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Republic of Korea donates COVID-19 test kits to Sri Lanka



The Republic of Korea donated COVID-19 test kits to Sri Lanka to mark the 43rd Anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka.

This event was held at the Foreign Ministry in Colombo on December 8, organised by the Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka in collaboration with the embassy of the Republic of Korea in Colombo. The ceremony was attended by the Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya, Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage and ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Santhush Woonjin JEONG.

Delivering the welcoming remarks, Rohana Ambagolla, Director General of East Asia, stated that the donation of PCR test kits reflects the unwavering commitment of the Republic of Korea to take our bilateral relations to new heights. He emphasised that Korea is a key partner to Sri Lanka especially in the economic sphere and recognised the immense contribution of ambassador Santhush Woonjin JEONG for the betterment of the communities in Sri Lanka.

The government of the Republic of Korea donated COVID-19 diagnostic kits amounting to the sum of USD 300,000 to contain and control COVID-19. The government of the Republic of Korea deployed these test kits as a gesture of diplomatic goodwill to deter the spread of COVID-19 here in Sri Lanka. The PCR testing kits were officially handed over by ambassador Santhush Woonjin JEONG to the Foreign Minister at the ceremony.

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunewardena expressed his pleasure to host this event in the Foreign Ministry to mark the 43rd anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka.


He also reflected on the bedrock of cultural and traditional links upon which the two countries have developed a deep mutual understanding, trust and cordial friendship today. He stated that Korea is one of the leading economic partners of Sri Lanka and KOICA has immensely contributed in the socioeconomic development in key sectors of Sri Lanka.

The Foreign Minister thanked Korea for donating PCR test kits to Sri Lanka to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.”This gesture of goodwill will be undoubtedly remembered and valued by the people of Sri Lanka”. He added that, “Korea and Sri Lanka have shared deep rooted and friendly relations over the decades, and I hope that Korea will walk with us closely in this challenging but rewarding journey of nation-building in Sri Lanka”. He also commended Korea’s efficient mechanism to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Sri Lanka, Excellency Santhush Woonjin JEONG stated that since his arrival in Sri Lanka last July, many aspects of the country have brought him happiness. He expressed his happiness in the excellent diplomatic ties between the two countries.

He noted that a new era has dawned upon Sri Lanka and South Korea can assist Sri Lanka to revitalise its economy and realise the vision of vistas of prosperity and splendour. “I have observed the positive development since I arrived here in Sri Lanka. I can say that it is the right time for Sri Lanka to change and take a leap to a higher level. I believe that Korea is the very country that can help Sri Lanka achieve the vistas of prosperity and splendour. Korea and Sri Lanka share a lot of similarities in history. Korea and Sri Lanka survived, overcame all difficulties and developed ourselves.”

He also expressed his thankfulness to the anti-COVID taskforce,” I acknowledge with gratitude the contribution and courageous measures taken by the authorities in Sri Lanka that have enabled to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the island”. The Ambassador assured to extend the fullest support to the government of Sri Lanka especially in coordinating the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and assist in issues related to economic recovery. He mentioned that the unwavering cooperation in these tough times is symbolic of the true friendship between our two countries.

Under the “Stay Strong” campaign, Korea and Sri Lanka have been strengthening Anti-Covid collaboration with each other. The Korean Embassy in Sri Lanka has shown its thankfulness by donating re-usable fabric masks to the Sri Lanka Army and Police who have dedicated themselves to protecting people in Sri Lanka including Korean residents amid COVID-19. The Ambassador expressed his commitment to strengthen the public health cooperation in the following year as well. He stated that “Korea and Sri Lanka have been true friends to each other and I would really like to carry happiness (Santhush) to Sri Lanka”.

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Cinnamon Air resumes daily scheduled flights in Paradise



Cinnamon Air, Sri Lanka’s premier domestic airline, has resumed daily scheduled flights after a temporary suspension during the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline is the only domestic carrier in Sri Lanka offering daily scheduled flights and the only such airline to operate flights from the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) with a dedicated passenger terminal and aircraft maintenance facility.

As the airline resumes its daily scheduled flight operation from 15th December 2022, the entire Cessna 208 fleet of Cinnamon Air will operate to destinations such as Sigiriya, Castlereagh, Trincomalee, Batticaloa (serving Pasikudah), Koggala and Weerawila from (BIA) and Water’s Edge Colombo. The daily scheduled flights were temporarily halted during the pandemic due to the sharp decline in tourist arrivals (the key source of demand for the airline) to the country.

However, while strictly adhering to health and safety protocols, the charter flight service continued without disruption. During this period of reduced demand, Cinnamon Air geared itself to better serve its customers through streamlining operations by relocating to a new state-of-the-art aircraft maintenance facility (hangar) at BIA, which is in close proximity to its passenger terminal. As visitor arrivals improve, the airline is expected to be the preferred choice for safe and convenient mode of travel for tourists to swiftly reach popular destinations within the island.

Regarding the resumption of the scheduled flight operation, Sean Dwight, the Chief Executive Officer of Cinnamon Air, commented, “We have been a premier mode of transportation to many individuals visiting Sri Lanka, enabling them to reach popular destinations throughout Sri Lanka in a hassle-free manner at a fraction of the travel time.

To ensure smooth connectivity with our flights, without long transit times, we have synchronized our flight times with the arrival and departure times of Sri Lankan Airlines and other major international airlines. He continued, “as the tourism industry in Sri Lanka is regaining its volumes, we are poised to add value to foreign travelers’ experience in Sri Lanka through our scheduled flights which, in turn, will enhance the image of the country as an upmarket tourist destination. In fact, our passengers consider us as an attraction in addition to being a mode of travel due to the unique experience of taking off and landing on water as well as the breathtaking aerial views of Sri Lanka. Further, in order to ensure that our travelers have a safe and enjoyable travel experience, we have health and safety protocols in place, on board as well as prior to boarding the flight”.

Cinnamon Air (, owned and operated by Saffron Aviation (Pvt) Limited, is a joint venture between Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate, John Keells Holdings PLC, MMBL Leisure Holdings (a part of the Mercantile Merchant Bank Group) and Phoenix Ventures (parent of the Brandix Group). In addition to scheduled flights, Cinnamon Air also offers charter services to and between all Airports and Water Aerodromes in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, all Cinnamon Air scheduled flights operate in codeshare with Sri Lankan Airlines, consequent to which they are also available for sale throughout the Sri Lankan Airlines network and all Travel Agents around the world via Global Distribution Systems, under a “UL” designated flight number.

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Earnings from merchandise exports decline for first time since March



External Sector Performance – October 2022

Earnings from merchandise exports declined in October 2022, on a year-on-year basis, for the first time since March 2022, mainly due to lower earnings from garments exports. The decline in import expenditure continued in October 2022, (y-o-y), for the eighth consecutive month, despite recording an increase, compared to September 2022.

The merchandise trade deficit recorded a notable contraction in October 2022, compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, the workers’ remittances steadied and earnings from tourism improved in October 2022, whereby earnings from tourism crossed over USD 1 bn during January-October 2022, while workers’ remittances reached about USD 3 bn during January-October 2022. Foreign investment in the government securities market and the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recorded a marginal net inflow during October 2022. The Central Bank continued to provide forex requirement to finance essential imports, exhausting the liquid level of gross official reserves. Meanwhile, the weighted average spot exchange rate in the interbank market remained around Rs. 363 per US dollar during the month .

Merchandise Trade Balance and Terms of Trade

Trade Balance: The deficit in the merchandise trade account narrowed to US dollars 285 million in October 2022, compared to the deficit of US dollars 502 million recorded in October 2021, despite it widened compared to September 2022. The cumulative deficit in the trade account during January-October 2022 recorded at US dollars 4,389 million, declined from US dollars 6,501 million recorded over the same period in 2021. The major contributory factors for the decline in the cumulative trade deficit are shown in Figure 1.

Terms of Trade: Terms of trade, i.e., the ratio of the price of exports to the price of imports, deteriorated by 4.0 per cent in October 2022, compared to October 2021, as the increase in import prices surpassed the increase in export prices.

Performance of Merchandise Exports1

Overall exports: Earnings from merchandise exports declined by 11.9 per cent in October 2022, over October 2021, to US dollars 1,051 million for the first time since March 2022. Meanwhile, export earnings in October 2022 recorded a decline for the second time on month-on-month basis. A decline in earnings was observed in industrial and agricultural exports, driven by lower demand mainly for garment exports due to increased global inflation conditions, while a marginal increase was recorded in mineral exports. Cumulative export earnings during January-October 2022 increased by 8.9 per cent over the same period in the last year to US dollars 11,032 million, which was mainly driven by the improvements in industrial exports.

Industrial exports: Earnings from the export of industrial goods declined in October 2022 by 13.4 per cent, compared to October 2021, mainly due to the decline in the exports of garments by 12.9 per cent, food, beverages, and tobacco by 51.3 per cent (primarily, miscellaneous food preparations) and transport equipment by 60.7 per cent (due to the base effect of exporting cruise ships in October 2021). Exports of garments to most of the major markets recorded a decline (the USA, the EU and the UK). Further, earnings from exports of petroleum products that comprise bunkering and aviation fuel also declined due to lower export volumes despite a notable increase in average export prices in line with higher global fuel prices.

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CSE’s net foreign inflows cross Rs 20 billion mark



By Hiran H. Senewiratne

The CSE remained bearish yesterday with net foreign inflows year to date crossing more than the Rs 20 billion mark, while both indices began the fresh week positively, stock market analysts said.

Amid those developments the stock market was positive throughout the day, because China has expressed its interest in debt restructuring for Sri Lanka. It has invited the IMF delegation to begin a discussion, market analysts said.

Both indices showed an upward trend. The All- Share Price Index was up by 72.7 points and S and P SL 20 up by 43.6 points.

Turnover stood at Rs 3.1 billion with two crossings; those crossings were reported in Expo Lanka Holdings, which crossed 2.3 million shares to the tune of Rs 403 million and its shares traded at Rs 205 and John Keels Holdings 2.9 million shares crossed to the tune of RS 427 million with its shares trading at Rs 147.

In the retail market top five companies that contributed to the turnover were; Browns Investments Rs 626 million, Expo Lanka Rs 289 million, Dialog Rs 169 million, Lanka IOC Rs 142 million and LOLC Holdings Rs 118 million.

It is said that high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in Expo Lanka Holdings.

Mixed interest was noted in Lanka IOC, Aitken Spence and JKH, while retail interest noted in Brown Investments, LOLC Finance and SMB Leasing.

The transport sector was the top contributor to the market turnover on account of Expo Lanka holdings.

During the day 149.5 million share volumes changed hands in 23000 transactions.

Yesterday, the US dollar parity rate was Rs 371.75.

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