The embassy of Sri Lanka in Seoul in close coordination with the embassy of the Republic of Korea (RoK) in Colombo, UNIDO-ITPO (Investment & Technology Promotion Office) in Seoul, Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) and Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority conducted a two-hour webinar followed by a comprehensive and fruitful Business-to-Business (B2B) session last week.
The highly focused and structured digital webinar was sponsored by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, INGINE and the Training Hub of Asia, among others and was moderated by Tharindu Amarasekera, The primary objectives of the interactive seminar were to profile and project opportunities and vistas in the power and energy sector of Sri Lanka to Korean corporate leaders and companies, expound the benefits and utility of engaging in the realm of power and energy in Sri Lanka and to arrange and connect the corporates of Sri Lanka and the RoK in the sphere of power and energy to commit investments and forge business partnerships, thus mutually benefitting both the countries.
The moderator, Amarasekera, introduced the panelists and experts in the field of power and energy and Ambassador of the RoK, Santhush Jeong Woonjin, addressed the digital seminar on the aforementioned theme. In the address of ambassador Woonjin, he stated that Sri Lanka has a very stable government and economy, which are two of the vital factors for any potential investor to consider and to engage in commercial and business arrangements be it investments, transfer of digital technology or renewable energy in any given nation. In this context, ambassador Woonjin impressed and urged the Korean corporates to seize the opportunities and vistas created in the sphere of energy and power in Sri Lanka. He also accentuated that Sri Lanka is well poised and positioned to be a developed economy in the foreseeable future and this would be the most propitious time to enter Sri Lanka.
Similar sentiments were articulated by ambassador of Sri Lanka, Dr. A. Saj U. Mendis, who added that the global COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded a number of new vistas with regard to investments, development of mega infrastructural projects, public private partnerships and generation of power and energy, among others. He also added that energy or power sector is often described as one of the key strategic lubricants of economic evolution of any given nation and Sri Lanka is most eager to engage with the corporates in the RoK. Dr. Mendis concluded his brief remarks by stating to the Korean investors and corporates that Sri Lanka, similar to entering an equity/stock market when the market is about to rise and become a “bull market”, the economy and particularly power and energy sector of Sri Lanka, at this juncture, can be compared to an equity market which is about to rise and is the most befitting time to enter Sri Lanka. He earnestly urged and entreated the potential investors to look at Sri Lanka favorably and positively, after assessing and weighing the seminal and critical attributes of Sri Lanka, as a future “fulcrum of investments on power and energy”.
A comprehensive address was delivered by ambassador Hyundong Cho, Head of UNIDO-ITPO of Korea and former Deputy Minister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former ambassador for Public Diplomacy of the RoK delineated and outlined the significant functionaries of the UNIDO-ITPO and the manner in which the UNIDO-ITPO could assist and facilitate Sri Lanka in the sphere of power and energy. Amb. Cho elaborated and expanded in detail the criticality of technology, innovation and investments in navigating the future development of any given country, thus attaining the status of a developed nation. In this context, amb. Cho underlined and enunciated how the RoK had become a developed nation within a space of few decades.
Keethi Gunawardena, Senior Vice President of FCCISL, in his address, stated the role of FCCISL and how the FCCISL could promote, project and profile power and energy sector of Sri Lanka to the potential investors and corporates in the RoK. Both Gunawardena and Dr. Asanka Rodrigo, Director General of Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority, emphasized the seminal nature of power and energy for the economic and commercial expansion of Sri Lanka since Sri Lanka is now a middle-income nation. This sphere would play an instrumental role in elevating Sri Lanka from a middle-income nation to a rapidly developing higher-income nation in the foreseeable future. Dr. Rodrigo made an expansive presentation along the theme of creation of opportunities for sustainability and digital technology including renewable energy. Myung Sub Roh of Kosen Co. Ltd. of Korea and Dr. Farida Bondarenko, a consultant on Trade and Renewable Energy projects, also made dedicated and informative presentations, thus enabling the large select audience to comprehend the factual as well as optimistic situation of power and energy in Sri Lanka for the corporates of the RoK to commit investments and to engage. After the formal session, a number of companies and investors both from Sri Lanka and the RoK conducted B2B sessions, thus enabling them to connect and match with each other enabling to translate the B2B discussions to tangible power and energy projects in Sri Lanka, in the near future.
CBSL foresees brighter growth prospects in 2021
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
Sri Lanka’s 2021 GDP growth prospects seem positive despite the economy contracting by 1.7 per cent and 16.3 per cent in the first and second quarters of 2020. However, the economy rebounded in the third quarter of 2020 and registered a growth of 1.5 per cent, Central Bank Governor Prof. W. D.Lakshman said.
“However, the second wave of COVID-19 is expected to have dampened the momentum in the fourth quarter of 2020. Accordingly, the economy is expected to have contracted by around 3.9 per cent in 2020, Central Bank Governor said while releasing the CBSL monetary policy review yesterday.
“Nevertheless, the economy is well poised to rebound in 2021, supported by the unprecedented policy stimulus measures introduced by the government and the Central Bank, improved domestic economic sentiments, alongside the improving prospects of the global economy, Lakshman told the media online.
He said the Monetary Board has decided to continue with its accommodative monetary policy stance.
Headline inflation is projected to remain subdued in the near term and improvements in domestic supply conditions are expected to ease price pressures on a sustained basis.
The Central Bank Governor also said the CBSL will continue to monitor domestic and global macroeconomic and financial market developments and take further measures appropriately to ensure that the economy promptly reverts to its true potential of a high growth trajectory, while maintaining inflation in the targeted 4-6 per cent range under its flexible inflation targeting framework.
Accordingly, the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, at its meeting held on January 18, decided to maintain the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) of the Central Bank at their current levels of 4.50 percent and 5.50 percent, respectively.
The Board arrived at this decision after carefully considering the macroeconomic conditions and expected developments on the domestic and global fronts, Governor Lakshman said.
“The Board, having noted the reduction in overall market lending rates during 2020, stressed the need for a continued downward adjustment in lending rates to boost economic growth in the absence of demand driven inflationary pressures, particularly considering the significant levels of excess liquidity prevailing in the domestic money market, Lakshman explained.
As announced in November 2020, the Board decided to introduce priority sector lending targets for the micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSME) sector to support a broad-based economic revival, in consultation with the banking community.
‘Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product is projected to grow 6.0 percent in 2021, recovering from a 3.9 percent slump in 2020, Central Bank’s Director of Economic Research Chandranath Amarasekara said.
‘We now expect the economy to record a growth of 6 percent, Amarasekara told the media.
COVID-19 – elderly in isolation; how to manage their care?
The COVID-19 pandemic which appeared in 2020, has resulted in a drastic change to our lifestyles. From lockdowns and quarantines, the practice of social distancing and stringent travel restrictions instigate feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially among the elderly who sometimes live alone, with loved ones living far away.
The current pandemic elevates the need for proper and appropriate care for the elderly. Those aged 60 and above, with underlying medical conditions, are at higher risk for severe illness if contracted with COVID-19. Living alone during this time can be difficult for elders, as there are many variables that need to be looked after from; medication and physiotherapy to name a few. Additionally, the need for minimal interaction as a safety measure can result your elderly in feeling frustrated or depressed. This is a time when your elderly loved one requires someone to care for them and ensure their physical and mental well-being.
Founder and Managing Director of expert Home Nursing Service, English Nursing Sri Lanka, Richard Gould said, “Creating a reliable, high quality professional service, which takes care of your elderly loved one responsibly, with compassion and utmost dignity is vital. As our healthcare professionals are at the front line of battling the virus, we as a reliable home nursing care take it as our responsibility to step up and deliver for those unable to take care of their elders due to this global pandemic.”
How to manage their care?
English Nursing Sri Lanka; a home nursing and elderly care solutions provider, offers services to give your elderly parents or loved ones care and compassion in the comfort of their own home. Their services include; high quality Generic Home Nursing Services, Managed Maid Services and a Care Companion Service.
The Generic home nursing is the more popular option, where a well-trained, certified nurse conducts a thorough study on the house environment to understand all resources required for the best care routine. Encompassing these details, a unique customized plan is curated and executed, making the most of your investment towards caring for your senior loved ones.
Recently, English Nursing also introduced its ‘Managed Maid Service’, the first of its kind in the country which allows people to up-skill their existing housemaids to provide proper eldercare, alongside certified tried and true techniques when it comes to looking after ailing seniors at home. The service is much more affordable for customers in the long run and is a great option if you trust your existing help and would prefer him/her to continue helping around at home.
For people looking for more affordable short-term care or for a simpler more companion based service for their parents or other senior citizens, English Nursing Sri Lanka offers its ‘Care Companion’ service. It opens the doors for people to access various eldercare services on demand for relatively healthier seniors that don’t require full-time care and attention.
Rising startups keen to tap stock market for external funding
Board members of The Startup Council-Standing (L to R) Chandula Abeywickrama(Founder & Chairman – Lanka Impact-Investment Network). Achala Samaradivakara (Co-Founder & Managing Director – Good Market) Imal Kulathotage (CEO – nCinga) ,Yasura Samarakoon (Manager – Business and Trade Promotion, The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce).Seated (L – R) Prajeeth Balasubramaniam (Managing Partner -BoV Capital- chairman- Startup Council). Shalin Balasuriya, (Co-founder -Spa Ceylon), Brindha Selvadurai-Gnanam (Co Founder –Hatch),Mangala Karunaratne -(Founder & CEO – Calcey Technologies)
by Sanath Nanayakkare
Rising startups in Sri Lanka are keen to tap the stock market for external funding for product development, product launches and scale up and expand their their businesses in new markets, The Island Financial Review learned at a forum held by the Council For Startups, established by the The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
The Council provides entrepreneurs with exclusive opportunities and access to international markets
Prajeeth Balasubramaniam Founder, Lankan Angel Network/Managing Partner, BoV Capital who is also the chairman of the Council speaking to The Island Financial Review said,” Today people who have money pour that into the stock market because interest rates have come down. People who used to make higher interest rates are not making that and they are putting that into the stock market because they feel they can get better returns. Similarly if they can channel some of that money through the banking sector or other sources into startups it would be good. The CSE is regulated and the private sector is not going to put money into startups. If the government regulates startup projects and their funding structures then banks and private investors will feel that the risks are minimized and then they will join in to reap the rewards by investing in them”.
“Spring Singapore is a government startups initiative. Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings has put a lot of money into that. If we can create a similar situation people will be convinced that they won’t end up in trouble by investing in startups,” he said.
Imal Kalutotage, CEO of nCinga said,”nCinga was highly fortunate to expand regionally with the support the Ceylon Chamber and its global partners. Via the Chamber, its global partners and members, we were able to attract customers for accelerated growth and investors who also helped us with exit in December 2019. We now have a national body to help provide invaluable market access for startups and am happy to be a part of this to help other entrepreneurs grow”.
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce recently established the Council for for Startups to address the key needs and challenges of SMEs and startups through allocation of a range of easily accessible opportunities, including access to local and international markets for various partnerships.
Inaugurated in September 2020, the Council for Startups primarily aims to foster a thriving ecosystem of entrepreneurship, which facilitates economic growth and empowerment of startups and SMEs in Sri Lanka.
Offering a highly influential and knowledgeable advantage, the CCC provides the cumulative support of 600 members to promote business opportunities for startups. These alliances (20 Global Chambers, 38Trade/Product and Service Associations and 21 Bilateral Business Councils) position the Chamber in an ideal position to promote business opportunities.
The Council recognizes the benefits of sustaining ripe economic conditions and marketing opportunities for startups and further aims to use its resources and partnerships with high commissions, foreign Chambers of Commerce for startups, and consulting firms in order to create a secure infrastructure that drives optimal business performance.
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