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MIKTA envoys gathering for ‘Cooperation for Resilience in Public Health Sector’ with Health Minister

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Korean Ambassador Santhush Woonjin JEONG hosted a gathering of Heads of Missions of MIKTA countries, a multilateral group of countries composed of Mexico, Indonesia, Korea, Türkiye and Australia, at the Korean Ambassador’s Residence. On this occasion, Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella attended the meeting as special guest.

Mohan Pandithage Chairman of Hayleys and Honorary Consul of Mexico, Dewi Gustina Tobing Ambassador of Indonesia, Demet Sekercioglu Ambassador of Turkiye, Paul Stephens High Commissioner of Australia, Janaka Sri Chandraguptha Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Diplomats and Officers in-charge of ODA attended this event.

Korean Ambassador Santhush Woonjin JEONG delivering his opening remarks stated that, “I firmly believe that international cooperation is needed to overcome the challenges presented to us due to COVID-19 pandemic. No country is strong enough to combat these challenges alone. MIKTA countries are significant contributors of humanitarian funding and assistance and we have gathered today to effectively address the issues of global health and ways to cooperate between MIKTA countries and Sri Lanka. The public health cooperation between Korea and Sri Lanka has been robust. Under the “Stay Strong Campaign,” Korea donated around $3 million worth of equipment to combat the COVID-19 virus in Sri Lanka in the last two years. I hope we continue to deepen the multilateral engagement and overcome the global challenges in the post-pandemic era.”

Demet Sekercioglu Ambassador of Turkiye and presiding chair of MIKTA for this year congratulated Ambassador Santhush for hosting this timely event and emphasised that Turkiye has taken over the chairmanship of MIKTA under unprecedented circumstances in March 2022. “The Covid-19 global pandemic and consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian war have exacerbated the hardships faced by people all around the world, exposed our fragilities and vulnerabilities in dealing with these global challenges and highlighted the need for a stronger and closer international cooperation. We believe that MIKTA, as a cross-regional and flexible consultative platform can substantially contribute to the international efforts aimed at addressing these issues. Considering the Covid-19’s direct impact on our lives, societies and economies in the last two years and apparently in the years to come, we kept global health at the top of the agenda in 2022. We organized a virtual meeting of Deputy Ministers of Health and Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of MIKTA Countries last September. The need to strengthen global health architecture with a whole-of-government approach has been emphasized at the meeting.” She further elaborated on Türkiye’s assistance to Sri Lanka including the handover of three consignments of medical donations including cold chain medicines, medical consumables and equipment last August and September.

Delivering her congratulatory remarks Ambassador of Indonesia H.E. Dewi Gustina Tobing noted that public health cooperation is an essential element for a country in carrying out durable, resilient and sustainable development. “In line with MIKTA’s vision, MIKTA mission countries in Sri Lanka continue to develop and strengthen cooperation in various fields with the Government of Sri Lanka, including the health sector. We observed that the Sri Lankan Government continues to make numerous efforts to build public health infrastructure and resilient communities who cushioned from the adverse economic impact. Indonesia will continue to promote cooperation with Sri Lanka in a bilateral framework through the Presidency of Indonesia in MIKTA next year, forge closer bonds of friendship, and be friends during delightful and challenging times. Together we will overcome the current challenges, support each other, and move towards the best and prosperity of our country.”

Australian High Commissioner H.E. Paul Stephens remarked that Sri Lanka is a good place where MIKTA can operate and assist Sri Lanka reach stability and resilience. Furthermore he stated that in terms of public health infrastructure, the Government of Australia has significantly increased the financial assistance to promote food security and public health infrastructure. Furthermore Australia is supporting the Sri Lankan government’s efforts to increase oxygen concentrators to hospitals and provide mental health support. Furthermore more scientific trials are conducted under the World Mosquito Programme to protect communities from mosquito borne diseases like dengue, zika, malaria and yellow fever.

Mohan Pandithage Chairman of Hayleys and Honorary Consul of Mexico stated that, “Sri Lanka’s economic challenges, coupled with the impacts of the pandemic and global headwinds have pushed the country into unprecedented difficulties. On behalf of the Ambassador, who represents Mexico as a member country of MIKTA, I reach out today to all MIKTA Member Countries to work together and find ways to strengthen bilateral ties with Sri Lanka, enhance trade and exports and provide much needed relief. I believe that productive dialogue and the sharing of diverse development experiences initiated at this forum will support Sri Lanka on its roadmap towards greater resilience and recovery.”

Minister of Health Hon. Keheliya Rambukwella in his keynote speech highlighted that, “international cooperation and the partnerships that Sri Lanka shares with its neighbours and friendly nations contributed to Sri Lanka’s success at controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. It was an uphill battle. However the competent leadership and the tireless sacrifice of the medical professionals have resulted in Sri Lanka successfully overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic. We are still not out of the woods yet, all countries must unify to address the shortages of food that have threatened the world including Sri Lanka. I request your cooperation in the anti-malnutrition drive to reduce starvation and malnutrition in Sri Lanka. I thank you for your friendship and partnership and Sri Lankan government assures that it remain committed to work with any partner who is willing to extend a helping hand with generosity.”

MIKTA was established in 2013 as a consultation and coordination mechanism among the Foreign Ministers of G20 members Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Türkiye and Australia. It aims to make constructive contributions to global peace and stability as well as to further enhance the cooperation among its members.



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Softlogic Life’s FY22 results grows to LKR 23 Bn GWP amidst tough macroeconomic challenges

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Softlogic Life recorded a superior full year performance in a crisis-affected business landscape, posting Gross Written Premium (GWP) of Rs. 23,083 million for the year ended 31 December 2022 with an increase in top-line growth of 15% compared to the corresponding period of last year. The Company has stood firmly with its policyholders in the face of the tough macroeconomic conditions, paying claims of Rs 8,264 million for the period.

During the period in review, Softlogic Life’s market share is at 16.87%, in comparison to 16.08% as of 31 December 2021. The market share increase continues to rank Softlogic Life as the second-largest in the life insurance market, overtaking much older players to establish strong growth momentum. Compared to the estimated Industry GWP growth, which was 9.6% during 2022, Softlogic Life recorded GWP growth of 15%.

The company reported a 10-year Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 28% of GWP, while the industry 10-year GWP CAGR growth was at 14%. Softlogic Life also notes that its contribution to increasing insurance penetration in the country has increased during the period in review with 133,872 policies issued, insuring more than 1.5 million Sri Lankan lives.

Profit after tax (PAT) for the period in review rose to Rs. 2,683 million, an increase of 27% YoY. Profit before tax (PBT) grew by 36% compared to last year at growth of Rs. 1,065 million. The company’s operating expense ratio remained at 22% irrespective of the inflation hike during 2022 as a result of prudent and efficient expense management initiatives adopted. Furthermore, Softlogic Life maintained a healthy Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 287%, well above the regulatory CAR requirement of 120%.

The company recorded impressive Return on Equity of 25% and Earning per share of LKR 7.15 after providing one off provision for impairment. Recurring Earning per share for the year 2022 increased to LKR 12.85 from LKR 5.61 per share.

Commenting on the financial performance of the Company, Ashok Pathirage, Chairman of Softlogic Life Insurance PLC, stated, “Despite numerous challenges in a tough business landscape, we have performed well to maintain our position as the second-largest life insurance company in Sri Lanka, growing our market share further to 16.87% by the end of 2022. These accomplishments were facilitated by the strategies we deployed and the strong execution of those strategies that have enabled the Company to sustain momentum in spite of the prevailing macro challenges.”

Since its inception, Softlogic Life has been striving to improve the quality of life of Sri Lankans through relevant disruptive innovations and digitalization. Industry-first innovations such as one-day automated claims settlement, hospitalization claim settlement, 100% digitalized sales platform, automatic policy issuance and mobile based micro products has helped the company to deliver a superior customer experience, which has been instrumental in enhancing its competitive position.

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Foreign investors bullish and local counterparts bearish at CSE; year-to-date net foreign inflows hit Rs. 2 billion

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By Hiran H. Senewiratne

Foreigners remained bullish on Sri Lanka’s listed equities as year-to-date net foreign inflows crossed the Rs. 2 billion mark, while local investors appeared bearish at the CSE yesterday.

JKH was the major driver for foreign inflows to reach more than Rs two billion, without any specific reason, since last week, market analysts said. However, shares fell in mid-day trade over the need for further positivity on the International Monetary Fund loan being secured, an analyst said.

Both indices moved downwards. The ASPI fell by 125.28 points, while the most liquid S&P SL20 fell 43.82 points. Turnover stood at Rs 2.2 billion with four crossings. Those crossings reported in Lanka Tiles, which crossed 1.2 million shares to the tune of Rs 54 million, its shares traded at Rs 45, JKH 300,000 shares crossed for Rs 43.65 million, its shares traded at Rs 145.50, HNB 468,000 shares crossed to the tune of Rs 43.3 million, its shares traded at Rs. 92.50 and Chevron Lubricants 200,000 shares crossed for Rs 24.1 million, its shares fetched Rs 107.

In the retail market, seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, JKH Rs 721 million (4.9 million shares traded), Aitken Spence Rs 302 million (two million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 126 million (664,000 shares traded), Softlogic Capital PLC Rs 91 million (5.6 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 82.1 million (13.5 million shares traded), Softlogic Life Insurance Rs 63.3 million (512,000 shares traded) and Tokyo Cement (Non- Voting) Rs 49.1 million (1.45 million shares traded). During the day 56.2 million share volumes changed hands in 14000 transactions.

“The overall market was pulled down because the market ran on banking shares in the past sessions, but news on domestic debt restructuring moved the market into the red yesterday, an analyst said.

Any domestic debt restructuring will be part of a negotiation process with creditors, which will take place after a program with the International Monetary Fund is in place, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe said.

First, financial assurances from bi-lateral creditors have to be received to qualify for the IMF program.

It is said high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in Expolanka Holdings, JKH and Sampath Bank. Mixed interest was observed in Aitken Spence, Sri Lanka Telecom and Lanka IOC, while retail interest was noted in Browns Investments, LOLC Finance and Ex-Pack Corrugated Cartons.

It said the Capital Goods sector was the top contributor to the market turnover (due to JKH and Aitken Spence), while the sector index gained 0.19 per cent. The share price of JKH gained 75 cents to reach Rs. 145.50. The share price of Aitken Spence closed flat at Rs. 150.

The Transportation sector was the second highest contributor to the market turnover (due to Expolanka Holdings), while the sector index increased by 1.02 per cent. The share price of Expolanka Holdings increased by Rs. 2 to Rs. 194.

Yesterday, the Central Bank announced the US dollar buying rate as Rs 359.99 and selling rate as Rs 370.18.

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Japanese State Minister of Foreign Affairs visits Port of Colombo

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SLPA Chairman Keith D. Bernard presents a token of appreciation to Japanese State Minister of Foreign Affairs - TAKEI Shunsuke. SLPA vice chairman - Gayan Algewattege, SLPA managing director - Susatha Abeysiriwardena and harbour master capt. Nirmal Silva were present.

Japanese State Minister of Foreign Affairs TAKEI Shunsuke visited the Port of Colombo to learn about the ongoing developments in the Port of Colombo. The visit took place on 03rd February 2023. During the visit the Japanese State Minister of Foreign Affairs also met with the Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) – Keith D. Bernard and other higher officials at the main control tower of the Port.

The Chairman of SLPA explained to the Japanese state minister of foreign affairs of the progress of the developments of the East Container Terminal (ECT), the West Container Terminal and the North Port Development Project. The SLPA Chairman thanked the Japanese Government and the people of Japan for the invaluable support extended by them for development of Port sector in Sri Lanka, particularly towards the Jaya Container Terminal and the developments at the Port of Trincomalee.

The high level Japanese delegation at the Port of Colombo also comprised MIZUKOSHI Hideaki – Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, TUTSUMI Tarou – Director, Southwest Asian Division, ANDO Toshiaki – Executive Assistant to the state minister of foreign affairs, TOKITA Yuji – director, second country assistance planning department, IWASE Kichiro – assistant to minister /director-general Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department, MATSUYAMA Miina – third secretary, Embassy of Japan in India, KATSUKI Kotaro – Minister Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka and OZAKI Takeshi, first secretary – Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka.

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