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‘Need urgent to vaccinate SL’s apparel sector workers’

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‘The apparel sector represents 47 per cent of Sri Lanka’s total exports. It is imperative to vaccinate the 350,000 export sector workers to be able to meet customer requirements. There is a global demand for apparel but Sri Lanka is falling short in meeting deadlines and important clients are moving towards competitors who are supplying without any delay, chairperson, Joint Apparel Association Forum Sri Lanka A. Sukumaran said.

Sukumaran was speaking at a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) on Februray 2 titled, ‘Recovery of Sri Lanka’s Apparel Sector from the Covid-19 crisis’.

An IPS press release said –

The Institute of Policy of Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) hosted a virtual panel discussion on the ‘Recovery of Sri Lanka’s Apparel Sector from the COVID-19 Crisis’ on February2 . The webinar, held in partnership with Southern Voice and the Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh, is part of IPS’ research examining the impacts of the ongoing pandemic on the apparel sector.

The panel featured Joint Apparel Association Forum Sri Lanka (JAAFSL) chairperson A. Sukumaran; Department of Labour Commissioner Madhavie Gunawardena; and Lesova Holdings Ltd. Director Malith Jayasinghe. IPS Research Economist Kithmina Hewage moderated the discussion.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the Sri Lankan economy. The apparel sector which accounts for a large fraction of our export market was hard hit by the pandemic, particularly during the second wave.

“If workers are not vaccinated before May this year, there will be serious repercussions for the entire sector and the country’s economy. Sri Lanka has a reputation as a reliable supplier and that is now under threat,” Sukumaran said. He added that the apparel sector was ready to bear the cost for the vaccinations and requested the government to help them source the required vaccinations.

“Building a fabric park in the Eastern province as proposed in the 2021 budget will help the industry grow tremendously as we will not bear the brunt of depending on China for raw materials and key players like the USA are looking to shift from China for raw materials thus the fabric park will be a key player in the long-term growth, Sukumaran said. 

“Apparel SMEs were severely affected due to COVID-19 and the major issues faced by the sector were: cash shortages, worker absenteeism, mobility issues, scarcity of raw material, increased cost of production, and loss in demand. The second wave worsened an already difficult situation, Malith Jayasinghe said.

“The pandemic was a unique external challenge, thus the Health Ministry had to come into play. Most of the laws and health guidelines are issued under the quarantine law; that is under the Health Ministry and the DG – Health Services is the respective authority for that. Even though we say that it is the labour laws that prevail in the factories, for pandemic-related issues, it is the health guidelines we have to obey. The Department of Labour cannot intervene when quarantine laws are violated,” Madhavie Gunawardena said.

She explained however that the Labour Department has been working actively to address complaints made, and encouraged workers to contact the department if they face any genuine difficulties.

The webinar can be viewed on IPS’ YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJfF5FejOVA&t=1501s



Business

Dialog Axiata revolutionizes digital payment acceptance for small business owners

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eZ Cash, Sri Lanka’s Largest Mobile Money platform has enabled instant access for small businesses to accept contactless and remote payments using LANKAQR. With the Central Bank of Sri Lanka led initiative to digitize small value payments in Sri Lanka through an inter-operable, standardized LANKAQR, Dialog Axiata PLC (“Dialog”) is committed to empowering the nation with simple, easy solutions which add value to small businesses who are now able to self register for this service through their mobile phones.

Small business and self employed persons such as retailers, street vendors, three wheelers etc. with a Dialog mobile number can now download the eZ Cash app and use a simple registration process to sign-up for an eZ Cash Classic Wallet at no additional cost. On using the “MyQR” feature via the eZ Cash app, they can start accepting payments from their customers using their unique LANKAQR code. Payments can be accepted from any mobile banking app or payment wallet in the country which has enabled LANKAQR transactions, and proceeds will be received instantly to their wallet. Transactions using the LANKAQR payment network will be charged a nominal fee of 0.5% of the transaction value. Businesses are able to withdraw cash from the wallet at over 20,000 eZ Cash retailers located island wide or at any commercial bank ATM. Proceeds from the wallet can be used to settle over 100 utility or institutional payments to companies such as CEB, LECO, the Water Board, SLIC, AIA, Ceylinco Insurance, HNB Finance, CDB, AMW Finance etc. eZ Cash Wallet holders can also send money to an eZ Cash Wallet or pay for good and services at any retailer in the country which has enabled LANKAQR payment acceptance.

The revolutionary MyQR solution can also be used by online businesses to accept payments by posting a saved image of their LANKAQR code on their website or Facebook page. Businesses can also accept remote payments from their customers by forwarding their saved LANKAQR code via email and WhatsAapp so that customers can scan the image of the LANKAQR code and make payments through their bank’s mobile payment app which has enabled LANKAQR. Payments to the value of Rs. 10,000 per day can be accepted into an eZ Cash Classic Wallet while payments in excess of this value and up to Rs. 50,000 per day can be enabled through an eZ Cash Power Wallet. Customers can enhance their Classic eZ Cash Wallet to a Power Wallet by visiting any Dialog Customer Experience Centre or Service Centre.

 

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Latest model of OPPO F- Series tipped to launch in March

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It is learnt that OPPO is set to unveil the latest addition to their range – the F19 Series in early March 2021. A rectangular camera module with four lenses, LED flash, and AI support adorns the rear design of the F19 Pro while a smart band which may get launched simultaneously – is seen alongside, in a post revealing the series.

OPPO F19 Pro looks quite elegant its design & features a button on the right side which is believed to be the power on/off button. As per the poster image, there is no physical fingerprint sensor at the back panel, which suggests the phone might come with an in-display fingerprint sensor.

While OPPO might be working on the low-light camera performance, it is also suggested that it will have features like AI Colour Portrait Video, and Dual-View Video, which allow recording videos from both front and rear cameras.

Wrapped in Ultra Slim Body, the device is tipped to come in at least two shades.

The OPPO Smart Band could also be expected in Sri Lanka alongside the launch of the new F19 Series, similar to the OPPO watch which was released with OPPO F17 Pro. The Smart Band is said to handle message notifications which will include incoming call notification & call rejection, apart from having whole host of other features. Both products are expected to be in stores from mid- March 2021.

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Business

Hirdaramani takes bold new steps in transparency

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The Hirdaramani Group has yet again taken bold strides towards energy accountability by being the first in Sri Lanka to receive International Renewable Energy Certificates (I-RECs) for its energy usage. With this robust tracking standard, the group hopes to add new layers of accountability and credibility to its operations, living up to the commitments outlined in the company’s own sustainability vision.

As Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs), I-RECs serve to increase transparency in the energy sector and provide clarity about the use of renewable electricity among end-consumers. The I-REC Standard (www.irecstandard.org) ensures that issued certificates comply with major international sustainability and carbon accountability standards and adhere to stakeholder expectations of industry best practice for the avoidance of double counting, double certificate issuance and double attribute claiming. The system also helps individual companies seeking to improve their environmental credentials, while raising awareness among consumers and industry players.

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