The Central Bank of Sri Lanka released its report on “Recent Economic Developments: Highlights of 2020 and Prospects for 2021”. The Report can be downloaded from the website of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in all three languages. In addition to the regular update on economic developments, the report also presents an update to the medium term macroeconomic projections published by the Central Bank in April 2020, taking into account the information available up to mid-October 2020.
The publication of the report this year comes at a crucial juncture as the economy continues to navigate through multipronged socio-economic challenges and uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report, the Sri Lankan economy, experienced below potential growth in recent years, encountered renewed challenges amidst the outbreak of COVID-19. Reflecting the combined effects of the spread of COVID-19 locally and the introduction of lockdown measures, the slowdown in global economic activity, and the adverse weather conditions in the country, the economy contracted by 1.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, year-on-year, as per the provisional estimates of the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS). GDP estimates for the second quarter have not yet been released by the DCS citing difficulties in capturing the true nature of disruptions and new activities as well as novel ways of working that emerged this year with the onset of the pandemic. Nevertheless, high frequency data point towards a strong recovery in many areas of economic activity in more recent months prior to the resurgence of COVID-19 infections and resultant containment measures in October 2020.
The recovery of activity was facilitated by the concerted efforts of the government and the Central Bank. Relief measures and large scale policy stimuli were introduced to help businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic. The Central Bank initiated a series of monetary easing measures, including multiple reductions of the policy rates and the Statutory Reserve Ratio (SRR), thereby injecting ample liquidity into the market and lowering borrowing costs significantly, given the unprecedented circumstances caused by the pandemic.
The adverse effects of the pandemic also prompted the introduction of concessional credit schemes to fulfil the needs of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), alongside debt moratoria for businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic. Responding to these measures, credit to the private sector showed a significant improvement in August and September 2020, reversing the slowdown observed in previous months.
Dialog Enterprise introduces Dialog SmartLife App for Three Sinha roller doors
The Three Sinha Group, a leading roller door company in Sri Lanka, has teamed up with Dialog Enterprise, the corporate ICT solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, to launch a smart roller door controlled via the Dialog SmartLife App. This app enables users to control and access roller door services conveniently from their smartphones. Customers who use Three Sinha roller doors simply need to download the Dialog SmartLife App on Apple App Store and Google Play Store on their smartphone to operate the roller doors from anywhere.
“This is another important step in that process, and we are pleased to partner Dialog Enterprise to provide customers with a future-fit solution. I invite our customers to become a part of this experience”, said Manjula Ariyakumara, the Managing Director of Three Sinha Group of Companies. “As expounded by our brand ethos ‘The Future.Today’, Dialog is continuously seeking avenues of incorporating communication technology into many service areas and product offerings. In line with this vision, we are delighted to partner Three Sinha, a leading Roller Door company in Sri Lanka”, stated Navin Pieris, Group Chief Officer – Dialog Enterprise of Dialog Axiata PLC
BOI launches long term residence visa programme for investors
The Board of Investment (BOI) recently launched the five-year residence visa program dedicated to investors, stakeholders and BOI enterprises.Issuing long-term visas for investors has been the practice as per the international standards. On par with matching the international benchmark in respect of ease of doing business, the BOI has decided to launch this program to attract more investors to the country.
The long-term visa program, a long-felt need, primarily aims to facilitate the investors who wish to embark on a journey with the BOI.The BOI annually issues 7500-8000 visa recommendations for investors, employees and dependents.The BOI has granted visas for foreign nationals from 109 countries such as India, the United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Pakistan which represent the most applicants based on last year’s statistics.
Addressing the gathering, Investment Promotion Minister Dhammika Perera said “The happiness on the faces of those investors present at the occasion, implies that the newly launched visa residence scheme is a success,”
“Before the implementation of this program, they had to go through a long documentation process every year to get these visas,” he pointed out.
“Having understood the prime need to provide a seamless and convenient service for investors, we have launched the new program albeit I have not officially assumed duties as the Investment Promotion Minister,” Perera highlighted.
BOI Director General Renuka M Weerakone stated “It is certainly a pleasure to see all our long-standing investors on this special day of launching the long-term residence visa program for investors.
“You all have been the contributors towards 65% of export earnings to Sri Lanka and have stood by us even in times of difficult periods that our country faced, which we wish to acknowledge with great gratitude,” she underscored.
People’s Bank commemorates its 61st anniversary
People’s Bank, held a modest ceremony to on 1st July to commemorate their 61st anniversary at the bank’s Head Office in Colombo 02. Chairman of the People’s Bank Sujeewa Rajapakse and CEO/General Manager Ranjith Kodituwakku addressed the staff at this event.
In addition, Religious programs were organized by the Buddhist Association, Hindu Association, Muslim Majlis and the Christians Guild of the People’s Bank to invoke blessings on the country, the people, the customers and the pioneering leaders who have contributed to establish the People’s Bank.
Accordingly, a Pirith chanting was held at the Head Office which was followed by an alms giving at Sambodhi Viharaya in Fort with the patronage of Chief Incumbent Most Ven. Professor Iththademaliye Indhasara Thero. Hindu pooja was conducted by Sri Nivasa Kurukkal, Bambalapitiya, Islamic Service conducted by Deshabandu Al Haj Faisal Hassan mowlavi at Dawatagaha Jumma mosque in Colombo and the holy mass was conducted by Rev. Father Anton Rohitha at St. Philip Mary’s church in Pettah.People’s Bank Corporate and Executive Management, bank staffs and retired employees were also present at the occasion.
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