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‘Highest ever export earnings from tea, rubber and cinnamon this year’

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Exports of rubber, coconut, and cinnamon have generated US $ 4 billion in export earnings this year, Plantation Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said.

“This year is the golden year of the plantation industry despite some issues,” the minister said.

The Minister made this observation while participating in a function organized at the Apegama premises in Battaramulla to recognize the officers who have completed 25 years of service in the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority.

The Minister said the plantation industry and agriculture faced a severe crisis this year. “Even at that moment, the crises have not been resolved. Those crises arose with the ban on fertilizer. But we have already found solutions to the problem. So, do not hesitate to get involved in the plantation industry. But, whatever the challenges, we are committed to making the tea industry a profitable industry next year. The Tea Small Holdings Development Authority has a special role to play in carrying out that task.

“Despite the crisis, this year has been a golden year for the plantation industry. Nearly US $ 4 billion is expected to be earned from the export of rubber, coconut, and cinnamon this year. This will be the highest export earnings we receive the first time in history. Despite the potential for high export earnings from the tea industry, it was missed. But there is a potential to harvest about 305 million kilos of tea this year. We are ready to meet the problems that we have faced this year and face them in a new way next year as well. As a government, we are ready to provide maximum assistance for the purpose,” he said.

Minister Pathirana said that this year has been a year of high tea replanting. We are also ready to provide tea plants and compost fertilizer free of charge to anyone who wishes to grow tea. Now we need to go beyond traditional cultivation. Only then, we will be able to build a better plantation economy. A large number of people have already asked for tea plants. It is our responsibility to provide them with the necessary technical know-how and high-yielding tea plants.

The Government has given permission to import fertilizer again. Therefore, the country will receive sufficient fertilizer by February. But now the price of fertilizer in the world market has gone up. Due to this, a problem has arisen in our country regarding the price of fertilizer.

He said that as per the plans, discussions are already underway to give a higher price for the green leaf at a low-price next year.

State Minister of Company Establishment Reforms, Tea Estate Crops, Tea Factory Modernization, and Tea Export Diversification Kanaka Herath, Secretary to the Ministry of Plantation Ravindra Hewawitharana, Secretary to the State Ministry Tilakaratne Banda, Chairman of the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority Dr. Thushara Priyadarshana, and Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board Jayampathi Molligoda were also present.



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Business

Seven factors of concern at upcoming Monetary Policy Review

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is scheduled to announce its latest monetary policy review on 20th January 2022, with all eyes on dwindling foreign reserves and foreign currency exchange in the country.

In this context, First Capital Research has named 7 factors of concern that could be taken into account at the upcoming monetary policy review. They are as follows.

* Foreign Reserves USD 3.1 billion – Dec 2021

* Inflation CCPI 12.1% – Dec 2021

* GDP Growth -1.5% – 3Q2021

* Private Credit LKR 60.5 billion – Nov 2021

* 03M T-Bill rate 8.38% as at 12.01.22

Liquidity and CBSL Holdings LKR -364.0 billion and LKR 1.42 trillion

Balance of Trade (BOT) and Balance of Payment (BOP) USD -6.5 billion and USD -3.3 billion for Jan-Oct 21

First Capital Research’s Policy Rate Forecast – Jan 2022-Apr 2022 notes that they believe the CBSL may highly consider tightening the monetary policy rates in this policy review but given the concerns over economic growth, there is a probability of 40% for CBSL to maintain its policy stance at current levels.

“With high frequent indicators improving in line with expectations, we have eliminated any probability of a rate cut. We expect a continued increase in probability for a rate hike in order to prevent overheating of the economy amidst the given fiscal and monetary stimulus,” they said.

As per First Capital’s view, CBSL either can choose to hike policy rates by 50bps or 100bps or hold policy rates steady, while a rate cut is off the table due to the high debt repayment and the high domestic borrowing requirement.

First Capital believes that there is a 60% probability for a rate hike due to the remedial actions required in achieving external stability.

However, there is also a 40% probability to maintain the policy rates at its current level in order to further improve the high frequency indicators.30%, they noted.

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Business

Sri Lanka’s dash brand enters international markets

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Multichemi International Ltd, which manufactures and distributes a wide range of products under dash, one of Sri Lanka’s leading detergent and household care brands, has begun exporting its products to several international markets in Asia and Oceania, with plans also to enter Africa. The dash brand includes a wide range of products in car care, household care, home fragrances and laundry care sectors. Multichemi International Ltd, which has been awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification, is a Sri Lankan pioneer in environment-friendly cleaning products, having launched the country’s first biodegradable, safe cleaning products over 28 years ago.

Amila Wijesinghe, General Manager of the Company said,”Having conquered the domestic market, we are now ready to capture the international market. We are confident that our products which are of high quality will receive a good demand overseas as well. The feedback we have received so far from our overseas customers is extremely encouraging. We are dedicated to taking our products to the international market, to bring in foreign currency to the country and help uplift the economy”,

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Business

Janaka Abeysinghe appointed SLT CEO

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Sri Lanka Telecom PLC has announced the appointment of Janaka Abeysinghe as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from February 1, 2022.

The incumbent CEO Kiththi Perera will be overseas on leave for a period of two years to pursue higher studies, according to a stock market filing by the company.

Abeysinghe joined SLT in 1991. In his present role, he leads the enterprise and wholesale business of SLT that provides integrated voice and data solutions to enterprises, government institutions, domestic telco operators and global wholesale carriers.

In his career at SLT spanning 29 years, he has held a number of senior positions, including general manager Enterprise and International Sales and has extensive experience in the areas of Enterprise Digital Services, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Data Communications, Business Development, Domestic and International Switching Operations and Global Wholesale Voice & Data Business.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Kansas, USA and a BSc degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering with a First Class Honours from the University of Moratuwa.

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