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Revitalising bilateral trade and investment between Lanka and Germany 

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Ahamed Razee (Counsellor, Embassy of Sri Lanka, Germany), Dr, Somakanthan Somalingam (Board Member of the German – Sri Lankan Business Council, Dhammi Kandage (President of the German – Sri Lankan Business Council), Manori Unambuwe (Ambassador – designate of Sri Lanka to Germany), Nihal Samarasinha (Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka for Rhineland – Palatinate, Germany), Madurika Joseph Weninger (Consul General of Sri Lanka in Frankfurt, Germany), Margaret Ristau ( Treasurer of the German – Sri Lankan Business Council), Murugaiah Gobinath (Board Member of the German – Sri Lankan Business Council)

The Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Frankfurt am Main organised a Business Forum on July 31 on the occasion of the visit of Ambassador-designate of Sri Lanka to Germany Manori Unambuwe, a press release issued by the Consulate General said.

It said: The Business Forum was attended by more than 35 guests including eminent entrepreneurs, potential investors and officials from the Chambers of Commerce and Economic Ministries from key southern Federal States in Germany.  Theme of the Event was – ‘Opportunities to revitalize Bilateral Trade and Investment between Sri Lanka and Germany’.

Consul General Madurika Joseph Weninger welcomed the participants and highlighted the special relationship between Sri Lanka and Germany.  She also added that the Year 2019 was a watershed year for bilateral trade between the two countries which exceeded a Billion Euros with the trade balance being in favour of Sri Lanka.

Ambassador Manori Unambuwe in her opening remarks stated that Germany is one of the largest trading partners of Sri Lanka and economic engagement between Sri Lanka and Germany has improved significantly over the past few years and has a huge potential to strengthen it further.

She further stated that greater liberalisation and reforms were introduced by the government of Sri Lanka to spur investment and trade. The Ambassador highlighted that in the face of global pandemic, priorities are being reassessed and notable trends are seen in industry segments of Information Technology, Health and Wellness, as well as green initiatives and sustainable development, which Sri Lanka is well poised to be a partner with Germany.

Speaking on growing demand for digitalization, the Ambassador highlighted the well-developed infrastructure and resource pool availability in Sri Lanka and invited German companies to consider Sri Lanka as an outsourcing destination. She further said ‘we are a signatory to the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) which provides protection and confidence to entrepreneurs engaging in software development and a series of webinars are being planned with relevant organisations to raise awareness of Sri Lanka as an ideal destination.’

Counsellor of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Germany Ahmed Razee presented an overview of economic developments between the two countries and underlined Sri Lanka’s unique geographical position combined with a skilled labour force and attractive incentives, which makes Sri Lanka an ideal launch pad to reach a broader market in the Asian region, through several Free Trade Agreements. He further shared the advantages of trade for SMEs which can leverage GSP Plus concessions to increase exports to the German market.

The Event concluded with the Consul General of Sri Lanka hosting a traditional Sri Lankan lunch to the Ambassador and the distinguished invitees to the Business Forum.   

On July 30 Ambassador Unambuwe held meetings with Dr. Jurgen Ratzinger, Managing Director for International Business of the Frankfurt Chambers of Commerce and Industry, (IHK) and Johannes Richter, Unit Head for Southeast Asia of IHK to discuss opportunities to further increase Sri Lanka – German trade and investment cooperation.  

 



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BOI launches long term residence visa programme for investors

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The Board of Investment (BOI) yesterday (01) 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 their 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,” Mr. Perera highlighted.

Meanwhile, 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 contributing 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 said.

“As far as the new program is concerned, the visa application process can be accessed online and the BOI is also using online facility for Defence clearance and plans to introduce the same mechanism with the Department of Immigration and Emigration,” Ms. Weerakone explained.

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CMG future-focused to get its leadership closer to the ground

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A year after Sashi Rajamahendran took over the reins of the Capital Maharaja Group (CMG), the conglomerate is going through some sweeping changes. The Group is broad basing its decision-making processes to give more opportunity for career growth at all levels of its management structure, the CMG said in a statement.

The following is the text of the Group statement: “In line with that, two new positions have been layered in, with Group Directors Nedra Weerasinghe and S.C. Weerasekera both being appointed as Group Director/Chief Operating Officer (COO) to helm the Group’s Industrial and Retail/Strategic Business hubs respectively.

Chairman of CMG, Sashi Rajamahendran says apart from laying a strong emphasis on recognising the sustained achievement of its people from time to time, the Group believes in blending its expertise across the Group’s multiple businesses. “This allows for maximum synergistic benefits to them as well as the Group.

Nedra and Shan are two Group Directors on the Main Board, involved in handling operations. They have served the Group with panache and have handled two of the most important business hubs over the past several years. We believe the specific portfolios assigned to them under the new positions will give them the impetus to further grow the business.”

Effective from 23 June 2022, S C Weerasekera will be Group Director/COO of CMG’s Industrial Hub, continuing to give leadership and grow business for S-Lon, PE+, Kevilton, Kansai Lanka and Herrero.

Nedra Weerasinghe will be the Group Director/COO heading the Group’s retail hub and strategic business initiatives. While the retail segments of the Group are relatively new, it is a key area of focus for the future expansion and development of the Group.

Sunil Kanojia, Group Director/CEO of CMG will continue to lead all CMG operations and he will guide both Shan and Nedra in their new roles.

The media company which has organically grown in the last 30 years is also being restructured to ensure better clarity and focus in the news and entertainment business. Chevaan Daniel, who is currently the Group Director in charge of News First, will also now provide leadership to MTV Channel (Private) Limited.

“The current situation in the country requires all of us to be agile and receptive to change. We as a Group, throughout our 90 years of existence have faced many adversities and overcome them with fortitude and innovative thinking. In facing today’s crisis which is not only local but spreading across the globe, we need our leaders to be closer to the ground, and respond intelligently and appropriately to the changes that can come very fast and even be devastating at times. This is not a time to be relying only on our standard operating procedures but to be creative in our approach. I am confident the management restructuring will get CMG ready for the next level of growth and wealth creation,” says the Chairman of CMG.The Group with its ‘Employees First’ ethos is moving boldly to its next phase in the ever-changing business environment.”

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Sajith vows to end what he terms ‘Gota-Ranil curse’

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SJB leader Sajith Premadasa, flanked by General Secretary of the party Ranjith Madduma Bandara, MP (left) and Thushara Indunil, MP, demands resignation of the incumbent government (Pic courtesy SJB)

Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) leader Sajith Premadasa on Thursday (30) reiterated that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had to quit without further delay.

Addressing SJB supporters in front of the Fort Railway station, Premadasa, who is also the Leader of the Opposition, emphasised the need to take tangible measures to recover stolen funds. The former UNP Deputy Leader vowed to end, what he called, the curse of Gota-Ranil alliance.

UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, on 12 May, accepted the premiership after Premadasa turned down President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s invitation to accept it.The Opposition Leader said that the country was in such a desperate situation, but the government seemed to be indifferent to the plight of the masses.

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