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Sri Lanka had been ‘hiding its bankruptcy’ before it was officially announced: CBSL Governor

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By Sanath Nanayakkare

The Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe said on Tuesday that Sri Lanka had been hiding its bankruptcy which had actually occurred months before it was officially announced.

He said so during a multi-TV channel programme where several key political and public officials responsible for the country’s economy were quizzed by journalists.

“At present, we are taking necessary measures to resurrect such an economy plagued by bankruptcy,” he recalled in response to a query about the economic crisis.

“The first quarter of Sri Lanka had had a negative contraction. One of the short-term measures we had to take was to obtain foreign fund assistance to finance the budget deficit while at the same time increasing our foreign earnings to reduce our dependency on foreign loans. That was the only solution we could take in the short-term,” he said.

When asked whether there wasn’t any other source to increase state revenue other than imposing higher taxes on the people, the Governor said, “Definitely there is one. The loss-making state owned enterprises (SOEs) gobble a huge share of the government’s tax revenue. Although we have identified them as national resources, in real terms, they are not.

‘These SOEs which are widely believed as national assets have become liabilities that burn up government’s tax revenue. SriLankan Airlines carries with it a debt of about USD one billion and that’s why no investors are coming to partner with SriLankan Airlines. Some people identify it as trying to sell the national career. But truly speaking, it is a liability rather than an asset. The government has a lot of assets which should be used productively. Take Sri Lanka Telecom for an example. It had been a fully government-owned entity. It was opened to other investors and today SLT is of great importance to various stakeholders and the entire country. If it was not opened for diversified investments, you wouldn’t have an effective telecommunication service in the country today. It provides its offering competitively in the market in line with international standards. If it didn’t have such a diversified investor profile, SLT would not have been productive and the devices you use and the bills you get today from service providers would be 10 times as high. It provides value to the country and SLT’s asset value has increased. The government of Sri Lanka is still the primary shareholder of SLT and it is not a liability. Likewise if we open our electricity supply, SriLankan Airlnes, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation etc, we could reap its benefits. Another example is the Sri Lanka Ports Authority which does not receive financial allocations from the government but operates on its own revenue and resources. If we could open the loss-making entities to such an investment and operational model, there will be no need to collect and waste tax payers’ money on them.”

“For investors to come to Sri Lanka, there needs to be political stability, macro-economic stability and ease of doing business. Vietnam has all these attractions for investors and even some Chinese businesses are relocating in Vietnam due to these reasons. Sri Lanka also has that opportunity. We have to make necessary reforms for that. We will have to move forward through a competitive, open economy to conquer the world. Being a small country, we can’t progress only with internal competition and internal trade. Only when we are globally competitive in price and quality can we capture a share of the internal market. For that we need to open the country for investment,” he said.

According to the Department of Census and Statistics, the year on year GDP growth rate for the first quarter of 2022 had been estimated as negative 1.6 percent which indicated a considerable contraction of the economy compared to the first quarter of 2021. Within the first quarter of 2022, the economic growth rate had slowed down compared to the first quarter of 2021 due to adverse effects of factors including inflation, foreign exchange devaluation and US dollar deficit in the country.



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MN Group becomes the Best Business of the Year at Pinnacals Awards

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The MN Group won the Best Business of the Year Award at the Pinnacals Sri Lanka award ceremony at the Waters Edge Hotel, Battaramulla. Managing Director of MN Group of Companies (www.mngroup.lk), Roshan Wewage accepted the award on behalf of the organization. MN Group of Companies has previously won many awards including Lanka Business Awards (LBA) and Shramabimani.

Customers can obtain any construction related service from MN Group at a reasonable price. The company is also willing to finish half completed houses and commercial buildings at agreeable terms. MN Group understands that the tough economic circumstances have placed great pressure on the people and the company is committed to understanding their needs and to provide a warm and professional service. Roshan Wewage invited those who need to renovate their buildings to reach out to them.

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Dilmah Adjudged Best Corporate Citizen for the Third Consecutive Year

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Dilmah was awarded ‘Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability’ in the category of Businesses with Less than Rs. 15 Billion Annual Turnover, for the third consecutive year at the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability (BCCS) Awards organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce; recognizing that Dilmah has successfully achieved a sustainable balance between social, environmental, and economic performanc, a company news release said.

Evaluated by an independent & expert panel of judges, the awards are Sri Lanka’s most prestigious, scrutinizing and recognizing ethical and sustainable businesses. Dilmah was honoured as one of ten ‘Best Corporate Citizens’ of Sri Lanka, won the Award in the Environment Beyond Business Category, and was lauded for continuous commitment to the environment surpassing the realms of business.

“The annual BCCS Awards is the premier corporate citizenship award, highlights sustainability champions in the national corporate arena. The awards promote corporate citizen sustainability ownership and initiatives that deliver social and environmental benefits while pursuing profits. This recognition validates Dilmah’s emphasis on delivering social and environmental impact by sharing earnings through the work of the MJF Charitable Foundation and Dilmah Conservation,” the release said.

“In 1988, Merrill J. Fernando founded Dilmah, a family business, to serve humanity with kindness to people and nature, while sharing his passion for taste and goodness in tea. Over the years Dilmah has delivered over Rs. 7 billion for humanitarian benefit through the work of its charitable arm MJF Foundation and environmental arm Dilmah Conservation.

“Ensuring economic, social, and environmental sustainability exists at the heart of its operations and is integrated to every operational aspect of the business, Dilmah’s purpose is further extended through the work of the Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation (MJF Foundation) and Dilmah Conservation (DC) by driving life-impacting initiatives.

“The MJF Foundation works directly with estate workers and underprivileged communities to uplift lives and empower them to pay-it-forward to their communities. Some of its core initiatives are the countrywide MJF centres, small-medium enterprises with over 2,000 small entrepreneurs, ‘Empower’ Culinary & Hospitality School, and ‘disABILITY’ teletherapy app.

“The sustainable development of people goes hand-in-hand with the planet. Dilmah Tea is a carbon neutral product manufactured at a carbon neutral facility. Further, Dilmah has pledged to achieve zero-emissions for its manufacturing process by 2030 through science-based targets. Dilmah Conservation functions under three main categories: environmental sustainability, biodiversity conservation, and education and awareness. As such, Dilmah Conservation initiatives range from butterfly to elephant conservation, climate research, adaptation and mitigation, rewilding tea gardens, conserving mangrove forests, and promoting nature-based entrepreneurship through seaweed cultivation and empowering agro-entrepreneurs.”

Winning the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2022 is considered a top honour in the Sri Lankan corporate field. Each year, submissions are evaluated by an eminent panel of local experts, thought leaders, and academics. Dilmah considers receiving the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2022 an important milestone in its journey as a truly sustainable brand with a purpose beyond profit.

Across the shores, Dilmah has been recognized for its attempt to take Ayurvedic wellness and goodness to the world with the help of tea. The Arana Range of Herbal Infusion Teas was voted the Product of the Year 2022 in Australia. Meanwhile, Dilmah on its 7th Consecutive Year was awarded Most Trusted Brand in New Zealand in 2022.

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DSI Tyres bags two awards at SLIM Brand Excellence 2022

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Sri Lanka’s premium tyre brand, DSI Tyres won two prestigious awards at the SLIM Brand Excellence Awards 2022, held recently in Colombo. DSI Tyres, who has already made a mark in the international markets too, won the Silver Award under the Product Brand of the Year category and the Bronze Award under the Local Brand of the Year category. These mark another important milestone in the company’s journey spanning three decades. DSI Tyres has also remained within the top three brands in Sri Lanka for three consecutive years, a significant achievement in a very competitive arena.

DSI Tyres’ role as a leading local tyre manufacturing company that continues to promote its brand in an eco-friendly manner through the use of state-of-the-art technology and continuous research and development which enables them to identify customer needs in a timely manner is the key reason behind its continuous achievements. DSI Tyres has been able to place its products optimally among the local and international customers using the latest marketing strategies. The company also places great emphasis on sustainability and has been able to expand its local and international market share maintaining continuous customer loyalty even at the most difficult periods. DSI tyres are becoming increasingly popular in the online sphere as well, due to the facilitation of online orders at the convenience of customers as well as the use of attractive digital marketing. “DSI Tyres has a special place in the people’s hearts.

We have won the people’s trust and it is the highest award we can receive. It is a great privilege for us to receive these awards, which a mark of appreciation for the work we do to maintain customer loyalty,” Managing Director of DSI Tyres Kavinda Rajapaksa said. SLIM Brand Excellence Awards is the Sri Lanka’s premier celebration of Sri Lankan brands that rewards the outstanding efforts of marketers. This gala event for this year was held at Grand Monarch Hotel, Colombo. The Chairman of DSI Tyres, Ranatunga Rajapaksa received the two awards on behalf of the company. Previously, DSI Tyres had won SLIM Turnaround Brand of the Year, Product Brand of the Year, Local Brand of the Year and many SLIM DIGIs awards.

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