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Industrial Development Board establishes Smart Facilitation Centre at Hambantota International Port



Wimal Weerawansa, Minister of Industries cuts the ribbon to open the Facilitation Centre at the Hambantota Maritime Center (HMC), along with General Daya Ratnayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Industries, Upasena Dissanayake, Chairman of the Industrial Development Board (IDB) and Johnson Liu, CEO, HIPG.

The Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) entered into a sublease agreement with the Industrial Development Board (IDB), to establish a smart Facilitation Centre at the Hambantota Maritime Center (HMC).  The new center will smoothen the path for foreign investors focused on establishing projects in the Southern Province.

 The agreement was signed by Johnson Liu, CEO, HIPG and Upasena Dissanayake, Chairman of the Industrial Development Board (IDB) in the presence of Wimal Weerawansa, Minister of Industries, at a ceremony held on 3rd December at 10.00 am.

 The Facilitation Center will provide investors with the support they need in finding suitable real estate and fast tracking required approvals via other government institutions. This will be an added advantage for all potential investors interested in investing in HIP and the Hambantota district, as the new IDB Facilitation Center coupled with the already established BOI-One-Stop-Service Center at HMC will create an investment friendly environment.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Industry Wimal Weerawansa said, “Many people now have different opinions about China, and whatever they say, we know that most of the investments that China has made are investments that help us generate dollar revenues, not investments that take our dollars out of the country. Our country receives dollar revenue from the Colombo Port City. We also collect dollars in taxes. The Hambantota Port once it establishes as a full-service port will bring in foreign exchange to our country. We need projects that can earn dollars. We decided on a Facilitation Centre in proximity to the port to fast track services for export oriented industries.” The Minister thanked HIPG CEO Johnson Liu and the HIP team for their support in providing the premises and other facilities in setting up the Center.

 “This move by the IDB is very positive for the port as well as the Southern region, given that the expansion and development of the Hambantota International Port is directly connected to the development of the southern region and in turn the Sri Lankan economy. Therefore, it is not just the port’s industrial zone that we are looking at but all the other industrial zones outside the port which will use HIP to import raw materials and export finished products. HIPG’s port investment services team is also promoting Sri Lanka internationally, showcasing what the country has to offer. We are confident that soon we will have a vibrant mix of light industries in Hambantota and adjacent districts that manufacture goods for both domestic and international markets,” says Johnson Liu, CEO of HIPG.

 Tissa Wickramasinghe, COO of HIPG says, “Part of the success of the development of industries in the south of Sri Lanka and creating an export market for it depends on the efficiency of the port. And in this sector we have been constantly breaking our own records and raising the bar in terms of productivity and facilities we provide. Our recent ISO certification, which is an achievement for a port in the whole of South Asia, endorses our efficient systems and processes. Year by year, we will continue to build on our systems, helping to bolster the confidence of all who use the port.”

 Hambantota Maritime Center is the port’s administrative building. It currently has tenants from different sectors, including the BOI. Most are from the Logistics and Commercial sectors while others include Travel Agents, Communication, Banking, Shipping, Government Institutes, Oil and Bunkering, Marine Services, Ship Building and Repairing, Engineering services, Manufacturing and Construction.

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Seven factors of concern at upcoming Monetary Policy Review



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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Sri Lanka’s dash brand enters international markets



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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Janaka Abeysinghe appointed SLT CEO



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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