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SLTDA streamlines tourism investment approval process with common application

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Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has made the tourism investment process easy by streamlining the project approval process and the facilitation services provided by the Investor Relations Unit (IRU) – the unit established within SLTDA as the centralized facilitation arm for tourism investments in the country.

The key objective of this effort is to provide a single point of contact for the investors in the tourism sector and to provide an efficient, effective and hassle-free investment facilitation process for tourism investments.

In general, an investor in the tourism sector has to fill individual applications for several line agencies for approval of a tourism project. The number of agencies applicable for a tourism project is comparatively higher if the projects are located closer to a sensitive attraction. The process, therefore, becomes tedious, complex and time-consuming and as a result, incurs a considerable cost for the investor. This situation sometimes also encourages third party involvements which lead to corruption.

Finding solutions for the above issues; a centralized facilitation unit was established by SLTDA in late 2010. The IRU has approved 503 projects with a total value of US $ 3789.04 Mns during the past 10 years. The inter-agency collaboration was further strengthened recently with the continuous dialogue which resulted in bringing together all project approving government agencies to prepare one common application for tourism investments.

In addition, the approval processes of key approving agencies were mapped to spot the duplications and delays due to unnecessary steps and multiple signatories. The process was thereby streamlined and as a result, the time taken to issue a preliminary clearance was able to be reduced from 45 days to 25 days. The total average number of reduction of days taken for project approvals is expected to be reduced further in the future.

Technical support for the above streamlining process was provided to SLTDA by USAID’s Supporting Accelerated Investment in Sri Lanka (SAIL) Project with a team of experts with international expertise & exposure. Talking about the contribution made by the SAIL project, Glenn F. J. Mackenzie-Frazer, Chief of Party, IDG Country Director stated:

“The hard work and dedication of the SLTDA Investor Relations Unit is now bearing fruit and making the investment process a streamlined and transparent process which is investor focused. This is one more step on the path of placing Sri Lanka at the forefront of tourism globally. It has been USAID-SAIL’s privilege to partner with SLTDA on this journey”. 

Having the tourism mandate as per the Tourism Act No 38 of 2005, SLTDA’s Investor Relations Unit (IRU) makes sure all upcoming developments in tourism by the private sector is complied with specified quality standards and developed in compliance to the existing regulations of the country. This helps reduce low-quality and illegal tourism establishments, which will impact in eradicating informal sector of tourism in the future.

Responding to the achievements recently made by the Investor Relations Unit (IRU, Kimarli Fernando, chairperson of SLTDA stated,

“The above achievements are not made solely by the SLTDA. It’s a joint effort made by all government agencies. The collaboration and support given by all the government agencies in making these improvements to the process are tremendous, SLTDA thanks all the Heads of those agencies and all the government officers who contributed to this effort.

“Very soon, the entire process will be automated and the facility will be available for the investor to submit the application on-line and to track the progress of approvals. This will be an integrated system where all the project approving agencies and utility agencies are connected”

SLTDA encourages all the investors to obtain the services of Investor Relations Unit (IRU) to obtain reliable information on the process, proper guidance and facilitation services to ensure successful tourism projects with proper quality standards. -(SLTDA)

 

 

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INSEE Cement continues investment in mason development across Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka’s leading cement manufacturer INSEE Cement is driving transformation across the local construction industry with significant investments in empowering one of the sector’s key stakeholder groups; the mason.

‘INSEE Sathkara’, a multifaceted initiative to develop local masons powered by INSEE Cement is shaping the mason of the future – a professionally, socially and financially empowered individual contributing significantly to the advancement of both the local construction industry and Sri Lanka’s economy.

“The INSEE Sathkara initiative facilitates empowerment and development through up-skilling, social recognition and financial stability, an all-round approach that has successfully nurtured a new generation of masons that are fast adaptable to industry demands through newly developed skillsets, knowledge and capacities,” says Jan Kunigk, Executive Vice President, INSEE Cement.

INSEE Cement’s approach is to build a certified and skilled workforce with recognized credentials to bridge a gaping skill gap in the construction industry. The program ensures sustainable capacity development for masons backed by National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) in collaboration with the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) of Sri Lanka.

INSEE Cement also launched a Mason Apprenticeship Program to provide 120-day training opportunities for masons to learn on the job, preparing them to enter the workforce with specialized skillsets.

For Ajith Kumara Dissanayaka from Ambathenna, a mason for nearly 16 years, receiving all-round advancement through INSEE Sathkara has been truly life changing. “Five years ago, I was able to complete a course conducted by INSEE Cement and NAITA and received a Level 3 NVQ certification – my first professional credentials as a mason. This training gave me knowledge and insight that I had not received in over a decade of working as a mason, and it made me look at my profession differently. I improved my tile work skills, which also increased my income,” Dissanayaka stated.

This professional up-skilling has enabled INSEE Cement to create much needed social recognition and acceptance for Masons across Sri Lanka as a crucial link in the construction industry value chain. Mason Chats, Mason Meets and exclusive membership to the INSEE Concrete Society (ICS) has provided local masons industry inclusivity as well as recognition and rewards to encourage new avenues of income and entrepreneurship. Long-established ICS-member masons are also rewarded for their contribution to the local construction industry through ‘INSEE Garu Sara’.

To secure a stronger financial future for masons, INSEE Cement has introduced a comprehensive life insurance policy with disability, medical and accidental cover. This comes in addition to the pension scheme introduced to masons in partnership with the Employee Trust Fund Board (ETFB) of Sri Lanka.

“I joined the INSEE programme five years ago, and have benefited in ways I never imagined. The knowledge I gained about the industry, Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLS) standards and safety requirements have made me a better professional, and my clients respect me more because of it,” stated Ratna Ravindara, a mason based in Kandy with over two decades of industry experience.

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European ride-hail Bolt enters Sri Lanka

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Bolt, the leading European transportation platform committed to making urban travel easier, quicker and more reliable; announced its entry to the Sri Lankan market, with a pilot launch of its service in Colombo, on November 25, 2020 with over 2000 drivers ready to start accepting rides. Bolt pilots its services in South Asia for the first time with the launch of operations in Sri Lanka.

Committed to affordable trips and happy drivers, the company has announced that it will be charging drivers no commission for using the platform and offer fares 20% lower than other competitors, for a minimum of six months. It builds on being smart about how to grow the company, and focusing operations on efficiency, allowing Bolt to pass the savings on to customers, passengers and drivers.

Bolt has chosen to enter Sri Lanka during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis with the firm belief that people still need to move around in the city and doing its best to fulfil the mission to help them do so. Currently available only within Colombo, Bolt services can be accessed by passengers by downloading the secure and free Bolt app from Apple App Store or Google Play Store and setting up a user profile. Any person with their own Car who wishes to join Bolt as a driver, can easily register with the company through https://partners.bolt.eu/driver-signup by completing the relevant formalities or through the Bolt Driver App available on Apple App store or Google Play Store.

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Mobisec marks 6th anniversary as its future outlook remains strong

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International footprint with branch office in Melbourne

Mobisec (Pvt) Ltd, an innovator in the mobile application sector in Sri Lanka is celebrating its 6thanniversary since its inception in November 2014.

Over the years it has served hundreds of thousands of customers across Sri Lanka through its telco and mobile applications. Starting with humble beginnings as a start-up, Ashen Gomez, Founder & Managing Director of Mobisec has worked diligently over the years alongside his wife Sumudu, the Co-founder of Mobisec to build the company and expand its services in different verticals.

The company marked its first international expansion in the beginning of this year by establishing a new branch office in Melbourne, Australia. Today, the company is home to a dynamic team of over 30 software development experts.

Founder & Managing Director of Mobisec Ashen Gomez said; “since inception, we have continued to create applications that revolutionize the way people connect with the technology. Our prime focus is to provide smart and reliable solutions for modern problems our customers are facing and help them improve the quality of their lifestyle.”

Company’s product portfolio expanded further during this year along with the three brand new products that were launched into the Market. “Baby’s Diary” is one of the Android Apps that was added to Mobisec’s product portfolio in the mid of this year and currently the App has crossed over 10,000 downloads. It’s an all-in-one parenting solution, which contains a variety of options to keep track on the baby’s activities while shopping for all the baby essentials. Since its launch, the App has gained widespread attention and it’s shaping to be a game changer for all new parents in Sri Lanka.

“We are pleased to say that the Baby’s Diary App is the first and only Parenting App developed in Sri Lanka exclusively for parents of new-borns.The challenges and struggles for a new parent have never been addressed through out the past and that’s where we strongly believed that the concept of Smart Parenting needs be introduced to the Sri Lankan market”, said PrasannaDahanayake, Product Manager/ Business Analyst of Mobisec.

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