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Uber contributed LKR 81 billion to Sri Lanka’s economy in 2021: Report

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Uber’s 2021 Sri Lanka Economic Impact Report, compiled by Public First, a UK based policy research firm, was launched at an event in the national capital. The report highlights how Uber and Uber Eats have helped transform the on-demand economy for consumers, drivers and delivery-partners, and the wider community by generating LKR 81 billion for the Sri Lankan economy in 2021.

Uber’s Senior Director for Public Policy & Government Relations for the Asia Pacific region, Mike Orgill; Uber’s Director of Regional Operations for India and South Asia region, Shiva Shailendran, along with Uber Sri Lanka’s leadership team members, including Ms. Bhavna Dadlani Jayawardana, Country Manager, Uber Eats; and, Ms. Thanushika Sivanathan, Country Manager, Uber Rides graced the occasion.

Commenting on the report, Mike Orgill, Senior Director, Public Policy & Government Relations, APAC at Uber, said: “Uber has been an important engine of economic growth and opportunity in Sri Lanka since 2015, but we never knew the extent of our contribution. This research shows for the first time the impact on drivers and delivery partners, consumers and the economy as a whole. It reaffirms the importance of flexible work opportunities and spotlights how expanded mobility options and choice as part of the on-demand economy have created critical value for the Sri Lankan economy. It makes our resolve stronger than ever before to continue working for the community and deploying our technology and global expertise to contribute to Sri Lanka’s growth.”

The report takes a deeper look into the factors behind this economic contribution and the enhancement of safety and sustainability of the industry. It highlights how both Uber and Uber Eats have continually evolved to meet changing needs, used technology to save time, helped expand mobility options and choice, supported small businesses, and provided flexible earning opportunities for thousands of drivers and delivery-partners in Sri Lanka.

Key findings of the report include:

Uber’s contribution to the Sri Lankan economy

Uber and Uber Eats created an estimated LKR 81 billion in economic value for the Sri Lankan economy

Together, Uber (27 bn) and Uber Eats (25 bn) produced LKR 52 billion in consumer surplus in 2021, which is equivalent to 0.3% of the country’s GDP.

On-demand services boosted small business recovery

Uber Eats encouraged Sri Lankans to support local restaurants and merchants which they would otherwise not have had access to, leading to LKR 2.1 billion in additional revenue and a gross impact of LKR 51 billion for the Sri Lankan economy as a whole.

88% of Uber Eats users agree that food delivery apps made it easier to discover new restaurants.

74% of users have ordered from restaurants they had never tried before.

Drivers and delivery people value flexibility

In 2021, we estimate that drivers made an additional LKR 775 million a year in earnings through Uber, or an average of 27% more than their next best alternative.

Consumer behavior helped to drive innovation

Consumers are prioritizing convenience and reliability, with Uber estimated to save riders in Sri Lanka over 3.7 million hours a year leaving more time for family and friends.

On average, Uber riders saved 9 minutes per trip compared to the next best alternative, leaving more time for family and friends.

Uber and Uber Eats produced LKR 52 billion in consumer surplus* for Sri Lankans in 2021.

Uber’s trackable point-to-point transport solutions are helping to fill the inevitable gaps in public transport, with 1 in 7 trips taken with the Uber app connecting with public transport.

Safety is a top reason for choosing the platform with 96% of female riders saying that safety is an important factor in their choice to use the Uber app.

Having access to sustainable ride-sharing platforms encouraged users to not own a vehicle.

According to Sri Lankan riders, ridesharing is the most significant transport innovation they have experienced in the last decade.

* One of the most important measures of economic welfare – the amount you would pay someone to voluntarily give up a good or service. If a good has a zero-consumer surplus, that implies we can take or leave it – whereas goods with a high consumer surplus are playing an important role in our lives.



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Tea industry targets USD 1.2 bn export turnover in 2023

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Sri Lanka will earn around USD 1.2 billion from tea exports for 2023 exporting around 260 million Kg, said Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, (SLTB) Niraj de Mel, last week.

SLTB is forecasting a modest growth for 2023 in comparison to the current year estimating an increased production of 290 million Kgs with export revenues expected to increase to USD 1.4 billion. Due to the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, during the first half of the year and a shortage of tea, sales caught up and auction prices increased sharply from March 2022. Despite fuel shortages and logistic issues, the Regional Plantation Companies and smallholders have been able to continue the harvesting of green leaf throughout the year. When compared to 2020 and 2021 volumes, the Green Leaf price to smallholders has increased exponentially from July 2022 onwards.

“The tea smallholder who used to get around Rs. 90 per kg three years ago is now getting around Rs. 250 per kg and some estates have paid nearly Rs. 1,000 per kg. He said that though the glyphosate fertiliser ban is lifted planters should not use it heavily as a ‘global ban of glyphosate’ is imminent for the tea industry. Some countries like Taiwan already reject tea grown with the use of glyphosate.” He recalled that tea production reached an all time high with a record of 340 million Kgs in 2013. “After short increases during the period 2017 to 2019, tea production recorded a decrease in 2020, mainly due to the fallout from the pandemic and now we are taking several steps to increase production.”

The Tea board is offering a host of financial grants and loans to the tea growers, factories as well as for exporters. “These include subsidies for replanting, fertiliser for growers, special grants and loans for factories to upgrade their machinery and soft loans for exporters for packaging. These facilities exceed Rs. 4 billion per year.”

Tea Commissioner E. Edirisinghe said that they would also provide Rs. I million for tea factory expansion which comes as a grant. “In addition, we pay 3% of the capital when factories install solar,” he said.

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Harin urges for ‘breathing space’ to revive tourism

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Minister of Tourism and Lands Harin Fernando said on Saturday that persistent political agitations make his job of promoting Sri Lanka as a safe and convenient tourist destination extremely difficult.

“Now the country has restarted to function although not at a comfortable level to everyone. People undergo many economic difficulties due to high cost of living. These issues need to be addressed and resolved one by one. Creating troubles constantly in a highly political way won’t help the country to come out of the crisis. It will only prolong the crisis.

As Minister of Tourism, I have a hard time promoting tourism in Sri Lanka because it is no easy task to convince potential overseas visitors that the situation is back to normal. So, I appeal to these parties to allow at least six months for the country resuscitate whose breathing had stopped for some time,” he said.

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UTECH Technologies recognised at Sahasak Nimavum Innovation Awards

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UTECH Technologies (Pvt) Limited, Sri Lanka’s leading Industry 4.0 transformation solutions provider won the most prestigious innovation award, the DASIS award at the Sahasak Nimavum National Innovation Awards held recently. The DASIS Award is judged across all competing categories and only awarded to the innovation that shows novelty in technology and has been commercialized successfully. This award is judged by a learned panel of national and international judges including academia and industry experts. UTECH also won overall gold for best commercialized ICT innovation. UTECH has won many national and international awards, including the overall gold for “IoT technology of the year” at the Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) in 2021.

UTECH’s Managing Director, Riyad Ismail said, “Having many Sri Lankan industrial conglomerates as our clients, we have started exporting our hardware and software solutions to world markets.”

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