistently reiterated, for it is without a doubt one of the best ways to safeguard the quality of life for every Sri Lankan. Insurance helps everyone, even those at the base of the economic pyramid . A majority of Sri Lankans are unaware that Insurance acts as a safety net in times of crisis and can provide people and businesses with lifeline to help them recover from unforeseen events to re-establish their livelihoods. What is more disconcerting is that the lack of awareness has given rise to the misconceptions that insurance is a product for a privileged few. The task of delivering “Insurance for All” is no easy feat. However, with over 59 years of expertise in serving the Sri Lankan market, I am convinced SLIC is best equipped to lead the movement to make insurance accessible to all.” noted Mr.Jagath Wellawatta, Chairman of SLIC.

Notwithstanding the challenging macroeconomic environment and large-scale disruptions due to the COVID-19 outbreak, SLIC delivered an excellent performance in 2020, even outperforming the industry on many fronts. With our perceptions and outlook coloured by the pandemic, we embarked on a new strategic planning exercise aimed at mapping out SLIC’s growth trajectory for the next 3 years. Eager to put our plan into action, we advanced the first phase of our agenda and undertook a broad based restructuring initiative to embed a greater degree of management oversight across the General business and the Life business, which we felt will pave the way for SLIC to systematically improve the scalability of each business, based on specific opportunities in the market.” noted Mr. Chandana L. Aluthgama, Chief Executive Officer of SLIC.

Established in 1962, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation is the largest government-owned insurance company in Sri Lanka, with a managed asset base of over Rs.235 billion and a Life fund of Rs. 134 billion, the largest in the local insurance industry. Sri Lanka Insurance ranked as the ‘Most Loved Insurance Brand’ and the ‘Most Valuable General Insurance Brand’ in the country by Brand Finance for the fourth consecutive year. Further Sri Lanka Insurance recognized as a “Great Place to Work” in Sri Lanka by Great Place to Work. The company is on the mission of being a customer focused company which constantly innovates in providing insurance services to customers and is now serves customers through an extensive network of 158 branches.

Continue Reading

Trending