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‘Sri Lanka@100’ platform launched to boost economic prosperity through growth of mid-sized firms

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Sri Lanka@100, a private sector-led initiative focused on the growth of mid-market enterprises – funded by the U.S. government’s international development agency, USAID, and administered by Stax – was launched yesterday at the Galle Face Hotel. Gracing the occasion were Alaina B. Teplitz, U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and Tharaka Balasuriya, State Minister of Regional Cooperation.

Stax Managing Director and Co-Founder of SL@100, Dr. Kumudu Gunasekara, in his welcome address, emphasized that the purpose of the initiative is to enable Sri Lanka to become a high-income country within 100 years of independence (by 2048) — with equitable and inclusive growth fueled by the value creation of mid-market firms. The platform will, in particular, support businesses in underserved segments.

Explaining the rationale behind setting up this platform, Dr. Gunasekara said, “While we may have been born in a developing country, we don’t have to continue to live in one. We are incredibly resilient as a people, as a nation. Our SME owners and entrepreneurs have weathered many storms to stay afloat. This platform is about helping them to now really powerfully steam ahead with ambitious growth plans, and about taking Sri Lanka’s development to the next level.”

Ambassador Teplitz echoed this commitment to economic development driven by the private sector. She noted that U.S. companies have invested over $300 million in Sri Lanka over the past several decades, and expressed hope that this platform would generate more opportunities for mutually beneficial trade and investments between the two countries. “You – the entrepreneurs, the business and government leaders expanding the impact and profitability of medium-sized businesses – are the engine that will power Sri Lanka’s prosperity, and the United States is investing in your drive and potential,” said ambassador Teplitz.

State Minister for Regional Cooperation, Tharaka Balasuriya, too expressed similar sentiments on the importance of supporting medium-scale businesses that have the power to recharge Sri Lanka’s economy. “Programmes such as Sri Lanka@100 help businesses fulfill their potential in an increasingly competitive environment, and will play a large part in the economy’s post-covid recovery,” he stated.

Sri Lanka@100 is now accepting applications from mid-sized firms that are seeking support for rapid growth. You can find the eligibility criteria, application process, and deadlines on the SL@100 website (www.srilanka100.lk) and via Facebook (srilanka.at.100) or LinkedIn (srilanka100) . If your organization is interested in joining the SL@100 ecosystem, you can find out more by calling +94-771-638-128, between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

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realme dares to leap into Sri Lankan youth market with cutting edge devices

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realme, the world’s fastest-growing smartphone brand, launched its products in Sri Lanka on the November 23. The virtual launch event took place with the participation of Chanux bro and realme Sri Lanka team where benchmark, trendsetting realme products were introduced to the Sri Lankan market.

The launch expands the reach of the fastest smartphone brand to reach 50 million product sales worldwide, to a brand new market with young users looking for the very best in technology and smart devices. Ranked among the Top 5 brands in over 13 markets globally in just two years of operation, realme is ranked seventh globally. Proclaiming it will ‘dare to leap’, realme identifies with young people who are willing to take a risk, and has launched four cutting edge products to the Sri Lanka market, set to exceed expectations.

realme 7 – sharper captures and cooler gaming with faster charges

realme 7 grabs the imagination of the youth with a 64MP Quad Camera with Sony IMX682 sensor for sharper captures, the World’s First MediaTek Helio G95 Gaming Processor for cool gaming and a 30W Dart Charge, taking just 26 mins to get 5000mAh battery 50% Charged. The sleek smartphone comes with a 6.5-inch 90Hz Ultra Smooth Display with a 16MP In-display Selfie Camera and Starry Mode.

The first smartphone to have passed TÜV Rheinland Smartphone Reliability, realme 7 is the first in segment smartphone with the Sony 64MP Quad Camera.

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President to inaugurate CCC Sri Lanka Economic Summit

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Sri Lanka’s foremost economic summit will be inaugurated by Chief Guest Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on December 1. The summit is themed “Roadmap for Take-off: Driving a People Centric Economic Revival”. The President will also deliver the inaugural address.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, will launch the second phase of the summit on December 2 and participate in the VVIP session focused on “Empowering Take-off: Efficient Government and Progressive State Enterprises.”

The Inaugural session on December 1, commencing at 8.30am will feature addresses by keynote speaker Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of the Republic of India and Guest of Honour Ajith Nivard Cabraal, State Minister of Money and Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms. Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya – chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce will deliver the welcome address.

The flagship summit will be held on a virtual format in compliance with health guidelines and will bring together key policymakers, business leaders as well as the input of top international thought leaders will come together to identify the steps in developing the pathway towards the accelerated and people centric revival of the country’s economy.

Participants may register for the entire two-day virtual summit, or pick the sessions of their choice, an opportunity offered for the first time. Registrations for the event are now open. For further information, please contact Niroshini on niroshini@chamber.lk or 0115588852; or Alikie on alikie@chamber.lk or 0115588805. (CCC)

 

 

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Central Bank’s policy rates decision to be driven by two options

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Central Bank will be reviewing its monetary policy stance on November 26. In this context, First Capital Research has put forward strong arguments both for and against an interest rate cut, in its Pre-Policy Analysis.

Making their argument against further relaxation in monetary policy First Capital said, “As a response to the measures taken by the government, private sector credit has improved to Rs. 87.4Bn in September while market liquidity reached Rs. 140 bn by 13th Nov indicating that there is surplus liquidity in the system. Moreover, the unemployment rate, which was at 5.7% in the 1Q2020 has declined to 5.4% in the second quarter. These indicators suggest that economic activity has remained steady without much deterioration in the 2Q. Except the GDP growth numbers, where the 2Q2020 figures are yet to be seen, other indicators are signifying a recovery, inquiring the need of further policy easing at the upcoming review”.

“In response to previous monetary easing measures implemented by CBSL, to bring down costs of borrowing of businesses and households, both market deposit and lending rates adjusted notably so far during the year. AWPR declined to historic lows in recent weeks, while banks’ lending rates also witnessed a downward adjustment in line with CBSL’s expectations. We believe that considering the recovery in the private credit and historic low levels in AWPR, there is no vital requirement for CBSL to provide a rate cut and to further bring down the market lending rates drastically”.

Their arguments for further relaxation in monetary policy was: “A thrust for development is the need of the current government. We estimate that Sri Lanka’s GDP would see its steepest contraction in history of -5.8% in 2020 following the unexpected contraction in 1Q GDP growth of -1.6% while 2Q GDP figures are yet to be seen. However, the government’s key drive is the development oriented economic growth which was spelt out through the budget 2021 as well. Accordingly, the government plans to reach 6% and above GDP growth during the next 5 years commencing from 2021. As we believe, a development-oriented budget coupled with further low interest rate environment can support the government’s medium-term goals. Therefore, the need to accelerate the GDP growth can be considered as a major factor favouring further policy easing at the upcoming review.”

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