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Sri Lanka all set for Expo 2020 Dubai

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EXPO 2020 DUBAI is the latest edition of World Expos held around the world since 1851 and will be the first ever to be held in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. Sri Lanka will participate in the mega-event which commences in October (01st October 2021 – 31st March 2022) and is expected to attract over 25 million visitors to Dubai during its six-month run. One of the key facets of the Sri Lankan contingent will be the specially designed Pavilion which was officially handed over by the Dubai Expo team to Mr.Nalinda Wijerathna, Deputy Commissioner General Sri Lanka for Expo and Consul General of Sri Lanka to Dubai and the Northern Emirates on the 14th of September, 2021. Accompanying Mr.Nalinda Wijerathna at the handover was Mrs. Subashini De Silva, Second Secretary at the Sri Lankan Consulate in Dubai.

The pavilion with its water-based theme was designed by a team from the University of Moratuwa and has been recognized as one of the best designs at Expo 2020 Dubai. The pavilion showcases the hydraulic civilization in a touristic perspective bringing out the 3 positioning pillars of Authenticity, Compactness and Diversity while taking visitors on a journey through history, culture, nature, people, and many facets of the destination through storytelling to inspire and showcase Sri Lanka to the world. Silent display screens at the pavilion will feature the unique facets of the island in all its wonder and awe.

The Pavilion will be segmented into zones to represent the many diverse facets of Sri Lanka. Zone 1 will display a cross-section of Sri Lanka’s multiple dimensions, zone 2 will focus on the island’s unique Ecology, Biodiversity, and Ecosystems, while zone 3 will give participants an insight into the island’s awe-inspiring history with a display based on the Islands ancient kingdoms. Zone 4 is dedicated to Economy and Trade Development and zone 5 will showcase local craftsmen and artisans with a masked wall and retail area. The specially designed Pavillion is a breathtaking mix of heritage, history, local style, and the latest technology. This will give participants a glimpse of island life in all its splendor, helping create interest that will attract both visitors and investors. The entire experience is designed to be personal, immersive, and memorable, conveying the island’s warm, sunny personality and exotic character.

Speaking about this landmark event Ms. Kimarli Fernando – Chairperson SL Tourism and the Commissioner General Sri Lanka for Expo, had this to say. ‘Expo 2020 Dubai was an event that came to Sri Lanka Tourism at the eleventh hour!! Despite all constraints and barriers, we made it this far and created a global platform for Sri Lanka to be showcased at this international event. We have created tourism, trade and investment opportunities at Expo which we are sure will generate great growth avenues for Sri Lanka. We are also blessed with amazing partners and great support extended from Expo Dubai team. Sri Lanka Tourism is looking forward for a successful event in Dubai’.

Sri Lanka Tourism has built a collision in presenting Sri Lanka strong and vibrant at Expo 2020 Dubai in partnership with the Sri Lanka Embassy in UAE and the Consulate in Dubai, Gem & Jewelry Authority, Export Development Board, Sri Lanka Tea Board, Laksala, Board of Investment, Port City, Sri Lankan Airlines, and the National Chamber of Exporters. The event will provide an extraordinary opportunity for many organisations that make up the local contingent, including commercial opportunities that will enable a more robust and strengthened local economy. With over 190 countries participating in the event, there will be a wealth of interest in Sri Lanka’s unique arts, crafts, cuisine, and culture. Destination Sri Lanka will be telling its story through the creative use of song, dance, cultural events, and a host of strategically targeted programmes.



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Pan Asia Bank posts steady performance during FY 2023 –

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Aravinda Perera- Chairman & Naleen Edirisinghe - Director CEO of Pan Asia Bank

Profit before Tax increases by 258% amidst external challenges

Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC reflected a steady performance amidst multitude of adversities emerging from challenging macro-economic conditions as the Bank reported its financial performance during 2023, which showed judicious portfolio management and prudency exercised in dealing with possible fallout on its asset quality in challenging times.

The Bank reported a Pre-tax Profit of Rs. 2,328 Mn for the year ended 31st December 2023, which is 258% increase compared to corresponding period last year, supported by improved net interest income, increased trading gains from government securities and reduced exchange losses.

The Sri Lankan economy has experienced some positive signs of gradual economic recovery and a measure of stability in macro-economic factors compared to the previous year, with the appreciation of LKR against USD and the IMF bailout followed by the Domestic Debt Optimization (DDO) announcement. The multiple economic scenario models used regarding collective impairment in 2022 were continued in 2023 to ensure that adequate buffers were in place to absorb any potential credit risk that could arise in the future. The allowance for overlays applied in previous year was continued and maintained during 2023 too. Meanwhile, the Bank managed to end the year with healthy credit quality matrices due to improved credit underwriting standards and concerted collection & recovery efforts despite the contraction in the loan book during 2023 which impacted the Bank’s Stage 3 Loan Ratio adversely.

Furthermore, the Bank increased impairment provision buffers held regarding investments in International Sovereign Bonds of Government of Sri Lanka (SLISBs) further during 2023 with the expectation of possible adverse outcomes of the on-going government External Debt Restructuring (EDR) programme. The Bank recognised an impairment charge of nearly Rs. 2 Bn regarding International Sovereign Bonds during 2023.

The interest income for the year 2023 rose by 39% due to the high interest rates that prevailed during the period under review compared to corresponding period of the last year and the re-pricing effect of facilities in response to the market conditions. Further, the growth in interest income was supported by the increased interest income from Rupee denominated securities of the Government of Sri Lanka (T-Bills & Bonds) due to increased investments and high interest rates offered on such new investments compared to the previous year. Consequently, the net interest income increased by 9% in 2023 compared to the last year. (Pan Asia Bank)

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SLT-MOBITEL celebrates the season of love with exciting giveaways

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SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT Solutions Provider, celebrated Valentine’s Day with a series of heartwarming promotions and networking activities, spreading love and joy for customers across the country.

Connecting hearts from all around the world on social media, SLT-MOBITEL invited participants to share their loving memories for a chance to win movie tickets. Customers were also given the opportunity to dedicate romantic ringing tones to their loved ones by dialling special codes.

As part of the Valentine’s Day celebrations, SLT-MOBITEL also offered a special promotion, providing a special screening for the glamorous movie ‘Sihinayeki Adarey’, powered by SLT-MOBITEL. Furthermore, customers were treated to a surprise bonus of 10GB of free data upon recharging their SLT-MOBITEL mobile numbers with Rs. 500 or more through any banking app.

Taking love to the hill country, in a special engagement event at the Kandy City Centre, fans were able to participate in activities and interact with the ‘Sihinayeki Adarey’ cast including Hemal Ranasinghe, Sheshadri Priyasad, and many others.

Through these exciting promotions, SLT-MOBITEL helped spread love and joy this season while enhancing the customer experience with exclusive activities.

To discover more of SLT-MOBITEL’s Valentine’s Day promotions, visit https://www.facebook.com/SLTMobitel.

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Call for Proposals: Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2024

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The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) is inviting proposals for the Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2024. The grant is an annual, merit-based grant awarded to an outstanding undergraduate studying in a Sri Lankan university. It aims to promote policy entrepreneurs among undergraduates by encouraging policy-relevant, rigorous and innovative socio-economic research.

The grant was established in 2018 to honour Dr. Saman Kelegama’s legacy of independent research and public policy engagement in socio-economic development in Sri Lanka and the wider South Asian region. Dr. Kelegama was the Executive Director of the IPS from 1995 to 2017.

Fourth-year undergraduates studying economics or a related subject in a University Grants Commission approved university or higher education institution in Sri Lanka are eligible to apply. Proposals must be written according to the guidelines provided and emailed to tharakam@ips.lk on or before the submission deadline of 30 April 2024.

HOW WILL THE WINNER BE CHOSEN? The quality of the proposals will be judged for its policy relevance, feasibility, originality and creativity. Three finalists will be chosen and invited to present their proposals at the IPS, where the award recipient will be selected.

OUTCOMES OF THE GRANTS – The recipient will be expected to produce a Policy Discussion Brief within six months of receiving the grant. The research report can be written individually or jointly with an IPS senior researcher.

BENEFITS OF THE GRANT – The beneficiary will be awarded a one-time research grant of LKR 200,000 to carry out the proposed research and a three-month internship at the IPS. The recipient will be able to seek guidance from senior researchers and benefit from IPS resources to complete the proposed study during the internship. To enable students from all over Sri Lanka to benefit from this opportunity, the terms of the internship will be flexible. The internship can either be a fully in-house internship at IPS, or it can be an in-house plus online internship. In the case of the second option, the in-house component of the internship should be at least six weeks. To encourage research dissemination, an additional subsidy will be provided for presenting the research findings at local conferences and workshops.

Important Dates

30 April 2024 – Deadline for Submission of Proposals

01 June 2024 – Announcement of Finalists

23 June 2024 – Announcement of the Winner

Further information is available at: https://www.ips.lk/saman-kelegama-memorial-research-grant/

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