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Supporting Sri Lanka

Banks bombarded with loan applications

Sri Lankan banks have received thousands of applications for loan moratoriums and refinancing facilities declared by the Central Bank (CB) on March 25. A top commercial banker noted that so far they have received about 45,000 applications for the moratorium on existing outstanding loans and the refinancing facility targeting a working capital loan at the [...]

Govt. considers extending tax break for tourism

The government is to consider extending the free visas policy in future and removal of taxes for the tourism industry as it has been severely hit by a lack of tourist arrivals following the COVID-19 outbreak. During a meeting held with officials of the state tourism, airport and civil aviation agencies and Industrial Exports and [...]

Sri Lanka’s fiscal outlook bleaker than ever

With the impact of COVID-19, Sri Lanka’s fiscal outlook is bleaker than ever, making it extremely tough for the Treasury to meet public expenses and maintain cash-flows with limited cash balance from total allocations made in the revised Vote on account that was sanctioned by the President on March 6. In a bid to save [...]

CRIB seeks details of debt moratorium holders

The Credit Information Bureau (CRIB) has requested all banks to send details of those who have obtained the moratorium that was declared by the Central Bank (CB) in March. In the light of the present crisis stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic a one- to six-month debt moratorium, depending on the type of credit line (capital [...]

Sri Lanka Tourism working out recovery plans

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), currently drafting a plan on recovery, is looking at assisting the industry to make a comeback in about a year’s time. At the board meeting held on Tuesday it had been discussed that some of the issues related to staff in the industry need to be addressed as [...]

Vestiges of the 1970s?

Vestiges of the 1970s?

Sounds familiar? The list of items banned from being imported is like going back to the 1970s when people were starved of foreign goods like wheat flour, shirts, dresses, etc, during a period when people queued for food which was in short supply. While for the adults it was serious stuff with rice also being [...]

Facing the ‘tsunami’

Facing the ‘tsunami’

Someone raised a timely valid point in a recent discussion: The US and Europe – the richest regions on the planet, became the epicentres of COVID-19 issue, because these countries were reluctant to adopt a strict lockdown strategy. China, on the other hand, adopted a strict lockdown strategy and, managed to keep the issue more [...]

Guidelines for preparations in the workplace for COVID-19 prevention

Guidelines for preparations in the workplace for COVID-19 prevention

A webinar was recently organized by the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) for members of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka aimed at helping workplaces (offices) and factories understand the need to have precautions in place when work resumes. The panelists were Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama, President, Ceylon [...]

Public sector goes back to work embracing technology

Sri Lanka’s public sector has geared up to resume work moving away from colonial-era public administration system and changing the way of providing services to the people; learning lessons from almost two months of living with the coronavirus. The urgent need is to simplify public administration and re-engineer processes, removing redundant regulations, approvals, paper work [...]

CSE opens tomorrow

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is to open tomorrow on shortened hours, if the Colombo curfew as planned is lifted. Officials said the CSE will probably be open for two hours from 10 am to 12 noon. This came after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a circular outlining a series of measures that [...]

Resplendent Ceylon releases protocol on health and safety standards in hotels

Resplendent Ceylon, which has upcountry tea bungalows and southern beach resorts under its wing, has released Sri Lanka’s first dedicated COVID-19 Health and Safety protocol for hotels, and said it would be shared with local and global hotels. The manual will serve as a guide to manage stringent health and safety measures aimed at minimising [...]

COVID-19 mitigation methods

COVID-19 mitigation methods

Maskeliya Plantations Plc/Namunukula Plantations Plc (Uva) owned by the Arpico Group, have taken steps to mitigate/prevent COVID-19 to run the plantations/factories located in Maskeliya, Upcot, Talawakelle, Bandarawela and Uva Regions Precautions have also been taken to look after the population (workforce, retired workers, non workers and children) during this crucial time without any interference to [...]

Curb on non-essential imports knocks down importers, SMEs

The Government ban on non-essential imports for three months to ward off a forex crisis in view of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought thousands of importers and small and medium scale enterprises to their knees. Further the hurried decision taken to restrict non-essential imports announced on April 2 and guidelines issued without clarity on the [...]

Union Bank reports subdued growth in 1Q20

During the first quarter of 2020, Union Bank’s core banking growth compressed since mid-March up until the end of the first quarter 2020, owing to unprecedented economic impacts of the ongoing global pandemic. The bank focused on continued cost optimisation and portfolio preservation to manage the bottom-line in a challenging environment, which saw the banking [...]

Keells helps farmers under lockdown in Sooriyaweva

Keells helps farmers under lockdown in Sooriyaweva

Sooriyaweva has been one of the key locations, Keells (JKH) has been sourcing vegetables and fruits from since 2010. In this context when local authorities reached out, stating certain areas in Sooriyaweva under lockdown and homes under self-quarantine required essential goods, Keells arranged 300 packs of essentials that were distributed to this community, with the [...]

Pan Asia Bank pre-tax profit sharply up by 53% in 1Q2020

Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC has concluded 2020 Q1 with the best ever financial results in a first quarter of any year in its 25 year history, “It has reported a profit before tax of Rs.652 million and profit after tax of Rs.416 million, recording an impressive growth of 53 per cent in both, demonstrating [...]

SL Retailers’ Association appeals for lease and rental reductions

The Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association (SLRA), the apex body for organised retail in Sri Lanka, has requested all landlords and lessors to reduce leases and rentals for the association’s membership. In a media release, SLRA President Sidath Kodikara appealed to landlords to provide a 50 per cent concession on rentals/ leases for the next six [...]

Rainco donates Rs. 2.4 mln-worth PPE kits

Rainco donates  Rs. 2.4 mln-worth PPE kits

Rainco (Pvt) Ltd has donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits worth Rs. 2.4 million to the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19. The equipment was handed over to the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and Acting Chief of Defense Staff Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, recently by Rainco (Pvt.) Ltd.’s Chief Operating Officer – [...]

Huawei pledges ICT support in battle against COVID-19

Huawei, the global leading ICT solution provider, has stepped up efforts and pledged support to Sri Lanka in the fight against COVID-19 through a donation of a range of cutting-edge ICT solutions. Accordingly, five Sets of Huawei high definition video conference systems were provided to help the government sector to make decisions with less risk [...]

SriLankan launches dedicated cargo flights to several destinations

Sri Lanka’s national carrier SriLankan Airlines is making a decisive move to rescue the country’s much-troubled export industries by launching dedicated cargo services to a host of destinations. The airline will from May 18 commence 27 dedicated cargo flights per week out of Colombo that will connect Sri Lanka with major cities in Europe, West Asia, the [...]

Ceylon Tea brews on delayed shipments

Ceylon Tea is facing issues with regard to shipments as both bulk and value added teas have reduced in supply added to delays by about a week. Currently there are only 50 per cent of bulk orders and 20 per cent of value added teas that are shipped out of Colombo due to a shortage [...]

App sales hotting up

Intense separation measures and a new social distancing culture has transformed the app industry to be as hot as ever, social media analysts say. People are now spending more than four hours a day using apps, they guestimate. Now more than ever, people are realizing that Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours [...]

Pelwatte examines local dairy self-sufficiency post COVID-19

Pelwatte examines local dairy  self-sufficiency post COVID-19

Local dairy producer, Pelwatte, is pledging to ensure continued exploration towards the establishment of self-sufficiency in the local dairy industry, after COVID-19 is overcome. At a meeting conducted with the senior members of the Government, when asked on the threshold of self-sufficiency post COVID-19, in all agricultural and food products in Sri Lanka, Pelwatte had [...]

Pvt sector supports establishment of a Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory at IDH

Pvt sector supports  establishment of a Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory at IDH

A new Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (IDH), donated by the private sector, was recently opened by Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Director-General of Health Services. The new laboratory was made possible due to funding and pledges received from private sector donors Melstacorp PLC, John Keells Holdings PLC, Deutsche Bank and South [...]

Local oil palm industry offers to support govt. domestic agriculture drive

Sri Lanka’s oil palm cultivators can provide tangible support to the government’s efforts to promote local agriculture and import substitution as a response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the national economy, the sector’s main industry association has said. In a statement, the Palm Oil Industry Association (POIA) which represents cultivators as well [...]

SAGT leads in introduction of electronic container clearance

SAGT leads in introduction of electronic container clearance

The South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT), one of three terminal operators in the port of Colombo, recently introduced a paperless electronic clearance process for import containers. The new process is in support of the Minister of Roads and Highways, Ports and Shipping, Johnston Fernando’s, initiative to mandate all stakeholders in the supply-chain to advance global [...]

End Dec 2019 quarter earnings ease by 4.7% YoY for 266 listed companies

December quarter earnings dipped by 4.7%YoY to Rs. 66.6 billion primarily owing to sluggish performance in Food, Beverage and Tobacco (-35%YoY), Insurance (-41%YoY) and Capital Goods (-23%YoY) sectors, First Capital Research has said in a quarterly results review released on Monday. However, earnings upside was witnessed in Banks (+17%YoY), Telecommunication (+259%YoY), Materials (+101%YoY) and Diversified [...]

Tourist group photos a no-no in future travel

Travelling in future will take a new turn that would even discourage taking a group photograph, while wearing basic protective gear will be imperative in meeting the locals, and guides will have to speak from behind a screen when on tour. Sri Lanka’s Destination Management Companies (DMCs) have been issued a strict code of guidelines [...]

Transforming Mattala Airport to a successful venture

Transforming Mattala Airport to a successful venture

The Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) is a multimillion-dollar mega-investment project that has been operational since 2013. Since then, it has been at the centre of media attention and controversy. The main criticism is that it is merely a political move and that there is no viable business case. However, there are a few fundamental [...]

Corporate sector scrambling for funds

Sri Lanka’s corporate sector is scrambling for cash to recapitalise and restructure operations hit by COVID -19 pandemic at a time when the country’s economic activities resumes shortly. Although the Monetary Board has unveiled a raft of measures to assist affected companies; there was an urgent need to improve liquidity and minimise funding requirements. With [...]

HNB offers digital banking to support Sri Lanka during COVID-19

HNB offers digital banking to support Sri Lanka during COVID-19

HNB PLC has announced a series of partnerships and digital innovations aimed at supporting customers and enterprises with uninterrupted access to all essential banking services during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Given the continuing and vital need for all Sri Lankans to help flatten the curve of infection, HNB is encouraging all customers to make the [...]

IMF approves $18 bln in 50 requests for emergency pandemic aid – spokesman

WASHINGTON, REUTERS, May 7 – The International Monetary Fund has approved requests for emergency pandemic aid from 50 of its 189 members for a total of about $18 billion and is continuing to work quickly through the remaining more than 50 requests, an IMF spokesman said on Thursday. The IMF’s executive board was working through [...]

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