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Report launch webinar series

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Sri Lanka: State of the Economy 2021

The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) will host a public webinar series in conjunction with the release of IPS’ annual flagship report ‘Sri Lanka: State of the Economy 2021’ on October 11, 13 and 14 from 3-4 pm. This year’s report focused on the theme ‘Pandemics and Policy: Protecting Health and Promoting Economic Recovery’, examines some of the critical socio-economic issues and policy choices facing Sri Lanka today as it transitions to a ‘new normal’.

The first webinar on October 11 will focus on ‘COVID-19 and the Sri Lankan Economy: Policy Choices and Trade-offs’. It will feature presentations by Dr. Dushni Weerakoon and Dr. Asanka Wijesinghe from the IPS with expert insights from Dr. Missaka Warusawitharana, Financial Economist, Johns Hopkins University, USA. It will be moderated by Mr. Tharindu Udayanga from IPS.

‘Pandemics and Disruptions: Safeguarding Lives and Livelihoods of Sri Lankans’ is the topic of discussion on October 13. The IPS presentations will be led by Dr. Nisha Arunatilake and Dr. Bilesha Weeraratne, with expert insights from Dr. Kolitha Wickramage, Global Health Research and Epidemiology Coordinator, International Organization for Migration and Ms. Madhavie Gunawardena, Director, TRCSL and former Commissioner of Labour. Ms. Ashani Abayasekara from IPS will moderate the discussion.

The third webinar on October 14 is on ‘Equity in Recovery: Addressing Sri Lanka’s Social Protection and Food Security Needs’. Presentations by Dr. Ganga Tilakaratna and Dr. Manoj Thibbotuwawa of the IPS will be followed by expert insights from Prof. Udith Jayasinghe, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Prof. Dileni Gunewardena, Professor of Economics, University of Peradeniya. Ms. Lakshila Wanigasinghe from IPS will moderate.

The webinars will have a question-and-answer session to enable registered participants to pose their questions to the panellists. The discussions can also be watched live on IPS’s Facebook Page and IPS’ YouTube Page from 2:55 pm onwards, and followed on Twitter @TalkEconomicsSL using #SOE2021. We welcome all those interested in learning more about ‘Pandemics and Policy: Protecting Health and Promoting Economic Recovery’ to join us. For more details, including event registration links, visit: https://www.ips.lk/sri-lanka-state-of-the-economy-2021-report-launch-webinar-series/ or email: communications@ips.lk.



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The Central Bank of Sri Lanka relaxes its Monetary Policy stance

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The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, at its meeting held on 31 May 2023, decided to reduce the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) of the Central Bank by 250 basis points to 13.00 per cent and 14.00 per cent, respectively.

The Board arrived at this decision with a view to easing monetary conditions in line with the faster than expected slowing of inflation, gradual dissipation of inflationary pressures and further anchoring of inflation expectations. The commencing of such monetary easing is expected to provide an impetus for the economy to rebound from the historic contraction of activity witnessed in 2022, while easing pressures in the financial markets.

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‘Damro-revived Agalawatte Plantations in impressive start to 2023’

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* Q1 Revenue grows 49.7% to Rs 1.489 billion

* Pre-tax profit up 44.6% to Rs 417.2 million

* Major investments in replanting of rubber and tea to continue in 2023

Agalawatte Plantations PLC (APL) has reported impressive revenue and profit growth in the first quarter of 2023, consolidating on the remarkable turnaround achieved subsequent to the acquisition of a majority stake in the Company by the Damro Group.

Revenue grew by 49.7% to Rs 1.489 billion for the three months ending 31st March 2023, with revenue from tea doubling to Rs 796.2 million over the first quarter of 2022, and revenue from oil palm up 57.5% to Rs 305.1 million. Rubber contributed Rs 216.9 million to the Company’s top line in the quarter reviewed.

Stable tea prices and an increased oil palm crop enabled APL to post pre-tax profit of Rs 417.2 million for the three months, reflecting growth of 44.6%. Total assets grew by 21.2% since end 2022 to Rs 6.448 billion as at 31st March 2023, and the Company’s net assets value per share improved by 23.5% to Rs 26.09.

Nalaka Gunathilake, Managing Director / CEO of Agalawatte Plantations described the growth achieved in the first quarter of 2023 as extremely encouraging in the context of the Company’s achievement of net profit of Rs 1.76 billion for the year ended 31st December 2022, the highest profit in its history.

Once debt-ridden and at risk of liquidation, Agalawatte Plantations became part of the Damro Group in 2017 when the latter acquired the majority stake in the Company and infused Rs 3.2 billion for the payment of unsettled dues and statutory obligations. Timely investments in replanting, factory modernisation, redefining strategic focus and leadership transformed the Company into the strong corporate it is today, Gunathilake said. Good management practices together with agricultural inputs and professional human resources management policies too played pivotal role in this turnaround.

APL produces around 2 million kgs of latex annually and the company has facilities to manufacture Latex Crepe, Ribbed Smoked Sheets (RSS) and Centrifuged latex depending on the demand in the market. The Company’s tea production is around 2 million kgs per year and this volume is expected to increase with the availability of chemical fertilizer and agrochemicals in the country. APL also produces more than 11 million kgs of oil palm crop annually, generating substantial returns for the Company.

With the Company’s acquisition by Damro Group a strategic management decision was taken to prioritise replanting across all estates under APL management. An extent of over 2,600 acres of aged and uneconomical rubber land has since been replanted with high yielding clones to ensure company’s productivity and sustainability in the years ahead.

The Company disclosed that a further extent of over 1,000 acres is to be replanted in 2023 and land preparation and preliminary work in these areas has already commenced. In order to support the company’s ambitious rubber replanting programme, Agalawatte Plantations has its own network of rubber nurseries and has established 400,000 seedlings in six regional nurseries to supply healthy and vigorous plants.

Between 2017-2022, an extent of over 263 acres of tea has also been replanted and the preliminary work on another 150 acres has been commenced in 2023. Five tea nurseries with 900,000 plants will supply the requirement of high yielding vigorous tea plants for the replanting programme.

APL said it is gearing up for a new phase of growth in the tea plantations by obtaining system and quality management certifications. The company has obtained the Rain Forest Alliance (RA) certification for its upcountry tea estates while all tea manufacturing facilities have obtained the ISO 22000 Food Safety Management System certification.

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Limitless outgoing voice facilities to any network

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Dialog Enterprise, the corporate ICT solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, is pleased to announce the launch of Dialog Bizpack Unlimited, the ultimate worry-free voice solution for Small Office Home Office (SOHO) and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Sri Lanka.

In today’s fast-paced world, businesses require a reliable and cost-effective solution to stay connected and competitive. Dialog Bizpack Unlimited is designed to cater to the unique communication needs of SOHOs and SMEs, providing them with a comprehensive package that offers unparalleled benefits.

This self-managed platform provides all the key intercom features, such as short code dialling between extensions, call forwarding, call transferring, data add-ons, call hunting, and more, ensuring that small business owners can stay connected with their employees, clients, and suppliers, no matter where they are. Additionally, with Bizpack Unlimited’s flat monthly fee of Rs 499+ applicable taxes, small business owners can enjoy limitless outgoing voice facilities to any network, making it an ideal option for businesses seeking reliable and cost-effective communication, along with value-added services, allowing them to stay connected without any interruptions or limitations.

Moreover, the package is easy to set up and requires no complex or time-consuming hardware installation, which means that business owners may not require any technical expertise. Additionally, with no upfront payments required, small businesses can enjoy seamless and uninterrupted communication without any financial burden.

As a small business owner, you understand the challenges of running a business, and communication is key to your success. With Dialog Bizpack Unlimited, you can rest assured that your communication needs are taken care of, allowing businesses to communicate seamlessly with their customers and clients while focusing on growing their business.

Navin Pieris, Group Chief Enterprise Officer, Dialog Enterprise, Dialog Axiata PLC, said, “Unlimited free calls to any local network for an attractive monthly rental is a service that many small enterprises have looked forward to, and today we are proud to introduce just such a solution to the market. At Dialog Enterprise, we strive to offer innovative and cost-effective voice and data solutions so that businesses may thrive, and Bizpack Unlimited is one of our latest efforts in these endeavors.”

Dialog Enterprise invites all SOHO and SME enterprises to join Dialog’s seamless and expanded communication network across the country to grow their operations while seamlessly connecting with their customers and enhancing business relationships with Bizpack Unlimited.

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