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Government of Sri Lanka and UNDP Map Out SDG Investment for Private Sector to Support Recovery

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The SDG Impact Standards were also introduced to the Sri Lankan market to guide investors and enterprises on integrating sustainability and the SDGs into management practices

The Government of Sri Lanka and UNDP in Sri Lanka on Aug. 30 announced the launch of the Sri Lanka SDG Investor Map (the Map), a market intelligence tool that seeks to direct private capital where Sri Lanka’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) priorities, Government policy and market opportunity intersect, as the country seeks to rebuild its economy sustainably, using the SDG framework as its guide. The methodology for the Map was created by UNDP SDG Impact, a press release from participants said.

Explaining the Map will be a crucial tool to accelerate Sri Lanka’s recovery pathway and build forward better, the reease said it can be used by:

Investors wishing to explore Sri Lanka as an investment destination while also rendering benefits for local communities and the environmentEnterprises that want to adjust their business strategy towards inclusive models and are seeking market intelligence and investment rationale to validate their approach

Government agencies seeking to address entry level barriers for the private sector and to build an amenable ecosystem for the development of SDG enabling sectors

“In Sri Lanka, the Map was the result of a strong collaboration between UNDP and Sri Lanka’s Sustainable Development Council, the nodal government institution responsible for coordination, facilitation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Sri Lanka,” the release said.

“Sri Lanka’s apex investment promotion agency, the Board of Investments (BOI) of Sri Lanka, also provided input and validation during the development of the Map and is a key partner for the Map’s launch. Through secondary research and over 50 consultations with public and private sector organizations, the Map has identified 15 Investment Opportunity Areas (IOAs) that cover investment themes and business models across five SDG priority sectors: Renewable Energy, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Food & Beverages and Consumer Goods,” the release added.

At the event, UNDP called on the private sector to adopt the SDG Impact Standards, the independent and global management standards that guide businesses and investors in their decisions to optimize interrelated economic, social and environmental impacts. The forthcoming SDG Impact Standards Assurance Framework and SDG Impact Seal recognizes investors and enterprises who are more likely to be contributing positively to sustainability, reducing the risk of impact-washing.

Speaking at the event, Mr. W.A. Sarath Kumara, Deputy Secretary Treasury, Ministry of Finance stated, “Sri Lanka’s commitment to achieving the SDGs is explicit in our continued pursuit of national policies and development plans and programmes in alignment with SDGs over the years. Innovative financing mechanisms become imperative to synergize the government, private sector, and capital markets to generate the additional resources needed to finance the SDGs. The SDG Investor Map is therefore a timely intervention that would provide the potential investors with the required market information relating to potential investment opportunity areas.”

Highlighting how the map will inform Sri Lanka’s efforts to rebuild its economy sustainably, Ms. Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, Resident Coordinator, United Nations in Sri Lanka, said “a whole-of-society approach is needed to mitigate the immediate impacts of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis and assure the country’s long-term sustainable development. The Sri Lanka SDG Investor Map offers a compelling pathway for private sector entities to increase the alignment of their investments with the SDGs. It complements the recently launched United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2023–2027 by translating relevant country-level SDG gaps and priorities into private sector investment opportunities that will have lasting impacts on lives and livelihoods across the country.”

Commenting on the collaboration, Ms. Chamindry Saparamadu, Director General, Sustainable Development Council stated, ‘Partnerships underpin the success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Each stakeholder has particular strengths to bring to bear in delivering on the SDGs. Partnership and collaboration between the Sustainable Development Council and the UNDP in creating Sri Lanka’s first ever SDG Investor Map provides a classic example of how the strengths of each agency was leveraged to produce an innovative solution that could help bridge the financing gap for SDGs in Sri Lanka’.

Highlighting UNDPs role, Ms. Malin Herwig, Officer-In-Charge, UNDP in Sri Lanka commented, “The SDG Investor Map has provided us market intelligence on SDG aligned investment opportunities for Sri Lanka at this critical juncture. UNDP together with the Government of Sri Lanka, through the Map, calls for development partners, IFIs and private impact investors to come together to formulate financing solutions to contribute to the country’s recovery and SDG acceleration.”

Ms Fabienne Michaux, Director of SDG Impact concluded, “While there is much to be done, there is a great opportunity for the private sector to integrate sustainability and the SDGs into their investments and businesses to help Sri Lanka build forward better. The Sri Lanka SDG Investor Map has done a large part of the leg-work by identifying those sectors that will have the most development impact and that are aligned to the Government’s SDG targets. This coupled with the adoption of the SDG Impact Standards which guides the private sector to manage their impact, will further the country’s ability to build a more resilient future, leaving no one behind”.

About SDG Impact

SDG Impact is a UNDP flagship initiative, working to accelerate private sector contributions towards sustainability and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Its aim is to make it easier for organizations to place sustainability, the SDGs and managing for impact at the core of business and investment purpose, how value is created, and how capital is allocated through its SDG Impact Standards and the SDG Investor Maps.

Learn more sdgimpact.undp.org and follow us on Twitter @SDGImpact

About UNDP

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.

Learn more at www.undp.org/srilanka or follow us at @UNDPSriLanka

For more information, please contact:

Contact: socialmedia.lk@undp.org | 0779804188 | 011-2580691 Ext. 1501 Get in touch: UNDP on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram



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Lanka inflation hit 70.2% in August

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Food prices climbed 84.6 percent, while prices of non-food items rose 57.1 percent in the crisis-hit island nation.

(Al Jazeera) Consumer inflation in Sri Lanka accelerated to 70.2 percent in August, the statistics department has said, as the island nation reels under its worst economic crisis in decades.The National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) rose 70.2 percent last month from a year earlier, after a 66.7 percent increase in July, the Department of Census and Statistics said in a statement on Wednesday.

Food prices climbed 84.6 percent, while prices of non-food items rose 57.1 percent in the tourism-dependent South Asian country of 22 million people.The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) in August said the inflation rate would moderate after peaking at about 70 percent as the country’s economy slowed.

The NCPI captures broader retail price inflation and is released with a lag of 21 days every month.The more closely monitored Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI), released at the end of each month, rose 64.3 percent in August. It acts as a leading indicator for national prices and shows how inflation is evolving in Sri Lanka’s biggest city.

Sri Lanka’s economy shrank 8.4 percent in the quarter through June from a year ago in one of the steepest declines seen in a three-month period, amid fertiliser and fuel shortages.

“Inflation is expected to taper from September,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research for Colombo-based investment firm First Capital. “However, inflation is only likely to moderate and reach single digits in the second half of 2023.”

An acute dollar shortage, caused by economic mismanagement and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, has left Sri Lanka struggling to pay for essential imports including food, fuel, fertiliser and medicine.

The country earlier this month reached a preliminary deal with the International Monetary Fund for a loan of about $2.9bn, contingent on it receiving financing assurances from official creditors and negotiations with private creditors.

India on Tuesday said it had begun talks with Sri Lanka on restructuring its debt and promised to support the crisis-hit neighbour mainly through long-term investments after providing nearly $4bn of financial aid.

The High Commission of India in Colombo said it held the first round of debt talks with Sri Lankan officials on September 16.

“The discussions held in a cordial atmosphere symbolise India’s support to early conclusion and approval of a suitable IMF programme for Sri Lanka,” the High Commission said.

Sri Lanka will make a presentation to its international creditors on Friday, laying out the full extent of its economic troubles and plans for a debt restructuring.

The Indian High Commission also said New Delhi would continue to support Colombo “in all possible ways, in particular by promoting long-term investments from India in key economic sectors”.

India’s support to Sri Lanka this year has included a $400m currency swap, a $1bn credit line for essential goods and a $500m line for fuel. In addition, India has also deferred payment on Sri Lankan imports of about $1.2bn and given a credit line of $55m for fertiliser imports.

The High Commission said India had continuing development projects worth about $3.5bn in Sri Lanka, whose president earlier this month asked his officials to resolve obstacles to projects backed by India. He did not specify the obstacles or the projects.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has said Sri Lanka will turn a free trade agreement with India into a comprehensive economic and technological partnership.

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Raigam Wayamba Salterns Group turnover tops 1 bn

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Raigam Wayamba Salterns PLC saw its group turnover increase from Rs. 959.6 million to Rs. 1,147 million recording a growth rate of 19.5% year on year.Despite the fact that the financial year 2021/2022 was filled with many challenges, as a result of prudent management practices implemented and followed, the Raigam Wayamba Group was capable of reporting its ever-highest growth in 2021/2022,” said Chairman, Raigam Group, Dr. Ravi Liyanage.

Raigam Wayamba Salterns PLC, which was listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) in 2010 is the front line player in the value added salt market in Sri Lanka and it supplies a range of consumer salt products under the popular brands “Isi”, “Ruchi”, “Welcome” and “Triple Washed” as well as various salt products used as an input for different industries in bulk form.All the consumer products of Raigam Wayamba Salters are SLS certified for its quality and consistency and the processes are ISO certified.’8

The Raigam Wayamba Salterns Group is equipped with salterns, salt refineries and processing plants located in Puttalam and Hambantota districts. In addition to that the raw material supply for these operations has been ensured by the 1,800 Acre saltern established in Kuchchaweli in Trincomalee District by the parent company of the Raigam Group. Further the Puttalam Salt Limited (one of the successor to the National Salt Corporation) is also an associate company of the Raigam Group.

The well-known Raigam brand and state of the art island wide distribution network are distinct strengths of the Raigam Group. The Raigam distribution network operates on a latest IT platform and also includes distribution channels for modern trade, industry and bakery sectors.

Sri Lanka’s economy which was under-performed for two years due to COVID pandemic situation was experiencing the impacts of the foreign exchange crisis in the latter part of the financial year 2021/2022. Despite the fact that the financial year 2021/2022 was filled with many challenges, as a result of prudent management practices implemented and followed, the Raigam Waymba Group was capable of reporting its ever-highest growth in 2021/2022.

The group turnover increased from Rs. 959.6 million to Rs. 1,147 million recording a growth rate of 19.5% Y to Y. At the same time the Profit after Tax grew from Rs. 149.7 million to Rs. 215.6 million at an annual growth rate of 44%. As a result of these successful financial performances the Earning Per share for the year stood at Rs. 0.76 compared to Rs. 0.53 in the corresponding year. This has made a significant impact on the value of the shareholders’ investment increasing the Net Asset Value Per Share form Rs. 5.06 to Rs. 5.74.

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Singer’s legendry sewing industry and Academies developing skills and entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka

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A name synonymous with Singer (Sri Lanka), Singer sewing machine has over the years become an indispensable product at local households, helping thousands of women and men to make a living through a sewing business. For over six decades, Singer has been manufacturing its trademark sewing machines in Sri Lanka. Singer brand has claimed many firsts in sewing machine innovations including the world’s first zig-zag machine and the first electronic sewing machine.

Singer Industries, a subsidiary of Singer (Sri Lanka) manufactures traditional, portable and digital sewing machines at a fully-fledged facility, where it provides direct employment for over 100 factory workers and accommodates around 150 service agents. The traditional sewing machines are of two variants such as the straight stich and the zig-zag sewing machine, while the portable and digital sewing machines cater to the modern customers. Singer Industries is mandated with assembly of sewing machines and manufacturing of cabinets and stands for sewing machines.

The sewing machine stands and cabinets are 100% locally manufactured with the help of local suppliers who also depend from sewing machine manufacturing. Singer Industries also consists of a strong R&D section for sewing machine innovations. All the sewing machines produced by Singer Industries are distributed by its parent company, Singer (Sri Lanka) through their 431 distribution touch points. Currently, Singer sustains its dominance as the market leader for domestic sewing machine industry with a market share of 85%. Among the facilities, Singer Industries provides to its customers, it has deployed special service technicians at island wide service centres for technical assistance and support related to sewing machines. Its YouTube channel has access to over 130 technical assistance videos to further support its valued customers.

The name ‘’Singer’’ is closely associated with sewing. One of its major contributions to the local sewing industry is the Singer Fashion Academy. For more than 60 years, the Academy has helped thousands of individuals to develop sewing skills and become entrepreneurs. The Fashion Academy conducts sewing courses and diplomas while a degree pathway is to be implemented soon to further support students. The Academy is also the first and only institute in the country to receive course validation status from the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD) in the UK.

As of today, the academy consists of 54 branches Island wide and offers 22 sewing courses, 2 diplomas and another 10 courses as part of its Diwi Saviya program for low-income families. Annually, over 5000 – 6000 students get enrolled in Singer Fashion Academy’s courses. In addition to the physical classes, the academy conducts online courses and also provides a recorded version of lessons to further facilitate students. During the last decade, over 60,000 students have successfully completed the Fashion Academy’s courses and some of these students have already started their own sewing businesses. The Fashion Academy has helped in developing the passion of sewing among Sri Lankans and as a result, sewing has become a hobby among many.

Sewing can be considered one of the most feasible self-employment opportunities with its potential to generate a good income. A business of one’s own is a luxury at present due to current economic crisis. Many individuals who started their sewing businesses from scratch have developed their businesses to highly profitable ones. Singer Fashion Academy has all the resources ready to help develop sewing skills and is committed to develop a skilled workforce for the betterment of the country.

(Company news release)

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