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‘There is a business case for employer- supported childcare’

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Across the globe, there has been a renewed commitment to expand early years’ services for children under five years of age. Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) includes both education and childcare, and while they have traditionally occupied distinctly different spheres, there has been a growing trend to integrate the two to provide more efficient and effective ECCE services for families.

 In Sri Lanka, the government provides free access to compulsory primary and secondary education, but not to preschool education which is not mandatory. 70.8 percent of preschools and 78 percent of day care centers are privately operated and entail levy fees, thus reducing access and affordability for a sizeable segment of the population. Enrolment rates in primary and secondary education are high at 99 percent and 84 percent respectively. These rates were 56.6 percent in 2016 for preschool children between 3-5 years of age.

 Access to affordable childcare directly affects the country’s labor force. It is worth noting that despite the high educational attainment of Sri Lanka’s women, the country’s female labor force participation rate was just 34.5 percent in 2019. A 2018 study by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) found that having a child under five years of age reduced a Sri Lankan woman’s participation in the labor force by 7.4 percent as compared with a woman who did not have young children.

What’s more, as Sri Lanka’s population ages—it has the most rapidly aging population in South Asia—family structures and gender roles change. Reduced support from the extended family is likely to leave families less able to care for young children at home, increasing their demand for childcare. 

 The good news is that employer support for childcare is growing. However, it does not reach parents who work in the informal sector, which in 2019 accounted for 57.4 percent of all workers.

 Since 2000, successive governments have recognized the need to invest in early years services. The country has traditionally delivered these services through a multisectoral approach, with the involvement of several key ministries led, until August 2020, by the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and Social Services (MWCASS). In addition, provincial authorities also have the power to pass legislation for the management and supervision of preschools in their provinces.

 The involvement of multiple stakeholders and the lack of clarity in administrative structures has posed a major challenge for the ECCE sector. It has led to inadequate policy coherence, impacted resource allocation, and resulted in a duplication of functions. This has made it difficult to enforce uniform standards and regulations, particularly concerning the regulation of and coordination with the private sector.

 In January 2020, the Sri Lankan cabinet approved a national Policy on Preschool Education tabled by the Ministry of Education (MoE). Following the parliamentary elections in August 2020 and the reorganization of ministerial mandates, ECCE was brought under the purview of the MoE, and the MWCASS was named as the State Ministry of Women and Child Development, Preschool and Primary Education, School Infrastructure and Education Services (SMWCDPPESIES). Discussions surrounding the details of this reorganization are currently underway.

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NSB introduces special credit scheme for shrimp farming industry

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National Savings Bank (NSB), in collaboration with one of its fully owned subsidiary, Sri Lanka Savings Bank(SLSB), has planned to introduce a special loan scheme to offer credit facilities under a lower interest rate with a view to accelerating the development of shrimp farming industry in Sri Lanka.

Shrimp farming industry in Sri Lanka, which came into being around 30 years ago, could be identified as a higher value generating sector among the industries based on aquaculture in the country.

With the objective of achieving a sustainable development in shrimp farming industry in the country, Sri Lanka Aquaculture Development Alliance has been established 15 years back and the permanent members of this organization will be able to obtain loan facilities within a value range of Rs. one Million to Rs. 100 Million under this loan scheme.

This Alliance comprises of 18 farmers’ societies, breeding center societies, seafood societies and shrimp feed societies in Puttlam District, in which the shrimp farming industry is mainly centralized. The Alliance operates the shrimp farming industry, in coordination with the National Aquaculture Development Authority of Sri Lanka, the main state sponsored organization mandated for the task of development of the aquaculture and inland fisheries sector in Sri Lanka and other government institutions. Further, the membership of this alliance represents the entire shrimp farming industry of the country.

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Lanka Realty Investments acquires controlling shares of On’ally Holdings

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CSE turnover almost Rs 3.5 billion

By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

Lanka Realty Investments Plc has acquired 50.8 percent  of the issued capital of Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE)  listed On’ally Holdings Plc for Rs 1.42 billion.

With the transaction Renula Capital and Lanka Reality Investments share prices appreciated significantly yesterday, stock market analysts said.

On’ally Holdings Plc announced that Lanka Realty Investments Plc has acquired 50.8 percent  ( 47,244,050 shares) of the issued capital (93,003,087 shares) of the company with the purchase of shares made on 3rd December 2020 at a price of Rs.30.20 per share. 

Meanwhile, in a separate filing Renuka Capital Plc announced that it has sold and disposed of 40,754,820 Ordinary Shares (43.821 percent ) held by the Company in On’ally Holdings Plc to Lanka Realty Investments Plc at a value of Rs.30.20 per share on the CSE. Renuka Capital PLC is the second largest shareholder of On’ally Holdings Plc.

The turnover stood at Rs 3.44 billion with two crossings mainly; On’ally Holdings crossing which contributed 42 percent to the turnover and Access Engineering. On’ ally 47.2 million shares crossed for Rs 1.43 billion and its share price was Rs 32.20 and Access Engineering one million shares crossed for Rs 25 million and its share price was Rs 25.

With the transaction  Renuka Capital share price appreciated by  more than 50 percent or Rs 2.50 . Its share price startered trading at Rs 5 and at the end of the day it moved upto Rs 7.50. Lanka Reality share Price share price moved up by 13 percent or  Rs 4.60. It’s share price startered trading at Rs 34.40 and at the end of the day it moved up to Rs 39.

In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were JKH Rs 141.5 million (945,000 shares traded), Expolanka Rs 135.7 million (5.2 million shares traded), Melstacorp Rs 128 million (three million shares traded), Access Engineering Rs 123.3 million (4.9 million shares traded) and Renuka Capital Plc Rs 121.7 million  (18.5 million shares traded).

Amid those developments both indices moved upwards  i.e. All Share Price Index up by 17.26 points and S and P SL20 up by 8.81 points up. The share volume that transacted during the day was 22487.  According to stockbrokers that market sluggish and the latter part of the day  it picked up following the major crossing.

 

 

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SLT and Mobitel launch Green Premier League 2020

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SLT and Mobitel together began an exemplary green initiative project simultaneously with Sri Lankan Premier League (LPL) 2020 called “SLT – Mobitel Green Premier League” (GPL), as a sustainable environmental conservation project. According to the winning score of each team in every match of the LPL, SLT and Mobitel will take necessary actions to plant the equivalent number of plants as forest restoration at Rajawaka forest reserve in Kalthota, Balangoda. Thus, by the end of the LPL tournament, SLT and Mobitel will have taken the necessary actions to plant possibly around 4000 plants in the forest reserve and would have arranged a sustainable maintenance program with the Forest Department in accordance with UN sustainable developments goals. This would be a pioneer project within the context of any cricket premier league in the world!

From the 26th of November 2020 till the 16th of December 2020, SLT and Mobitel will be conducting this remarkable initiative aiming to increase the forest cover in Sri Lanka by planting these trees in 6 hectares in Rajawaka Forest reserve, which has identified as a rich biodiversity site and also the major water catchment area for the Samanalawewa reservoir. With an island-wide reach as the national telecommunications service provider, SLT hopes to inspire sports fans and the youth of the country to undertake their own steps towards environmental conservation and sustainability. SLT will continuously monitor this project in the next two years with the support of the Forest department to ensure the desired outcomes.

 

 

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