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Sri Lanka officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in the northern Indian Ocean off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent in South Asia. Known until 1972 as Ceylon, Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest across the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait, and the Maldives to the southwest.

 

Sri Lanka Web Server is Sri Lanka's latest e-commerce & news web site. With a wide variety of information coverage it’s primary goal is to provide a world class service to Sri Lankans and Foreigners alike. Basically focusing mainly in promoting inbound tourism, e-business and highlighting the on going development activities in the country in our journey towards becoming the Wonder of Asia within a few years.

 
     








Sigiriya is a town with a large stone and ancient rock fortress and palace ruin in the central Matale District of Central Province, Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, and other structures.

Nuwara Eliya is a city, located in the hill country of the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The city name meaning is "city on the plain (table land)" or "city of light".

Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka.


An orphanage for elephants has been set up by the department of National Zoological Gardens, at Pinnawela, 90 km. from Colombo. It was established in 1975 and several animals brought here at the inception are now mature enough for breeding, which is the ultimate aim of the institution.


98 km. south of Colombo, Hikkaduwa is the place for underwater delight. Site of the famed coral gardens; glass bottomed boats can be hired with the other accessories such as goggles and flippers and you can explore the fantasies under your feet. kindly do not purchase or encourage sale of corals.


  Sri Lanka Has Achieved a Lot, Korean Envoy Tells President Rajapaksa  
 

During a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa on April 21 evening at Temple Trees, Special Envoy and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea Mr. Yu Myung-hwan said, “Sri Lanka has achieved a lot” since the war ended.

“The integration of former LTTE soldiers and the very swift return of internally displaced persons” are two examples Mr. Myung-hwan cited as the post-war progress that can be seen in the country. He further stated that the government is to be commended for conducting the first ever election to the Northern Provincial Council in a free and fair manner as well as establishing the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons.

 
 

President Rajapaksa said he is waiting for the report of the Commission to consider what further action may be required. The President also encouraged the visiting special envoy to visit the Northern Province.

“You should visit that area to see the development,” President Rajapaksa said. “We gave more preference to the North in development than the South.”

Mr. Myung-hwan reiterated his government’s support to Sri Lanka and its commitment to maintaining strong bilateral relations. “We will do our best to help your government to develop,” he said Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs Mrs. Kshenuka Senewiratne was present at the meeting.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Sri Lanka’s economy to grow 7.8%, Sustained momentum in construction, manufacturing sectorsy  
 

The Central Bank has estimated that the $ 67 billion economy would grow at 7.8 percent this year. The Central Bank has cut the repurchase rate by 125 basis points (bps) and reverse repurchase rate by 175 bps between December 2012 and January 2014 to stimulate economic growth, which picked up to 7.3 percent last year from 6.3 percent in the previous year.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan economy is poised for a stronger performance with the recovery observed in the external sector, sustained momentum in construction and manufacturing sectors and with monetary aggregates performing as expected, and inflation remaining low and stable, stated the Central Bank in its Monetary Policy Review.

 
 

Gross official reserves are estimated to be around US dollars 8.0 billion as at end February 2014, which is equivalent to 5.3 months of imports. The reserve levels are expected to further improve with the proceeds of the US dollars 500 million sovereign bond issuance in April 2014, the Bank said.

The Central Bank also decided to maintain the Standing Deposit Facility Rate and the Standing Lending Facility Rate of the Central Bank unchanged at their current levels of 6.50 percent and 8.00 percent. Inflation remained low for March 2014 recording 4.2 percent, unchanged from the previous month, while core inflation increased marginally to 3.4 percent in March from 3.1 percent in February 2014, the Bank added.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Explore Investment Opportunities In Sri Lanka - Malaysian HC  
 

Sri Lanka offers immense opportunities for Malaysian investors, especially in infrastructure development, Malaysia's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Azmi Zainuddin said.

The Sri Lanka government is determined to attract investments to the country after the end of the 30-year-long civil war in 2009, he said.

"Malaysian companies have always been here, even during the war, especially in the telecommunications and infrastructure segment. Now there are more opportunities available and we should take advantage of it," he said.

Among others, the hospitality industry is booming is Sri Lanka, he said.

 
 



Malaysia should capitalise on its good bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka to have a bigger presence in the country, he said.

He said people-to-people ties are also good, with tourist arrivals from Sri Lanka reaching 64,051 last year, a two per cent increase from 62,821 in 2012.

This year, Tourism Malaysia expects a total of 70,000 tourists from Sri Lanka.

According to reports, Malaysia's private sector investment in Sri Lanka to date has topped US$1.5 billion.

According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, bilateral trade in 2013 between both countries stood at US$577.66 million, with exports from Sri Lanka at US$44.92 million and imports at US$532.74 million.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Traditional Industries promoted through Divi Neguma  
 

Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises that saw a complete destruction during the period of the armed conflict are now fast developing in the North with the massive investment by the Government to improve these industries, Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Minister Douglas Devananda said in Kilinochchi.

The Minister said that Kilinochchi district was one of the most affected areas in the Northern Province during the conflict , but the unfailing efforts and massive investment on the part of the Government within the past 5 years, had put the development of the traditional, small and medium scale industries which had to be started from a scratch on fast track.

 
 

The Minister said that any service of his ministry was available to anyone who desired assistance in whatever the way the need.

Minister said so at a recently held ceremony at Kilinochchi district Secretariat to mark the distribution of industrial implements to those who underwent training, conducted by "Divi Neguma" program.

The Minister also said that the 98 trained in Palmyrah based industries by the Palmyrah Development Board and the 33 trained in diverse disciplines of industry by the Industrial Development Board needed to make endeavours to produce high quality products.

"If they can produce high quality products the marketing of the items would not be a problem for them and it will help improving their living standards also", he added.

He said any help needed concerning quality improvements to their products could be obtained from the officials of the National Crafts Council.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  President opened new building complex, South Eastern University  
 

President Mahnda Rajapaksa declared open the building complex of the Management and Commerce Faulty built at a cost of 260 million rupees. It has been constructed as a fully equipped building. Thereafter the President declared open the library building named after the founder of the Eastern University, late leader of the Muslim Congress M.H.M. Ashroff.

The building has cost 200 million rupees. The President inspected the Museum built adjacent to the library, which displays traditional cultural values. The President was presented with the first membership card of the Ashroff Memorial Library. Thereafter the Information and Management Network of the library was vested in the students.

 
 

The President exchanged views with the academics and the students. Parliamentarians, University Grants Commission Chairperson, Ksanika Hirimburegama, Vice Chancellor Dr. S.M. Mohamed Ismail were present on the occasion.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  President opens Manmunai Bridge in Batticaloa  
 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa vested with the people the Manmunai Bridge Saturday marking another milestone in the country's development.

The bridge which is the first east-west land connection across the Batticaloa lagoon on Colombo-Batticaloa A-4 road via Pothuvil , has been constructed through a 1,206 million Japanese Yen (close to Rs. 2 billion) grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The 210m long bridge fulfills a long felt need of the people in the Eastern Province. Before construction of the bridge the access between the west and east was by a small ferry. During the rainy season due to floods the ferry service comes to a halt and the people have to travel about 30km to access the other side.

 
 

The new bridge will ease the burden of transport and the farmers as well as the traders will immensely benefit.

The project was implemented by the Road Development Authority (RDA) of the Ministry of Ports and Highways in cooperation with JICA. The Manmunai Bridge construction commenced in 2012, and it marks 60 years of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Japan.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 
   

  Sri Lanka's First Automated Micro Cars production line opened  
 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated Sri Lanka's first automated motor vehicle production line of Micro Cars at the Polgahawela Industrial Zone on Saturday (19)..The President thereafter inspected the production including the hi-tech welding plant.

Also ,the Chairman of Micro Cars Dr. Lawrence Perera presented to the President a Micro van which is the latest model of Micro vehicles. It is expected to export these Sri Lankan manufactured Micro Vehicles to Bangladesh and at the ceremony the Chairman officially handed over the documents of the first consignment of vehicles to the President.

 
 

International Monetary Cooperation Senior Minister and Deputy Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishard Bathiudeen were present at the ceremony.

(Courtesy - news.lk)

 
   

  WB tips Lanka to lead South Asia’s growth  
 

The World Bank expects Sri Lanka to lead South Asia in economic growth this year benefitting from recent rebound and enhanced capacity but the country faces many risks to the positive outlook.

“Sri Lanka would continue to grow at 7.3% this year as the economy was sustained by new capacity from infrastructure investments and rebuilding after the country’s recent conflict,” the World Bank said in its twice-a-year ‘South Asia Economic Focus’ released yesterday.

Forecast of 7.3% in 2014 for Sri Lanka is far above South Asia average of 5.2% as well as estimate for India of 5.7%, Pakistan’s 4%, Nepal’s and Maldives’ 4.5%, 5.4% of Bangladesh and 3.2% by Afghanistan.

 
 

The World Bank said the stronger momentum of activity projected for the second half of 2013 will also lead to stronger carry-over into 2014 for Sri Lanka.

“This growth is supported by an increase in capacity from new infrastructure investments and rebuilding. But a relatively protracted recovery in high-income countries and tightening of international financial conditions will constrain a more robust rebound for Sri Lanka within the forecast horizon,” the World Bank added.

It said South Asia in general appeared to have largely recovered from last year’s financial turmoil caused by changes in US Federal Reserve monetary policy. Many were rebuilding currency reserves while curbing current account deficits. But these successes on the external side were accompanied by looming problems in the domestic economy. Economic growth could be held back by unstable banking sectors, inflation, fiscal deficits and debt, and persistent shortfalls in energy and transport infrastructure across the region.

“Now that external pressures are waning, it’s time to refocus on addressing problems within the economies in South Asia so that countries can boost growth and reduce poverty,” said South Asia Chief Economist Martin Rama. “The good news is that across South Asia there is a growing momentum in support of reforms to increase growth because governments recognize this is the best way to overcome poverty.”

On Sri Lanka, the World Bank report said risks to the outlook include maintaining fiscal consolidation, the precarious financial position of CEB and CPC, weathering global commodity prices, declining exports-to-GDP and managing the economic fundamentals in the face of currency fluctuations of major trading partners. The three primary challenges to foreign direct investment in Sri Lanka, according to the World Bank are 1) policy uncertainty and inconsistency with respect to macroeconomic and trade and industrial policy 2) administrative, bureaucratic and organisational constraints and 3) relatively high production costs.

With regard to precarious financial position of CPC and CEB, the World Bank report said a drought in 2014 would increase the already-substantial losses of the CEB. Inadequate rainfall increases the cost of electricity generation because it is produced by furnace oil rather than hydropower. The unresponsiveness of electricity tariffs to changing conditions has already undermined the viability of the CEB. As a result of its higher dependence on thermal power, the CEB’s operating loss would increase. This would trigger further below-cost provisions of furnace oil by the CPC to the CEB increasing the CPC’s losses as well.

The greater the losses of the CEB the more it undermines private-sector credit growth and by extension, investment and GDP growth. The situation could be aggravated by the Government having to transfer additional resources to bolster the balance sheets of these two State-owned corporations – a substantial fiscal cost.

Increased administered prices to cover the losses of the CPC and CEB could have temporary inflationary impact and reduce overall consumption expenditure.

World Bank also said rising global oil prices and depreciation of the rupee could put pressure on prices. It noted that given the growth in two key export sectors – tea and apparel remains stagnant, there is a risk that there will be a continued decline in the exports to GDP ratio. “There needs to be a new thrust towards diversification of both product and export markets to ensure that the trade balance remains manageable,” the World Bank said.

Impact from the depreciation of the Indian Rupee was also highlighted. “Further depreciation of the Indian Rupee could reduce FDI inflows and tourist arrivals from India and inhibit Sri Lankan exports to India,” World Bank said.

India represents the single largest trading partner and the single largest source of tourist arrivals. India is also the single largest source of imported goods and depreciation would likely drive up imports from India thereby inflicting further deterioration in the trade balance.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  New US$ 3 m chemicals company at Biyagama Zone  
 

The BOI signed an agreement with S &D Chemicals (Pvt) Ltd., a company specialized in the manufacturing of Industrial chemicals used in the textile industry as well as polymers for textile processing, coatings and water treatment operations.

This new project will have a total value of US$ 3 million. The company will employ 100 staff including 25 highly skilled local and overseas chemical engineers and industrial chemists. With such a skilled work force, this company whose manufacturing plant will be located at the BOI Export Processing Zone at Biyagama, will be engaged in a high technology area of production.

 
 

The investor, Dayantha de Silva, a qualified chemist with postgraduate qualifications in polymer science said :"This is the first time in Sri Lanka that a company will be manufacturing the full range of products needed for textile processing and wet processing of garments. The Company also has foreign offices in Bangladesh, Maldives and Vietnam and buyers in India, Oman and Dubai.

"We are also excited about the possibility of exporting our products in the region and our target is to become a leading manufacturer of textile axillaries, polymers, dispersing aids and polymeric coatings for different substrates in the region.In the future we are planning to diversify into other chemicals applications as well."

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Banking sector poised for growth  
 

Local banking sector is expected to record a considerable growth in market earnings from December 2014 to March 2015 to between 11 to 13 percent despite a sharp drop in interest rates and a slow and gradual pickup in the economy.

Banking, energy and manufacturing sector earnings lead from the front and expect returns to record an upwardtrend towards medium to long term in line with expected growth in earnings in the sector, Softlogic Equity Research reported.

The banking sector is expected to take centrestage in the December quarter due to high performance, which trend is expected to continue.

 
 

However the heavy capital gain in NDB during the previous year (December 2012) has blurred the overall outlook of earnings during the December 2013 quarter signalling a completely negative outcome, the report states. Excluding the one off exceptional performance in the NDB, which expected earnings to be flat during December 2013 / March 2014 E which is a further downgrade from our previous forecast in the last quarter. It is said that policy rate cut was implemented which has resulted in a slow and steady decline in interest rates in the market. Amidst, lower interest rates, rising consumer demand and strong growth in exports. The sector expect a healthy growth in market earnings during Dec 2014E / Mar 2015E earnings to 11 percent to 13 percent, its sources said.

Banking Finance and Insurance sectors show a 40 percent year on year dip which weighed down overall earnings performance reasoned by significant earnings dips in selected banks and finance companies due to impairment components hampering bottom line growth.

The notable earnings dip of 94 percent year on year in National Development Bank's earnings due to a one-off capital gain in the corresponding quarter was an added negative contributor.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  New engineering faculties to be opened in Colombo, Jaffna, Kelaniya, J’pura universities  
 

New engineering faculties would be opened in the Colombo, Jaffna, Kelaniya and Sri Jayewardenepura universities in the coming years to cope with the engineers shortage in the country, University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairperson, Prof. S. S. M. K. Kshanika Hirimburegama said yesterday.

Addressing an MoU signing ceremony to introduce a local engineering degree under the newly founded Sri Lanka Technological Campus (SLTC) at the UGC auditorium in Colombo, Prof. Hirimburegama said that Sri Lanka was facing a severe shortage of engineers in view of the country’s rapid development since the end of the war.

 
 

Opening up new engineering faculties would also tempt more students to study engineering subjects, she added.

Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor of University of Colombo Dr. Kumara Hirimburegama said that plans were underway to establish a virtual campus of the Colombo University in Hambantota by 2016 to provide more technological education for students.

Unlike the traditional subjects, modern and practical subjects would be available in those universities to produce more engineers, he added.

Statistics revealed that there was a growing demand for engineers in the fields of industrial, thermal and power, naval and marine engineering, he said.

According to the Higher Education Ministry, at present, Moratuwa, Ruhuna, Peradeniya and South Eastern universities have engineering faculties. The Moratuwa University annually produced only 125 civil engineers and 100 information technology engineers.

There are also plans to expand the existing engineering faculties in the country.

At present, engineering, physical science, computer science, Information and Communication Technology, Transport and Logistics, Statistics and Mathematical Finance, Management and Information Technology are some engineering courses available at national universities.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Lanka Fastest Next to China - UK FT  
 

Sri Lanka's economy grew at a rate of 7.2 per cent over the past financial year, making the island one of Asia's fastest-growing markets after China, states the Financial Times of London in an article.

The successful issuance of a sovereign bond suggests that no extraneous factors deterred investors against a backdrop of heightened appetite for the emerging market and frontier debt, according to Murtaza Jafferjee, the head of brokerage JB Securities in Colombo.

 
 

The South Asian country sold $500m of five-year debt on Tuesday with a coupon of 5.125 per cent - its lowest to date - and attracted more than $4bn in orders. Interest was particularly strong from US investors, who took up almost half the deal the Financial Times states.

In January, Sri Lanka raised $1bn in a separate sovereign issue, offering a five-year bond with a 6 per cent yield at a time of growing worries over emerging and frontier markets as the US Federal Reserve rolls back its ultra-easy monetary stance.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Massive profits earned by sugar factories post take over  
 

The Sevanagala and Pelwatte sugar factories recorded a massive profit of Rs. 14,860 million in 2013 after these companies were taken over by the government.

These companies were sold by the UNP government to a close friend for a song. These companies were taken over by the government on November 11, 2011 fulfilling another pledge in the Mahinda Chinthanava policy framework. Over Rs. 297 million derived from the company’s profits in 2013 were distributed among the employees and the farmers at the Sevanagala and Pelwatte sugar factories.

 
 

The Sevanagala Sugar factory had savings running into Rs. 300 million and sugar and spirit stocks to the value of Rs. 150 million when the company was sold to a friend of the then UNP government only for Rs. 550 million. The total value of the loan granted to the employees and farmers was Rs. 120 million at that time.

The company management gave more prominence to the production of spirits than sugar and the sugar production of the company which was 24 ,396 MT in 2002 dropped to 6,000 MT by 2011.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Newly constructed Ranpokunugama Divi Naguma Public Fair vested on the public  
 

The newly constructed Ranpokunugama Divi Naguma Sathi Pola was declared open by Mrs. Pushpa Rajapaksa, Attorney at Law and Chairperson of the Liya Abhiman Organization on 6th April 2014.

Under the guidance of Hon. Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development Divi Naguma Sathi Pola development programme has been initiated throughout the country. As per the instructions of Hon. Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development, funds are provided by the Ministry of Economic Development for this Sathi Pola Development project.

 
 

Sarana Gunawardena, Deputy Minister of Petroleum Industries, Provincial Council Member Upul Mahendra Rajapaksa, Priyantha Pushpa Kumara, Act. Chairman of the Atthanagalla Pradeshiya Sabha, Government officials and a large number of people were presented at the opening ceremony.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  7 P.C Growth Stability Until 2050  
 

Speaking at the launch of 2013 Central Bank Annual Report at the Central Bank premises yesterday, President Rajapaksa stressed that the present economic stability will remain until 2050 and plans should be formulated accordingly.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said plans should not be formulated targeting 2020. He said he was presented a plan aiming at increasing tourist arrivals by one million by 2016 which he did not accept.

 
 

“I stressed that this target should be increased or otherwise I will not accept it,” he said. He said though the economy has grown at a rate of six to seven percent per annum, the government is determined to further accelerate growth.

“I believe in stability for faster economic growth. If there is turmoil, growth cannot be maintained at a steady rate. Now that there is peace and stability, we have achieved an average economic growth

of over seven percent during the last five years,” he said.

Pointing out that unemployment had dropped to 4.4 percent in 2013, President Rajapaksa said some entrepreneurs wanted the government to relax visa regulations to allow them to recruit foreign workers.

“I did not agree to that, though I am aware that some foreigners come on tourist visas and work in some factories,” he said.

President Rajapaksa said education has been diversified to suit the job market, which has resulted in the drop in unemployment.

“There are many vocational training institutions all over the country now. When I was a student there was only one A Grade school in the Hambantota district while there were 37 in the Jaffna district. Our aim is to provide equal opportunities to all,” he said.

Senior Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Ministers Basil Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga and secretaries to ministries and officials were present.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Hambanthota reaching maritime hub status  
 

The Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port (MRMRP) in Hambantota, has services rendered at present with that of the highest quality.

The expansions taking place with the oncoming massive development activities around this port, that include the tank farm, the green port city and free zones providing tax havens and bunkering facilities, are sure to realize a long term dream of the vessels sailing in the Indian Ocean, and those involved in the field of Supply Chain Management as well. In the future the port will predominantly operate as a transshipment port .

 
 

In a special note on the port's continued developments, Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Dr.Priyath B.Wickrama stated that when the project was initiated in 2010, many challenged that the location with a hard rock bed would never be ideal and definitely be fatal to the long existence of the port. "Actually, there wasn't any rock but a mere cliff that obstructed the constructions and that cliff no longer exists," he says.

During the official visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to China in 2007, to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of bilateral friendship between the People's Republic of China and Sri Lanka, special negotiations were held with the Chinese President Hu Jintao to obtain financial assistance to construct the MRMRP.

Signing of Financial Agreement for the MRMR Port Development Project was held on the October 30, 2007, at Temple Trees under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The constructions commenced on January 15, 2008.

The feasibility study for the construction of Magam Ruhunupura Port was carried out by M/s. SNC Lavolis Canadian International Company and the basic designs were prepared by the Denmark Rambol Company in the year 2005.

Under Stage - I, of the project the West Breakwater of 988 m, the East Breakwater of 312 m, a ships terminal of 600m, a service terminal of 105 m, an oil terminal of 610 m, a ships turning circle of 600 m were constructed with a basin draught of 17 m, and a Port Access Canal that consists of a width of 210 m and a draught of 17m. The deepen land area instage I - was 43 ha. enabling to facilitate 100,000 DWT capacity ships.

"By now the second phase of the port has been completed up to 45%. Anyone who has any doubt of the development of this port can come and see the developments going on for himself with no interference. The port also possesses a huge potential and a growing capacity to overtake even the port of Colombo in a future day," Dr.Priyath B. Wickrama - Chairman of SLPA states.

As an effective measure to ease the long berthing delays experienced by Roll on Roll off vessels at the Port of Colombo, SLPA, with the consultation of shipping lines and importers decided to route all such vessels to the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port and the first Ro-Ro vessel operation at the port was carried out on 06th June 2012. Commencement of RO-RO operations at Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port expressed itself as a dedicated and reliable facility for international maritime transportation in the region. This new move enabled to reduce congestion over Colombo, introducing a quicker clearance system with SL Customs where the document processing could be done in either Hambantota or Colombo without any delay, and promote transshipment business with a dedicated automobile handling terminal facility in Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port. As at March 2014 the port has received 204 RO-RO vessels and has handled nearly 36401 domestic units and more than 79147 transshipment units.

During the year of 2012 MRMRP has also handled 19716 tons of Break Bulk cargo whilst in 2013 the port handled 118579 tons of Break Bulk cargo showing a growth of 501.4%. The operational performance of the port for the month of February 2013 and 2014 has also shown a growth of 267.9% with the handling of 7037 tons of Break Bulk cargo for the month of February 2013 and 25891 tons of Break Bulk cargo for the same period in 2014.

More than 2000 hectares of lands adjoining the harbour have been declared as a special economic and industrial zone to boost industrial and commercial activities. Out of the 27 investors who expressed interest to commence projects, six investors bid for cement industry while two had expressed for vehicle assembling and another two for gas. The Project Committee received proposals from three investors for warehousing, two for petro-chemicals and one each for sugar refinery, fertilizer and canning.

Cabinet of Ministers approved 7 investment proposals, subsequent to the recommendations by Cabinet Appointed Negotiating Committee with the assistance of the Technical Evaluation Committee. Accordingly, three investors namely, Thatta Cement Company (Pvt) Ltd,Hambana Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) , Lanka Sugar Refinery Company (Private) Limited and Litro Gas Terminal Lanka (Pvt) Limited have already commenced constructions following successful business venture agreements with SLPA.

Hayleys Advantis Ltd (Fertilizer Bagging Plant), McLarens Holdings Ltd (Warehousing), Agalawatta Plantation PLC (Warehousing) and ACE Distripaks (Pvt) Ltd (Warehousing) are among the other cabinet approved investors who have expressed their confidence to commence business with MRMRP.

Meanwhile, the new administrative complex, Sayuru Paya' of Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port (MRMRP) was also declared open by Mahinda Rajapaksa - the President of the Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka on Friday November 8 2013. The building is situated bordering the southern beach front of the new port. The Administrative Building at the site commenced constructions as a part of the main project on 07.10.2009. The building consists of 14 stories including 100,000 sq. ft. and with a height of 200 ft. With the opening of the new building, sooner, the all port customers at MRMRP will be able to fulfill all customer requirements at this one-stop centre. The new administrative building has been constructed with a cost of Rs. one billion. All developmental activities at MRMRP are being successfully carried out with the supervision of Hon.Project Minister of Highways, Ports and Shipping Rohitha Abeygunawardena and instructions by Dr.Priyath B.Wickrama - the Chairman of SLPA. Following the footsteps of 'Mahinda Chinthana' of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka Ports Authority has been rightly directed at present, to maximize all the strengths and capacities to efficiently work towards the socio-economic development of Sri Lanka.

Through the guidance by Mahinda Rajapaksa MRMRP at present,is rapidly becoming the potential to bring prosperity not only to the country but also to the whole region.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  More electricity projects this year  
 

The government has carried out 27 large-scale electricity distribution projects in the Galgamuva electorate from 2010. It has carried out 400 electricity extension projects there during this period, too, according to an authority on development work.

Seven large electricity distribution projects have also been approved for the Galgamuva electorate and they are to be launched during this year. Recently, the government completed the Ehatuveva-Valathveva electricity distribution project, Galgamuva-Andaraveva electricity distribution project and the Griribaava-Jayanthipura electricity distribution project, utilizing Rs.9,200,000, Rs.11,000,000 and Rs.10, 000,000 respectively.

 
 

The government utilized funds it received through a foreign credit program to carry out the large electricity distribution projects.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  March arrivals up 17.5%  
 

Sri Lanka tourism sector recorded an increase of 17.5% arrivals for March as against the previous year.

The total arrivals for March stood at 133, 048 and most arrivals were from India, East Asia Eastern and Europe. Visitors from Eastern Europe increased 29.1% to 42,442 with Russia up 85.4 percent to 8,948.

Western Europe grew 4.5 percent to 44,824 with Germany up 19.9 percent to 12,448, France up 27.8 percent to 9,266, Austria up 23.8 percent to 1,482.

 
 

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Ethics vital to boost investor confidence – SEC Chairman  
 

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa called on investor advisors in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) to be more ethical and responsible in their dealing to boost investor confidence in the market.

“Investor advisors are now fortunate with the country's economy on the forward march after three decades of war and they could play a pivotal role in the capital market,” Dr. Godahewa told a seminar on Capital Markets Training last Saturday organized by the Colombo Stock Broker's Association.

 
 

He said all investor advisers should follow ethics and work with sense of responsibility while doing the right thing to build investor confidence in the stock market, which is important to build a strong capital market in the country. “At this juncture, the country's economy is growing at 7 to 8 percent and the capital market could play a pivotal role to increase their contribution to the country's GDP, which contribution towards the GDP is only 30 percent now, he said. Dr Godahewa said that in matured markets in the region, capital market contribution to the GDP is more than 70 percent to 80 percent, while certain markets it is 100 per cent.

“But now with the government's proper economic policies our stock market is also poised for growth,” he said.

Foreign investor contribution in the stock market which is 36.5 percent, could be increased further for front-lines or investor advisers in the market. Since, a lot of infrastructure projects are in place and therefore government economic policies are now moving in the right direction, he added.

Therefore the government's plan to become a US $ 100 billion economy and to increase the per capita income to US $ 4000 by 2016 and could be achieved with these proper economic foundations.

Because of that foreigners have shown keen interest about the government's post war development achievements, he said. Dr Godahewa said that SEC is constantly in consultation with CSE and other stakeholders in the sector to improve the market in order to increase their contribution to the national GDP and also attract foreign and local investors.

SEC is also focusing on listed companies activities and closely monitoring errant directors who misappropriate funds of companies and many measures improve the credibility in the market, he said.

Chief Executive Officer CSE Rajeeva Bandaranaike said ethics in the market is important to enhance investor confidence in market activities.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Higher Education Minister on inspection visit to South Eastern University  
 

Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake visited the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka on Thursday to assess the progress of the development projects being carried out in the Oluvil Campus.

Minister Dissanayake accompanied by his Private Secretary Thamara Dissanayake and other ministry officials on arrival at the Oluvil campus were received by Vice-Chancellor Dr. S. M. Mohamed Ismail and Registrar H. Abdul Sathar and were taken to the sites where infrastructure development projects are going on. Firstly the minister and the team visited the 100-room-four-storied Students Hostel Project costing Rs. 200 million and thereafter the Library Project which is nearing completion.

 
 

This fully fledged library which is supposed to be one of the biggest libraries in Sri Lanka with all amenities and facilities with latest computerized technology also costs Rs. 200 million. The cultural museum will also be housed in this library. This was followed by the visit to the other Ladies Hostel with 100-room-four-storied building. Minister Dissanayake and the team finally held discussions with Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mohamed Ismail, Registrar Abdul Sathar, Works Engineer S. M. Sitheeque, Librarian M. M. Rifaudeen and other academics of the University at the Vice-Chancellor's office and reviewed the progress of the projects and the constraints confronted by them.

Minister Dissanayake who was satisfied with his visit to the University requested the Vice-Chancellor and his team to expedite matters and complete all the projects in time to make President Mahinda Rajapaksa's visit this University to open these projects.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Sri Lanka crowned T20 champs  
 

Kumar Sangakkara guided Sri Lanka to a six-wicket victory over India to win the World Twenty20 in Mirpur and end a run of four defeats in global finals.

Sangakkara, playing his final Twenty20 international, scored 52 not out as Sri Lanka chased down 131 in 17.5 overs.

Tight Sri Lanka bowling had limited India to 130-4 despite Virat Kohli's sublime 77 off 58 balls.

Sri Lanka were beaten in the 2007 and 2011 World Cup finals and the 2009 and 2012 World T20 finals.

Sangakkara and veteran team-mate Mahela Jayawardene were involved in all four of those disappointments, and this was a fitting way for both to bow out of international T20 cricket.

 
 

Victory was particularly sweet for Sangakkara, who had scored only 19 runs in his previous five innings in the tournament but oversaw a patient run chase that was finished off in style when Thisara Perera clubbed Ravichandran Ashwin for his third six.

World Cup and Champions Trophy winners India were hoping to become the first team to hold all three limited-overs trophies.

But their quest was undermined by a disappointing batting performance that stalled badly after Rohit Sharma drove to short extra cover in the 11th over for 29 to break a second-wicket partnership of 60 with Kohli.

Yuvraj Singh, so often a destructive batsman in the shorter forms of the game, looked horribly out of touch as he scratched around for 11 off 21 balls.

With Kohli starved of the strike, the innings lost all momentum and even Mahendra Dhoni could add only four from seven balls after Yuvraj's tame lob to long off finally brought the captain to the crease in the penultimate over.

The final four overs, in which Kohli faced eight balls, yielded just 19 runs before the tournament's leading run-scorer was run out trying to force a second from the last ball of the innings.

There was a wicket apiece for Nuwan Kulasekara, Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath as not one of Sri Lanka's five bowlers conceded more than 29 runs from four overs.

India took wickets with enough regularity to keep the match alive and evoke memories of the 2012 final, when Sri Lanka were bowled out for 101 in pursuit of West Indies' modest 137-6.

Kusal Perera sliced Mohit Sharma to mid-off in the second over and Tillakaratne Dilshan holed out to Kohli at deep square leg for 18.

Jayawardene swiped Suresh Raina to midwicket to depart for 24 and, when Lahiru Thirimanne nicked Amit Mishra to wicketkeeper Dhoni, Sri Lanka were wobbling on 78-4.

But Perera announced his intent by hitting Mishra over long-on for a huge six and followed up with another maximum in the leg-spinner's next over.

Sangakkara thrashed consecutive fours off Ashwin to reach his half-century and take Sri Lanka to within four runs of the title.

Perera danced down the track to apply the perfect finish and spark jubilant scenes among the Sri Lanka players and fans.

(Courtesy - dailymirror.lk)

 
   

  President to open new Manmunai bridge on April 19  
 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will declare open the newly constructed Manmunai bridge in Batticaloa on April 19. The new bridge across Batticaloa lagoon on Thalankuda-Manmunai-Mavadimunmari road has been constructed at a cost of Rs.1,870 million, fulfilling a long felt need of the people in the Eastern Province, Ports, Highways and Shipping Project Minister Nirmala Kothalawala said.

"The new bridge plays an important role in connecting the Batticaloa district with the Ampara district. Until the construction of new bridge, the people used the ferry service to cross the Batticaloa lagoon. The newly constructed Manmunai bridge will make river crossings easier, whereas ferries took hours," Minister Kothalawala said.

 
 

The bridge, which is 210 metres in length and 9.8 metres wide, has been constructed utilizing Rs. 397 million local funds and Rs.1,473 million, under the grant aid from Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA).

In line with the construction of the bridge, a new causeway with an average length of 488 metres and 10 metres in width has also been constructed on either side of the bridge to access to the new bridge.

The newly opened Manmunai bridge interconnects two districts of Batticaloa and Ampara in the Eastern Province. The people living in both these districts will be directly benefited by this project. It is also expected to improve the market approachability via facilitating transportation at a low cost. This project would also facilitate people mobility while rapidly improving basic social infrastructure, community and public services to a large number of people living in the East.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Singapore FM calls on countries to engage constructively with Sri Lanka  
 

Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law, K. Shanmugam, during a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the President’s Office yesterday, called on countries to engage constructively with Sri Lanka and look to the future rather than dwell on the past.

Shanmugam said one of the main objectives of his visit is to “tell the world what the (Sri Lankan) people really need is development. What people are really interested in is their future and their children’s future,” he said.

 
 

The Singapore Government is supporting several projects in the North such as a mobile library and an English teacher training program, which Shanmugam will be launching today when he travels to Jaffna.

President Rajapaksa urged the Foreign Minister to consider launching similar training programs elsewhere in the island as well.

The Singaporean Foreign Minister said he believes that relations between the two countries are strengthening including improved people-to-people interactions as well as between the business communities of the two nations.

Describing the relationship between Sri Lanka and Singapore as “very good,” Shanmugam said, “We hope this can carry on with this positive momentum.”

The Non-Resident High Commissioner of Singapore to Sri Lanka Karan Singh Thakral and the Executive Chairman of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore Ambassador Gopinath Pillai accompanied the Singapore Foreign Minister.

Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs Mrs. Kshenuka Seneviratne were also present for the bilateral discussion.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  All measures to provide pure drinking water for all - President  
 

The Government will take all necessary measures to ensure that the public would be provided with pure drinking water, improving health conditions and the quality of life for vulnerable communities who face problems due to lack of potable water, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday.

While emphasizing that a healthy future generation was vital to ensure the country's development and progress, the President said that special measures will be taken to safeguard the health of children. The President was speaking at the launch of a national program to provide safe drinking water to schoolchildren at Rambewa Maha Vidyalaya in Anuradhapura.

 
 

Marking the first stage of the initiative, the President distributed water purification units to 50 chosen schools in the North Central province. He also distributed water bowsers which were obtained with the help of JICA to be used in vulnerable at Divisional Secretariat areas. The President went on to say that he has advised the authorities to check all drinking water wells in the vulnerable areas and also protect water tanks from contamination.

While highlighting kidney and other diseases prevalent especially in the North Central the President said "these have significantly increased during the last several years as a result of contaminated ground water due to use of heavy agrochemicals and fertilizer". "The open economic policies introduced in 1977 had an adverse effect on the growth of plants and animals" the President said adding that these measures had brought on acid rain on the plants contaminating both the ground and water. The President saying so encouraged the farmers to go back to more traditional agricultural methods and minimize the use of chemicals in the process of farming.

President Rajapaksa describing the new initiative said that all vulnerable Schools will be provided with a water purifying unit. "Like we developed the country and ensured freedom and peace to the people, we also assure that we will provide safe and clean drinking water to all," the President added. "We are fully aware of the difficulties people are facing, including the spread of kidney disease due to water problems.

We will take adequate steps to alleviate them" the President said. He went on to say that the government has provided equal opportunities and facilities for all areas. He said in education too, equitable distribution of resources has been maintained. While pointing out to the success by a student from Divulwewa, Anuradhapura who won a world event in US recently for new innovations, the President said Sri Lankan children irrespective of wherever they come from were even winning on the world stage now. He said that this is the government's aim to mould a healthy, morally rich and educated child to take the country to greater heights in the future. The initiative is jointly organized by the Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education.

The President on the occasion also opened the new Mahindodaya Technical Laboratory at the School. Child Development and Women's Affairs Minister Tissa Karaliyadda also addressed the gathering. Japanese Ambassodor in Sri Lanka Nobuhito Hobo, Ministers. S.M.Chandrasena, Duminda Dissanayake, Deputy Ministers Weerakumara Dissanayake, T.B.Ekanayake, Chief Minister S.M.Ranjith, Governor Karunaratne Divulgane, other politicians, government officials and general public attended.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  EDB initiates first Internet of Things session  
 

As the consumer end of digital convergence in the country continued to develop, Sri Lanka has officially begun assessing the promise of the "next big thing" in digital frontier-and Sri Lanka's first Advanced Electronics Design Centre is now on the cards.

"This is the first ever initiative for Sri Lanka's ICT sector on the emerging "Internet of Things". There is no doubt that this advanced and novel concept will be useful for everyone" said Sujatha Weerakoone Director General-EDB recently. Weerakoone was addressing the first ever IoT session held in Sri Lanka, organized by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) .

 
 

Global IoT market value and and stake is estimated to surpass $ $14 trillion (CISCO Corp estimates, 2013) in the next decade and Sri Lanka's ICT services, software exports and BPO/KPO sectors are well poised to cater to this highly promising sector, considered as the 'next big thing.'

Currently, two firms, WSO2 and Zone24X7, both headquartered in US but have operations in Sri Lanka, have become the prime movers of IoT related processing here. Zone24X7, a third party end to end design house, is California headquartered, and has advanced product engineering and R&D facilities in Sri Lanka.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Chinese business delegation to arrive on 31 March  
 

It is time for the revival of Iran-Sri Lanka trade-back to its original volumes. "As trade restrictions faced by Iran being eased progressively, we believe it is now the correct time to restart our bilateral trade," said a keen Hussain Ebrahim Khani (Charge d' Affairs, Iranian Embassy in Colombo in Colombo.

The new Iranian Charge d' Affairs Khani was addressing Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce) yesterday during his courtesy call on Minister Bathiudeen at EDB, Colombo.

 
 

According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, bilateral trade between the two countries showed a positive trend from 2002 to 2008, and topped $ 1619.42 Mn in 2011, after which it settled at $ 216.47 Mn in 2013.

Despite the declining trade total, for the first time, in 2013, bilateral trade turned in favour of Sri Lanka. In 2013, Sri Lanka's leading exports to Iran were tea, coconuts, cashew nuts, coconut fibre, lead oxides and apparel while main imports from Iran were plastics, electrical transformers, Insulated wire and cable, and bulldozers. "It is important that the President is leading Sri Lanka - Iran trade revival by activating the Joint Economic Commission," said the new Iranian Charge d' Affairs Khani addressing Minister Bathiudeen, and added: "We are pleased that the President is shouldering the great responsibility of Iran-Sri Lanka bilateral trade cooperation activities and we praise your efforts to enhance it. As trade restrictions faced by Iran now being eased progressively, we believe it is the correct time to revive our bilateral trade with Sri Lanka. We realised that the new climate in Iran can help boost bilateral cooperation with Sri Lanka. We at our side are ever ready to cooperate and help in your trade needs at any time. It is time that we both iron out existing trade issues and begin our trade promotion efforts with each other. Our trade restrictions related talks with some global powers are also progressing well."

"Sri Lanka extends its warm welcome to you" said Minister Bathiudeen, addressing the new Iranian Charge d' Affairs Khani, and added: "I am pleased that your trade restrictions related talks with some global powers are progressing well. I, together with my people in Sri Lanka will pray towards easing of these restrictions faced by your country. It is time that we jointly work to regain our strong trade levels from the current levels of $ 216.47 Mn."

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  ADB tips rapid GDP growth for Sri Lanka  
 

Forecasts above Developing Asia average pick-up of 7.5% in GDP in 2014 and 2015 Says domestic conditions, low inflation, improving consumption demand and falling fiscal deficit augur well for higher growth trajectory Identifies boosting fiscal revenue as key policy challenge

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday expressed confidence in Sri Lanka, forecasting what it described as “rapid” and “above Developing Asia average” growth in 2014 and 2015 due to favourable local and external improvements.

 
 

“An improved external environment, higher investments and a recovery in domestic consumption will sustain a rapid pace of GDP growth in Sri Lanka in the next two years,” stated the ADB’s Asian Development Outlook 2014 (ADO 2014), released in Colombo yesterday. The forecast for 2014 and 2015 for Sri Lanka is 1.3% and 1.1% higher than the predicted GDP growth rate for developing Asia, which is 6.2% for 2014 and 6.4% for 2015.

“Domestic conditions, with relatively low inflation, improving consumption demand and a falling fiscal deficit, all augur well for a higher growth trajectory,” said ADB Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka Tadateru Hayashi at the launch event that was also addressed by ADB Officer in Charge of Sri Lanka resident Mission Ahsan Tayyab, and ADB Senior Economics Officer Hasitha Wickremasinghe.

The ADO also acknowledged Lanka’s GDP grew by 7.3% in 2013, reflecting recovery in domestic demand and a pick-up in exports and tourism. Pointing out that the 7.3% growth rate achieved by Sri Lanka was “more than what was expected” by the ADB, officials noted that while the accomplishment was supported by strengthening domestic demand on an eased monetary policy and a pick-up in exports and tourism, faster growth in wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants, transport, banking, insurance and real estate lifted performance in the large service sector, providing the impetus for the rebound.

Noting that growth rebounded last year from a slowdown in 2012, along with a substantial narrowing of the current account deficit, the easing of inflation and the relaxation of the monetary policy by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the report stated that the outlook is for sustained rapid growth leveraging easy private access to credit in the backdrop of the Government’s continued drive to expand infrastructure. Although an improving external environment is expected to lift trade, the current account deficit will expand on higher imports and fiscal consolidation will focus on revenue enhancement, it stated.

For 2014 and 2015 inflation is expected to remain in mid-single digits, whereas for 2013 the rate tended downwards, standing at an average of 6.9%. The broadly-steady international fuel and stable food prices will help to keep inflation in check in the next two years, assuming normal weather patterns prevail.

Exports are expected to strengthen with better economic performance in the European Union and the United States, Sri Lanka’s main export destinations. The ADO also noted that imports will pick-up in 2014, after a decline in 2013 as domestic demands materialise. However, policy measures taken to limit food imports to support local production will affect imports in the medium term, the report stated. On the current account deficit, continued strong performance in remittances will help contain that element at 2.6% and 3.5% in 2014 and 2015 respectively. In 2013 the worker’s remittances expanded as a result of an increased labour migration under the professional and skilled category. With the fiscal deficit estimated at 5.8% of GDP in 2013, which is a drop from a peak in 2009, the report acknowledged the rate is in line with the sovereign target of 3.8% by 2016. “The target was hit, despite unexpectedly weak revenues, by compressing current expenditure,” the report stated.

Since revenue did not pick up as expected, better economic performance and more imports are expected to result in higher revenue collection in 2014 and 2015. Continued policy action together with improved revenue administration is also needed to achieve a higher revenue ratio. The ADO highlighted and identified that the policy challenge is in boosting fiscal revenues. Although Sri Lanka has been focusing on fiscal consolidation and taking many steps to improve revenue collection, it was highlighted that the revenue ratio has remained low. Despite it standing at 13.6% of GDP in 2013, revenue is noted to have fallen over the past few years, underperforming its target each year.

“As the Government continues its fiscal consolidation, reversing the revenue ratio’s declining trend is critical. The main cause for the erosion of the revenue ratio has been VAT, which accounts for 25% of tax revenue,” it stated.

VAT revenue has declined from 5.8% of GDP in 2004 to 2.7% of GDP in 2012. Many amendments to the VAT Act have taken place since 2002, mainly to improve collection. However, VAT collection has relentlessly declined, affected by exemptions.

“In the context of faster growth reached in the post-conflict years and increased income per capita, the low revenue ratio implies that revenue generation has not kept pace with the rising capacity of the population to pay. Average tax buoyancy (which is about how well revenue mobilisation tracks GDP growth) has hovered for the past five years at 0.78, which is significantly below unity. This indicates that tax collection has been unresponsive to the pace of economic expansion,” the ADO 2014 stated.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Moringa planting under Divi Neguma a major success  
 

The Economic Development Ministry after harvesting the yields of 500,000 moringa oleifera plants, distributed them among people of different districts in the island under the Divi Neguma National programme.

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa on Saturday (29) examined the yields of this short murunga plant which President Mahinda Rajapaksa had planted at the Ministry of Finance and Planning premises in late 2012.

 
 

Moringa oleifera which can be harvested within six months has been introduced by the Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa under Divi Neguma National programme to meet the Government’s objective of encouraging people to lead healthy lives by consuming nutritious food free of poisonous chemicals. This crop also known as ‘miti murunga’ has become popular because it is easy to grow and easy to sustain. Introduced to Sri Lanka from South India 13 years ago, it can be grown in tropical climates and is a favorite food of people in the Middle-East which has become the main market for this crop grown in Sri Lanka.

Although this plant grows easily in the island’s dry zone, it can also be easily grown in all areas of the low country from Jaffna to Hambantota, according to Agricultural Radio Service acting Director Hiran Peiris. According to him it is best to grow it in areas where water flows rather than in places where water gets collected. The plant yields throughout the year and contains many nutrients human body need for healthy growth, he says. Among them are vitamins A,B and C, potassium, carbohydrates, calcium, phosperous, sodium, iron and magnesium, all of which are found in the leaves and pods of this murunga plant, which the Economic Development Ministry hopes to popularize throughout the island.

(Courtesy - news.lk)

 
   

  Sri Lanka attracts high end French tourist group  
 

The growing demand from incentive Travelers in the MICE tourism segment had increased quite sharply over the past years who are travelling mainly for the purpose of business and investment.

Sri Lanka Tourism has identified MICE segment as a key driver of tourism growth and a contributor for overall economic development of Sri Lanka. As a result of the Wonder of Asia promotional campaign initiated by Ministry of Economic Development and Sri Lanka Tourism in Europe, Sri Lankan Travel agents have been receiving many up market incentive groups to Sri Lanka during the recent past.

 
 

One of Sri Lanka’s leading travel agents Connaisance De Ceylon received a group of 130 pax incentive group from Toulouse – France on 26th March which is latest addition to the group incentive travelers visiting the country.

The group consisted of high end tourists from France representing different segments and mainly looking for investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. Due to the new infrastructure developments in the country especially in the areas of domestic air travel, the group took flight using MI 17 helicopters of Heli Tours. A fleet of 06 helicopters carried the incentive group for sightseeing tour from Kandy to down south. The Helitours Pvt Ltd unveiled its newest fleet of helicopters recently which are highly sophisticated for tourist travel.

The groups was highly impressed with the novel experience of having the opportunity to take a birds eye view of Sri Lanka’s luscious greenery and landscape from skies above. They were in full of praise on the latest developments taken place in Sri Lanka for high end tourist travelers such as what they experienced travelling by helicopters. Chairman of Connaisance De Ceylon Chandra Wickramasinhe played a pivotal role in bringing down and organizing the innovative experience offered to the insentive group from France.

(Courtesy - news.lk)

 

  Nurturing the future of birds  
 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared open the new Birds Breeding and Research Centre established in the Nagarawewa, in Hambantota on Thursday (27)..

The Centre which has been established to breed of rare birds and those which are threatened with extinction is located in a 38 acre area.

The Centre has a collection of all varieties of worldwide birds. It is also equipped with all facilities necessary to undertake studies by University students, school children or whoever is interested on special varieties of birds.

 
 

Deputy Minister Sanath Jayasuriya and Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa were also present at this event.

(Courtesy - news.lk)

 
   

  SLT inaugurates South Asia’s first Submarine Cable Depot in Hambantota Port  
 

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), the National ICT Solutions Provider announced that it has been given the opportunity to build, operate and manage South Asia’s first state-of-the-art Submarine Cable Depot in Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port (MMRP) at Hambantota.

As a token of the company’s appreciation and gratitude to President Mahinda Rajapaksa , for his guidance and support towards achieving this significant milestone for Sri

 
 

The presentation ceremony was attended by several VIPs including Ranjith Siyambalapitiya - Minister of Telecommunications and IT, Dullas Alahapperuma – Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development and Namal Rajapaksa – Member of Parliament. Representing SLT, Nimal Welgama – Chairman, . Jayantha Dharmadasa – Director, . Shameendra Rajapaksa – Director, Lalith De Silva - Group Chief Executive Officer as well as senior officials of SLT were also present at the occasion.

SLT will operate the cable depot in Sri Lanka as a joint venture with IOCPL (Indian Ocean Cableship Pvt Ltd) which is a ship service provider for SEAIOCMA (South East Asia & Indian Ocean Cable Maintenance Agreement. This opportunity was realized as a result of a free port policy declaration and tax concessions offered by the GOSL for MMRP operations at Hambantota.

SEAIOCMA is the international consortium for maintaining the undersea cables. Sri Lanka is an important destination where multiple cable systems are already in operation passing the country. Sri Lanka will be the only Submarine Cable Depot in the South Asian region. Prior to this initiative, Singapore was overlooking the Submarine Cable Depot to facilitate international cable systems. Through this operation in the South Asian region, SLT believes in the possibility of bringing in foreign currency to strengthen the country’s economy in the future.

Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port at Hambantota has been selected to set up a submarine cable depot by the cable consortium with the participation of a number of countries and Sri Lanka will facilitate the cable maintenance ship berth and warehouse facility. SLT has already commenced on the construction work of its Submarine Cable Depot in Hambantota and SEA-ME-WE 5 cable landing station in Matara.

SLT selected a location at Browns Hills, Matara to establish the full cable landing station. Landing this international cable at Matara will be a key milestone as well as a landmark for the telecom industry of Sri Lanka as well as the whole country. The SEA-ME-WE 5 submarine cable system will further enhance the uninterrupted connectivity to the world since any redundancies of the existing submarine cable systems (SEA-ME-WE 3 and SEA-ME-WE 4) can be routed through SEA-ME-WE 5 cable system.

The new cable system will enable Sri Lanka to leverage on its strategic marine geographical location in achieving the country’s strategic goals. Moreover this global project will have a positive impact on the overall growth of the country’s economy. On the economic front, a high speed broadband environment will encourage higher GDP, enhanced exports, increased productivity, inward migration and modernizing of other sectors. At all micro and macro-economic levels, it will reduce transaction costs, increase market coverage and competitiveness and create significant opportunities for job creation and income generation. In addition, it will foster economic growth and development through affordable, reliable and seamless global communications. This initiative will be one of the key enablers in achieving the move towards an inclusive digital economy and a SMART Sri Lanka.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa received the token of appreciation from Chairman-SLT, Nimal Welgama and Group CEO-SLT, Lalith De Silva at the Carlton House at Tangalle recently.

(Courtesy - news.lk)

 

  Sri Lanka and Spain enhances trade and commerce between the two countres  
 

Ambassador of Sri Lanka to France and Portugal and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Professor Karunaratne Hangawatte presented Open Papers at the Santa Cruz Palace in Madrid recently as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Spain.

Upon presenting Open Papers to Ambassador Carlos Perez-Desoy Fages, Director General of the Chancellery of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, Ambassador Hangawatte conveyed the warmest regards of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the people of Sri Lanka. Meeting Ambassador Ernesto de Zulueta y Habsburgo Loreno, Director General for North America, Asia and the Pacific at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Hangawatte appreciated the long standing bonds of friendship that exist between Sri Lanka and Spain and renewed the cordial nature of relations while articulating the need for the exploration of areas of cooperation and highlighting the mutually beneficial nature of such endeavours.

 
 

Meeting with the Spanish Secretary of State for Commerce, Jaime Garcia-Legaz, Ambassador Hangawatte highlighted the investment, commerce and tourism potential that existed in Sri Lanka. Looking to enhance the strong links between the two countries, Ambassador Hangawatte stressed the importance of trade and commerce as both countries looked to economic stability, diversified investment and enhanced connectivity.

Discussions were also held with the Director General of CASA ASIA, Ambassador Ramon Moreno, the Chamber of Commerce of Madrid and several business conglomerates that have invested in Sri Lanka and other multinational companies that have expressed interest in entering the business domain of Sri Lanka.

While in Madrid, Ambassador Hangawatte also attended the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Asia and Pacific Ambassadors Meeting at the invitation of its Director General, Dr Taleb Rifai at the UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid. During discussions on the sidelines of the annual meeting, Ambassador Hangawatte and Director General Rifai explored avenues of enhanced cooperation and efforts already underway to stimulate programmes being implemented. The discussions focused on exchanging business and tourism delegations to and from Sri Lanka to advance economic relations between the two countries.

Ambassador Hangawatte was accompanied by Serrano Salvador, Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Madrid and Ms Yoshitha Jayasuriya, Second Secretary (Commercial) at the Embassy in Paris.

(Courtesy - news.lk)

 

  Chinese business delegation to arrive on 31 March  
 

A Business delegation will arrive in Sri Lanka from Guangdong Province of China on March 31, 2014, to explore trade and investment opportunities in the country.

The upcoming trade delegation is organised by the Sri Lanka China Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Representatives from eleven Chinese private sector companies are expected to arrive in the country to strike ties with local partners.

 
 

The delegation is looking at business opportunities in the areas of Investment and Real Estate, Electronic Products, Stainless Steel, Import and Exports, Tea, Copper, Aluminium, Building Material, Lighting (LEDand Solar products), Furniture and Furniture Fittings and Sea Food.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  First 3D digital film goes live  
 

The trend in the global scenario has shifted towards concentrating on space and films that are unconventional. Although Indian cinema is attempting to break new ground in this regard, the local industry, although it has improved on several aspects, is yet to attempt this novel and challenging change.

The launch of a film which will change all this was held in Colombo yesterday, under the patronage of Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa. This film will be the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, a production which spanned nearly a decade on research and development and evolved with the ever-changing leaps in technology.

 
 

Based on a story by renowned science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clark, this groundbreaking film will take the Sri Lankan cinema into outer space. Even in the global scene there have been only two productions involving Sir Arthur’s works in the big screen (2001 A Space Odyssey and 2010). Both these were mega level Hollywood productions and ‘Into the Comet’ is the third story by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, which is about to be transformed onto the silver screen. The exceptional feature of this film is the handling of all the aspects of the production, including the high-end visual effects, by an entirely local crew.

At the helm is Thilanka Perera as Director of the film; the script has been developed from the original story by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, jointly by Thilanka Perera and Maheel R. Perera. The technical crew includes veteran Editor Stanly Alwis and Cinematographer Kavinda Ranaweera.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  Sri Lanka maintains growth goal at 7.8% despite drought  
 

Sri Lanka is maintaining its 7.8% economic growth target for this year despite a lingering drought because it thinks falling lending rates could spur investment, the country’s treasury secretary said on Monday. Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera said the combination of lower interest rates and expansion in the export and construction sector could lead to a pickup in spending.

“There is no particular reason for growth to be revised either direction,” he told reporters in Colombo. Sri Lanka kept policy rates steady at multi-year lows on Friday as it hopes that slowing private sector credit expansion will rebound and push up the country’s growth pace.

 
 

The Central Bank has cut the repurchase rate by 125 basis points (bps) and reverse repurchase rate by 175 bps to 6.5% and 8% respectively since December 2012 to spur growth, but commercial banks’ lending rates have still been high at around 15%.

“Lending rates should stabilise between 10-12% at some point,” said Jayasundera, who has already ruled out any further rate cut during the next 2-3 months.

The $ 67 billion economy’s private sector credit growth has slowed to near four-year low of 5.2% year-on-year in January, compared to the previous month’s 7.5%.

“We are not in a mighty hurry to bring rates down, because it must be a very smooth adjustment,” Jayasundera said. Despite slowing credit expansion, economic growth picked up to 7.3% last year from a three-year low of 6.3% in 2012. Boosting growth were massive state-led infrastructure projects started after the end of a 26-year civil war in 2009.

(Courtesy - development.lk)

 

  We ended the war, developed the country and we will provide relief to the people - President  
 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he and his government was able to end the 30 year long war and develop the country. Likewise it is only the present government which can provide relief to the people.


President expressed these views addressing a public rally at the 18th Mile Post in Katunayake in support of the UPFA candidates contesting next week’s Provincial Council elections. He said that the country was developed and it is the present Government which can provide relief to the people and develop the economy. He further added that schools, education, electricity, hospitals and roads were developed by the Government and requested the people to have faith in him.

 
 

He called upon the people to give a resounding mandate to the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) by casting their vote in favour of the party symbol the ‘Betel Leaf’ and be with the Government which carry forward the country on the development path. The President emphasised that it is only the present government under his leadership which can and will reduce the cost of living.

A mammoth crowd including Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne and Ministers Basil Rajapaksa, Dinesh Gunawardena, Tissa Vitharana. Felix Perera, S.B.Dissanayake, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Mervin Silva, Priyankara Jayarathna, Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna and MP Sudarshani Fernandopulle were present at the rally.

(Courtesy - news.lk)

 
   

           
  Fast Developing Infrastructure    
 
  The Sri Lankan government has launched an ambitious program of physical infrastructure development to completely upgrade the sea, air, road, power and telecom backbone of the country. The following are the main features of this program:  
 
  1. Sea Port and Airport Development

The Sri Lankan government has declared its intention to develop the country as a leading regional aviation, navigation and trading hub in South Asia. Therefore, the development of maritime & aviation transportation is at the forefront of the government's infrastructure development agenda. The focus of these developments is to expand the capacity and improve the efficiency of existing ports through modernization and construction of new ports and airports in strategic locations.

 
 
   
     
  2. Development of High Mobility Road Network

Road development in the country, which was left behind last few decades due to the war, has been given prominence by the government. The national Road Master Plan has already been prepared, which focuses on the construction of highways, widening of highways, reduction of traffic congestion, road maintenance & rehabilitation and bridge rehabilitation & reconstruction. It has become an urgent necessity for further investment in road network, thus the development of road network has become a major determinant factor in attracting new investments to the country.

 
 
   
     
  3. Power & Energy

Development of power & energy sector is a key aspect of the government's infrastructure development agenda and long term strategies have been introduced with active participation of the private sector, as a key component.