SL needs laser-like focus on IMF programme implementation: Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy
‘If it gets suspended, it would have pretty dramatic consequences’
by Sanath Nanayakkare
There are three most important priorities for Sri Lanka in the wake of the IMF Programme; implementation, implementation and implementation of the agreed upon benchmarks of the programme. Last thing we need to suddenly find is that we have gone off the track of the programme and it is suspended, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Former Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka said on Friday.
He said so while giving the keynote speech at a Central Bank hosted webinar titled “What is next for Sri Lanka in the wake of IMF Programme?”
Deshal De Mel, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Murtaza Jafferjee, Managing Director, JB Securities, Bingumal Thewarathanthri, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank were the panelists at the forum where the moderator was Shiran Fernando, Chief Economist at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
The following are a few comments made by Dr.Coomaraswamy.
The IMF EFF has now been successfully negotiated. This is in some way the beginning. There is lot more to do. It’s time to start thinking about what happens next. A little under a year ago, there were acute shortages of the most essential good. There were long queues and one or two people passed away while in queue. Prices were skyrocketing and exchange rate was collapsing, inflation was spiking and the Central Bank had to push up interest rates. All this happened only a few months from where we are today. The fact that things have stabilized to a significant extent clearly is a very favourable outcome but actually there is no room for complacency because the stabilization has happened at a low-level equilibrium.
It has happened when the economy experienced a 7.6% contraction last year. It was better than what was anticipated by the IMF and the World Bank, but still it is a very sharp contraction. And we need to get to a situation where we have macro-economic stability with a growth rate of about 4%. There is a lot to be done for this. But this is a very commendable place to get to after all. The Paris Club comprising G7 countries has endorsed our efforts to restore debt sustainability. The non-Paris Club creditors such as India and China also have endorsed and supported our efforts too. So the largest countries and creditors are willing to support Sri Lanka to get back on track in terms of debt sustainability. So this is not a bad place to be.”
“IMF programme implementation has always been a weakness on our part. This time we have already done a lot as prior action but there is more as you would have seen from the documentation tabled in parliament including structural reforms and institutional reform. So we have to have laser-like focus on implementation and move forward with the programme. If the programme gets suspended, it would have pretty dramatic consequences. So we need to keep it on track. We can’t give up the absolutely compelling need for fiscal discipline. What is next for us is; discipline and making the needed economic policy and implementing what e have agreed to do. During our past IMF programmes, the issue was lack of implementation by the Sri Lankan authorities.
Earlier this week Dr. Chandranath Amarasekare, Executive Director at the CBSL arranged for the Irish authorities to brief Sri lankan authorities on the implementation unit set up in Ireland when the global financial crisis hit Ireland which led them to go into an IMF programme. Ireland was meticulous in the way they set up the implementation framework. They identified all the action that had to be taken and assigned parts of it to relevant government entities to implement them. Ireland is back on track now. We need to have the same degree of laser-like focus on implementing the benchmarks. We have to figure out what needs to be done and ascribe responsibility for each action and monitor
carefully how we are going about it. We have to make sue we are hitting all the targets and structural benchmarks as we go along. These are embedded in the IMF programme. Last thing we need is to suddenly find that we have gone off the track of the programme and the programme is suspended. That will constrain the inflows to the country and it will affect the confidence beginning to build up now. All that will get undermined if the programme gets suspended because we are not able to keep it on track. So the Implementation Unit will need a very good authority to reach out to any part of government and get things done. We need this Implementation Unit to be well-structured and running well. And it should have the authority of the President behind it,”he said.
Venora Lanka Power Panels to set up assembly plant in Australia
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
Sri Lanka- based, export- oriented manufacturer, Venora Lanka Power Panels (Pvt) Ltd, with a state of the art electric panel factory at the Export Processing Zone, Biyagama, will set up an assembly plant in Australia.
“Once we set up the electric panel assembly plant in Australia, we will export all our panels from Sri Lanka and that plant will do 30 percent value addition to the product to supply that market, the company’s chairman/ Managing Director, engineer Sagara Gunawardena told The Island Financial Review.
Gunawardena said that the company is a value- addition assembly plant and he would be investing AUS $ 2 million for the project to be set up in Melbourne and hire 100 engineers and other professionals. He explained that the venture has enormous potential.
Venora Lanka provides power panels to mega projects in Sri Lanka and exports to Bangladesh, Maldives, Kenya, Ethiopia, Seychelles and Myanmar. Panel assembling is strictly in compliance with IEC 61439 standards, it was explained.
Gunawardena added: ‘I firmly believe that, being a truly customer focused organization, every employee and every process in the organization has to be aligned behind delighting customers. Therefore, at a time when the country is facing a major dollar crisis, my company would be aiming at bringing dollars into the country, while providing employment for local professionals, especially engineers.
‘At Venora Lanka we do not try to change customers’ mindsets. Instead, we take time to understand what they really want and focus our brand on delivering that. Venora is values- driven first and cost- driven second – creating a unique brand proposition.
‘Since the US dollar rate has come down, it is our concern that importers and suppliers do not change their prices, which is really affecting the manufacturing sector.
Company sources added: ‘The company has several wings of operation, such as local and overseas projects, switch board assembling, telecommunication infrastructure installations, earthing, lighting and surge protection, incorporating world renowned brands.
‘Venora Lanka Power Panels is the first Sri Lankan company to receive the licence, in accordance with the UK Trade Mark Act 1994, to use the trade mark “Best Enterprise”. It won a global award at the event, ‘Golden Awards for Quality and Business Prestige’, held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2015.
‘Within a short span of time, with the perfect blend of progressive thinking and expertise, Venora Group has expanded to consist of, Venora International Projects, Venora Telecom, Venora Industrial Solutions and Venora Lanka Power Panels (BOI approved). Further, Venora has established its overseas presence through Venora Engineering Kenya and Venora Engineering Myanmar.’
Share market moves into positive territory; indices up
By Hiran H. Senewiratne
CSE trading got off to a positive note yesterday but during the last session of the day the momentum slowed. However, the market is now moving towards positive territory following the Central Bank announcement of a downward trend in interest rates, market analysts said.
Amid those developments the market witnesses improvements in both indices and in the turnover.
The All- Share Price Index up by 12.8 points and S and P SL 20 rose by 6.97 points. Turnover stood at Rs 710 million with one crossing. The crossing was reported in JKH which crossed 430,000 shares to the tune of Rs 60.2 million; its shares traded at Rs 140.
In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; JKH Rs 212 million (1.5 million shares traded), Access Engineering Rs 44.7 million ( three million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 34.5 million (264,000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 28.6 million (5.3 million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 23.8 million (4.7 million shares traded), Capital Alliance Rs 22.9 million (615,000 shares traded) and First Capital Holdings Rs 19.2 million (574,000 shares traded). During the day the 31.4 million shares volumes changed hands in 9000 transactions.
Yesterday, the Central Bank’s US dollar buying rate was Rs 285.16 and the selling rate Rs 298.85.
Ceylinco Life appoints new COO and Deputy COO to strengthen leadership pipeline
Ceylinco Life has announced the appointments of Ranga Abeynayake and Samitha Hemachandra as Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Operating Officer respectively, following the creation of the two positions as part of the Company’s leadership pipeline for the next decade and beyond.
Abeynayake has been with Ceylinco Life for 25 years and is an Executive Director and the Company’s Deputy Chief Financial Officer, while Hemachandra has been with the Company for 23 years and is the General Manager – Marketing.
“These appointments add further strength and depth to the management structure and look at our leadership requirements for the next 10 to 15 years,” Ceylinco Life Chairman R. Renganathan said. “Transparent and long-term succession planning is extremely important in the financial services sector, ensuring seamless continuity and consistency for all stakeholders.”
Ceylinco Life Managing Director and CEO Thushara Ranasinghe added: “Ranga Abeynayake and Samitha Hemachandra have been part of the management team that achieved market leadership for Ceylinco Life in 2004 and maintained that leadership to this date, unbroken for 19 years. They represent the core values and the vision and mission of the Company, and will be fully supported by the Board of Directors and the management team as they are groomed for key leadership positions.”
A Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka, Ranga Abeynayake counts over 25 years of experience in handling key management positions in the areas of Finance, Risk Management, Strategic Planning, Treasury Management and Project Planning. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM) of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Abeynayake previously served as Chairman/Non-Executive Director of Citizens Development Business Finance PLC., and currently serves as a Non-executive Director of Ceylinco Insurance PLC and as a Director of Serene Resorts Limited.
A Fellow (FCIM) and Chartered Marketer of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) – UK, and of the Certified Management Accountants (CMA) – Australia, Mr Samitha Hemachandra counts over 20 years of work experience in Brand Management, Customer Relationship Management, Marketing Management and Strategic Planning. He has been directly involved in designing, developing and implementing many integrated marketing campaigns for Ceylinco Life. Mr Hemachandra holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Western Sydney – Australia. He is a past Chairman of the Marketing and Sales Forum of the Insurance Association of Sri Lanka (IASL) and has been a member of the judging panel of the SLIM Brand Excellence awards for many years.
He is currently a Director of Ceylinco Healthcare Services Ltd., and a Non-executive Director of Citizens Development Business Finance PLC (CDB), which are subsidiary and associate companies of Ceylinco Life.
Adjudged Sri Lanka’s ‘Brand of the Year’ and ‘Service Brand of the Year’ by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) and ‘Best Life Insurer in Sri Lanka’ by World Finance for the ninth consecutive year in 2022, Ceylinco Life was conferred the ‘Peoples Life Insurance Service Provider of the Year’ title at 2023 SLIM Kantar Peoples Awards for the 17th consecutive year. Ceylinco Life has been the country’s leading life insurer for more than half of the 35 years it has been in existence. The Company was also ranked the ‘Most Valuable Life Insurance Brand in Sri Lanka’ by Brand Finance and certified a ‘Great Workplace’ in Sri Lanka for the third consecutive year in 2022. Ceylinco Life has close to a million lives covered by active policies and provides innovative life insurance solutions which offer protection while de-risking the goals and ambitions of the Company’s policyholders.
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