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‘Wide-ranging investment opportunities at Port City Colombo’

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Dignitaries at the London event

Many opportunities are available to a broad spectrum of investors as Port City Colombo comes into fruition, given the strategic location, business friendly policies and the outstanding infrastructure that is under development, Sir Hugo Swire, Deputy Chairman, Commonwealth Enterprise Investment Council (CWEIC) said.

A press release said in this connection: ‘An investor event showcasing the Port City Colombo Special Economic Zone was held at the High Commission of Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom on 26th April 2022. It was organized by the Project Company, CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd in association with the High Commission and the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), in which the Project Company is a Strategic Partner.

‘High Commissioner Saroja Sirisena pointed out that Sri Lanka has maintained long-standing strong linkages with the United Kingdom particularly in areas such as education; welcoming a diverse group of participants comprising corporate leaders, high net worth individuals, and private equity investors. Sir Hugo Swire, Deputy Chair of the CWEIC, highlighted that the Port City offers many prospects for Sri Lanka to significantly benefit from trade and internationalisation, aiding an early recovery from the prevailing economic circumstances in Sri Lanka.

‘The purpose of the event was to create awareness of the Multi-services Special Economic Zone established by the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act No. 11 of 2021 in May 2021. Thulci Aluwihare, Assistant Managing Director of CHEC Port City Colombo, in his presentation highlighted the numerous business-friendly provisions in the legislation that augments the ease of doing business in Sri Lanka. While inviting investment to Port City, Aluwihare also elaborated on the opportunity for Port City to collaborate with the Board of Investment (BOI) in an effort to revive the Sri Lankan economy by attracting Foreign Direct Investments to the manufacturing and services sectors.

‘Aluwihare emphasized the need to reinforce Sri Lanka’s commitments towards investor protection in this difficult economic situation and highlighted the relevant legal provisions affording investor protection as per the newly enacted Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act. He emphasized the need for Port City to be economically ring-fenced to insulate businesses and investors from macro-economic challenges of the domestic economy. It is important to instill Investor confidence and regulations are currently being drafted by the Colombo Port City Economic Commission to assert this position, he said.

‘Dr. Harsha Alles, Chairman of the Gateway Group, who has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Colombo Port City Economic Commission and CHEC Port City Colombo to facilitate the development of a state-of-the-art international school in Colombo, shed light on the rigorous process followed in this regard, assisted by Oxygy – education advisors in the UK. He indicated that while many esteemed schools in the UK have expressed interest in setting up Port City, the objective of the investor consortium is to select the institution that offers the most holistic student experience. He invited the participating investor community to join the investment consortium pioneering the entry of a renowned UK-based education brand’s entry into South Asia.

‘As a landmark development project in Sri Lanka, Port City Colombo will continue to invite investment from across the world to augment the economic recovery of Sri Lanka. CHEC Port City Colombo will embark on a series of investor events across the region over the coming months to highlight the investment opportunities on offer.’



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Manudam Mehewara Initiative by Dialog, MAS, Hemas & CBL reach 10,000 families, invites all corporates to Join its countrywide emergency relief mission

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Emergency relief is currently being distributed across all 25 districts

In a mission to provide emergency relief to the most vulnerable communities across the country amidst the ongoing economic crisis, the ‘Manudam Mehewara’ initiative reached its first milestone of aiding over 10,000 families in-need.

 Joining hands with like-minded partners including its execution partner Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement and independent auditor PwC Sri Lanka, Manudam Mehewara was initiated by Dialog Axiata PLC, MAS Holdings, Hemas Holdings PLC, and CBL Group with the end goal of providing emergency support to over 200,000 vulnerable families and communities across the country that do not have access to essential supplies and basic necessities. ITN, Siyatha, Swarnawahini, TV Derana and Vasantham are also supporting the initiative as media partners.

Emergency relief is currently being distributed across all 25 districts, and the Manudam Mehewara programme will conduct its relief efforts until a sustainable benefit transfer system is established through an effective recovery plan. Manudam Mehewara invites all corporates to join our shared mission to support over 200,000 vulnerable families across Sri Lanka.

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Ninewells Hospital raises awareness on thyroid disease in newborns to commemorate World Thyroid Day 2022

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Ninewells Hospital, Sri Lanka’s leading woman and childcare hospital in the private sector, commemorates World Thyroid Day on 25th May by emphasising the significance of early detection and treatment of Congenital Hypothyroidism among newborns in Sri Lanka.

Congenital hypothyroidism (CHT) is a condition affecting infants from birth, and refers to an absent thyroid gland or a thyroid gland that is present but is unable to produce adequate thyroid hormones. On average, 1 in 4,000 babies are born with a severe form of CHT in Sri Lanka, while milder forms can be seen more commonly. If left untreated, the condition can affect brain development as well as normal growth in children and adolescents. Conversely, if detected and treated early, the damaging effects of CHT can be reversed and prevented completely.

“As Sri Lanka’s leading private sector childcare health service provider, we want to draw attention to the serious implications of Congenital Hypothyroidism on World Thyroid Day this year. Congenital Hypothyroidism is a condition which has a detrimental impact on postnatal development. For this reason, early detection and treatment is vital and should ideally begin within the first two weeks after birth,” said Dr. Vibash Wijeratne, Chief Operations Officer and Director, Ninewells Hospital.

In 2021 Ninewells Hospital unveiled a Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) testing facility to support Sri Lanka’s national program for screening newborns for CHT and the country’s vision for a healthier population. Since then, the hospital has carried out over 8,000 tests in 2021 and over 2,000 tests between January and May of 2022.

With the unveiling, Ninewells Hospital became the first in the private sector to introduce a TSH screening machine and became one of the only two hospitals in the country to offer this screening service.

“The screening for CHT is a simple process that is performed using a heel prick test. At Ninewells, the test report following the screening is issued within a short span of three days which is unprecedented in the country. This allows healthcare providers to begin immediate treatment to avoid development impediments in newborns and infants,” Dr. Wijeratne also said.

Ninewells Hospital is Sri Lanka’s premier women’s and children’s hospital in the private sector, providing a variety of specialty services such as Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Paediatrics, and Fertility. The hospital, which is backed by the Access Group of Companies’ visionary leadership, continues to push boundaries and raise the bar for women’s and children’s healthcare in Sri Lanka.

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SL plunges into worst economic contraction in the wake of dramatic currency collapse – CBSL Governor

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Sri Lanka will witness the worst economic contraction in its history, as it reels from a currency collapse of the rupee from 200 to 370 to the US dollar and interest rates contracted above 20 per cent, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe said.

“Sri Lanka is going through severe fuel shortages and power cuts after the credibility of a soft-peg was broken by mis-targeted interest rates in the course of targeting an output gap (printing money to boost growth) under the Keynesian ideology, Weerasinghe said while addressing the Press Club of the Sri Lanka Press Institute. The event was held at the Colombo Hilton on Monday.

Weerasinghe added: “At this juncture we cannot make normal imports for the next three to six months. Industries are saying there is no raw material. Only essential imports can be made on a priority basis in order to maintain day- to- day activities.

‘Sri Lanka’s economy contracted 3.6 per cent in 2020 amid the Coronavirus crisis and it also contracted 1.5 per cent in 2001, after a soft-peg crisis amid a civil war.

‘The latest failure of the unstable peg with the US dollar came after the Central Bank printed over two trillion rupees over two years to mis-target interest rates, leading to a steep collapse of the currency and a correction of the interest rates back to around 20 to 25 per cent.

‘The economic crisis has also spilled over into a political crisis and social unrest.

‘The rupee’s 2022 fall to 380 to the US dollar from 200 to the dollar is the worst currency crisis created by the soft-pegged Central Bank in its 72- year- old history.

‘The money printing Central Bank created its first economic crisis and output shock in 1953, bringing down growth to 0.7 per cent after triggering a now famous “hartal”.

‘An Exchange Control Act was also enacted in 1952 as the printed money from the newly set up Central Bank scrambled to go out, in a phenomenon that was repeated multiple times over the next 70 years and dragged the country into 16 IMF programs.

‘The unstable Central Bank was set up by a US money doctor in 1950 in the style of Argentina’s BCRA, abolishing a Currency Board that had kept the country stable through two World Wars and the Great Depression, where money printing above the external anchor was outlawed.

‘The worst recorded crises in the country include the 1948 uprising against the then colonial administration which took place after the British railway bubble burst, commodity prices fell and the then colonial government upped taxes. However, there is no information on the economic contraction that year.

‘Sri Lanka’s citizens burnt the houses and property of the elected ruling class on May 9, after the unstable peg collapsed in a botched float where interest rates were not allowed to go up before the float and a surrender rule pushed the rupee down.

‘Interest rates were allowed to go up after my appointment as CBSL Governor and the economy is now slowing and the headlong crash of the rupee peg has slowed.’

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