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The importance of protecting migrant workers



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.

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‘Govt. lacks mechanism to recover USD 40 billion spirited out of SL from 2008 to 2018’




By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The government doesn’t have any mechanism to recover the USD 40 billion that was siphoned out of the country illegally from 2008 to 2018 by Sri Lanka’s business elites, Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Peradeniya Dr. Kalpa Rajapaksha said.

“Most people think that the IMF loan is a victory for Sri Lanka without knowing its risk factors. These are exceptionally high because one of the main impacts would be for the banking sector whose liquidity is due to weaken on account of high tax impositions and certain economic reforms, Dr. Rajapaksha told The Island Financial Review.

Dr. Rajapaksha added: ‘The tax relief given during President Gotabaya Rajapaksha’s tenure triggered this issue, which cost government coffers more than Rs 450 billion. However, Sri Lanka has to carefully follow IMF recommendations taking its history into consideration. It is said that Greece and Ethiopia and several other countries absolutely failed by following IMF recommendations in the past.

‘We are in the dark as to the method of economic recovery because the government is attending to deeper, burning issues in the country, such as reduction of poverty and ending economic inequities.

‘The imposition of heavy taxes on people, especially professionals, via a wealth tax and a heritage tax by 2025 and the increasing of direct taxes, such as VAT, on low income classes, without taking into account the need for a wage hike, will iraise the poverty level and widen wealth inequalities.

‘Inflation at the global level is very high and strategies are required to increase exports and cut down the heavy import dependency of the economy. This is a prerequisite to address all economic woes.

‘The previous ruling party squandered and stole billions of dollars but the present government not having any plan to recover that money is a tragedy. Therefore, promoting neo- liberal principles is impossible under the current corruption scenario.

‘Further, the IMF has set the target of reducing the debt to GDP ratio to 0.7 per cent in 2023, along with their recommendations. Many people doubt the achievability of these aims.’

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Global banking sector instabilities affect local bourse



By Hiran H.Senewiratne

CSE trading got off to a positive start but later turned negative yesterday due to huge selling pressure. The reasons being investor worries over a domestic debt restructuring mechanism after having secured the IMF loan and the negative global scenario when it comes to the banking sector, market analysts said.

According to analysts, during the last week strategically important banks in the global economic system went through credit default swaps, especially Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and Credit Suisse Group AG. But another leading European Corporate Bank possibly facing a credit default swap, created some ripple effects for economies like Sri Lanka, analysts said.

The All- Share Price Index went down by 134.1 points and S and P SL20 declined by 51.6 points. Turnover stood at Rs 871 million with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in NDB, which crossed 1.2 million shares to the tune of Rs 51.6 million; its shares traded at Rs 43 and Aitken Spence 772,000 shares crossed for Rs 47.1 million, its shares traded at Rs 61.

In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, SLT Rs 82 million (717,000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 52.8 million (8.2 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 50.1 million (298,000 shares traded), Tokyo Cement (Non- Voting) Rs 36.5 million (388,000 shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 33.6 million (251,000 shares traded), ALC Cables Rs 33.3 million (406,000 shares traded) and Sunshine Holdings Rs 27.2 million (633,000 shares traded). During the day 45.4 million share volumes changed hands in 15000 transactions.

The market is generating revenue from SLT over news of it being divested; moreover, there has been interest for the hotel and tourism indexes, since tourist arrivals and earnings have been attractive, an analyst said.

It is said that Treasury bond yields opened steady on Monday, while the rupee opened weaker at spot market, dealers said.

A 01.07.2025 bond was quoted at 30.75/31.00 per cent on Monday, up from 30.90/31.20 per cent on Friday. A 15.09.2027 bond was quoted at 28.00/70 per cent, up from 28.00/50 per cent from Friday. The Sri Lanka rupee opened at 322/325 against the US dollar, weaker from 320/325 a day earlier.

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Holding ‘Raid Amazones’ for second consecutive year in SL, a rare honour for her – Head of Marketing Srilankan Airlines



Flying start to ‘Raid Amazones'

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

More than 250 female French athletes arrived in Sri Lanka for the challenging ‘Raid Amazones’ adventure event that took place last week in Kandy. They arrived in Sri Lanka for the second consecutive year, which was a big achievement for the country when it comes to the tourism sector, Head of Marketing SriLankan Airlines Saminda Perera said.

“For the first time in ‘Raid Amazones’ history they selected one country for two consecutive years, which could be considered a great honour for Sri Lanka. This would enable more French tourists to arrive in Sri Lanka in the future, Perera told the media recently during the event in Kandy. ‘Raid Amazones’ will hit the streets of the fabled hill capital, Kandy, with the participation of over 250 female athletes.

‘Raid Amazones’ is a well-known annual destination adventure event originating in France, which features female athletes competing their way through a range of challenges, such as, orienteering, mountain biking, canoeing, riding, running and archery.

“Sri Lanka was chosen over rival destinations by the event’s founders due to the unparalleled warmth of its people and support on the ground to pull off a successful event. Their decision is also due to SriLankan Airlines’ tireless marketing efforts to secure the popular trail on successive occasions for Sri Lanka in its hour of need for international tourism support, Perera said.

Saminda Perera

Tourism sources added: “During the 21st edition of the trail, the participants will be able to connect with a potpourri of natural and historical highlights as they trek through the Kandyan plateau in Central Sri Lanka.

“Their journey, though, would begin from the moment that they step onboard SriLankan Airlines to fly from Paris to Colombo, on an aircraft dedicated to ‘Raid Amazones 2023’.

“Named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kandy, the iconic setting of ‘Raid Amazones 2023’, is renowned for two of the most recognizable cultural symbols that define Sri Lanka.

“SriLankan Airlines partnered Raid Amazones in 2022 soon after recommencing operations to Paris.

“SriLankan Airlines, together with Connaissance de Ceylan, the official ground- handling partner of the event, will go all out to ensure that the French group experiences the best in Sri Lankan hospitality.

“This event will especially help create more awareness of Sri Lanka as an adventure travel hotspot among French travellers and the rest of Europe, where ‘Raid Amazones’ is sought-after and attracts adventure-seekers.”

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