Cooperation among key stakeholders significantly strengthened health initiatives covering communities in estates managed by the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) in 2021, helping minimise the pandemic’s adverse impact on the plantation community.
The Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) and the other constituent members of the PHDT – a tripartite organisation comprised of RPCs, Estate Trade Unions and the Government – worked hand-in-hand with the health authorities, to reduce the spread of the pandemic in RPC estates.
The vaccination drive and other measures to reduce the spread of the pandemic were given priority during the year. Progress was also achieved in long-term initiatives focused on the health and wellbeing of the plantation community, which are now being further amplified in 2022.
“Despite initial fears that the pandemic would spread rapidly among the estate community, its impact was minimised through proactive action and close collaboration among key stakeholders,” said Bhathiya Bulumulla, Chairman of the Planters’ Association of Ceylon – which represents the RPCs. “We thank the PHDT, health authorities and other Government bodies who assisted the RPCs in ensuring the wellbeing of the estate community, during this challenging period.”
Reflecting the success of the vaccination drive in RPC estates, at present, 60% of over 30 years residents have received two doses and a booster, while 97% have received at least both doses.
Complementing these efforts, a number of medications were also provided free-of-charge to the estate community, including 13 newly approved medications totalling 38 in 2021. These additional medicines, were provided by the State for treatment of ailments such as scabies, wasp & insect bites, allergies, worm infestation, anaemia, gastrointestinal diseases, wound dressing and short-term treatment of Diabetes and Hypertension etc.
The PHDT is also in the process of assisting in the smooth transfer of 59 estate hospitals to the Ministry of Health, as part of an ongoing process first commenced in 2021. Most recently, the PHDT also commenced its The ‘community kitchens’ programme, which seeks to enhance healthy dietary practices in estates, by both providing nutritious meals while raising awareness, was also expanded during the year.
Beyond health-focused initiatives, the PHDT completed 23 new child development centres (CDCs) during the year, while also commencing construction on 750 houses within RPC estates. Water supply and sanitation projects were also expanded during the year, benefiting approximately 4,000 estate residents families.
The RPCs and the PHDT intend to maintain and improve the momentum of these health initiatives during 2022. Accordingly, the PHDT will recommence health screening programmes across the estate areas in the country and community development and empowerment programmes to improve nutrition and wellbeing among mothers and children.
The PHDT also plans to construct 35 new child development centres within this year, bringing the total within RPC estate areas to 1,250 while 21 CDCs will also be renovated. In addition, 240 parental awareness programmes on psychosocial development of children will be carried out by the PHDT. The diploma-level training programme for 100 CDC officers will also be continued in 2022.
“It is noteworthy that the PHDT and other stakeholders were able to strengthen our long-term initiatives aimed at further improving the lives of RPC estate residents, while also successfully implementing short-term pandemic prevention measures,” said Lal Perera, the Director General of PHDT. “We will continue to ramp up these programmes during 2022, with the assistance of our partners.”
The PHDT is a tripartite organisation comprising the RPCs, Estate Trade Unions and the Government, established to enhance the quality of life of the plantation community. Since its establishment in 1992, the PHDT has facilitated the establishment of 15 water supply mega projects benefiting safe water and sanitation to 3,000 households while overseeing the construction of 50 km of estate roads. The PHDT has also been instrumental in the construction of 104 child development centres, re-roofing and repairing of 58,477 existing houses and the construction of 38,296 new housing units for estate sector communities.
Dialog Smart Home Enables Seamless Home Automation via Range of Intuitive Solutions
Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, introduced a range of convenient and integrated solutions via ‘Dialog Smart Home’ to enable intelligent automation and intuitive control of homes.
The newly introduced range of future-fit smart home solutions by Dialog Smart Home ranges from Home Automation, Home Security & Surveillance and Home Connectivity, and are designed to enable any home to work as one harmonious system where all elements work in tandem together to create a truly intelligent home.
The Home Automation solutions offer homeowners seamless and convenient control of their electronic appliances through their smartphones anytime, anywhere. With the Smart Touch Wall Switches, Smart Power Strips and Smart Fan Controllers, homeowners can take control of existing light bulbs, table fans, rice cookers, chargers, ceiling fans and more appliances. Additionally, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered TeDi Alexa Solution enables users to control connected smart devices including TVs, air conditioners, home security systems and more through voice commands.
Home Security & Surveillance solutions transform basic cameras into high-powered CCTV solutions. Baby and house monitoring smart cameras can be placed inside homes to keep a 360-degree eye on children and pets. The Indoor Security Camera has the ability to sound a siren and notify users if a stranger enters their home. Dialog Smart Home has also partnered with Singer to offer customers world-renowned Dahua CCTV solutions.
The Home Connectivity solutions offers consumers Wi-Fi extenders to facilitate uninterrupted internet connectivity across the house to fit the homeowner’s lifestyle and requirements.
CBSL implements extraordinary measures to support banking sector
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka, considering the prevailing macroeconomic conditions and its impact on the banking sector, has decided to implement the following regulatory measures to support the banking sector to facilitate effective financial intermediation and the flow of credit to the economy, whilst ensuring the soundness of the banking sector.
• Sri Lankan banking sector maintains a Capital Conservation Buffer (CCB) of 2.5% to ensure that banks have an additional layer of usable capital that can be drawn down during stress times. An industry wide flexibility is granted for banks to drawdown the CCB (up to 2.5%), if needed, subject to restrictions on distribution to shareholders/ repatriation of profits and submission of a capital augmentation plan to rebuild CCB during a period up to three years.
• The current deadline for licensed banks to meet the enhanced minimum capital requirement (31.12.2022) is extended up to 31.12.2023. Licensed banks which are unable to meet the minimum capital requirement by 31.12.2022, need to submit their capital augmentation plan, including plans to consolidate or merge with suitable financial institutions, by 31.12.2022 and these licensed banks too shall refrain from distribution of dividends/ repatriation of profits until the minimum capital requirement is met.
• Licensed banks are encouraged to move to approaches such as The Standardised Approach (TSA) or alternative TSA for computation of risk weighted assets for operational risk for the purposes of computing the Capital Adequacy Ratio, subject to supervisory review.
• Licensed banks are given the flexibility to stagger the unrealised mark to market loss on Government Securities denominated in LKR on account of the recent interest rate hike for Capital Adequacy purposes until Q2 of 2024, subject to conditions.
• Licensed banks are granted flexibility on the treatment for Other Comprehensive Income (OCI) for Capital Adequacy purpose in line with the International Standards.
• The deadline for licensed banks to submit the document on Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process (ICAAP) for 2022, to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka is extended by one month, until 30.06.2022.
• As a short-term measure to support licensed banks to adjust their liquidity profiles, licensed banks are provided with the flexibility to operate maintaining the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) and Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) not lower than 90% up to 30.09.2022. Furthermore, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, on 06 May 2022 decided to restrict certain discretionary payments of licensed banks, such as declaring cash dividends and repatriation of profits, until the financial statements for the year 2022 are audited by its External Auditor, engaging in share buy backs, increasing management allowances and payments to the Board of Directors until 31 December 2022 with a view to strengthening the liquidity and capital positions of licensed banks under these exceptional circumstances.
The above measures were introduced with the aim of providing the licensed banks with more flexibility and opportunities to operate in these challenging conditions and support economic recovery, while taking measures to improve their safety and soundness. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka will periodically review the implementation of these policy measures and expects licensed banks to avail these measures in the best interest of the customers and the economy at large, while supporting the banking sector to remain resilient.
CEAT official tyre supplier for locally assembled Tata Ace HT
CEAT Kelani Holdings has been appointed as the official tyre supplier for Tata Ace HT series compact trucks which are assembled in Sri Lanka by DIMO in collaboration with India’s largest automobile manufacturer TATA Motors.
CEAT RHINO PLUS TL tyres in the size of 155R12 8PR, manufactured at the CEAT Kelani plant in Kelaniya are used for the TATA Ace HT series vehicles, popularly known in Sri Lanka as “DIMO Batta” under this project. The locally manufactured CEAT RHINO PLUS TL tyre features a zig zag pattern on its circumference and ribs with lateral notches that contribute towards uniformity and better wear and tear on local roads.
Commenting on this latest OEM agreement of the company, CEAT Kelani Holdings Managing Director Mr. Ravi Dadlani said: “As a brand that has been at the forefront of local value addition in Sri Lanka, CEAT is excited to contribute further to the process through its association with this assembly operation. This is particularly relevant in the prevailing situation in the domestic market. We are able to provide high-quality tyres engineered for local conditions at competitive prices and ensure uninterrupted supply, while at the same time helping to conserve foreign exchange.”
In January this year, CEAT was appointed as an OEM for a range of heavy-duty trucks, tippers and light commercial vehicles assembled in Sri Lanka by Lanka Ashok Leyland PLC (LAL), a joint venture company of Ashok Leyland India. In November 2021 the brand was chosen as the OEM for Bolero City Pik-up vehicles assembled in Sri Lanka by Mahindra & Mahindra India in collaboration with Ideal Motors.
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