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Sri Lanka’s foremost economic challenges



By Lynn Ockersz

From a macroeconomic perspective, an accelerated economic revival post-COVID-19 through an inclusive national development strategy, debt refinancing and strengthening public finance, are among the foremost economic challenges facing Sri Lanka at present. Going forward, there will be a strong focus on agriculture in ensuring food security, along with more attention being given to local manufacturing and industries, CEO, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Manjula de Silva said.

Answering a series of questions posed to him by ‘The Island Financial Review’ CEO Manjula de Silva said, among other things, that energizing the local SME sector was one of the CCC’s core areas of concern.

The questions and answers were as follows:

* What are the main challenges facing Sri Lanka at present?

Main challenges from a macroeconomic point of view will be accelerating economic revival post-Covid-19 through an inclusive national development strategy, debt refinancing and strengthening public finance.

There are structural reforms required to ensure growth in several key focus areas such as digitization, health, education, food security, energy sufficiency and public enterprises.

* In what principal directions do you see the local economy evolving?

There would be a greater focus on agriculture in driving food security. We will also see more attention given to local manufacturing and industries. We hope the focus would drive competitiveness in the industry so these sectors not only cater to the domestic demand but also reach foreign markets.

* How best could Sri Lanka’s export sector be revived?

The continuation of the National Export Strategy by the government is welcome as it was a joint public and private sector strategy to drive exports. It can now be enhanced to look at the Post-COVID-19 opportunities as well.

We also need to resolve some of the domestic barriers to export that limit competitiveness. Key initiatives like the establishment of a National Single Window and a new Customs Ordinance, which have both been in the pipeline should be prioritized. This will support both domestic and international trade.

* What are your proposals for energising the local SME sector in the short and medium terms?

This is a key area for the Chamber and in our Sri Lanka Economic Acceleration Framework launched last year, we had several specific proposals. Some of these proposals include streamlining the state institutions catering towards SMEs, improving access to Finance and Markets and scaling up SMEs.

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce recently established the Centre for SMEs creating a focal point for delivery of existing services the Chamber was providing to SMEs. The Chamber will continue to assist and guide SMEs through Capacity Building Initiatives, Business Advisory services and facilitating market and business linkages. We will continue to also work to resolve existing regulatory and compliance barriers faced by SMEs in both domestic and international markets.

* Any suggestions for further developing local entrepreneurship?

The Ceylon Chamber believes that promoting local entrepreneurship is key to accelerating economic development in a sustainable and inclusive manner. Hence, the Chamber will establish a Start Up Council soon under its umbrella to encourage and foster start-ups that have potential to turn into successful business ventures that will contribute to generation of both employment opportunities and export revenue.


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Newly developed Sathosa Motors Service Complex to service all vehicle brands



Sathosa Motors PLC and its new state-of-the-art vehicle service complex, is now serving not just Isuzu but also any brand of vehicle.

Pioneering automotive specialist, Sathosa Motors is the sole authorized agent for the world-renowned Isuzu brand, but the newly developed service complex will now undertake all kinds of services required for any brand of vehicle.

 The internationally trained specialists are ready to serve you at the Sathosa Motors Service Complex now on weekdays from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm and on Saturday from 8.00 am to 1.00 pm at No 25, Vauxhall Street, Colombo 02.

Sathosa Motors PLC guarantees its customers reliable and convenient service and will undertake vehicle inspections, periodic maintenance, body and under carriage washing, interior cleaning and beautification, engine tuning, error diagnosis, accident repairs, air condition repairs, and many more at a highly affordable rate.

In addition, genuine spare parts, as well as lubricants and industrial services are available at discounted prices at the Service Complex.

Sathosa Motors PLC aims to provide high quality services at all times and all services are carried out strictly under health guidelines due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Sathosa Motors announces that it has decided to keep all branches of the Sathosa Motors service network open to continue to serve its customers.


(Sathosa Motors)

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CSE trading bullish despite rupee hitting historic low against dollar



By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

CSE trading activities were bullish despite Sri Lanka’s rupee registering a historic slump against the US dollar   at 202/205 to the one month dollar in mid morning trade yesterday, after opening at around 200/203.The stock market moved up, though, anticipating March quarterly results to be exceptional. This is expected to be particularly true of the Hayleys Group and Expolanka. Accordingly, investors seem to be re-entering the market after January, stock market analysts said.

Further, approval of the US $ 500 million Chinese loan and the fact that the Port City Bill has been tabled in parliament have lifted investor sentiment in a significant direction of the stock market, market analysts said. Amid those developments, both indices moved upwards, especially the All Share Price Index went up by 1.22 percent. The All Share Price Index rose by 92.35 points and S and P SL20 went up by 19.21 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 4.72 billion with four crossings. 

Those crossings were reported in JKH, which crossed 922,000 shares to the tune of Rs. 137.8 million, its shares traded at Rs. 149.25, Commercial Bank 950,000 shares crossed for Rs. 82.7 million, its shares traded at Rs. 87, HNB 155,000 shares crossed for Rs. 26.5 million, its shares traded at Rs. 132 and Ceylon Cold Stores 33,500 shares crossed for Rs. 20.1 million, its shares fetching Rs. 600.

In the retail market, five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Browns Investments Rs. 793.6 million (123.1 million shares traded), LOLC Rs. 463.4 million (1.32 million shares traded), Royal Ceramic Rs. 442 million (1.2 million shares traded), Hayleys Rs. 442 million (five million shares traded), Dipped Products Rs. 372.3 million (6.2 million shares traded). During the day 197.3 million share volumes changed hands in 30480 transactions. 

The market was quite bullish from the beginning and LOLC Group companies led the market. It is said that LOLC contributed 25.5 points to the All Share Price Index. Browns Investments 9.8 points and Vallibel One contributed 8 points to the All Share Price Price Index while Commercial Leasing contributed six points.    

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‘Embark on that long-awaited getaway with Emirates and enjoy special fares’



Emirates is launching seasonal fares that enable aspiring globetrotters to plan exciting adventures around the world as well as for students preparing to travel overseas. With Emirates’ generous booking policies, customers have the option to lock in these special fares and extend ticket validity for up to three years, enjoying greater flexibility and confidence when planning travel during unprecedented times.

Travellers in Sri Lanka can look forward to flight deals on all routes in Emirates’ global network, with return fares starting at only Rs 68,700 in Economy Class or Rs 257,500 in Business Class. These special seasonal fares are available for bookings made from 13 to 26 April 2021, and are valid for travel between 16 April and 30 September 2021*.

Featured destinations and starting Economy Class fares include: US$ 342 (about Rs 68,700 at current exchange rates) to Dubai, US$ 654 (about Rs 131,300) to Milan, US$ 644 (about Rs 129,300) to Paris, US$ 1,117 (about Rs 224,200) to New York, US$ 1,303 (about Rs 261,500) to Toronto and US$ 966 (about Rs 193,900) to Nairobi.

Special Business Class fares start at US$ 1,283 (approximately Rs 257,500) to Dubai, from US$ 3,127 (about Rs 627,600) to Milan, US$ 2,860 (about Rs 574,000) to Paris, US$ 3,618 (about Rs 726,100) to New York, US$ 3,654 (about Rs 733,300) to Toronto and US$ 2,179 (about Rs 437,300) to Nairobi. All fares in Rupees are subject to the rate of exchange on the day of purchase.

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