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Govt. urged to update book value of imported ceramic products



By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

Sri Lanka Ceramics and Glass Council (SLCGC) urges the government  to update Sri Lanka Customs’ (SLC) ‘Text book’ or book value of key ceramic products imported into the country to protect local industrialists.

“There is an absence of a proper mechanism to implement the Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duties Act of 2018 to protect local producers from unfair competition for key ceramic local products,  SLCGC member and Art Decoration International (Pvt) Ltd. Founder Chairman, S. H.B. Karunaratne said. An SLCGC press conference was organised to focus on these matters by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on  Tuesday.

“To import a complete set of ceramic sanitaryware, which weighs 65 kgs and includes a commode, tank, basin, pedestal, seat cover and water fittings, the book value of valuation stands at US$ 35.00/Rs.6,350. This is an unrealistic amount as a complete set of ceramic sanitaryware cannot be manufactured for such a low cost,  Karunaratne said

“Once this is amended, local manufacturers will be able to compete with imports and it will also prevent cheap inferior quality items being dumped into our country. And this will also help to stop the huge outflow of foreign exchange, Karunaratne added.

“SLCGC seeks state intervention to correct this unrealistic valuation by amending the SLC’s “Text book” value to US$100.”

He pointed out that this would help Sri Lanka to resume sanitaryware imports and thereby pacify the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“Importers can continue their businesses, while the consumer will also be safeguarded, he added.Import restrictions still remain in force for sanitaryware products.

‘Sri Lanka’s ceramic industry saw its market shrinking by 35-40 percent last year mainly due to adverse impacts of COVID-19, according to SLCGC Vice President Mahendra Jayasekera.

However, he noted that prior to February last year, before the import restrictions came into force, Sri Lanka’s ceramic manufacturers, in particular the tile industry, had seen their inventories running up to 7 to 10 months, mainly due to influx of “cheap” and “low quality” imports of such items.

Since, import restrictions came into place, Jayasekera noted that most of these inventories were sold out. He stressed that local manufacturers haven’t raised their prices despite the import restrictions.

Although listed entities reported a surge in their profits in the last couple of quarters, he said in the upcoming quarter the profits of these entities might come down as these entities now depend on current productions with most of the piled up inventories being already sold out.

SLCGC Vice President Aravinda Perera noted that if the current environment is maintained over the next two years, the country would be able to be self-sufficient in ceramic tiles and sanitaryware products.

SLCGC said current industry players have earmarked around Rs.20 billion worth of investments to expand their operations in the country. 

Further, Jayasekera noted that several new entrants could also be expected during this year to meet the local demand.

According to SLCGC, local manufacturers currently fulfil around 60 percent of the local demand for ceramic products.

“Äs of now the ceramic industry of Sri Lanka has 20,000 employees, and with the current government policy, manufacturers are willing and ready to invest around Rs.20 billion to expand their current production and to set up new factories, which will in turn create around 15,000 – 20,000 new job opportunities for our youth, the SLCGC said.While welcoming competition, Jayasekera predicted that Sri Lanka could experience an excess of production in two years, enabling the country to export such products.

However, SLCGC expressed its concerns on the reduction of duty and cess imposed on ceramic imports by approximately 10 percent by the last budget despite the government’s assurance in supporting local industrialists.They insisted that policy consistency is the most crucial aspect in supporting local industries and entrepreneurs. 

The Council also sought government’s initiative to raise the minimum value of the duty for tiles to US$ 5 per square meter.

Further, it also urged the government to come up with a realistic policy framework in terms of mining resources, such as, ball clay.

Karunaratne pointed out that the current Agrarian Development Act requires amendments to facilitate mining in paddy fields to source ball clay, which is a crucial raw material for the industry.

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CSE recovers following CBSL chief’s observations on local economy



By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Sri Lanka’s shares moved up within the first hour of trading yesterday though the market proved to be highly volatile. However, it later showed some marginal recovery following Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe’s positive comments on the local economy. He hinted that the economy would become stable and register steady growth by next year.

Weerasinghe said inflation will reach a maximum level of 65 per cent by September and will likely indicate a downward trend afterwards. “The reason being that the Central Bank managed the sagging economy quite well and now we could provide the basic needs of the people with our current export revenue and inward remittances, he said at the CBSL’s monthly policy review meeting yesterday.

Amid these developments both indices moved upwards. The All- Share Price Index rose by 3.22 points (0.04 per cent) to end at 8910.57 and S and P SL20 gained 22.36 points (0.76 per cent) to end the day at 2969.36. Turnover stood at Rs 2.7 billion with a single crossing. The crossing was reported in JKH, which crossed 500,000 shares to the tune of Rs 63.75 million; its shares traded at Rs 120.50.

In the retail market, seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Lanka IOC Rs 578 million (three million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 313 million (1.5 million shares traded), Lankem Development Rs 208 million (ten million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 84.6 million (ten million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 83 million (114,000 shares traded), Agstar Rs 82.7 million (6.8 million shares traded) and Renuka Agri Foods Rs 72.6 million (9.8 million shares traded). During the day 115 million share volumes changed hands in 29000 transactions. Yesterday the Central Bank announced the US dollar buying rate as Rs 357.33 and the selling rate as Rs 368.70.

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An interview with Yiran An, senior product manager, vivo Imaging Centre



World Photography Day

by Sanath Nanayakkare

Q. World Photography Day is observed every year on 19th of August. How does vivo view this momentous occasion?

World Photography Day is the time when people of all age groups all over the world are united in the spirit of photography. It is a day when a professional photographer, a hobbyist, or anyone who clicks pictures with a smartphone or camera celebrates World Photography Day by clicking the elusive to microscopic subjects in the most beautiful frames. vivo as a leading technology brand believes that it is not an arbitrary date, rather it holds a special historical significance which gave birth to the invention of the Daguerreotype, the first commercially successful photographic imaging technology.

We, as one of the innovators of smartphone photography, are working to provide a “human-centered” creator spirit to our users asking them to create and exceed beyond what is seen around. vivo wants to ensure that the leading minds should not limit their creativity. Thus, we work rigorously to create humanized professional images using smartphone camera technology to meet the needs of diverse users, allowing them to take stunning photos, while building up an ecosystem to change the mobile photography outlook.

Q. Smartphone cameras are built within severe space limitations. How does the sleek brand of vivo deal with this challenge?

Talking about the structure and imaging principle of our smartphones, we have gone through leaps and bounds to reach the advanced levels of imaging. Sensor is the main components of the camera; it ensures the image quality and camera performance. More than 80% of our workforce is invested in research and development, we are known to conduct rigorous studies to understand consumer aspirations. Following this exhaustive analysis of the changing trends in photography, vivo conceptualised the compatible sensors to provide best-suited smartphones under V, Y and X Series. Our strategic partnership with leading lens sensor manufacturers helps us to design sensors that are more compatible with vivo’s imaging features and deliver quality input for smartphone photography from the underlying technology.

Q. The focal length has to be right for a quality image. How has vivo improved this technology over the years?

Easy, fast, accurate focus in camera technology has marked a radical step in setting the standard for future smartphone cameras with tremendous focal length. we have progressed over years and now vivo’s smartphones are known to improve autofocus performance by packing each pixel with photodiodes that intelligently register frame and pattern changes in all directions for Autofocus to appear instantaneous. By combining with other hardware and software technologies, it can achieve a larger anti-shaking angle and provide cleared images even for farther objects.

We have also found Autofocus as a solution for blurry images by equipping the device with Eye Autofocus. This feature intelligently captures the most intrinsic frame details and maintains the camera focus for seamlessly capturing moments, even in motion. Bringing this hi-tech advancement to their smartphones has been nothing short of a milestone in vivo’s camera evolution. Additionally, our hardware advantages and Motion Deblur algorithm improves the clarity and success rate of motion portrait capture, and constantly expands the applicable scenarios of motion capture.

Q. We hear a lot about pixels of a smartphone camera. What does it mean?

Yes! Pixels are the building blocks of digital photography which captures the light to make up your image. Higher pixel-count cameras promise better resolution images. We at vivo have developed high-resolution sensors to combine pixels for better light capture. These larger sensors are vastly improving the quality of day and especially low-light photography. The X80 model for instance offers outstanding night scene effects in conjunction with the 50MP Ultra-Sensing Sensor Camera, known for its pro-grade skills, better colors, professional grade output even in low light environments. It is equipped with IMX866 RGBW sensor that delivers images in greater detail and improves the camera performance in dark and low-light scenarios.

Q. How does vivo technology enable the aperture in its smartphone cameras?

In the current times, variable aperture can be one of the unique selling points in any new smartphone known for photography. Although many have seen vivo’s advancement in imaging technology, but Night Sports Mode feature is a new addition that combines Motion Deblur and night algorithms to enhance clarity and the production success rate of snapshots with larger aperture to ensure noise free and stunning images at night. We as a consumer centric brand constantly look around for ways to create smartphone cameras that compete with DSLR cameras. Having said that, X Series has already enabled smartphone photographers to switch between a low aperture for portraits and macro shots with a blurry background and a higher aperture for more depth and detailed images in the smartphone itself. Together with ZEISS’ optical expertise and imaging effects we have develop vivo’s new unique mobile photography features and offer users and professional ZEISS photography enthusiasts with styled, differentiated photography experiences.

To be Continued

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DFCC Bank partners with SLASSCOM



From left to right Ms. Samathri Kariyawasam - VP General Legal, DFCC Bank, Anton Arumugam - SVP Offshore Banking, Remittance, and Business Development DFCC Bank, Thimal PereraDirector/CEO, DFCC Bank, Ashique Ali– Vice Chair,SLASSCOM, Jehan Perinpanayagam - Vice Chair, SLASSCOM, Nishan Mendis - Director Finance, SLASSCOM, and Ms. Chamindā De Silva - Executive Director, SLASSCOM

DFCC Bank, one of the premier commercial banks in Sri Lanka, has announced that it has formally entered into a partnership with SLASSCOM, the apex body representing the IT/BPM industry in Sri Lanka, a sector that is one of the top foreign exchange earners for the country. Given that the industry has been adversely impacted as a result of the present energy crisis, through this partnership, DFCC Bank and SLASSCOM will work together to provide accessible and affordable financing for sustainable power generation for the sector, through special financing schemes, concessionary rates, and other exclusive benefits. With over 420 member companies, encompassing an employee base of 115,000+ people, SLASSCOM’s membership accounts for approximately 90% of Sri Lanka’s IT/BPM industry’s export revenue.

The partnership between the two giants was officially entered into with the signing of an MOU recently, and the occasion was held at the DFCC Bank Head Office where senior officials from both organizations were present. Thimal Perera – Director/CEO, DFCC Bank PLC, and Ashique Ali–Vice Chair, SLASSCOM signed on behalf of both entities.

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