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Sri Lanka Tourism facilitates the country’s first cable car project to take off soon

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The last few years have seen a united and consolidated effort on all fronts, aimed at transforming Sri Lanka into a truly contemporary tourism destination. This includes positioning the island as a land of wonder and awe, overflowing with magical experiences, yet offering modern facilities and world-class amenities. There is also excellent work being done on the ground to ensure the right infrastructure is in place and the island’s countless delights are easily accessible to all visitors. This includes ease of access for the disabled and mobility challenged, as the island strives towards a more inclusive tourism industry.

The most recent project in this spirit is ‘The Cable Car Project’, an initiative by the Outdoor Engineering Lanka PVT Ltd, facilitated by the Investor Relations Unit (IRU) of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). The project which is a first for Sri Lanka will give the island its first cable car experience, which will span a distance of nearly 4 Kilometers. The Cable Car will connect Nanu Oya, a destination made famous due to its strategically located railway station, with Nuwara Eliya town. This, in turn, will provide an alternative and beautifully scenic route between the two locations.

The location chosen for the project takes advantage of the breathtaking scenery and allows visitors a bird’s eye view of the lush green landscape, rolling hills, numerous tea estates, and of course the montane forests of Nuwara Eliya. This new way of locomotion will reduce the direct impact of tourism on nature, while still allowing visitors to observe, interact and enjoy the surroundings with a minimal environmental impact. The project with an investment value that currently stands at EURO 55 Million (USD 62.15 Mn) will be implemented as a “build, own, operate and transfer” model and thus, this agreement allows the total capital investment to be transferred to the Government of Sri Lanka after a period of 30 years. The project is scheduled to be completed within just 18 months from the date of receiving all approvals. Outdoor Engineers AG of Switzerland and its local representative, Outdoor Engineering Lanka Pvt Ltd are exponents of the project. Outdoor Engineers AG brings over 30 years of experience in the ropeway industry and has been involved in over 30 cable car installations all over the globe, including the famous Sentosa Cable Car in Singapore. The cable car equipment will be supplied and installed by partner organization of Outdoor Engineers AG, Doppelmayr Seilbahnen GmbH of Austria, who is the current world leader in cable car manufacturing and installations, having constructed over 15,100 installations in 96 countries.  The Ropeway system used on the project, has a long history of use in the mountainous regions of Europe and has more recently found wide acceptance around the world. What sets them apart from most other forms of transportation is their ease of use, low environmental impact, and sustainable outlook. In fact, cable car systems are ideal for the tourism sector as they have minimal impact on the environment, help drastically reduce emissions, and leave behind no harmful emissions or residue. The project will be built according to the highest global safety standards, reliable, and easy to maintain with cost associated with operation and upkeep.

Speaking about this novel and exciting project, The Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism, Ms. Kimarli Fernando had this to say, “It gives everyone at Sri Lanka Tourism immense pride to be involved in this project, which is indicative of the progressive attitude we have adopted towards the future of the island and its tourism sector. The IRU division of the SLTDA together with the respective line agencies enabled a high level of competency and efficiency in keeping with international construction, safety, environmental, and quality standards. As a result of an effective and healthy collaboration of all line agencies involved, it allowed for complete compliance with all necessary regulatory frameworks, allowing for greater efficiency and transparency”

The design of the ‘The Cable Car Project’ ensures that it blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape so as to not distract from the natural setting. Care has also been taken to preserve the tree line, canopy, and other aspects of the wilderness during construction and implementation. It was shown that the implementation of the project would reduce harmful greenhouse emissions by approximately 180 metric tons per year. As a BOOT project (Build, Own, Operate, Transfer) the operation will create new industries, opportunities, and jobs in the region. This is essential, as Sri Lanka looks to lift the standard of living across the country while providing more new opportunities to rural communities. The project is also indicative of what can be achieved when the many facets of government work together towards a unified vision. Working closely with Sri Lanka Tourism the UDA signed an MoU with Outdoor Engineering Lanka Pvt. Ltd. on the 09th of December to allocate land for this project on a 30-year lease period and did an excellent job clearing the necessary land, while also establishing strict guidelines for its preservation and use. A collective effort of vital government agencies such as the CEA and Forest Department along with nearly 20 other line agencies were also indispensable to the project’s success.

The project is one of several which are underway, under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor’ policy initiative. This is a vital step in the right direction as Sri Lanka positions itself as an exclusive destination, for the high-value experiential traveler. The projects will also bolster the island’s reputation in the eyes of the world, showcasing it as a cosmopolitan destination that has just about everything a world traveler could desire.

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Business

Seven factors of concern at upcoming Monetary Policy Review

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is scheduled to announce its latest monetary policy review on 20th January 2022, with all eyes on dwindling foreign reserves and foreign currency exchange in the country.

In this context, First Capital Research has named 7 factors of concern that could be taken into account at the upcoming monetary policy review. They are as follows.

* Foreign Reserves USD 3.1 billion – Dec 2021

* Inflation CCPI 12.1% – Dec 2021

* GDP Growth -1.5% – 3Q2021

* Private Credit LKR 60.5 billion – Nov 2021

* 03M T-Bill rate 8.38% as at 12.01.22

Liquidity and CBSL Holdings LKR -364.0 billion and LKR 1.42 trillion

Balance of Trade (BOT) and Balance of Payment (BOP) USD -6.5 billion and USD -3.3 billion for Jan-Oct 21

First Capital Research’s Policy Rate Forecast – Jan 2022-Apr 2022 notes that they believe the CBSL may highly consider tightening the monetary policy rates in this policy review but given the concerns over economic growth, there is a probability of 40% for CBSL to maintain its policy stance at current levels.

“With high frequent indicators improving in line with expectations, we have eliminated any probability of a rate cut. We expect a continued increase in probability for a rate hike in order to prevent overheating of the economy amidst the given fiscal and monetary stimulus,” they said.

As per First Capital’s view, CBSL either can choose to hike policy rates by 50bps or 100bps or hold policy rates steady, while a rate cut is off the table due to the high debt repayment and the high domestic borrowing requirement.

First Capital believes that there is a 60% probability for a rate hike due to the remedial actions required in achieving external stability.

However, there is also a 40% probability to maintain the policy rates at its current level in order to further improve the high frequency indicators.30%, they noted.

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Sri Lanka’s dash brand enters international markets

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Multichemi International Ltd, which manufactures and distributes a wide range of products under dash, one of Sri Lanka’s leading detergent and household care brands, has begun exporting its products to several international markets in Asia and Oceania, with plans also to enter Africa. The dash brand includes a wide range of products in car care, household care, home fragrances and laundry care sectors. Multichemi International Ltd, which has been awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification, is a Sri Lankan pioneer in environment-friendly cleaning products, having launched the country’s first biodegradable, safe cleaning products over 28 years ago.

Amila Wijesinghe, General Manager of the Company said,”Having conquered the domestic market, we are now ready to capture the international market. We are confident that our products which are of high quality will receive a good demand overseas as well. The feedback we have received so far from our overseas customers is extremely encouraging. We are dedicated to taking our products to the international market, to bring in foreign currency to the country and help uplift the economy”,

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Janaka Abeysinghe appointed SLT CEO

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Sri Lanka Telecom PLC has announced the appointment of Janaka Abeysinghe as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from February 1, 2022.

The incumbent CEO Kiththi Perera will be overseas on leave for a period of two years to pursue higher studies, according to a stock market filing by the company.

Abeysinghe joined SLT in 1991. In his present role, he leads the enterprise and wholesale business of SLT that provides integrated voice and data solutions to enterprises, government institutions, domestic telco operators and global wholesale carriers.

In his career at SLT spanning 29 years, he has held a number of senior positions, including general manager Enterprise and International Sales and has extensive experience in the areas of Enterprise Digital Services, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Data Communications, Business Development, Domestic and International Switching Operations and Global Wholesale Voice & Data Business.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Kansas, USA and a BSc degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering with a First Class Honours from the University of Moratuwa.

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