Sri Lanka pavilion inaugurated at Expo 2020 Dubai
The official opening of the Sri Lanka Pavilion was inaugurated at Expo 2020 Dubai on the 1st of October 2021. The opening ceremony featured a welcome procession with Magul Bera song and a Traditional Kandyan Dance performance which was enveloped by the Sri Lankan traditional dance costumes in its glory followed by Sri Lanka’s national anthem and lighting of the oil lamp.
The keynote address was delivered by the Consul General of Sri Lanka, Dubai & Northern Emirates, NalindaWijerathna. A simple yet graceful event marked the opening of the pavilion. The pavilion will be in operation for a period of 6 months where the key event for Sri Lanka being the designated national day on 3rd January 2022 which is to be graced by the Prime Minister, Sri Lankan Ambassador to UAE, Minister of Tourism, Chairperson Sri Lanka Tourism and other dignitaries.
Located in the “Opportunity” district, the 300-sqm pavilion brings the planning principles of the ancient civilization to life, focusing onisland’s three key pillars Authenticity, Compactness and Diversity. The pavilion with its water-based theme was designed by a team from the University of Moratuwa and has been recognized as one of the best designs at Expo 2020 Dubai resulting in the Sri Lankan pavilion being constructed on a complimentary basis by the Expo organisers.
At the pavilion, visitors will immerse in an experience inspired by water – emphasizing the value of adaptability and agility, the will to transform challenges into opportunities. Display screens at the pavilion spotlight unique facets of the island nation. The senses of the visitors will be engaged to gain information on Island’s rich culture and heritage, natural ecosystems and wildlife through these cinematic creations.
Visitors are also able to unravel the secret of the world famous Ceylon Tea, from leaf to cup, and enjoy a fresh cup of tea on their journey along the pavilionat the special tea corner courtesy of the Sri Lankan Tea Board. Theretail space facilitated by the Export Development Board will boast an array of Sri Lankan produce ranging from spices to beautiful Batik clothing.
Consul General of Sri Lanka, Dubai & Northern Emirates, Nalinda Wijerathnasaid: “We are excited to announce the opening of the amazing and imaginative Sri Lanka pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Sri Lanka has a rich and unique maritime history with shipping, trade and cultural links. Inspired by an aquatic theme, the pavilion creates a warm and welcoming space for all visitors and highlight its potential as one of the most delightful destinations in the world to visit. We invite the world to visit us at Expo 2020 Dubai”
Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson and Commissioner General for Expo for Sri Lanka, Kimarli Fernando said: “Post Covid travelers are looking for tranquility, peace, serenity and healing and Sri Lanka is uniquely positioned with an amazing offering. A walk in our mountains, a dip in our nature’s ponds, a glimpse through our history and culture will create a lasting memory. We invite the world to come indulge in our world class hospitality and nature’s luxury for an amazing getaway that is unique, authentic and So Sri Lanka”.
The Sri Lanka pavilion will host a range of exciting events including a fashion show featuring traditional batik designs, a wedding show branding Sri Lanka as a prime wedding and honeymoon destination, a cultural dance show, a drum festival illustrating Sri Lanka’s rich cultural legacy though dance and music plus a children’s storytelling session featuring work by renowned children’s books author Late Sybil Wettasinghe, representing Sri Lanka’s rich literary heritage. On opportunity to win free air tickets on a weekly basis offered through Sri Lankan Airlines at the Sri Lanka Pavilion.
Furthermore, global viral sensation ‘Yohani’ with her ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ song is expected to perform at the National day of Sri Lanka scheduled for 3rd January 2022.
Minister of Tourism, Prasanna Ranatunga said “Sri Lanka Tourism is honoured to present Sri Lanka at Expo 2020 Dubai as a united front with other Sri Lankan entities such as EDB, Tea Board, Gem and Jewelery authority, Laksala, Sri Lankan Airlines, BOI to name a few. We had many constraints, time, budget and pandemic. Nevertheless we made it at Expo. We will promote, showcase Sri Lanka and facilitate partnerships for opportunity creation. We will do our best to position and champion Sri Lanka at Expo 2020 Dubai”.
Declared as the growth decade from 2021 to 2030 for Sri Lanka seeks a world of opportunities in investments. With the creation of the ‘One-Stop-Unit’ and ‘Single application’ system for Tourism investments and the support extended with zero VAT, Tax holidays, exemptions and other facilitations a boom in the tourism investments are expected and world invited to be a part. Also the Sri Lankan delegation is represented by BOI (Board of Investment in Sri Lanka) and Post City which will showcase many of lucrative and high potential opportunities of investment on offer for the investors.
Speaking about Sri Lanka’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai, Sri Lankan Ambassador to UAE, Ambassador, Malraj De Silva said,”Sri Lanka is proud to be part of Expo 2020 Dubai. We have united best of Sri Lanka at the Expo Pavilion and we have three messages for the world. First being our investment opportunities in Tourism, Port City and other areas, second being our World Class Tea, Gems and Spices. Third is Tourism, inviting the world to visit us and to enjoy a world class offering. See you all at the Sri Lankan Pavilion”.
‘Dollar reserves in SL plummet drastically, putting the economy in jeopardy‘
By Steve A. Morrell
Sri Lanka’s dollar reserves have declined from $ 7.15 billion in 2019 to $ 2.8 billion currently. The President conceded economic failures although reasons for such failure were not explained, chairman, National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) Canisius Fernando said.
Fernando added recently at a forum: “Forex reserves are insufficient to expedite payment of import bills. More so that cost incurred on container traffic for imports and or exports was on a rising spiral. In comparison to cost of container shipping recorded at $ 2,800 earlier, it is now $ 12,000, indicating a rise in multiples of 250.
“Additionally, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP +) affecting our trade with EU countries, placed Sri Lanka’s reputation at a risk, meaning that countries could veer away from Sri Lanka prompted by a possible inability to honor our trade commitments. The clear example being trade with the US. Rather than await goods and services transactions with Sri Lanka, that could invariably take three months, US economists and their trade sector opted to transact trade with countries in close proximity to US shores.
“Dearth of container traffic and rising cost for on- loading and off- loading of cargo seriously affect trade imbalances. Consequently, the credit worthiness of the Sri Lankan economy is affected, which in turn seriously affects the GDP.
“Worker wages which were static because of trade shut- downs caused demands for increased wages. Wage demands of Rs 1,500 from employees became a major phenomenon in most sectors. The question at issue was the hypothetical position of business establishments of about 4000 employees demanding increased wages. This would cause closure of those companies resulting in unemployment.
“The proverbial domino effect of such repercussions would cause further chaos in the economy.
“There was no proper policy in most sectors. Suspension of the import of fertilizer and consequent confusion would, in the short run, result in famine and food shortages. Already this was evident in the public panic caused by having to stand in line to purchase essentials. That the crisis is upon us and the question of a quick solution is not feasible in the current context of the economy.
“Foreign investors are lured by the possibility of cheap labour in Sri Lanka to establish their businesses here, but in this instance too, this is only a hypothetical situation but not the reality.”
Supuni Products gives back by way of welfare initiative, helps to uplift the needy patients with chronic illnesses
Supuni Products first started in 2016 when the business proprietor, Supuni Lakmalie along with her husband only had Rs. 150 as investment. With that small amount, they purchased kollu (lentils) and kurakkan and ground them using a grindstone. This was the beginning for them and today, Supuni Products is a booming enterprise that specializes in ground spices and cereal, operating from the town of Nildandahinna, Walapane. Their products are of very high quality and 100% natural and consists of 15 different spice and cereal products including chilli, coriander, turmeric, pepper, curry powder, kurakkan, lentil (kollu) etc.
In 2018, Supuni Products received the opportunity to supply kurakkan flour and cereal to be included into the Poshana Malla, which is a nutrition package prepared for pregnant women, instigated by the government. The success of their business was such that they were able to gain an equity of over Rs. Four million during the past three years.
As part of a welfare initiative, they have also pledged to allocate one rupee for every kilogram of product sold, towards supporting patients with financial difficulties and require emergency surgery and for those with chronic diseases. While having had to run a business in the confines of their own home, the grant offering they received from the enterprise project allowed them to complete construction work of their new factory. She now hopes to expand the business, improve their supply chain, and create new employment opportunities.
Dialog Enterprise offers Dell Technologies Cloud IaaS in Sri Lanka
Dialog Enterprise, the corporate solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, is working with Dell Technologies Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) in Sri Lanka to offer Dell Technologies Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions to customers to innovate and scale rapidly, reduce costs and increase performance of business-critical infrastructure.
“Together, with our combined forces, we bring the only hybrid multi-cloud partnership in the country, giving access to private clouds as well as to our existing public cloud, and for on-premises infrastructure, robustly powered by Dell Technologies and VMWare. Envisioning a one-stop multiservice solution for all enterprise requirements, we strive continuously to keep to the changing landscape strengthening the cloud play in the arena,” said Navin Pieris, the Vice President – Enterprise Business and Large Enterprise Sales, Dialog Axiata PLC.
Rather than making capital investments in hardware, storage and servers to maintain them, enterprises can harness and scale IaaS resources when needed, paying only for infrastructure services they consume. Mitigating and allowing for any threat of data loss, the cloud partnership also offers cyber recovery as a service with a guaranteed uptime of 99.95%, end-to-end management of data centers and 24×7 support with zero operational burden on the customer. Ensuring the same standardization, self-service, automation and analytics capabilities that exist in the public cloud, the partnership facilitates secure private clouds for customers along with servers, storage and customized enterprise, private and/or public cloud solutions as required by enterprises.
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