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‘Over 85% of Sri Lanka’s estate community receive first jab, 63% fully vaccinated’



The Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) and the Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) announced major progress in their collective efforts to safeguard all residents of Sri Lanka’s estate community, with over 85% of the community across 7 regions having received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 63% being fully as at 10th September 2021.

Working in close partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH), Provincial Health Authorities & PHDT, Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) have been able to fast track the rate of vaccinations for its estate workers and their families.

“With the number of COVID cases on the rise once again, ensuring the safety of our estate workers and their families is a priority for all RPCs. Vaccinations are being carried out systematically while continuous investments are being made to strengthen safety protocols. Our mission is to ensure that all our workers and the community at large, are fully vaccinated by end September 2021.” PA media spokesperson Dr. Roshan Rajadurai said.

“We are deeply grateful to the authorities for their vital assistance in this endeavor and we remain totally committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all our employees.”

As of 10th of September, over 87% of those between the ages of 30-59 received their 1st doses, while over 58% received their 2nd doses thus far. Priority has also been given to those above 60 years, with over 92% having received their first jab and over 79% having received their 2nd jab in the estate sector.

The PA noted that the inoculation drive commenced from the Nuwara-Eliya district (Covering Hatton & Nuwara Eliya) since the largest community of estate workers reside in this area. Over 85% of 30-60 year olds having already received their first dose while over 54% received their 2nd dose. Meanwhile, over 89% of individuals from the other plantation districts belonging to the same age category received their 1st dose while 62% received their 2nd dose.

“The vaccination distribution is held under three phases with priority being given to frontline workers, secondly the factory workers inclusive of community leaders & thirdly, the staff and the wider community. We are pleased to note that we have reached the final half of the third phase. The rate at which vaccinations were conducted could not have been achieved without the assistance of relevant stakeholders.

“Prior to the vaccines being distributed, estate managers worked closely with MoH officials and PHIs in order to raise awareness about the vaccine, and alleviate all doubts. This drastically reduced any hesitancy which the community had towards vaccines, which in turn was instrumental to the successful rollout of vaccines among the estate community,” PHDT Director-General Lal Perera said.

“While we continue to keep up the momentum of the vaccine drive, COVID 19 awareness programmes and basic healthcare/welfare services continue to operate unhindered. Proactive measures like a regional help desks have been set up for the estate community throughout the pandemic. A COVID 19 steering committees with relevant stakeholders along with RPC coordinators have also been appointed to ensure guidelines meted out by the MOH are being adhered to across all factories.” Dr. Rajadurai concluded.

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Oil prices rise as Saudi Arabia pledges output cuts – Opec+




(picture BBC)

Oil-producing countries have agreed to continued cuts in production in a bid to shore up flagging prices.

Saudi Arabia said it would make cuts of a million barrels per day (bpd) in July and Opec+ said targets would drop by a further 1.4 million bpd from 2024.

Opec+ accounts for around 40% of the world’s crude oil and its decisions can have a major impact on oil prices.

In Asia trade on Monday, Brent crude oil rose by as much as 2.4% before settling at around $77 a barrel.

The seven hour-long meeting on Sunday of the oil-rich nations, led by Russia, came against a backdrop of falling energy prices.

Total production cuts, which Opec+ has undertaken since October 2022, reached 3.66 million bpd, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

Opec+, a formulation which refers to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, had already agreed to cut production by two million bpd, about 2% of global demand.


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Manpower services agency wins accolades for its contribution to foreign employment sector



Siraj Cafoor, Managing Director of Siraj Manpower Services receives the award

Its MD says. ‘go abroad only if you can work hard’

Siraj Manpower Services, one of Sri Lanka’s leading foreign employment agencies, was honoured with the Three-Star Award at the ‘Golden Awards’ 2023, organised by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE). This award ceremony was organised to honour foreign employment agencies that have made a significant contribution to the development of the foreign employment sector, which is a major source of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka. Siraj Cafoor, Managing Director of Siraj Manpower Services, was presented with the award at the award ceremony which was held at the BMICH in Colombo under the patronage of Minister of Foreign Employment and Labour Manusha Nanayakkara.

Having been established in 2002, Siraj Manpower Services ( has earned a reputation in the field of foreign employment by winning the trust of customers for more than 20 years. It has been offering job opportunities in the Middle East countries such as Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia as housekeepers, drivers, sanitation workers, labourers and also jobs related to the apparel industry. All these workers are entitled to approved salary scales certified by the SLBFE.

“We always stand for the safety of workers who go abroad through our organisation. We work to solve the problems that arise in relation to the contracts that the workers have entered into. I must mention something special to those who go abroad for employment. That is, you should keep in mind that you go abroad only to work. Go abroad only if you can work hard. You have to remember that you are going abroad to earn some more money and achieve the advancement of your family.” said Siraj Cafoor.

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Direct flights between Istanbul and Katunayake to commence from August



A special discussion between Turkish Ambassador – Demet Sekercioglu and Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation – Nimal Siripala de Silva took place last week at the ministry office. The aim of the discussion was to seek authorization to commence direct flights from the Turkish Capital Istanbul to Katunayake, Sri Lanka. The Chief of Turkish Airlines’ South Asia Office Fathi Bozkurt was also present during the discussion.

Currently, Turkish Airlines connects with Sri Lanka through a route that includes a stopover in the Maldives, resulting in an additional travel time of one and a half hours. The delay caused by this routing is not favored by travelers, as emphasized by the Ambassador.

The Chief of Turkish Airlines requested for time and space to be allocated in order to initiate direct flights between Istanbul and Katunaike, thus providing convenience for Turkish tourists and travelers who prefer visit Sri Lanka.

The Minister announced that the request would be forwarded to the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka and the Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited. The aim is to establish direct flights between Istanbul and Katunayake starting from August this year.

Turkish Airlines, a renowned airline with a fleet of over 100 aircraft, offers flights connecting Europe’s Vancouver and New York. The Chief of Turkish Airlines said that the new service would not only benefit European travelers but also encourage them to travel to Sri Lanka.

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