By Santhush Woonjin JEONG -Korean Ambassador
Ayubowan, Vanakkam, Annyonghasimnikka (Korean Greeting)
My heartiest congratulations on Sri Lanka’s Independence Day! As Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Sri Lanka, I am delighted to convey my warm felicitations to the friendly people of Sri Lanka on the occasion of the 74th Independence Day. As all Sri Lankans worldwide celebrate the independence of the ‘Prosperous Motherland that Overcomes Challenges,’ I am happy to say that the Republic of Korea celebrates together with you!
It is indeed a memorable year for the friendship between Korea and Sri Lanka as we commemorate the 45th year of our diplomatic relations between our countries this year. Since 1977, Korea and Sri Lanka have come a long way together to form a symbiotic bilateral partnership, strengthened by mutual goodwill and high level exchanges. I look forward to extending cooperation in a future-oriented way between the two countries, opening a new chapter of elevated bilateral relations for the next 45 years.
To mark this landmark anniversary, the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Hon. Prof. G. L. Peiris visited Korea early this year. The official bilateral Foreign Ministers’ meeting was the first bilateral engagement at the level of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in 2022 for Korea as well as Sri Lanka. In his meetings with many of high ranking Korean officials during his visit to Korea, Hon. Peiris strongly initiated and raised the necessity of increasing the quota provided for employment to Sri Lankans in Korea and enhancing more ODA support to Sri Lanka. An increase in the quota for employment provided for Sri Lankans will replenish the much needed foreign reserves in Sri Lanka and revive the economies of both countries. In 2019, Sri Lankan migrant workers remitted approximately 520 million US dollars for one year from Korea to Sri Lanka prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be a favourable response from Korea to the requests of the Hon. Foreign Minister in the near future, considering the vital role Sri Lankan workers in Korea play to secure the economic situation of both countries.
Also following the Hon. Peiris’s visit to Korea, the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, Hon. Park Byeong-Seug paid an official visit to Sri Lanka at the official invitation of his counterpart, Hon. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana last January and at the verbal invitation of Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka who paid a call on the Hon. Korean Speaker during his visit to Korea. Hon. Korean Speaker is the first Speaker of a foreign country who visited Sri Lanka at the official invitation by the Sri Lankan Speaker since the inauguration of the 9th Parliament in 2020. In the course of the official visit, Hon. Speaker had met with the President of Sri Lanka H.E. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Speaker of Parliament in Sri Lanka, Hon. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana, Foreign Minister Hon. Prof. G. L. Peiris, other Ministers and dignitaries, and held fruitful discussions to promote bilateral ties including economic and labour cooperation as well. Now the Parliament of Korea is making arrangements to increase the quota provided for Sri Lankan employees and increase ODA assistance at the request of the Sri Lankan Government. These high level exchanges continue to reaffirm the special relationship between our two countries and herald the dawn of a new era of strengthened relations between Korea and Sri Lanka.
Furthermore, the stability in the bilateral partnership between Korea and Sri Lanka is also a testimony to the historic, religious, cultural, social and economic exchanges which have evolved over time. The contours of this relationship extend to the commonalities in the historical experiences of Korea and Sri Lanka. While both countries faced many hardships in the past, the peoples of both nations struggled for freedom, security and prosperity. The celebration today is a tribute to the people of Sri Lanka who continued to struggle peacefully to achieve independence on 4th February 1948 and become a sovereign independent state among the international community.
The Pearl of the Indian Ocean is strategically valuable considering its geo-politically significant location, abundance of natural resources and skilled human resources. Korea’s capital and state-of-the-art technology will be complementary to create the perfect synergies for our two countries to advance bilateral economic cooperation. The trade volume between Korea and Sri Lanka has increased by 30-fold since its establishment of diplomatic ties in 1977, and a special investment zone for Korean entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka will attract more Korean investors to Sri Lanka.
Our two nations and people are examples of the resilience, steadfastness and hope even in the most difficult circumstances. Korea’s economic miracle, so called ‘The Miracle on Han River’ is a story of overcoming many hardships by the Korean people that led to the national development from poverty to prosperity. I believe that Sri Lanka will also be developed to “the Miracle on Kelani River” While we have come a long way together in the path of development, there is a lot more to be done. We should resolve to work towards realizing the dream of building back better for our future generations.
As Sri Lanka’s long-standing friend and partner, Korea has been committed to assist Sri Lanka to get over the coronavirus, a pandemic that gripped the entire world with fear, uncertainty and claimed thousands of lives. With a high vaccination rate of over 80 percent, it is commendable that Sri Lanka has worked hard together to overcome these difficult circumstances. Under the “stay strong” campaign, Korea has been a friend indeed in times of need, by donating around 3 million U.S. dollars’ worth of equipment to combat COVID-19 virus in Sri Lanka in the last two years. I assure you that Korea will continue to support Sri Lanka overcome the COVID-19 virus and resuscitate its economic activities.
Meanwhile, newly recruited Sri Lankan migrant employees are now welcome to enter Korea and assume their jobs. Recently, the Korean Government decided to resume the entry of new Sri Lankan workers and workers from other foreign countries to Korea. In January 2022, 169 Sri Lankans have arrived in Korea for employment purposes. Around 22,000 Sri Lankan employees are presently in Korea. In 2019, they remitted approximately 520 million US dollars for one year from Korea to Sri Lanka prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. As they are able to resume work in Korea I am sure that they will contribute to the economic growth and assist Sri Lanka enhance foreign reserves. At the same time, learning Korean language will be a valuable advantage to qualify as a skilled migrant worker in Korea. It is with great pleasure I appreciate the tireless efforts of the Sri Lankan government to adopt Korean as a foreign language in the advanced level classes from 2021. Sri Lankan students can now prepare to sit for the Korean language examination in the advanced level examination by 2023. Korea will continue to engage in developing vocational education and training to forge a more skilled and competitive labour force in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, Korea will take active measures to increase the quota provided for employment for Sri Lankans in Korea.
Korea-Sri Lanka relations have widened on multiple paradigms in which development cooperation is of utmost importance. Sri Lanka is one of Korea’s principle ODA cooperation partners. KOICA has continued to assist and fund commercial and infrastructure projects in various fields such as education, transportation, water resources, food and agricultural development, thus augmenting the development of Sri Lanka. As a reliable friend, Korea is a trustworthy partner of Sri Lanka to meet the current needs of national development. With these as a momentum, the bilateral ties are expected to widen and deepen further in coming years.
As the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea like the meaning of my Sri Lankan name “Santhush,” I would really like to carry happiness to Sri Lanka. I love Sri Lanka. I love Sri Lankan people. On this occasion of celebrating this important milestone of your country’s rich history, on behalf of the government and the people of the Republic of Korea, I take this opportunity to wish every success, peace and prosperity to the government and friendly people of Sri Lanka. I will closely work with all of you to achieve our common goals.
Once again, I wish all our Sri Lankan friends a very happy and memorable Independence Day!
Let’s stay strong together!
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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