Developing Sri Lanka
Bangladesh High Commissioner meets Sri Lankan President
Bangladesh High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Tarik Ahsan paid a courtesy call on the newly elected President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirissena at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo recently.
During the meeting, the Bangladesh High Commissioner conveyed the greetings of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the Sri Lankan President and reiterated her invitation to him to visit Bangladesh at a mutually convenient time. The High Commissioner lauded the steps taken by the new government of Sri Lanka under President Sirisena for promoting compassionate and good governance for all Sri Lankans. He sought the support of President Sirisena in the efforts for advancing bilateral cooperation between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He focused on the areas of cooperation in trade, pharmaceuticals, shipping, culture and people-to-people contact.
President Sirisena conveyed his regards to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and good wishes to the people of Bangladesh. He recalled the commonalities of history, culture, values and ethnicity between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and expressed satisfaction at the close cooperation between the two countries bilaterally and multilaterally. He assured the High Commissioner of his government`s full cooperation in further strengthening the bilateral relation. The President recalled his visits to Bangladesh in 2013 and 2014 in the capacity of Health Minister of Sri Lanka. He expressed his intention to visit Bangladesh in near future.
Courtesy : news.lk
President praises Vietnam’s rapid agricultural growth
President Maithripala Sirisena said Vietnam’s rapid agricultural and industrial growth is a good example for other developing countries such as Sri Lanka to emulate. He said that Sri Lanka would like to follow the successful Vietnamese methods of utilization of modern technology to enhance agricultural growth.
The President made these observations when the Vietnamese Ambassador, Madam Phan Kieu Thu paid a courtesy call at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday.
Ambassador Thu conveyed the Vietnamese Government’s congratulations to President Sirisena on his Presidential election victory. She also expressed deep appreciation of the successful implementation of the good governance programme.
Madam Thu said that a Vietnamese ministerial delegation would visit Sri Lanka next month for the Meeting of the Sri Lanka Vietnam Joint Commission on Trade and Commerce. She expressed hope that the meeting would result in further expansion of bilateral trade and investment.
The Vietnamese Ambassador briefed the President about the increased cooperation between the two countries in education, trade, tourism, agriculture and industry.
She extended an invitation on behalf of the Vietnamese President to President Sirisena to visit Vietnam. The President said that he has an extremely busy schedule this year and promised to consider a visit to Vietnam in 2016.
Courtesy : news.lk
Sri Lanka launches third ICT survey with PwC
As ICT exports are projected to top $1Bn this year, Sri Lanka has launched the latest ICT Value Survey to find the national hi-tech exports it achieved in 2013/14-and all the ICT exporters are encouraged to actively take part in it.
“We have recognized the ICT industry to be a key player in our exports. We a looking for $1 billion exports this year” voiced Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on Wednesday (18) in Colombo.
Minister Bathiudeen was acknowledging the update on ICT exports by top EDB officials on the latest ICT Value Survey.
The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), for the third time, has embarked on the survey of the ICT/ BPM export industry to capture the ICT export values for the years 2013 and 2014. The survey is expected to demonstrate the progress made by the industry and to highlight its growing significance as a top export revenue generator for Sri Lanka. This survey will specifically focus on the export value of the ICT sector for the years 2013 and 2014. While focusing on the capacity available for the industry, the survey also concentrates on the existing global markets.
The survey will be conducted in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
“Sri Lankan President’s 100 Day program aims at export promotion and GSP Plus recovery” stressed Minister Bathiudeen, and added: “We have recognized the ICT industry to be a key player in our exports development. We are looking for $1 billion exports this year. The 2013/’14 ICT Export Value Survey will show us the latest exports value. I urge all the ICT exporters of Sri Lanka to join and support us to find the accurate volumes.”
Mr. Bandula Egodage, Chairman and Chief Executive of EDB, stressed: “To evaluate the progress of ICT/BPM exports, we need to continuously measure the growth of it and its contribution to the country’s economy. The government has recognized the industry to be one of the key players in the Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Export Development Board expects that this survey will be instrumental in facilitating the industry to reach its highest potential. The results of the survey will be useful to assess the current status of the industry in relation to its competitors as well as be the basis for Government policy decisions in the future regarding the ICT industry”.
During the last five years, Sri Lanka’s global brand position improved significantly. AT Kearney ranked Sri Lanka among the top 25 destinations in their global ranking in the last three consecutive rankings. Gartner ranked Sri Lanka among its top 30 global locations. IBM, Tholons and several others ranked Sri Lanka at the top of their respective leader boards. To receive the “Outsourcing Destination of the Year” award from the National Outsourcing Association (NOA), UK twice in a row, was a true validation of the tremendous progress that Sri Lanka has achieved.
When such ICT initiatives are carried out by EDB, EDB is supported by the ICT/BPM industry, the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka, Board of Investment, SLASSCOM, FITIS, Ministry of Industry & Commerce, Institute of Chartered Accountants, Faculty of IT – University of Moratuwa and School of Computing – University of Colombo.
In 2013, Sri Lanka ICT export revenues stood at $719 Mn. The sector saw growth of 123% over the last five years. London Stock Exchange and HSBC are among recipients of Lankan ICT support. Sri Lanka’s IT/BPM sector vision 2022 is to earn $5Bn in revenues, with 200,000 direct jobs and 1000 start-ups.
Courtesy : news.lk
Switzerland ready to support Sri Lanka's national reconciliation
Switzerland is willing to open a new chapter in bilateral relations with Sri Lanka and ready to extend its full support for a national reconciliation programme Visiting Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation, Federal Councilor Didier Burkhalter told President Maithripala Sirisena.
The visiting Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs made this pledge Tuesday (17) when he met Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat.
Mr Burkhalter said that the Swiss government is very happy with the measures taken by Sri Lankan government so far to build up national reconciliation and empower democracy in Sri Lanka.
In talks with President Sirisena and other top government representatives Mr. Burkhalter also discussed possibilities of boosting bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Switzerland.
President Sirisena appreciated the Swiss government's role as a neutral state in helping peace moves throughout the world.
Mr. Burkhalter has also held talks with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and representatives of the government and of the Tamil population in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.
Mr Burkhalter expressed his appreciation for the peaceful elections in Sri Lanka and for the reforms the new government has introduced.
Open and comprehensive dialogue between all parties concerned was an essential prerequisite for building trust, said Mr Burkhalter. He also welcomed the Sri Lankan government's willingness to work more closely with the international community and the UN to investigate and punish human rights violations.
Concerning bilateral relations, Mr Burkhalter said that a "new era" could be starting between Switzerland and Sri Lanka, in terms of economic ties and cooperation in other areas.
At today's meeting with Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, Mr Burkhalter discussed options for expanding trade and economic relations.
The trade volume between Switzerland and Sri Lanka is currently around CHF 300 million per year. Many Swiss companies are present in Sri Lanka, and Mr Burkhalter met representatives from several of them while in Colombo today.
Mr Burkhalter also met Tamil National Alliance (TNA) seniors R. Sampathan, and MP M.A. Sumanthiran and discussed the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka.
The Swiss Minister will visit the Akkarai project village in Jaffna, tomorrow. Switzerland supported its reconstruction following the civil war, as part of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation's (SDC) humanitarian reconstruction programme. In total, Switzerland is helping some 5,000 families to build houses, 20% of them are households headed by women. Thirty-five of the supported families live in the Akkarai project village.
In Jaffna, Mr Burkhalter will also meet the Chief Minister of Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, and the Governor of Northern Province, H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, for talks.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ajith C Perera, Secretary to the President, P B Abeykoon, and Foreign Secretary Chitranganee Wagiswara were also present on this occasion.
Courtesy : news.lk
Sri Lanka Tourism taps high potential Czech Republic Market
With the overall tourism numbers in Sri Lanka growing by 11.6% as at end February 2015, identifying the high potential of generating quality tourism numbers to Sri Lanka will be key is the new ethos of the Tourism hierarchy.
In this clear strategy, the Sri Lanka promotion Bureau selected a key market in Central European -Czech Republic to be the catalyst in driving the quality traveller as predicted by the UNWTO trends of tourism that was announced recently. With this objective the much acclaimed key travel and tourism fair branded Holiday World Travel Fair staged in Prague was selected to be used to reach Central European segment of business by the Sri Lankan Tourism promotion bureau with the industry members said the chairman Rohantha Athukorala.
We also want to test Digital marketing in this market where using tools like trip advisor analytics we can find the people who have researched Sri Lanka as a tourism destination and how we can track them to be linked to the private sector business. This is the newest form of destination marketing that Sri Lanka is challenged with. We have no option but move with the global trends as we must note that the world market is very competitive and the company that is closest to the consumer gets the booking he said.
Sri Lanka Tourism contingent was represented by the engineering background Managing Director of SLTPB Milanka Gajanayake and Market Head of Czech Republic Jagath Perera. The Major travel companies in Sri Lanka like Exotic Holidays International, Deluxe Vacations (Pvt) Ltd, Jetwing Travels and Raffles Leisure (Pvt) Ltd participated for this years show with a single minded idea on how we can convince people of Czech Republic to travel to Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan delegation had a hard sell approach to the trade and an absolute consumer end demand generating discussions with top tour operators of Czech Republic. Some of the discussions centred around commencing charter flights to Sri Lanka whilst some said let's keep innovating for new marketing campaigns so that with the direction Sri Lanka will benefit.
Czech market generates nearly 12,000 tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka annually and has the potential to be twenty thousand this year said Chairman Athukorala. Holiday World is unique outlet where one can access with all possible features related to the tourism package trips and getting into a valet of a typical traveller where multiple countries are visited like Maldives and Sri Lanka.
As the UNWTO Secretary General commented that using all forms of digital communication and not only can act on a feedback loop but also develop new elands that can blossom to a strong relationship. The latest trends reveal that there is growth in the number of visitors attending the fair every year and the conversions from sales leads is a good ROI based evaluation that we are in the process of finalizing together with the bid proposal.
Attendees include hospitality and leisure industries with an higec tighten interest by travel trade members, business travel decision makers, leisure and holiday travelers, travel trade members, and cooperate and business travel decision makers and travel planners. Sri Lanka Tourism visions is to develop the Czech Republic Market which will lead to visitor journalists programmes and many other creative ways to reach the digital consumer commented Athukorala.
Courtesy : news.lk
Swiss Foreign Minister called on President
Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter called on President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (17).
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ajith C Perera, Secretary to the President, P B Abeykoon and Foreign Secretary Chitranganee Wagishwara were also participated to this occasion.
Courtesy : news.lk
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera meets Indonesian Special Envoy
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met Indonesian Special Envoy and Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday (17). The Indonesian Ambassador to Sri Lanka and other senior officials were also present. Indonesia is the world's fourth most popular country and South East Asia's largest economy.
Courtesy : news.lk
Foreign Minister meets his Maldivian counterpart
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met Maldivian Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon at the Foreign Ministry on Monday (16).
The Sri Lankan and Maldivian Foreign Secretaries and other senior officials, including the Maldivian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, also attended the meeting. Foreign Minister Maumoon met Foreign Minister Samaraweera earlier this month in Geneva.
Courtesy : news.lk
Sri Lanka and India sign four bilateral agreements
President Maithripala Sirisena and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, currently on a two-day state visit to Sri Lanka presided over the signing ceremony of four memorandums of understanding at the Presidential Secretariat today.
The (MoU) memorandums of understanding signed today are:
1. Agreement between Sri Lanka and India on Exemption from Visa Requirement for holders of diplomatic and official passport holders
2. Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on Co-operation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters
3. Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Youth Development between the Ministry of Youth Affairs of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of India
4. Memorandum of Understanding between Sri Lanka and India for the Establishment of Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Auditorium in the University of Ruhuna
Courtesy : development.lk
Japanese grant to improve educational environment of Kilinochchi Primary School
The Government of Japan has provided US$ 185,425 (Rs.24 million approx.) grant for the ‘Project for Improving Educational Environment of Kilinochchi Primary School under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).
The project aims at construction of a two-storied building and improving sanitation facilities. It is also expected to improve the teaching skill of teachers by conducting a series of teacher’s training programs while conducting training programmes for parents in realizing children’s right to receive education under the proper environment.
Japan provides its assistance to this project under the focus of ‘Development of Emerging Regions’ enshrined in the Country Assistance Policy for Sri Lanka. The Government of Japan believes that recovery of livelihood and economic growth of the people who live in poverty ridden areas, need to be complemented by addressing core issues like infrastructure rehabilitation.
An integrated approach in this nature will pave the way to reconciliation, durable peace and inclusive development in all parts of the country in the long run
Mr.Guido de Vries, Country Director at ZOA Sri Lanka said that through these grants it will be possible to ensure that children aged 0-5 years receive good quality early childhood care and development (ECCD) education and children aged 6-11 years receive good quality primary education through Child Friendly School Framework (CFS).
The Grant Contract was signed between Mr. Nobuhito Hobo, Ambassador of Japan and Mr. Guido de Vries Country Director at ZOA Sri Lanka today (16) at the Ambassador’s Residence in Colombo.
Courtesy : development.lk
Modi flags off Talaimannar train service
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today flagged off a train service at the north-western Sri Lankan town of Talaimannar – the closest point to India – restored after decades of civil war, completing the reconstruction of the entire Northern Province Railway Line.
Accompanied by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Modi also unveiled a plaque inaugurating Talaimannar 1650 Pier Railway station.
Modi flew in here by an IAF chopper from the ancient holy town of Anuradhapura where he offered prayers at the sacred Mahabodhi tree. He is on his way to Jaffna, a former war zone in the island’s Tamil-majority Northern Province.
The newly-constructed 63-km railway track between Madhu Road and Talaimannar Pier is the last segment of the 265-km long, prestigious Northern Railway Line Reconstruction Project which is being executed by IRCON International Ltd., a Government of India owned company.
It is designed with a speed potential of 120 km per hour.
The completion of the rail projects in the northern region is a big step towards providing safe, time and fuel efficient, comfortable and environment friendly transport service to the people of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan officials said that after commissioning of the new section, the commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka to restore rail track connectivity in the Northern Province after a lapse of 25 years has been fulfilled.
This will also fulfill the long-cherished dream of the local Tamil people for having direct rail connectivity to Colombo that will also help in the reconciliation efforts of Government of Sri Lanka, they said.
Courtesy : development.lk