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Sri Lanka urgently needs ‘National Consensus’ on deepening economic crisis, policy analysts and politicians say



From left: Dhananath Fernando COO Advocata Institute, Prof. Ranjith Bandara, MP SLPP, Dr.Suren Ragavan, MP SLPP/SLFP , Patali Champika Ranawaka, MP SJB, Dr. Harsha de Silva, MP SJB, Vijitha Herath, MP JVP and Sathya Karunarathna, Research Analyst - Advocata Institute.( Pix by Thushara Athapaththu)

The longer reforms are postponed, the worse the problem becomes which makes remedies even more difficult to implement

The only path out is for all parties, the government and the opposition to work together on a common minimum programme of reforms

The reforms are so difficult that no party will want to even contemplate let alone implement them fearing loss of popularity

Sri Lanka is already in one of the worst economic crises in its history

by Sanath Nanayakkare

We are no longer talking about a crisis that is about to engulf us. We are now in its midst, though not its depths. The hope that the 2022 Budget would give the right signals, has evaporated, Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, a leading policy analyst and an advisor of the Advocata Institute said, last week.

He made these comments at Advocata’s latest event , “A National Consensus for Economic Reforms or “ආර්ථිකයට ජාතික සම්මුතියක්?”.

Professor Samarajiva provided a breakdown of severe economic and social challenges facing the country. His keynote speech stressed on the importance of building a national consensus to implement immediate reforms to tackle a wide range of issues ranging from unsustainable debt to shortages of essential items in the country.

The present macroeconomic instability lies in the failure of the state to implement deep structural reforms to the economy for nearly twenty years. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed Sri Lanka’s fundamental weaknesses that have plagued the economy for a long period of time. The event brought together politicians representing the main political parties to discuss the importance of a united course of action, to drive Sri Lanka’s economy towards a path of growth.

Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, explained the seriousness of the crisis. “We cannot get out of the crisis without taking some bitter medicine. It is increasingly becoming clear that debt restructuring in the context of an IMF (International Monetary Fund) programme is essential. Unlike in previous IMF programmes, we cannot afford to abandon discipline at the earliest opportunity. Unless we own the reforms, we will keep falling back”. He said, stressing that what we need is a common minimum program of reform agreed by many. ” We need an attention-grabbing action that will credibly communicate the intentions of the national government. Divesting Sri Lankan Airlines on the same lines as Air India is a good candidate. The objective is to protect the taxpayers of this country from having to continually cover the losses of this technically bankrupt state-owned company”. He said, highlighting the importance of immediate measures to improve public finances. The national carrier Sri Lankan makes a daily loss of LKR 129.03 Million rupees. In the last four years of operation it has cost the economy 137 billion in the form of accumulated losses.

MP Vijitha Herath of the JJB, reflected on the need for a national consensus. He remarked that “the Sri Lankan economy is in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). We are right now using minor reforms to push back certain death. But we need surgery to help the patient”, highlighting the need for deep structural reforms. He further commented that there is space for all parties to come together and agree on such a programme of action for the benefit of the nation. However, he laid out conditions for this including the President shedding his executive powers for a collectively agreed upon period of time.

Prof. Ranjith Bandara, MP, SLPP commented that “We need to prioritise the issues we need to solve. We need to be policy consistent in the long term”. Highlighting another key aspect of policy reform to achieve long term stabilisation.

Trade reform is another area to boost productivity and achieve growth. Dr. Harsha De Silva elaborated on this aspect. “Import substitution mentality should be abandoned. We need to face and compete in the competitive international economy. We have been excluded from the global value chain because of our narrow mindset of import substitution and complete self sufficiency”.

Patali Champika Ranawakaa- MP, SJB, commented on the importance of energy sector reforms to address the present crisis. ” The power issue is the next crisis. If the rain dries out for 6 weeks then we are certainly headed to a big power crisis. Substitutes to generating electricity ( kerosene) are also scarce. This crisis could lead to a rift in society” highlighting the urgency of reforming the energy sector. Dr. Suren Ragavan- MP, SLPP, was of the opinion that ” We need national consensus which capitalises on the unique competencies and skills of the different communities” further emphasising on the need for national reconciliation to come out of the present economic crisis as one country shedding communal differences.

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DIMO CERTIFIED guarantees peace of mind for vehicle owners seeking a luxury upgrade



DIMO, one of the leading conglomerates in Sri Lanka, is providing customers who are planning to buy pre-owned luxury vehicles, with speedy, hassle-free, trusted service, through its pre-owned vehicle sales arm ‘DIMO CERTIFIED’.

With the re-launch of DIMO CERTIFIED in 2019, the company has expanded its range of pre-owned vehicles beyond Mercedes-Benz & Jeep models by also offering hand-picked and well-maintained Luxury European vehicle brands registered within the past 10 years, under one roof.

With its 80 year history, DIMO offers unparalleled trust and reliability of expertise in the automotive industry where all vehicles come with a minimum of One Year warranty against unlimited mileage. All vehicles handpicked by DIMO CERTIFIED are guaranteed to have genuine mileage with precise servicing and maintenance since the day of import to the country. Vehicles that are bought from DIMO CERTIFIED are assured of a high resale value due to the comprehensive checks done at the time of purchase for resale and thereafter being refurbished to a standard ‘as Good as New’. In the event the new buyer is selling the vehicle at some point in the future, DIMO CERTIFIED also offers a guaranteed buy back facility.

Customers can avail themselves to attractive Personal Contract Plans with lowest interest rates from some of Sri Lanka’s leading financial institutions where they can drive away in their new Luxury European vehicle by making only a 30% down payment. In the event the buyer decides to upgrade to another vehicle prior to the end of the leasing period, DIMO will also step in to settle the balance payment immediately and extend the opportunity to trade-in for another vehicle of their choice.

The highly-reliable DIMO 24-hour Roadside Assistance provides customers ‘peace of mind’ wherever they travel in their vehicle as expert help during a rare breakdown is only a phone call away.

General Manager – DIMO CERTIFIED Pre-Owned Vehicles of DIMO, Tharanga Gunawardena stated, “We have been able to successfully elevate the pre-owned business to a whole new level through our DIMO CERTIFIED service. We have enhanced our services by adding several attractive features to set the benchmark for the automobile industry. Those who want to realize their aspiration of owning a Mercedes-Benz, Jeep or any other Luxury European vehicle need not look elsewhere.”

All the vehicles available at DIMO CERTIFIED along with special offers are displayed on the website and provides a hassle-free way for prospective buyers to access all key details. Customers are assured of the best prices when purchasing their vehicle while special trade-in options are also available for regular customers. With highly-experienced technical professionals providing the best after-sales service, DIMO CERTIFIED customers can enjoy a hassle-free experience with their Luxury European vehicle. A dedicated WhatsApp number 0771449797 has been made available for customers to contact a Sales Consultant directly to enquire about any product or offer listed on the website.

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Women in Management, IFC and Government of Australia recognise inspiring women from Sri Lanka and Maldives



The ‘Top50’ Professional and Career Women Awards 2021 – hosted by Women in Management (WIM), in collaboration with Women in Work, a partnership between IFC and the government of Australia – recently honoured inspiring professional and career women in Sri Lanka and Maldives making a mark in their respective fields.

The 11th edition of the awards ceremony celebrated women representing a wide array of professions from industries including hospitality, banking and finance, logistics and supply chains, entrepreneurship, and media and law, among others, for excellence in either their chosen careers or for inspiring women in their community. The awards also lauded Sri Lankan corporates that have supported the growth and empowerment of women in the workplace.

Top awards were conferred to Dr. Maheshi Ramasamy (Inspirational Professional Woman of the Year), Prof. Nadira Karunaweera (Inspirational Woman of the Year), Aruni Goonetilleke (Trail Blazer), Randhula De Silva (Game Changer of the Year) and Dr. Vajira Chithrasena (Judges Award). The full list of awardees is listed below.

“The 2021 awards are a celebration of resilience, optimism, hard work and growth. As we step into a third year of a pandemic, this year’s winners remind us of the possibilities and opportunities that can exist in adversity,” said Dr. Sulochana Segera, Founder/Chairperson of Women in Management (WIM). “They also remind us of the extraordinary potential women in Sri Lanka and the Maldives are capable of, especially in challenging the status-quo for greater good. Women are often hesitant to take their spot in the limelight, but over the past decade, the Top50 Awards have created a platform helping them showcase their talents and achievements, and importantly to inspire others.”

With over 470 past award winners, the ‘Top50’ Professional and Career Women Awards aim to showcase the significant role women play as leaders, employees, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders in contributing to sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the country.

Marking IFC’s seventh consecutive year in co-hosting the event, Victor Antonypillai, Acting Country Manager for IFC Sri Lanka and Maldives said, that “To ensure a resilient recovery, the path should be gender inclusive – women should be at the heart of the path to recovery. We need to ‘build forward fairer’ for economies and societies to build back better.” Supported through the IFC-DFAT Women in Work program, this year’s Top50 Awards aims to showcase the resilient leadership Sri Lankan women have shown, amid a pandemic.

Also, speaking at the event, David Holly, Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives remarked that, “Over the years, the ‘Top50’ Awards have shown the power of women in business inspiring many others in leadership and in society more generally. The 2022 Awards are a tribute to the resilience of Sri Lankan women, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ‘Top 50’ Professional and Career Women Awards 2021 were powered by Dialog, along with Gold Sponsors Salota International and Singer. Silver sponsors for the awards included Lanka IOC, Unilever, Vision Care and Aitken Spence. Maliban and Sampath Bank were also sponsors of the event, and the gifting Partner for the award ceremony was New Vivya.

Speaking of the award winners, Nadija Tambiah, Head of Legal, Secretarial and Corporate Social Responsibility at John Keells Holdings and Chair of 2021 Judging Panel, said that the “quality of the women who were nominated or who applied this year was impressive. We were forced not only to look at the accomplishments of these women in their chosen vocations but also what impact they have had in the industry and what they have done for women in their organisations.”

This year’s Judging Panel—chaired by Nadija Tambiah—included Jayanthi Dharmasena, Managing Director of Hayleys Agriculture Holdings Ltd; Kishu Gomes, Group MD/CEO of Dreamron Group of Companies; Nisthar Cassim, Founding Editor and CEO of Daily FT; Rohantha Athukorala, CEO of Clootrack Sri Lanka/Maldives & Pakistan; Sandra De Zoysa, Group Chief Customer Officer at Dialog Axiata PLC; Sandya Salgado, Strategic Marketing Professional; Santosh Menon, CEO of KL.LK; Amanda Jewell, Acting Australian High Commissioner for Sri Lanka; and Sarah Twigg, Program Manager for Women in Work at IFC.

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Chrissworld engages CDS for registrar services



Central Depositary Systems (Pvt) Ltd (CDS), a fully owned subsidiary of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), has strengthened its client base for the provision of registrar services with the addition of Chrissworld PLC. The CDS will provide the listed company with a variety of services such as share ledger maintenance, virtual AGM’s and all types of corporate actions. The CDS plays a role in driving innovation and offering cost effective solutions with value additions.

Speaking at the development, the CEO of the CSE, Mr. Rajeeva Bandaranaike, said, “We welcome Chrissworld PLC to the CDS portfolio. The CDS is uniquely positioned to offer value added Registrar services to listed entities in Sri Lanka, and the CDS is very confident that Chrissworld PLC will fully benefit from the services provided .”

Chairman of Chrissworld PLC, Mr. Christopher Perera stated, “We are very pleased to sign this agreement with the CDS as the registrar. The process of working with the CDS has been a rewarding experience for Chrissworld PLC, and going forward, we are confident that there will be excellent co-operation between the two companies and that the CDS will efficiently manage all our affairs. “

Chrissworld PLC was founded in 2013 and provides third-party logistics services specializing in warehousing, inventory management, distribution, and transportation. The company was listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange on May 18th, 2021, the first ever company to be listed on the Empower Board.

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