South Asian economies bounce back but face fragile recovery
Prospects of an economic rebound in South Asia are firming up as growth is set to increase by 7.2 percent in 2021 and 4.4 percent in 2022, climbing from historic lows in 2020 and putting the region on a path to recovery. But growth is uneven and economic activity well below pre-COVID-19 estimates, as many businesses need to make up for lost revenue and millions of workers, most of them in the informal sector, still reel from job losses, falling incomes, worsening inequalities, and human capital deficits, says the World Bank in its twice-a-year regional update.
The latest South Asia Economic Focus: South Asia Vaccinates shows that the region is set to regain its historical growth rate by 2022. Electricity consumption and mobility data is a clear indication of recovering economic activity. India, which comprises the bulk of the region’s economy, is expected to grow more than 10 percent in the fiscal year 2021-22—a substantial upward revision of 4.7 percentage points from January 2021 forecasts.
The outlook for Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan has also been revised upward, supported by better than expected remittance inflows: Bangladesh’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to increase by 3.6 percent in 2021; Nepal’s GDP is projected to grow by 2.7 percent in the fiscal year 2021-22 and recover to 5.1 percent by 2023; Pakistan’s growth is expected to reach 1.3 percent in 2021, slightly above previous projections.
The improved economic outlook reflects South Asian countries’ efforts to keep their COVID-19 caseload under control and swiftly roll out vaccine campaigns. Governments’ decisions to transition from widespread lockdowns to more targeted interventions, accommodating monetary policies and fiscal stimuli—through targeted cash transfers and employment compensation programs—have also propped up recovery, the report notes.
“We are encouraged to see clear signs of an economic rebound in South Asia, but the pandemic is not yet under control and the recovery remains fragile, calling for vigilance,” said Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region. “Going forward, South Asian countries need to ramp up their vaccination programs and invest their scarce resources wisely to set a foundation for a more inclusive and resilient future.”
While laying bare South Asia’s deep-seated inequalities and vulnerabilities, the pandemic provides an opportunity to chart a path toward a more equitable and robust recovery. To that end, the report recommends that governments develop universal social insurance to protect informal workers, increase regional cooperation, and lift customs restrictions on key staples to prevent sudden spikes in food prices.
Share investors worried over Wealth and Heritage tax
By Hiran H Senewiratne
CSE trading kicked off on a positive note yesterday but the momentum could not be sustained for long owing to investor worries that the government is planning domestic debt restructuring involving the imposition of a wealth and heritage tax on citizens, market sources said.
Amid those developments both indices moved downwards. The All -Share Price Index went down by 131 points and S and P SL-20 declined by 46.8 points. Turnover stood at Rs 3.4 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Agalawattte Plantations, which crossed 45.3 million shares to the tune of Rs 1.5 billion, its shares traded at Rs 35, CTC 420,000 shares crossed for Rs 269 million and its shares traded at Rs 640, Cargills 100,000 shares crossed to the tune of Rs 24.5 million; its shares traded at Rs 245 and Hayleys 300,000 shares crossed for Rs 24 million; its shares traded at Rs 80.
In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, SLT Rs 234 million (two million shares traded), Hayleys RS 121 million (1.5 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 106 million (115,000 shares traded), Softlogic Capital Rs 69 million (5.6 million shares traded), CTC Rs 65.3 million (101,000 shares traded), Sampath Bank RS 54.7 million (one million shares traded) and Commercial Bank RS 52.5 million (801,000 shares traded).During the day 164 million share volumes changed hands in 20000 transactions.
Brandix ‘RightToRead’ initiative gains momentum enriching Sri Lanka students and transforming learning
Inspired by the challenge to provide Sri Lankan children with better access to learning materials and the transformative power to read and comprehend English, Brandix launched the ‘RightToRead’ project in 2018 in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
Accordingly, Brandix introduced the ‘ReadToMe’ English learning tool, created by English Helper – India, to improve reading and comprehension skills of Sri Lankan students. Last Monday, Julie Chung, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, visited Susamayawardhana Vidyalaya in Borella, to observe progress of the project and experience how children and educators in Sri Lanka engage with educational technology.
Brandix Lanka Limited, Director, Ajit Johnpillai, said: “Education is the most powerful tool to enrich communities and futures, and Brandix is committed to build a strong foundation for transformational learning for students across Sri Lanka. The progress we have made with RiteToRead over the past two years is promising, and the potential for change in the education sector harnessing such digital technologies is immeasurable. Brandix will continue its commitment to deliver Inspired Solutions for the people of Sri Lanka.”
Dialog TV Boosts Resilience and Capacity with Norsat Satellite Earth Station
Hytera, a leading global provider of professional communications technologies and solutions, is proud to announce the successful deployment of a new backup satellite station for Dialog TV, Sri Lanka’s No.1 satellite Pay TV service provider. The project was fulfilled in 2022 by Hytera and its subsidiary specialized in Satellite Communications (SatCom), Norsat International Inc. The new station enhances the resilience and capacity of Dialog TV’s existing system and ensures continuity of service in the event of damage due to natural disasters.
Dialog TV provides coverage over the entirety of Sri Lanka through the Intelsat 38 Ku-band satellite. As the business expanded, it opted for a backup solution to support its existing satellite station and to strengthen the network’s disaster tolerance.
Hytera and Norsat provided an end-to-end satellite earth station solution that includes the installation, integration, and setup of satellite antennas, a transmission and receiving system, a new network management system (NMS), and a carrier monitoring system (CMS). The NMS makes routine work easier and simpler for on-duty staff, as equipment status, parameter monitoring and configuration, and remote control of the devices can be viewed and accomplished via a single interface. The CMS monitors the carrier spectrum status of satellite signals in real-time and ensures stable signal transmission and receiving.
“We are excited to have been able to work with Dialog TV on this important project,” said Kevin Sun, Sales Director for Hytera South Asia, “Our ability to seamlessly integrate our new equipment and software with Dialog TV’s existing systems has helped to ensure a stable and reliable service for their millions of customers across Sri Lanka.”
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