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Sri Lankan embassy in Bahrain organizes “Sri Lanka Fest” at Lulu Hypermarket

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The Embassy of Sri Lanka in the Kingdom of Bahrain, in coordination with Lulu Hypermarket, conducted a five-day Sri Lanka Produce and Food Mart, from 29th September to 03rd October 2021, titled “Sri Lanka Fest”, with a view to promote trade, tourism and culture of Sri Lanka, as well as to augment the image of the country, amongst the nationals of Bahrain and foreign expatriates, residing in the Kingdom. The mega event will showcase in all 08 Lulu Hypermarket Stores in Bahrain and expected to be attended by over 10,000 visitors and shoppers, including nationals of Sri Lanka domiciled in Bahrain.

Sri Lankan Ambassador to Bahrain Pradeepa Saram inaugurated the colourful event on 29.09.2021, along with Mr. Fahad Faisal, Senior Executive, International Relations at Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Lulu Group Director Juzer Rupawala. Lulu Group International is one of the largest retail chains in Asia and the largest in the Middle East region.

This year’s event had a number of new products and goods displayed and marketed such as kithul treacle, cinnamon, sea food including tuna, kingfish and prawns, pepper, authentic spices, various kinds of biscuits and confectionary products. Many diversities of healthy organic coconut products such as coconut cream, coconut milk and cold-pressed coconut oil were on the special deals section. A variety of tea and tea-based herbal infusions with turmeric, chamomile and other herbs from signature plantations around Sri Lanka, were also marketed.

Since tourism was one of the key objectives to be promoted, the national carrier “Sri Lankan Airlines” had its stall during Sri Lanka promotional event and offered an attractive tour packages and information brochures to prospective travellers.

Other attractions included the stalls put-up by Sri Lankan origin businessmen filled with confectionary items, spices, handicrafts, handloom and batik products. “Inter Coir Ltd Sri Lanka” had its stall filled with eco- friendly coir products and drew admiration of many eco-friendly shoppers. Ceylon Tea in different flavours such as Dilmah, Devon Tea, Akbar Brothers, and RENUTE Tea were also displayed, while Sri Lankan-run business house “The BookMART”, one of the popular bookstores, offered great promotional deals on bestsellers.

Another feature of the event was the colorful performance of an eleven-member “Thiranga Kala – Bahrain” all of which drew wide applause and appreciation from the audience. Large television screens displayed videos on touristic attractions and traits of Sri Lanka and the Chef from Bahrain based Sri Lankan Restaurant “Zaynah” demonstrated the preparation of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. Many of the foreign expatriates and Bahraini nationals were highly impressed of the Sri Lankan cuisine.

The Embassy facilitated Sri Lanka’s participation at “Sri Lankan Fest” as a way forward in revitalizing trade, tourism and cultural promotion in Bahrain.



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‘Dollar reserves in SL plummet drastically, putting the economy in jeopardy‘

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Key personnel at CNCI forum

By Steve A. Morrell

Sri Lanka’s dollar reserves have declined from $ 7.15 billion in 2019 to $ 2.8 billion currently. The President conceded economic failures although reasons for such failure were not explained, chairman, National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) Canisius Fernando said.

Fernando added recently at a forum: “Forex reserves are insufficient to expedite payment of import bills. More so that cost incurred on container traffic for imports and or exports was on a rising spiral. In comparison to cost of container shipping recorded at $ 2,800 earlier, it is now $ 12,000, indicating a rise in multiples of 250.

“Additionally, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP +) affecting our trade with EU countries, placed Sri Lanka’s reputation at a risk, meaning that countries could veer away from Sri Lanka prompted by a possible inability to honor our trade commitments. The clear example being trade with the US. Rather than await goods and services transactions with Sri Lanka, that could invariably take three months, US economists and their trade sector opted to transact trade with countries in close proximity to US shores.

“Dearth of container traffic and rising cost for on- loading and off- loading of cargo seriously affect trade imbalances. Consequently, the credit worthiness of the Sri Lankan economy is affected, which in turn seriously affects the GDP.

“Worker wages which were static because of trade shut- downs caused demands for increased wages. Wage demands of Rs 1,500 from employees became a major phenomenon in most sectors. The question at issue was the hypothetical position of business establishments of about 4000 employees demanding increased wages. This would cause closure of those companies resulting in unemployment.

“The proverbial domino effect of such repercussions would cause further chaos in the economy.

“There was no proper policy in most sectors. Suspension of the import of fertilizer and consequent confusion would, in the short run, result in famine and food shortages. Already this was evident in the public panic caused by having to stand in line to purchase essentials. That the crisis is upon us and the question of a quick solution is not feasible in the current context of the economy.

“Foreign investors are lured by the possibility of cheap labour in Sri Lanka to establish their businesses here, but in this instance too, this is only a hypothetical situation but not the reality.”

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Supuni Products gives back by way of welfare initiative, helps to uplift the needy patients with chronic illnesses

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Supuni Products first started in 2016 when the business proprietor, Supuni Lakmalie along with her husband only had Rs. 150 as investment. With that small amount, they purchased kollu (lentils) and kurakkan and ground them using a grindstone. This was the beginning for them and today, Supuni Products is a booming enterprise that specializes in ground spices and cereal, operating from the town of Nildandahinna, Walapane. Their products are of very high quality and 100% natural and consists of 15 different spice and cereal products including chilli, coriander, turmeric, pepper, curry powder, kurakkan, lentil (kollu) etc.

In 2018, Supuni Products received the opportunity to supply kurakkan flour and cereal to be included into the Poshana Malla, which is a nutrition package prepared for pregnant women, instigated by the government. The success of their business was such that they were able to gain an equity of over Rs. Four million during the past three years.

As part of a welfare initiative, they have also pledged to allocate one rupee for every kilogram of product sold, towards supporting patients with financial difficulties and require emergency surgery and for those with chronic diseases. While having had to run a business in the confines of their own home, the grant offering they received from the enterprise project allowed them to complete construction work of their new factory. She now hopes to expand the business, improve their supply chain, and create new employment opportunities.

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Dialog Enterprise offers Dell Technologies Cloud IaaS in Sri Lanka

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Dialog Enterprise, the corporate solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, is working with Dell Technologies Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) in Sri Lanka to offer Dell Technologies Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions to customers to innovate and scale rapidly, reduce costs and increase performance of business-critical infrastructure.

“Together, with our combined forces, we bring the only hybrid multi-cloud partnership in the country, giving access to private clouds as well as to our existing public cloud, and for on-premises infrastructure, robustly powered by Dell Technologies and VMWare. Envisioning a one-stop multiservice solution for all enterprise requirements, we strive continuously to keep to the changing landscape strengthening the cloud play in the arena,” said Navin Pieris, the Vice President – Enterprise Business and Large Enterprise Sales, Dialog Axiata PLC.

Rather than making capital investments in hardware, storage and servers to maintain them, enterprises can harness and scale IaaS resources when needed, paying only for infrastructure services they consume. Mitigating and allowing for any threat of data loss, the cloud partnership also offers cyber recovery as a service with a guaranteed uptime of 99.95%, end-to-end management of data centers and 24×7 support with zero operational burden on the customer. Ensuring the same standardization, self-service, automation and analytics capabilities that exist in the public cloud, the partnership facilitates secure private clouds for customers along with servers, storage and customized enterprise, private and/or public cloud solutions as required by enterprises.

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