World Bank reassures support for Sri Lanka to build back better from COVID-19
The World Bank’s Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Faris Hadad-Zervos, concluded a successful visit to Sri Lanka where he reiterated the World Bank’s commitment to support Sri Lanka’s efforts towards recovery and to build back better from the COVID-19 shock.
Based in Kathmandu, Nepal, this latest mission followed the Country Director’s introductory visit to Sri Lanka last November after assuming his new role in July 2020. Hadad-Zervos was joined by Chiyo Kanda, the Country Manager for Maldives and Sri Lanka, based in Colombo.
“Sri Lanka’s economy is on the road to recovery after the worst downturn on record last year. The World Bank stands ready to support the Sri Lankan government as it strives to protect its people from the pandemic, while addressing the vulnerabilities in the macro-fiscal environment,” said Faris. H. Hadad-Zervos, the World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. “Recovery and resilience in the post-COVID era can be accelerated by an export-oriented growth model that taps the full potential of private investments and that increases competitiveness and growth.”
The visit coincided with the launch of the Sri Lanka Development Update: Economic and Poverty Impact of COVID-19, which was released on April 9. The report provides an update on Sri Lanka’s economy and outlook, highlighting the devastating impact of the pandemic. Sri Lanka’s economy contracted by 3.6 percent in 2020, the worst growth performance on record, as is the case in many countries fighting the pandemic, but is expected to recover to 3.4 percent in 2021, mainly due to foreign investments as well as normalizing tourism and other economic activities.
During the visit, the World Bank management team met with key government officials, including Minister of Plantations Ramesh Pathirana, Minister of Water Supply Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Minister of Highways Johnston Fernando, State Minister of Money and Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal, chairman of the Special Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation Basil Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Treasury Ajith Attygalle, Secretary at the Ministry of Technology Jayantha de Silva, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga, and the Governor of the Central Bank Prof. W. D. Lakshman.
Meetings were also held with private sector representatives, development partners as well as thought leaders to better understand how the World Bank can add value to Sri Lanka’s inclusive growth and sustainable development story.
“The in-depth discussions we have had with government officials, private sector and development partners will help us focus on the priority areas – critical for building a greener and more resilient economy that benefits all Sri Lankans,” said Chiyo Kanda, World Bank Country Manager for Maldives and Sri Lanka “We explored many new, exciting avenues for collaboration including harnessing the power of digital technologies to provide more and better opportunities for all Sri Lankans.”
The visit also saw the signing of two important agreements between the World Bank and Sri Lankan Government. A $69.53 million credit will help improve dams and irrigation schemes covering 165,000 hectares of agricultural land and improve the management of watersheds and water resources, benefitting 356,000 farming families. Under a second $69.33 million loan, a modern transport terminal will be built in Kandy city that will integrate rail, bus, three-wheeler, and pedestrian traffic to make it safer and more efficient.
The World Bank responded to the COVID-19 outbreak in Sri Lanka by repurposing a large portion of its current portfolio to assist the government in reducing the pandemic’s effects. Supplying critical personal protective equipment (PPE), providing temporary cash assistance to vulnerable groups, strengthening COVID-19 security mechanisms on public transportation, promoting tele-education for students, and providing technologies to enhance public service delivery are some of the initiatives supported by the World Bank. Further support in managing the situation, especially through a speedy and efficient vaccination program, is also on the table.
The current World Bank portfolio in Sri Lanka consists of 19 ongoing projects, with a total commitment value of US$2.33 billion in a variety of sectors including transport, urban, agriculture, water, education and health. Link: https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2021/04/25/world-bank-reassures-support-for-srilanka
Once again, AIA ran for their lives – Proud sponsor for the 3rd consecutive year.
AIA Insurance was humbled to be a part of Run For Their Lives 2023, in raising funds for the Apeksha Cancer Hospital. The charity run aligns with AIA’s brand purpose of helping people live healthier, longer, better lives with focus on the prevention and management of Non-Communicable Diseases in Sri Lanka. The company will continue its commitment to fight NCDs and actively engage in creating awareness on leading NCDs in the country, AIA said in a news release.
“With AIA’s goal of making a positive impact on one billion lives by 2030, participants at RFTL were encouraged to make a pledge for a healthy habit that could help prevent illness and remain healthy in the long run. The participants also took part in a real-time survey that measured their unhealthy habits and recommended healthy lifestyle habits. Participants were also instantly rewarded for taking part in the wellness games and the free BMI sessions organised by one of AIA’s wellness partner Vida Medical Clinic,” it said.
Exterminators PLC records 48% in capital gains and dividend payout of Rs. 31.5 M one year after listing
Exterminators PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier pest tech and environmental enhancement technology company, celebrates one year on March 30th, 2023, upon its listing on the ‘Colombo Stock Exchange’. Founded with an initial investment of Rs. 75,000 way back in 1998, today’s market capitalization is over Rs. 470 million and the company also created history by becoming the first pest management company in South Asia and emerging and developing markets to be listed on the stock exchange. During the first nine months of the FY22-23, the revenue increased by 37%, the gross profit by 29%, the operating profit by 29%, the profit before tax by 63% and the net profit by 62%. The GP margin is 73%, the NP margin is 27% and the capital gain is 48% as of March 28, 2023. The company’s dividend payout in 2022 was LKR 31.5 million, which included a cash dividend of LKR 14 million and a scrip dividend amounting to LKR 17.4 million.
Marlon Ferreira, Managing Director of Exterminators PLC said: “We anticipate that the pest management and agricultural sectors will have significant growth in the mid- to long-term in Sri Lanka and the emerging developing markets. The company is expecting to reduce operational and administration costs due to the creation of synergies within divisions, which would have a positive impact on the bottom line and in turn create value for all stakeholders Operating from four locations in Colombo, Kandy, Malabe, and Dambulla, the company has set in place the necessary groundwork to expand to several key cities on the island and has plans to setup the global business expansion project in the first quarter of the financial year 23/24.
Fcode Labs wins two awards at e-Swabhimani
Flingo and CarromBot, two products by Fcode Labs (Pvt) Ltd, a leading software development and digital solutions company, were adjudged winners at the e-Swabhimani Awards, an initiative of the Information Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka aimed at recognizing excellence in digital applications. This gala event was held recently in Colombo for the 11th consecutive time. CarromBot, an AI-based robot that can play a carrom game on its own, was awarded as a Winner in the Digital Entertainment category. The robot identifies the correct piece to shoot, the power, and the angle to shoot.
Flingo, a mobile application where you can draw art and chat in real time with your friends and loved ones, won a Merit award at the ceremony. Flingo provides a sophisticated set of drawing features and a smooth user experience for the users. Fcode Labs (Pvt) Ltd is a company based in Sri Lanka and Singapore that focuses on Digital Transformation, Digital Product engineering, AI, and Blockchain services.
Founded in 2018, it now comprises 60-members that work on developing high-quality Software products. Further details of the company can be accessed on their website www.fcodelabs.com. This is not the first time that Fcode Labs has won e-Swabhimani awards. The company was awarded in 2018 and 2019 for their innovative products. Recently it was also recognized as the 35th best workplace to work in Asia (Small to medium category) by Great Place to Work.
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