Speeph by Piyankara Jayaratne, State Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Market Diversification,
Sri Lanka at the Abu Dhabi Dialogue Sixth Ministerial Consultation, 26th October 2021 in Dubai as Troika Chair.
Allow me to address you all in the opening session of the 6th Ministerial Consultation of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue. I’m talking here with great honour and pleasure in this pleasant morning as the Troika member in this hybrid meeting, in the first physical gathering in the post-covid new normal.
First of all, I would like to appreciate and congratulate the Government of United Arab Emirates, the current chair of ADD, for organizing this hybrid event for 6th ministerial consultation while we all are combating against the Global Pandemic of COVID-19. I am happy to be in person here and too see you all gathered here together for this important consultation.
As we are aware, Migration today, as it has always been, is a function of the search for greater opportunities. It is of course, related to the economic development through trade and labour migration while ensuring rights of the people and national and regional security.
On one way, labour migration provides an opportunity for the migrants to find fruitful employment and improve their socio-economic status. On the other hand, this allows growing nations to seek out the required expertise and talent from rest of the world. However, it poses risks such as those encountered during recruitment, in the workplace and throughout the migration process in the country of origin, transit and destination.
Development gains of labour migration depends upon the degree, to which migrant workers are protected and empowered, by the country of origin as well as the country of destination.
Therefore, migration today is a multi-dimensional process, countries of origin and destination has the potential for both benefits and challenges. In light of the COVID 19 pandemic, it has resulted in many socio-economic challenges for migrant workers. In order to address these challenges, we as Country of Origin and Country of Destination have to consult each other for the successful and sustainable solutions.
Sri Lankan Government was able to take several measures that contributed to the national Covid 19 response plan for migrant workers. I believe that all other countries have their own plans. However, I would like to highlight that ADD platform is an excellent opportunity for all of us to share our experiences, best practices especially in areas that are important for migrant workers. This would enable us, to have a good understanding as to which areas we need to improve and strengthen in the future.
We, as member states of ADD, have just completed twelve years in the journey since the inception in 2008 and therefore, I strongly believe that it is high time to review and evaluate our collaborative efforts how we act in the current pandemic period and in future. This will certainly help all member states to develop future plans of ADD more meaningfully. I know that ADD can Play a vital role in bringing together labour sending and receiving countries and fostering the dialogue and trust that is central to the governance of Migration. Further, I’d like to highlight the need for regional corporation to enhance the resilience of safe labour migration in future to meet global event like that of Covid-19 pandemic.
Further, Migrant workers face various challenges in accessing quality training and decent employment opportunities, and lack of information and exploitation of low-skilled workers. To reap the benefits of migration, countries thus need to ensure that migration is demand-oriented, while migrant workers’ rights are protected. The access to education and training with right information and employment opportunities would enable proper integration of workers with the labour market and society. Certification and Joint Recognition of skills is another important factor that we have to be discussed.
We are all aware, there are three pillars of effective governance guides that are initiated by the ADD.
1) Ensuring the protection of migrant workers;
2) empowering workers to fulfil their goals and aspirations; and
3) affording workers the opportunity to benefit equitably from the outcomes of temporary labour migration.
Under this, the four thematic areas were designed and outlined during the last Senior Officials Meeting with these principles in mind. Namely,
Anticipated changes in the employment landscape in the GCC and their impact on labour supply and demand in ADD corridors
Leveraging advanced technology to improve labour mobility governance
Pre deployment testing of workers in Asia GCC Corridors
Global Governance of Migration
At this juncture, as ADD member countries, I would like to request you to continue our efforts with collaborative actions, because, I believe that productive, safe and harmonious migration can only be achieved if there is wider and deeper inter-state co-operation among the sending and receiving countries. It is the key to a better functioning of International Labour Migration Process. It will provide us with more positive results through a voluntary and cooperative efforts based on shared recognition of the benefits while enhancing the resilience.
On behalf the Government of Sri Lanka and as a Troika Member, would like to express our sincere gratitude to Abu Dhabi Dialogue Secretariat for their trust that kept with Government of Sri Lanka to initiate consultations among Abu Dhabi Dialogue Member States of Labour Origin and to identify a consensus candidate to chair the next cycle of the ADD.
I am happy that we were be able achieve that task diplomatically. Thank you very much for Government of Nepal and Pakistan. I take this opportunity to congratulate Government of Pakistan as the upcoming chair of Abu Dhabi Dialogue for the next two years. In this juncture, I also would like to extend my thanks to Government of United Arab Emirates for the esteemed corporation given during their period of chairmanship despite the challenges brought by COVID 19 pandemic.
Finally, I request active participation of the member countries for this 6th Ministerial consultation and in future in order to strengthen the migration management, both in labour origin and destination countries through this excellent platform of ADD.
We will have a collective voice together for the betterment of Migrant workers and the Countries of Origin and Destination as a whole.
I hope and believe we would have a very productive consultation toward enhancing the resilience of safe labour migration.
Oil cartel leader warns of prolonged high prices
The price of oil will continue to stay elevated as demand for energy increases, says the secretary general of Opec+.
Opec+ is a group of 23 oil-exporting countries which decides how much crude oil to sell on the world market. “We see demand growing about 2.4 million barrels a day,” Haitham Al Ghais told the BBC.
Saudi Arabia said it would be cutting its production of crude oil by a million barrels a day to boost prices.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said the decision by Saudi Arabia and Russia – two major oil producers and members of Opec+ – to cut production could cause a “significant supply shortfall” by the end of this year.
Al Ghais said: “This is a voluntary decision taken by two sovereign nations, Saudi Arabia and Russia. This decision can be described as precautionary or pre-emptive because of uncertainties”.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, oil prices soared, hitting more than $120 a barrel in June last year. They fell back to a little above $70 a barrel in May this year, but have steadily risen since then as producers have tried to restrict output to support the market.
Brent crude, a benchmark for prices, breached $95 a barrel on Tuesday amid predictions of shorter supplies, with fears the price may breach $100 per barrel. The rise prompted a warning to drivers that fuel prices could rise in the coming 10 months, and stoked fears that inflation in key economies could be prolonged.
But Mr Al Ghais said Opec was more concerned about “under investment” in the oil sector. “Some have called for stopping investments in oil. We believe this is equally dangerous. It will lead to volatility in the future, possible supply shortages. And therefore we at Opec have always advocated for the importance of continuing to invest in the oil industry as we also invest in decarbonising the industry and move on to adding other forms of alternative energy such as renewables”.
Asked if he was concerned about rising oil prices affecting inflation around the world if it goes above $100 a barrel, Mr Al Ghais said it was “important not to look at things in a short-sighted manner”. “For next year we see demand continuing to grow north of 2 million barrels a day – of course, all subject to some of the uncertainties in the global market. Nevertheless, we still feel quite optimistic that global oil demand is going to be quite resilient this year”.
Mr Al Ghais said that the oil industry would need close to $14tn in investment to the year 2045. “Energy demand will grow by nearly 25% by the year 2045 compared to what it is today – and all forms of energy will be required”, he said.
His comments come ahead of a meeting of key oil players on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi for the International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC).
Leading US-based international trade finance services provider to set up in Sri Lanka
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
Leading US-based international trade finance services provider, iBEX Global, will officially set up in Sri Lanka soon.
Chairman and founder of iBEX Global, based in Atlanta, Georgia, Maverick Robinson who is currently in Sri Lanka, at a special event held recently at Galle Face Hotel, said that Sri Lanka is the third country after UAE to launch their operations.
“We have been following developments in Sri Lanka since August 2022 and have appointed Jayamal Hewage as our Managing Director, Robinson said.
Hewage is the Group Managing Director of Jayamal Holdings Group of Companies.
Robinson said that iBEX Global was set up four years ago by him in the US in the thick of the COVID pandemic at a time when companies were shutting down.
Robinson added: “We saw a huge vacuum for logistics and international trade finance services, mainly to import personal protective clothing (PPE), like masks from countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. At that time the supply chains and support services were completely in disarray but we quickly gathered a professional team, created and opened a new supply chain, helping to save and protect the lives of many.
“By doing this we proved that there is opportunity in crises and we see similarities in Sri Lanka and this is why we decided to open here. Our primary focus centers on providing international trade finance services tailored to each customer’s unique needs.
“We see that with better marketing networks, attractive packaging and product financing (of which we are experts) Sri Lanka’s exports could be increased by almost 20% in less than a year.”
Meanwhile, Jayamal Hewage said: “In Sri Lanka we intend to cater to medium, small and macro sized companies and those who come on board with us will be provided technical advice on product development, superior packaging and other technical advice, all free of charge.
“iBEX Global can even offer financing up to USD 10 million for companies to develop their product range.
“They would also be linked with new global markets that were not accessible to them.
“Our services also include Standby Letters of Credit, Bank Guarantees, RWA Documents, Documentary Letters Credit and many other similar services.”
Sri Lanka slips in Economic Freedom
Sri Lanka ranks 116 out of 165 jurisdictions included in the Economic Freedom of the World: 2023 Annual Report, released by Advocata Institute in conjunction with Canada’s Fraser Institute. The current ranking represents a decline in the economic freedom of the country which ranked 104th during 2020.
The report measures the economic freedom of individuals—their ability to make their own economic decisions—by analyzing the policies and institutions of 165 jurisdictions. The policies examined include regulation, freedom to trade internationally, size of government, legal system and property rights, and sound monetary policy. The 2023 report is based on data from 2021, the last year with available comparable statistics across jurisdictions.
Sri Lanka’s decline in score was driven by 4 out of the 5 sub indicators of economic freedom registering declines in their respective individual scores. These indicators are the size of government, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and the regulation of credit, labour, and business. The only indicators that registered an improvement in its score is the indicator of legal system and property rights.
“The report captured a stark warning: Sri Lanka’s economic freedom declined prior to the economic crisis of 2022, a testament to the vulnerability of nations with limited economic freedom in the face of economic turmoil. If the country is to recover, Sri Lanka must prioritize economic growth within the framework of maximising economic freedom for its citizens to trade, work, and transact freely in a stable monetary and fiscal environment” said Dhananath Fernando, Chief Executive Officer at the Advocata Institute.
The number one spot is now occupied by Singapore, followed by Hong Kong, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United States, Ireland, Denmark, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Other notable countries include Japan (20th), Germany (23th), France (47th) and Russia (104th).
Venezuela once again ranks last. Some countries such as North Korea and Cuba can’t be ranked due to lack of data.
The Fraser Institute produces the annual Economic Freedom of the World report in cooperation with the Economic Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes in nearly 100 countries and territories. It’s the world’s premier measure of economic freedom.
The report was prepared by Professor James Gwartney of Florida State University and Professors Robert A. Lawson and Ryan Murphy of Southern Methodist University.
According to research in top peer-reviewed academic journals, people living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties, and longer lives.
For example, countries in the top quartile of economic freedom had an average per-capita GDP of US$48,569, compared to US$6,324 for bottom quartile countries. Poverty rates are lower. In the top quartile, less than one per cent of the population experienced extreme poverty (US$1.90 a day) compared to 32 per cent in the lowest quartile. Finally, life expectancy is 81.1 years in the top quartile of countries compared to 65 years in the bottom quartile.
“Where people are free to pursue their own opportunities and make their own choices, they lead more prosperous, happier and healthier lives,” Fred McMahon, Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom with the Fraser Institute said.
See the full report at www.fraserinstitute.org/economic-freedom.
Cabinet nod for new Commercial High Court
219.72 Hectares of land in Siyambalanduwa to be acquired and leased to Sustainable Energy Authority
Chemicals to be regulated to prevent misuse
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