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Maldivian yacht builders establish facility in Hambantota Port 



From left: Assistant General Manager, Port Investment Services HIPG Lalith Ekanayake; Senior General Manager Port Investment Services, HIPG Tim Xiao; CEO, HIPG Ravi Jayawickreme; CEO, HIPG Johnson Liu; Minister Namal Rajapaksa; High Commissioner of Maldives in Sri Lanka Omar Abdul Razzak; President SHY Ali Hussain Didi; Director SHY Ahmed Zareer; CEO SHY Mohamed Nasheed; Corporate Executive Sea Limousine Maldives Shifag Athif.

Sea Horse Yachts (Pvt) Ltd. recently entered into an agreement with the Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) to set up a state-of-the-art yacht building facility at the port. The agreement was signed by Johnson Liu, CEO, HIPG and Ali Hussain Didi, President, Sea Horse Yachts (Pvt) Ltd. at a signing ceremony held this week in the presence of Sports and Youth Affairs Minister and State Minister of Digital Technology and Entrepreneur Development Namal Rajapaksa and High Commissioner of Maldives to Sri Lanka Omar Abdul Razzak, the HIPG stated in a press release issued yesterday (10)

The initial investment for the facility which will be located within the Hambantota International Port is set at approximately USD 58 million (Sri Lankan Rupees 11.5 billion) and production is set to commence by early 2022. The project is expected to generate over 200 direct employment opportunities and an additional 300 indirect employment opportunities.

The newly incorporated Sea Horse Yachts Ltd. (SHY), is a premium luxury yacht builder, located in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. SHY will be managed by a highly experienced team of experts from Sri Lanka, closely supported by British, European and South African innovators and designers. The company is privately owned by boating enthusiasts from the Maldives with extensive knowledge and experience in marine transportation and luxury yachting. They have a long history in boating and life at sea and will engage with international partners to establish the state-of-the-art yacht building factory in Sri Lanka.

 Sports and Youth Affairs Minister and State Minister of Digital Technology and Entrepreneur Development Namal Rajapaksa speaking at the ceremony said, “The objective of our government is to promote Sri Lanka as a maritime and aviation hub in South Asia focusing on transshipment and manufacturing. This project is a landmark for the Yacht industry and for Yacht manufacturers as Sri Lanka has a rich history in boat building dating back to the times of our kings. Island nations such as Sri Lanka and the Maldives have always built their economies around trade and our proximity to ancient maritime routes which are still used to this day. We look forward to strengthening these and developing them to cater to the needs of a modern world. Ventures such as this will pave the way for the next generation of youth, providing them with the knowledge and the tools to build an entirely new industry and a new era of boat building! I hope it will serve as a catalyst to spark in our youth the entrepreneurial drive to take Sri Lanka to the next level.”

High Commissioner of Maldives to Sri Lanka Omar Abdul Razzak who was at the ceremony said it was noteworthy to mention that according to history, the first connection between Sri Lanka and Maldives made hundreds of years ago was.

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Self-Employed Traders petition SC over govt. favouring liquor dealers



By A.J.A Abeynayake

The Supreme Court has decided take up, on 04 Oct. for hearing a petition filed by the Association of Self-Employed Traders against the opening of liquor stores during the current lockdown.

 The traders have requested the apex court to order the government to allow members of their union to engage in business activities since the liquor stores had been allowed to reopen during the lockdown.

The petition was taken up before a three-judge bench comprising justices L. T. B. Dehideniya, Shiran Gooneratne and Janak de Silva, yesterday.

 The State Counsel appearing for the respondents said he had received the relevant documents pertaining to the case only last Friday evening. Therefore, the State Counsel requested the court to give him time to seek advice from the respondents who were many.

Attorney-at-Law Eraj de Silva, appearing for the petitioner at the time, said about 7,000 members of his client union had lost their livelihoods due to the decision by the respondents.

Therefore, Attorney-at-Law Eraj de Silva requested the court to give an early date for considering the petition.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court decided to take up the petition for consideration on 04 Oct and directed the lawyers of the petitioners to take steps to send notice to the respondents before that date.

The petition was filed by the President of the United National Self-Employed Trade Association G.I. Charles, its Vice President P.G.B. Nissanka, and Secretary Krishan Marambage.

The petition names 47 respondents, including the Director General of Health Services, the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of Excise.

The petitioners allege that under the quarantine law, the Director General of Health Services, who is the competent authority, issued a notice on Aug 20 prohibiting the opening of liquor stores.

The petitioners point out that steps were taken to open liquor stores countrywide contrary to the regulations of the Health Authority.

The Director General of Health Services, the Commissioner General of Excise and the Inspector General of Police have stated that they have not allowed the reopening of liquor stores.

The petitioners have also requested the Supreme Court to issue an order to the respondents to allow the members of their association to engage in business activities as the liquor stores are allowed to remain open.

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Lankan born newly elected Norwegian MP Gunaratnam calls for investments here



Newly elected Norwegian Labour Party MP, Lankan born Kamzy Gunaratnam says she will ask the new Norwegian government to continue engagement with the country of her birth.

 Speaking at a virtual media conference on Sunday night, Gunaratnam said that she does not believe that boycotting Sri Lanka is the way forward.

“I don’t believe in boycott. There needs to be investments. Only that will ensure employment,” she said.

Gunaratnam said that she is also prepared to meet President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, if invited, for talks.

She said that Norway must continue to assist Sri Lanka through trade, education and in other ways.

Gunaratnam said that she will also discuss with her party and the new Norwegian Foreign Minister, as well as the Norwegian Ambassador in Sri Lanka and see how best Norway can assist the country.

Gunaratnam said that Sri Lankans must also decide the best solution for Sri Lanka and not any foreign country. She said that Sri Lanka must not wait for foreign pressure to work on a solution.

The newly elected Norwegian MP also said that minority rights in Sri Lanka must be protected.

As a Norwegian MP she said that her main focus in the Norwegian Parliament will be to push for equality in Norway.

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Going to IMF best solution, says Ranil



UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe insists that a programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is necessary to mitigate impact of the growing debt repayment crisis; homegrown solutions are not effective.

“Unlike in the past, Sri Lanka’s debt problem has increased at a time when there is a global debt problem. This makes the situation more challenging and complex. Sri Lanka is a highly import-dependent economy,” Wickremesinghe said during a panel discussion, organised by the International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka on Saturday.

The UNP leader said that the government shouldn’t sell state assets to ease off the shortage of foreign exchange to have breakfast but reinvest those proceeds back in the economy. “Going to the IMF is the best solution,” Wickremesinghe said.

With reference to homegrown solutions, he referred to the mess caused by the government in promoting Dhammika peniya as one of the failed measures earlier on to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former Prime Minister said that Sri Lanka should use the current situation to forge ahead with structural and public sector reforms which were postponed due to political considerations in the past.

The former PM suggested that the re-opening of the country be delayed till mid-October.

In responding to the issue of debt management in Sri Lanka, the UNP leader said that the most pressing concern is addressing the dwindling foreign exchange reserves of the country.

He explained that the regional foreign exchange reserves were projected to increase over the course of the year, however, Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves were on a downward trend.

He also said that economic recovery based on a resurgence of the tourism industry would be uncertain, and until airline ticket prices were reduced it was unlikely that tourist arrivals would increase significantly.

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