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Rural road connectivity to receive upgrade with ADB’s US $ 200mn assistance

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Sri Lanka’s rural road network will receive an upgrade in the coming months, with the government having signed a US $ 200 million loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), on Friday.

The new loan agreement, to support the roll out of the Second Integrated Road Investment Programme tranche three, will continue the assistance of ADB to upgrade Sri Lanka’s rural road network connecting vast rural populations to jobs and services.

Alongside the loan agreement, a project agreement was also inked between ADB and the implementing agency, the Road Development Authority.

The project will be implemented, despite the pandemic, while adhering to strict health guidelines and is expected to support the post-pandemic economic recovery in rural areas.

ADB said with the rural road network upgrade, the targeted areas will receive support through job opportunities and by obtaining services from rural populations, such as the hiring of vehicles, buildings, equipment, etc.

“Access to markets and business opportunities, especially along agricultural value chains, can be significantly improved with better transport infrastructure and can serve as the key to poverty reduction and shared prosperity in rural areas,” said ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Chen Chen in a statement to the media.

He pointed out that economic growth is hindered by poor transport infrastructure, particularly some poorly maintained provincial and local roads.

Reflecting similar sentiments, Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle stressed that providing all-weather road access would help link rural communities to socioeconomic centres in Sri Lanka, thereby enabling rural communities to reap and enjoy the fruit of inclusive economic growth.

“This is very much in keeping with the government’s development policy and will contribute to the government’s development plan,” he added.

The freshly signed loan agreement is the third of five tranches under the Second Integrated Road Investment Programme, which was approved by ADB’s board of directors in 2017.

The programme will deliver a total financing of US $ 900 million to rehabilitate and improve about 3,400 kilometres (km) of rural access roads and 340 km of national roads in the Eastern, Northern, Uva and Western provinces.

It will improve the capacity of the country’s road agencies on road safety, maintenance, research, road design and construction. The programme is due for completion in 2027.



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CDS signs up with Lanka IOC to act as Registrar

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The Central Depository Systems (CDS), a fully owned subsidiary of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), recently signed a service agreement with Lanka IOC PLC as the registrar for Lanka IOC PLC, with effect from 01st of January 2023. Lanka IOC PLC, with a corporate history spanning 20 years, is the only private sector auto fuel retailer in Sri Lanka. Over the years, the company has made a significant impact on the socio-economic landscape by enabling mobility, economic activity, and development. With an island-wide footprint of 213 retail outlets, the company services 12% of the country’s retail fuel demand.

Reasoning on appointing CDS, as the Registrar for Lanka IOC PLC, its’ Managing Director, Manoj Gupta, said, “we engaged CDS to conduct our virtual annual general meetings during the period of COVID 19 pandemic where all listed companies were not in a position to convene any physical meeting as it was most essential to maintain social distance. We found the services rendered to us by CDS were highly satisfactory. Thus, we are happy to appoint CDS as the Registrars of the company.” “CDS has provided the service of handling the dividend payments to shareholders consecutively for the last
three years and carried out the functions in a very good manner, coordinating well with the bankers and shareholders,” added the Company Secretary of Lanka IOC PLC, Ms. Amali Liyanapatabendi

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SLT-MOBITEL honoured at Asian Technology Excellence Awards 2022

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Reiterating its leadership in innovative broadband deployment solutions, SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT Solutions Provider was honoured with the prestigious ‘Technology Excellence Award for Network and Broadband – Telecommunications’ at The Asian Technology Excellence Awards 2022. The recognition is in appreciation of SLTMOBITEL’s innovative use of LTE 850MHz broadband solution which provides extensive coverage to rural areas of the country.

Understanding the need to provide superior rural connectivity to support the nation’s ongoing digital transformation and bridgingn the digital divide, SLT-MOBITEL’s innovative LTE 850MHz network strategically combined the underutilized spectrum from obsolete CDMA fixed line operations and forfeited its resources to obtain a new noninterfered 5MHz band for 4G LTE deployment from The
Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL). This enabled, SLT-MOBITEL to significantly enhance rural connectivity across Sri Lanka, empowering every Sri Lankan to avail the benefit of SLT-MOBITEL’s Sub1GHz 850MHz LTE network especially during Covid-19 travel restrictions where broadband had become a necessity for everyone. In addition, SLTMOBITEL’s LTE 850MHz solution recovered valuable national spectrum resources which was interfered and exhausted earlier. With the coverage enhancement the mobile arm was able to connect an additional 700,000 subscribers who did not have access to broadband services earlier. With the LTE 850MHz deployment, SLT-MOBITEL was able to further bolster its support during COVID-19, providing rural communities especially the school children, people who worked from home and national authorities to immediately respond to Covid-19 emergency situations, thereby narrowing Sri Lanka’s digital divide

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Lingering debt-restructuring worries trigger share market volatility

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

CSE trading was characterized by a marked degree of volatility yesterday. The CSE started trading on a positive note but by mid-day the market had turned negative, only to register some recovery during the latter part of the day. But the recovery could not be fully sustained, market analysts said. Market volatility could be traced to the worry among traders that the Chinese government is yet to respond
positively to the Sri Lankan government’s debt restructuring plan, although the Chinese Exim Bank responded positively to the IMF bailout proposition, analysts said. Stock market mid- day shares fell on
profit- taking after the market had continuously been on green after debt restructuring assurances by major creditors, an analyst said. “However, the anticipated rate cut wasn’t met and the
market over- reacted and moved to red, the analyst added.

Amid those developments both indices indicated a downward trend.The All- Share Price Index went down by 11.5 points and S and P SL20 declined by 2.78 points. Turnover stood at Rs 1.2 billion with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in Melstacorp, where 594,000 shares crossed to the tune of Rs 29.7 million, its shares traded at Rs 50 and Horana Plantations 300,000 shares crossed for Rs 21 million, and its shares traded at Rs 70. In the retail market, top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Lanka IOC Rs 269 million (1.3 million shares traded),Softlogic Life Insurance Rs 147 million (1.3 million shares traded), Softlogic Capital Rs 122 million (eight million shares traded), LOLC Holdings Rs 71.9 million (158,000 shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 54.4 million (289,000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 41.9 million (six million shares traded) and JKH Rs 41 million (298,000 shares traded). It is said that high net worth and institutional
investor participation was noted in Agstar, Melstacorp and JKH. Mixed interest was observed in Lanka IOC, Expolanka Holdings and LOLC Holdings, while retail interest was noted in LOLC Finance, Browns Investments and Softlogic Capital.

The Materials sector was the top contributor to the market turnover (due to Agstar), while the sector index gained 0.18 per cent. The share price of Agstar increased by 50 cents (3.23 per cent) to
close at Rs.16. The Diversified Financials sector was the second highest contributor to the market turnover (due to LOLC Holdings), while the sector index increased by 2.16 per cent. The share price of LOLC Holdings appreciated by Rs. 21.75 (5.11 per cent) to close at Rs. 447.25. During the day 41 million share volumes changed hands in 14000 transactions.

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