Connect with us

Business

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation to Host an Online Dialogue on Tea

Published

on

Representing Ceylon Tea, Dilmah CEO to address on ideas and actions for the tea industry

Bringing to light the challenges faced by tea producers in India and Sri Lanka, the South Asia office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) has organised an Online Business Dialogue under the topic: RESTART ASIAN ECONOMIES: Ideas and Actions for the Tea Industry on 15th March 2021.

Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, second only to water. With such large-scale use, the production of tea is dominated by a few countries. South Asia as a region is fortunate to produce high quality tea. India, Sri Lanka are among the top 5 exporters of tea in the world. There are thousands of varieties of tea and scientists believe that drinking tea has health benefits attached to it. This perception has also been a factor giving rise to tea consumption in certain parts of the world. Clinical benefits that tea can enhance immunity which can help to fight diseases.

India has produced approx. 1.2 million tonnes of tea, Sri Lanka has produced approx. 300,000 tonnes of tea.

In the year 2020, India saw a decline of 18% in its tea exports. The primary reason behind India’s shortfall in the exports was the strict lockdown which led to skiffing off of overgrown leaves across tea estates. “It resulted in an average year-on-year crop loss of 10% which, in turn, affected exports of good quality tea by around 18%” according to Mr Atul Asthana, MD and CEO, Goodricke Group. This has resulted in India losing its market in countries like Iran, Russia and even Pakistan. Pakistan is the largest importer of tea, importing tea worth over 570 million US $. In 2020, Kenya has become the main exporter of tea to Pakistan.

In Sri Lanka, the tea exports showed a decline of approx. 16% in 2020 when comparing this with 2019 for the period Jan-Jun. However, exports to China increased in 2019, with the youth in China taking a liking for Sri Lankan black tea and this trend continued in 2020. Sri Lanka also introduced the online auctions to tea in 2020.

Distinguished resource persons from the tea industry will discuss solutions and ideas to RESTART their economies and their own personal experiences of how they addressed the challenges posed by COVID-19. This interaction will allow for exchange of ideas, challenges faced by the entrepreneurs and their solutions as well as the role of the government during these trying times.

Tea has become synonymous with South Asians and with abundant tea production, South Asia is both a producer and a consumer of tea. It produces high quality tea and exports its tea across the globe. Whereby countries like India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are among the top producers of tea in the world, tea production in Nepal has not been scaled up to realise its potential.

The programme will discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by entrepreneurs in the tea industry especially during COVID and solutions. What are the lessons learnt during COVID. The programme will also discuss future prospects of the tea industry in a changing global environment.

The panelists for the programme are eminent entrepreneurs, not just from the tea industy but also actively engaged in social enterprise. Rudra Chatterjee, from India, Rudra Chatterjee is the Managing Director of Luxmi Tea, founded in 1912, is one of the world’s finest producers of tea, making 30 million kg of tea from 25 estates in India and in Rwanda. Makaibari, acquired by Luxmi in 2013, produces some of the most famous teas in the world. Rudra is an adjunct faculty at IMI and is a guest faculty in IIM Calcutta. He writes op-ed columns for The Statesman and is a guest columnist for The Telegraph. He is a TEDx speaker and was awarded the young entrepreneur award by Chief Minister of West Bengal in 2018.

Rudra served as the President of Indian Chamber of Commerce (2018-19), and is currently serving as the Chairman-Eastern Region of FICCI.

Dilhan C. Fernando, the CEO of Dilmah Tea, is also the Director of the Dilmah School of Tea – the first international school of tea. Driving innovation in tea, Dilhan has taken tea beyond a cup with Dilmah in tea mixology and gastronomy; from pioneering tea inspired dining concepts to hosting global competitions such as, the “Tea Inspiration for the 21st Century” culinary competition, he has challenged Tea Aficionados from around the world to reimagine tea as an ingredient for morning, afternoon and evening. In addition, he also manages the humanitarian and environmental outcomes of Dilmah and is the Chairman of the United Nations Global Compact in Sri Lanka, a corporate sustainability initiative by the UN.

Dilhan currently chairs the Biodiversity Sri Lanka Platform which was pioneered by Dilmah Conservation together with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

 

 



Business

UNDP study shows need for wider public engagement of tax officials with taxpayers in Sri Lanka

Published

on

Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Finance and Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative, UNDP Sri Lanka at the launch of the research findings from the first ‘Taxpayer Perception Study’ in Sri Lanka

By Sanath Nanayakkare

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Inland Revenue Department, University of Moratuwa, and the National Innovation Agency of Sri Lanka co-convened the first-ever National Tax Dialogue to address contemporary issues surrounding taxation and fiscal policies in the island. The opening was attended by Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Finance and Ms. Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative, UNDP in Sri Lanka.

In light of the ongoing economic reforms and the need to bring in citizens’ perspectives, the National Dialogue drew attention to tax morale, social/fiscal contract, fairness in taxation, transparency and accountability of revenue institutions and digitalisation of public service delivery. The Dialogue launched research findings from the first ‘Taxpayer Perception Study’ in Sri Lanka, collaboratively conducted by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and UNDP in Sri Lanka. The nationally representative study revealed public perceptions on issues surrounding tax burden, evasion, trust in institutions, and experiences with revenue institutions which are particularly pertinent in the context of institutional reform.

By bringing together over 100 stakeholders representing diverse interests and perspectives including policymakers, legislators, bureaucrats, academia, professional bodies, private sector as well as civil society, the dialogue served as a platform for the exchange of opinions and sharing of insights across various awareness levels. The discussions led to a shared understanding of the importance of taxation for the achievement of SDGs and national development, and the need to enhance transparency and accountability in the use of tax revenue. The knowledge and insights generated through this dialogue will serve as a cornerstone for national policy-making institutions, providing valuable input for informed decision-making processes.

The event featured plenaries of global experts renowned for their exceptional expertise in the realm of taxation. Among them are Alex Cobham, Chief Executive of the Tax Justice Network; Lauren Kahn, Director of Strategy and Research, Public Digital UK; and Sudarshan Kasturirangan, Regional Programme Specialist for Asia Pacific for UNDP Tax for SDGs whose contributions enriched the discussions and provided invaluable perspectives on navigating the complexities of tax policies on a global scale.

Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Finance stated, “Taxation equips states with resources to progressively achieve SDGs. These revenues represent public resources that need to be deployed with a view to optimizing social returns. Considering this relationship, a national dialogue on taxation is a necessity and serves a constructive contribution to Sri Lanka’s democratic process.”

UNDP in Sri Lanka, Resident Representative, Ms. Azusa Kubota pointed out that “Sri Lanka’s economic crisis offers a historic opportunity to optimise the use of resources for SDG attainment. This entails concerted efforts to strengthen the linkages among planning, budgeting, monitoring and oversight and citizens’ engagement. Therefore, the National Tax Dialogue is timely to foster a whole-of-society understanding and commitment to improving tax morale for effective SDG attainment. The Dialogue assumes global significance, especially as the UN Secretary-General in February 2023 called for an ‘SDG Push’, a surge in investment of $500 billion annually in affordable long-term finance for developing countries.”

“One of the key recommendations stemming from the Tax Perception Survey is the need for wider public engagement of the tax officials with the taxpayers. UNDP is already supporting the Inland department (IRD) with such efforts in operationalizing solutions which are instrumental towards open and proactive communication and outreach,” she said.

Continue Reading

Business

National economy grew by 5.3 per cent in Q1 2024: CBSL report

Published

on

Industry activities such as steel manufacturing grew by 11.8 per cent in Q1 2024

The national economy grew by 5.3 per cent in Q1 2024, contributed by all three major economic activities, states the weekly Economic Indicators report of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). Accordingly, Agriculture, Industry and Services activities grew by 1.1 per cent, 11.8 per cent and 2.6 per cent, respectively.

During January – April 2024, tea production registered a year-on-year decrease driven by unfavourable weather conditions, particularly in March and early April 2024. Although rubber production remained low in January – April 2024 compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, production has gained pace since the latter part of 2023. Coconut production recorded a marginal year-on-year decline in January – April 2024 due to the lingering impact of adverse weather conditions that prevailed in the first half of 2023.

Index of Industrial Production (IIP) in April 2024 increased by 10.3 per cent to 88.3 compared to April 2023, mainly contributed by the increases reported in the manufacture of Food products (10.2 per cent), Rubber and Plastic Products (39.0 per cent), and Wearing Apparels (9.1 per cent).

Meanwhile, on the monetary sector, the weekly Average Weighted Prime Lending Rate (AWPR) for the week ending 14th June 2024 decreased by 13 bps to 9.15 per cent compared to the previous week, according to the CBSL report.

In the first quarter of 2024, the country’s year-on-year GDP growth rate was estimated at a positive 5.3%, a significant improvement from the negative growth rate of 10% recorded in the same quarter of 2023. This growth is reflected in the increase in GDP from Rs. 3,161,963 million in the first quarter of 2023 to Rs. 3,329,583 million in the first quarter of 2024. This reflects a significant turnaround in the economic performance after the contraction experienced in the previous year and has positively influenced the perception of the economy, boosting confidence in the country’s economic stability and growth prospects.

In relation to this State Minister Shehan Semasinghe said on X,” In the first quarter of 2024, the country’s year-on-year GDP growth rate was estimated at a positive 5.3%, a significant improvement from the negative growth rate of 10% recorded in the same quarter of 2023. This growth is reflected in the increase in GDP from Rs. 3,161,963 million in the first quarter of 2023 to Rs. 3,329,583 million in the first quarter of 2024. This reflects a significant turnaround in the economic performance after the contraction experienced in the previous year and has positively influenced the perception of the economy, boosting confidence in the country’s economic stability and growth prospects.”

Continue Reading

Business

Sri Lanka Insurance City Office branch relocated

Published

on

Chairman of Sri Lanka Insurance, Ronald C. Perera PC and Group Chief Executive Officer Chandana L. Aluthgama at the event

Sri Lanka Insurance Life (SLICLL) and Sri Lanka Insurance General (SLICGL) relocated its City Office Branch on the 12th of June 2024 to, 1st Floor, No 50, Hyde Park Corner, Colombo 02, to offer more convenient and efficient services to their customers.

The event was led by Chairman of Sri Lanka Insurance, Ronald C. Perera PC, Group Chief Executive Officer Chandana L. Aluthgama along with the senior management of SLICLL and SLICGL.

Representing Sri Lanka Insurance Life, Chief Business Officer Namalee A. Silva, Chief Officer – Life Dayarathna Perera, Acting Chief Financial Officer Sriyani Kulasinghe Weerasinghege, Deputy General Manager – Human Resource and Administration Rohitha Amarapala, Head of National Sales Jagath Welgama, Assistant General Manager – Life Chaminda Athauda, Assistant General Manager- Engineering Services Jeevantha Welihinda and Regional Manager – Western I – Upul Gamage. Also, Chief Financial Officer Malaka Bandara, Deputy General Manager- Support Services Chaminda Gunasinghe, Deputy General Manager/Head of Distribution – General Lalith De Silva, Acting Deputy General Manager – Underwriting – General Ms. Nadeera Gunawardene and Regional Manager Western I – Samantha Peiris were present representing Sri Lanka Insurance General.

Continue Reading

Trending