Sri Lanka Mission in Japan facilitated connecting investors in diverse sectors at the first ever country specific Virtual Sri Lanka Investment Forum (SLIF) concluded two weeks ago. The 220 potential investors the mission attracted through its outreach and marketing efforts included a cross section of segments including software, pharmaceutical, agricultural and manufacturing where Sri Lanka has a comparative advantage as a low-cost high-quality labour environment and access to 1.6 billion people through Free Trade Agreements with India and Pakistan. Another commonality and potential that was highlighted was in the field of Agriculture with small farming size in both countries and the ability to transfer Japanese Technology to increase crop yields and productivity.
The Keynote speakers at the country specific virtual session included His Excellences’ the Ambassadors of Japan and Sri Lanka, Chairman of BOI, Chairman Noritake-Japan Ltd, CEO of Colombo Stock Exchange, Country Director of JETRO as well as Chairman Dockyard Sri Lanka and Chairman of Expo Lanka Pvt Ltd.
Japanese official including Ministry of Economic Trade and Industry (METI), Japan International Cooperation Industry (JICA) congratulated for the informative session and positive responses that were received from prospective investors. Tetsuya Yamada, Chief Representative of JICA in Sri Lanka remarked, “Congratulations to the great success of the Investment Forum, which gave a lot of useful information and made me feel the appetite of investors towards Sri Lanka.”
Govt urged to unlock true potential of Sri Lanka’s Blue Economy
=Take initiatives to reap maximum benefit from our seafood resource
=Fisheries sector can quickly generate employment and export earnings
=Modernizing fisheries sector is a collective responsibility of the government
by Sanath Nanayakkare
Championing the Blue Economy is a relatively easy way out for Sri Lanka to generate employment and export earnings as Sri Lanka can hardly become an industrialized nation, Shiran Fernando, President- Canned Fish Manufacturers Association of Sri Lanka. (CFMASL) told the media last week.
“Concerted efforts need to be made to reap long-term benefits of the sustainable use of marine resources to promote economic growth and come out of the current economic crisis. Facilitating extensive fish farming, proper handling/storage, keeping the catch quite fresh for processing would be key in achieving this goal. The whole government should spearhead this endeavor without leaving the task to the Ministry of Fisheries alone. The fisheries ministry is hard put to find funds despite its willingness to help the private sector to take the industry to the next level. There is a role for the government to play in this exercise which the private investors can’t,” he said.
The outspoken entrepreneur said that the fisheries sector is not getting the attention it deserves from the government although the Minister of Fisheries and the Ministry Secretary are passionate about the industry and are supportive of the private sector investors.
“What we say is; it’s the duty of the government to modernize the practices of this industry by helping the fisher folk to completely transform their way of catching fish by enforcing regulations for responsible fishing, guiding them on protecting the marine ecosystem and providing them with modern fishing vessels with refrigeration technology. They still go out to see on old boats and can’t carry enough ice for fish preservation, therefore, a lot of fish is found to be less than perfect and is diverted for making dried fish. The government should invest in and encourage key innovations in fisheries such as modern boats, nets and cooling systems through appropriate financial arrangements or cluster schemes to fully utilize the catch. You may not be able to get everyone on board such projects, so get as many fisher folk as possible to join such schemes and get them to engage in the industry in a sustainable way with a long-term view. As canned fish manufacturers, we have fulfilled the pledge we made a few years ago that we would manufacture enough canned fish to meet the nation’s requirement. Currently 250,000 canned fish are consumed per day in the country. Now 5 factories of our Association produce 300,000 units of canned fish per day exceeding the daily requirement. Although the consumption had dropped in September-October last year, now it has stabilized with prices coming down. We thank the ministry for increasing the Special Commodity levy (SCL) by Rs. 100 on imported canned fish. We don’t ask the government to stop canned fish imports. Let the Sri Lankan consumers eat imported canned fish if they want to pay more. However, when you import the product that can lead to unemployment and underutilization of our seafood resource,” he said.
Fernando insisted on monitoring and regulating of canned fish companies that don’t carry SLS standards to create awareness in consumers and encourage them to buy local canned fish made in compliance with standards.
He said that his company’s (TESS Group of Companies) operations at currently inoperative Oluvil Harbour would begin soon.
“Our operation there will commence with over Rs 20 million spent on refurbishing the cold storage and factory that TESS Group built there long ago. Since this harbor has not been used for 12 years now, the harbor mouth needs re-dredging. If the government intervenes and does the needful, the area will be more viable for commercial fisheries and will create sustainable livelihoods opportunities for people in the area.”
He noted that if the government supports their Association for value added re-exports of canned fish, they can import raw fish and repack it as fillet fish Flounder (used in fish and chip recipes), Salmon fillet, Anchovy fillets etc., and thus supply to the high-end segment of the global market and increase the country’s export earnings.
“Sri Lanka is doing certain things right in the fisheries sector. We are on the right path, but we urge the authorities to pay more attention and adopt strategies to maximize the use of its vast oceanic resources,” he said.
ComBank upgrades Q+ Payment App to introduce ‘Send Money’ fund transfers facility
The Q+ Payment App, another state-of-the-art product of Commercial Bank of Ceylon, which uses a cutting-edge technology, has scaled new heights in technology-enabled convenience with the addition of several new features that enable different methods of fund transfers and flexible payment scheduling options similar to standing orders.
Customers who have linked their Commercial Bank cards to the Q+ Payment App can now send money to another locally-issued Visa and Mastercard Debit, Credit or Prepaid card, to a Commercial Bank or other local bank account or to any Payment Exchange Name (PEN) through any LankaPay-registered mobile number, directly from their registered cards in the App.
Notably, the Card-to-Card funds transfer feature is the first of its kind to be implemented via a payment application in Sri Lanka and is operated via the ‘Visa Direct’ and ‘Mastercard Send’ card-based fund transfer facilities. This user-friendly, two-step fund transfer method can be executed simply by keying in the card number of the recipient and the desired amount, the Bank said. Similarly, the Card-to-Account feature is equally convenient as the sender is require to select the recipient’s bank and then type the account number and amount to conclude the fund transfer. Q+ Payment App has also enabled a favourites tab to store recipient card and account particulars to perform future transactions even more conveniently.
Kala Pola 2023 Open-Air Art Fair celebrates 30 years of promoting visual art in Sri Lanka
Kala Pola, Sri Lanka’s annual open-air art fair, will celebrate 30 years of enhancing livelihoods of Sri Lankan artists in an enthralling atmosphere along Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, also known as Green Path, on 19th February 2023. As Sri Lanka’s pioneering and best-known visual art fair inspired by the world-famous outdoor art fairs in Montmartre Paris and the Turl Street Art Festival in Oxford, Kala Pola 2023 will bring together various art enthusiasts from across the Island, creating a vibrant platform for artists to showcase their art to a large and enthusiastic audience.
Conceptualised and launched by the George Keyt Foundation (GKF) in 1993 and nurtured by the unbroken patronage of the John Keells Group since 1994, Kala Pola strives to elevate the visitor experience each year whilst seeking to include more artists and attract more visitors, thereby generating greater income for the artists.
Nadija Tambiah, President Legal, Secretarial and Corporate Social Responsibility at John Keells Group said, “Kala Pola is a primary initiative in John Keells Foundation’s efforts to promote and nurture Sri Lanka’s Arts & Culture.
Through its three-decade existence, Kala Pola has focused on delivering an uncurated, vibrant platform for Sri Lankan artists – whether senior established artists or emerging artists – effectively forming the base of John Keells Group’s roadmap for fostering Sri Lanka’s Arts & Culture.”
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