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Taj hotels upbeat on Lanka’s potential - 27th September 2010

Sri Lanka is a very price attractive and competitive tourist destination in the world Indian Hotels Company Limited Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing Ajoy K Misra told Daily News Business. “Sri Lanka was one of the best tourist destinations in the sub continent even during the war. However with the restoration of peace the country has finally realized its real potential for tourism, as it is a holistic destination.

We already see a major market renewal interest in Sri Lanka, what is more vitally needs is confidence to have this momentum,” Misra said.

One of Taj’s bold step of re-branding was that there has been a significant growth in both tourist arrivals and occupancy rates as more international tourists are coming back to the country. International tourists are much keen on niche brands such as Vivanta by Taj and Gateway Hotels by Taj.

Source: Daily News

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Sri Lanka poised for strong growth – IMF - 27th September 2010

The fourth review of the Sri Lanka Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) was successfully completed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The fifth tranche to the value of around US dollars 212.5 million has been disbursed by the IMF on September 24. With this disbursement, a total of US dollars 1,275 million has been received thus far by Sri Lanka on account of the SBA facility approved in July 2009, Central Bank said.

After reviewing Sri Lanka’s economic performance under SBA International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that the country’s economic conditions are improving and shows strong growth for this year.

“Sri Lanka’s performance under the program has been satisfactory.

Source: Daily News

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Economy diversifies GDP grows 1.8 percent - 12th November 2009

Central Bank Assistant Governor, Dr. P. Nandalal Weerasinghe said the economy has been diversified and as a result Sri Lanka recorded a 1.8 percent growth in Gross Domestic Production (GDP) on a year on year basis in the first half of this year.
The three main sectors of agriculture, industry and services grew by 3.7 percent, 2.4 percent and 1.1 percent and with the rehabilitation in the Northern and Eastern provinces it is expected to provide an impetus to growth. He was speaking at a seminar on Statutory and Regulatory Requirements for Registered Finance Companies (RFCs) and Specialized Leasing Companies (SLCs) on "Recent Economic Developments and Future Prospects for Financial Services" on Tuesday.
With the dawn of peace, the Colombo Stock Exchange has rallied across the board since April this year and it is amongst the best performing national stock exchanges globally. International investors have purchased Sri Lankan Government securities amounting to US$ 1,646 million from May to October 2009, which shows that foreign investors are confident in investing in the country. Investor confidence is also expected to promote growth in the industry and service sectors with the global economic recovery, he said.

Source: Daily News

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Export earnings on upward trend - 21st October 2009

The trade deficit contracted for the eighth consecutive month in August 2009 by 76.9 percent to US dollars 116 million, recording the third lowest trade deficit during the last five years.
The cumulative trade deficit decreased by 59.6 percent to US dollars 1,627 million during the first eight months of 2009 from US dollars 4,032 million in the corresponding period of 2008, a media release from the Central Bank said.
Workers' remittances increased by 9.9 percent to US dollars 2,195 million during this period. As a result, workers' remittances during the first eight months of 2009 were US dollars 568 million (about 35 percent) in excess of the trade deficit.
Earnings from exports, which took on an increasing trend since April 2009, reached US dollars 710 million in August, recording the highest monthly value thus far in 2009.
Although export earnings contracted by 6.7 percent in August 2009 on a year-on-year basis, export earnings has taken on an increasing trend since April 2009.

Source: Daily News

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EU is keen Sri Lanka maintains concessionary access to EU market - 16th October 2009

European Union says it is keen to see Sri Lanka maintains concessionary access to the European Union.
This was stated by EU ambassador in Sri Lanka Bernard Savage featuring in the ART Television's "The Diplomat", a programme which tracks foreign diplomats based in Sri Lanka on a weekly basis.
Savage spoke on the possibilities of EU extending GSP plus status to Sri Lanka. He said "The intention certainly on our side is that we have to continue that relationship"
The Ambassador also stated that the EU wants to show its solidarity to the Sri Lankan people and added GSP plus concession is an important part of EU - Sri Lanka relationship.
He said the "GSP Plus Scheme" was designed to help countries who have an outstanding record in the areas such as Worker Rights and Human Rights.
Savage said current EU review on Sri Lanka is done to assess the possibility of extending the GSP Plus status to Sri Lanka.
The Ambassador further told ART Television based on the results of the review the European Union will enunciate clearly if there is any "concerns" emanating out of the report, which needs to be addressed by Sri Lanka.

Source: The Island 

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APCAC/AmCham delegation in Sri Lanka - 13th October 2009

The investment by the US corporations in Sri Lanka is expected to touch US$ one billion in the next five years. Currently, over 90 US corporations operating in Sri Lanka have made a cumulative investment of US$ 200 million, said APCAC Asia Pacific Vice President, Immediate Past President of AmCham India and head of a 16-member visiting delegation of the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC); and American Chamber of Commerce in (AmCham)India Atul Singh to media.
The delegation is here, from October 12-14, to understand the investment areas where Sri Lanka needs technology and investments from the American companies. Towards this end the delegates would be meeting the business leaders and the country's elected leadership.
The American companies keen to explore investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. The delegates represent varied business interests ranging from infrastructure (including power, railways, roads and water treatment), healthcare, food and beverages. Defense and commercial helicopters, financial services and logistics are also represented.

Source: Daily News

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Sri Lanka has potential to capture global construction market - 9th October 2009

The country has the potential to capture the global construction market and international exposure is necessary to compete with other countries, Chief Executive Officer/Secretary General, Chamber of Construction Industry Dakshitha Thalgodapitiya told Daily News Business.
"What our construction industrialists lack is the experience in handling mega scale global construction projects. They should be encouraged to secure sub-contracts to gain experience to become the main contractors", he said.
The Chamber pioneered the first trade delegation to Qatar in 2007 followed by another delegation to the UAE in 2008. There are many opportunities for Sri Lankan construction industry professionals in the fields of architecture, quantity surveying and engineering. There are several local professionals working in Dubai, Qatar and Oman at present, he said.

Source: Daily News 

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Thirteen recommendations to enhance trade facilitation - 2nd September 2009

Jonathan Koh of CrimsonLogic, Singapore said the number of days for export should be reduced by half from the current 21 days to achieve excellence in international trade. Paper submission and the administration burden should be reduced, red tape should be checked and trade facilitation enhanced, he said.
He was speaking on "International Trade Facilitation Findings from Sri Lanka" at the International Conference on Benchmarking Sri Lanka's Trade Facilitation at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel yesterday.
Koh submitted 13 recommendations which should be implemented in three stages as short, medium and long term from one to three years and beyond. The cost for the implementation of the program is USD 26.63 million, he said.
Koh recommended the setting up of a Presidential Commission Government -Business trade facilitation Committee as a short term measure and added that the effort on this issue is low.
Establishing 100 percent online admission of CUSDEC, extending the entry receiving time beyond 3 p.m and the standardization of tariff classification were the other short term recommendations.

Source: Daily News 

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Micro Cars adds new manufacturing complex - 24th August 2009

In this era of economic meltdown, Micro Cars Ltd has taken a giant and brave step by adding another manufacturing complex at the premises of the Micro Car factory in the Polgahawela BOI Zone.
Micro Cars Ltd, Chairman Dr Lawrence Perera, said that the new factory is expected to contribute to the output of Micro Agri tractors used for agricultural purposes, and primemovers, for container transportation.
The locally assembled tractor and primemover, the container transporter will drastically contribute to the transportation and agricultural purposes of the country. "Since the end of the war many opportunities have emerged in the Northern and the Eastern parts of the country making the need for transportation heavily felt.
Transportation plays a vital role in the development of a country, Therefore it's important to upgrade the modes of transportation, if a country is to be more productive and efficient.

Source: Daily News 

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Micro to export to India, Bangladesh and Pakistan - 24th August 2009

Micro Cars Limited is set to enter the world market by a mutual agreement to trade and buy with India. It will also explore the motor market of Pakistan and Bangladesh, said Deputy Chairman, Sabri Wahid to Daily FT on Friday, at the commissioning of a new manufacturing facility for commercial vehicles and tractors at Polgahawela.
Mr. Wahid stated that after discussions with Sonalika International of India, an agreement has been reached to export Micro Privilege cars to the Indian market while importing tractors of Sonalika brand to Sri Lanka. With hopes to start the trading late this year, he stated that a significant amount of Indian Rupees is expected to be generated in this venture.

Source: Daily Mirror 

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Moves to increase Colombo Port efficiency - 24th August 2009

Steps will be taken to increase the efficiency of the Colombo Port to attract more shipping lines and transform it as a marketable service.
The local shipping industry suffered due to the global downturn as 10 percent of the total fleet was laid out, Chairman Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama said.
"We met senior officials of international shipping lines and now the situation has improved. A further improvement of the situation is expected next month ", he said. With the vision to consolidate Sri Lanka's position as the premier maritime logistics centre in the Asian region, the SLPA is working towards increasing profitability, efficiency and customer base by providing excellent services and world-class facilities, he said. The SLPA will add new services to the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT). It will also introduce a number of financial control procedures to steady the cash flows and a computer system to improve the productivity. The system will be on par with the world standards, he said.

Source: Daily News 

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Post conflict economic revival of the North and East, Private sector should be profit oriented, communities given equitable deal Ceylon Biscuits, Hayleys and Keells to sign agreements with communities - 24th August 2009

A United Nations agency believes Sri Lanka could end up being a role-model to other post-conflict nations in getting the private sector directly involved in rehabilitating and restoring economies; if all goes well.
The UNDP is facilitating partnerships between top Sri Lankan companies and local post-conflict communities aimed at providing fair equitable dividends within a profit oriented model.
John Keells, Hayleys and Ceylon Biscuits Limited are expected to enter into agreements with several communities in the East and North who have successfully formed into cooperative-style community-based organisations.
September...a big month...
"September is going to be a big month. We hope that several private sector companies, particularly Keells, Hayleys and Ceylon Biscuits will come forward to enter into agreements with communities in the East - and Jaffna in the North - who are already prepared to cater to the production needs of the companies in areas that have already been identified," UNDP Country Director for Sri Lanka, Douglas Keh, said.

Source: The Island 

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Economic turmoil brings opportunities: FCCISL Advisor - 10th August 2009

The Asian SME Summit 2009 is taking place at a time of unprecedented global economic turmoil that has shaken the economies mostly Asian and some very severely. But it has also brought about new challenges and opportunities for the sector to become more dynamic and competitive, said Advisor to the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Sri Lanka (FCCISL) Dr. Wilbert Goonaratne. He was speaking at the Summit which was held from August 6-8 at the BMICH.
The theme of the Summit was "Public Private Partnership in SME Development through Capacity Building, Policy and Research". Seven countries including Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Philippines, Japan and Vietnam participated.
He said that the crisis has had a severe negative impact on the SME sector, especially in terms of employment livelihood and export earnings. As such new opportunities must be examined and identified more rigorously.

Source: Daily News 

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Sri Lanka ranked among Top 20 - 5th August 2009

The consulting giant, A.T. Kearney's Global Services Location Index (GSLI) has identified the top 50 countries for outsourcing globally. The Global Services Location Index (GSLI), first established in 2004, analyzes and ranks the top 50 countries as the best destinations for providing outsourcing services, including IT services and support, contact centres, and back-office support.
Each country's score is composed of a weighted combination of relative scores on 43 measurements, which are grouped into three categories: financial attractiveness, people's skills and ability and business environment.
Sri Lanka is ranked number 16 in the index in 2009 compared to the number 29 position held in 2007. This is a significant jump of 13 positions and only one or two other countries had this upgrade in ranking. The report was compiled with 2008 data prior to the war ending.

Source: Daily News

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