Tuesday November 7, 2023 12:04 am
Tuesday November 7, 2023 12:04 am
ECONOMYNEXT – Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka visited the island nation’s Northern province which is close to South Indian state of Tamil Nadu and invited the locals to export sea foods to China while assuring that Beijing will not export any fisheries products to the province.
India has become increasingly concerned over China’s expansion into the Northern province and had convinced Sri Lankan government to cancel three renewable energy projects in the North granted for Beijing, government officials have said.
China has been assisting for sea cucumber farming for Jaffna fishermen, whose livelihood is hit by bottom trawling and encroachment of Indian fishermen.
In his second visit to the North, Ambassador Qi Zhenhong donated food packs, fishing gears, and houses to Northern people, mainly ethnic minority Tamils who are culturally close to South India.
“No matter what kind of challenges and difficulties you face, the Chinese people will firmly stand with you, no matter in the past, now or in the future,” Qi Zhenhong told a public gathering at district secretariat in the former war zone of Jaffa district.
“The Chinese government has a promise to continue to provide support,” he said adding that Beijing has decided to donate each 5 million rupee worth of food packs, fishing gears, and houses for Northern people.
China has already started exporting sea cucumber from Jaffna fishermen and the Ambassador promised to buy more from Northern fishermen in the future.
“No Chinese fish export to Sri Lanka, specially to Northern province,” he said referring to sea food imports by Sri Lanka from China
“China is the second largest economy. We have a huge market. We warmly welcome Sri Lanka competitive product exports to China.”
“We have a great potential… Chinese investors, China entrepreneurs have great interest to come to the Northern province. I hope Northern province also warmly welcome China investors and tourists to come to the Northern province.”
Qi Zhenhong’s visit comes two days after Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s official visit to Jaffna.
People in Jaffna said initially there were some hesitations over Chinese ambassador’s visit to the North.
“But he came with food packs and some fishing gears. People need those goods in the current extremely difficult conditions,” a Jaffna based civilian told EconomyNext asking not to be named.
“So, nobody rejected the Chinese ambassador. It would be even possible China winning the minds of Jaffna people though buying their sea food for exports.”
The Chinese Embassy in Colombo separately said three donation ceremonies were held in the three districts of North with each district receiving 500 boxes of dry rations worth 7,500 rupees each ($23) and another Project, 5000 boxes worth 37.5 million rupees will be distributed to the needy in the Northern Province. (Colombo/Nov 6/2023)
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Friday November 10, 2023 4:45 pm
Friday November 10, 2023 4:45 pm
ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Friday, CSE data showed.
The All Share Price Index was down 0.16 percent, or 17.20 points, at 10,872.28.
The S&P SL20 index was down 0.23 percent, or 7.22 points, at 3,081.71.
Turnover was at 1 billion.
Market participants said investors were wary ahead of the budget, but several shares attracted interest in particular.
There was investor interest around Sri Lanka Telecom shares (up at 102.00) as the finance ministry’s state owned enterprise restructuring unit offered a 50.3 percent stake of SLT for sale, on November 10.
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Investor interest in John Keells Holdings (down at 197.00) shares continued, with the day’s highest volumes and contributing 184 million to the day’s turnover. Foreign buying interest in the shares continued, analysts said.
Shares of Windforce Plc (up at 19.10), which announced a new venture in Zanzibar, a Tanzanian archipelago off the coast of East Africa, also traded heavily. The company also announced a change in its directors.
A statement by the company said: “We are pleased to inform that WindForce PLC has entered into engineering design, procurement installation, testing and commissioning contract of a 389 kWp ground mount off-grid solar power project on Bawe Island, part of Zanzibar, on 6 November. Our client for this project is Bawe Retreat Limited a developing luxury resort with 70 rooms.”
The top five positive contributors to the ASPI in the day were Sampath Bank (up at 69.50), Browns Investments (up at 5.20), Richard Peiris and Co (up at 20.80), LOLC Holdings (up at 388.00), and Watawala Plantations (up at 79.60). (Colombo/Nov10/2023)
Friday November 10, 2023 4:43 pm
Friday November 10, 2023 4:43 pm
ECONOMYNEXT – Divisional secretaries in Sri Lanka have agreed to support the government’s new consolidated Aswesuma welfare scheme, according to Chairman of the Welfare Benefits Board Jayantha Wijeratne.
The official was quoted as saying in a statement by the president’s office that the Union of Sri Lanka Divisional Secretaries has agreed to support the continued implementation of Aswasuma welfare benefits programme during a meeting that took place on Tuesday November 07.
There were reports in October that the ambitious poverty alleviation programme was facing a delay due to resistance from bureaucrats at the grass root level. Sri Lanka had already secured 185 million dollars in World Bank funding to support the welfare scheme which was originally scheduled to start in July.
However, resistance from bureaucrats dragged the programme, and benefits were given partially for July. Payments for August and September are yet to be made, a Finance Ministry official said on October 24.
Sri Lanka’s targeted Aswesuma poverty alleviation program faces delay amid resistance
Tuesday’s meeting was attended by State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe and other officials.
The appointment of dedicated officers at the village level to “ensure the efficient and formal execution of the Aswasuma welfare programme” was among matters taken up for discussion at the meeting, according to the statement from the president’s office.
The Aswasuma programme, approved by the cabinet of ministers in December, 2022, encompasses welfare benefit payments across four social categories: transitional, vulnerable, poor, and extremely poor. It is also expected to extend financial support and allowances to individuals with disabilities, the elderly, and kidney patients.
Sri Lanka started Aswesuma, its new consolidated welfare payments scheme, after a large number of people were tipped into poverty when the rupee collapsed from the most aggressive macro-economic policy (rate cuts and tax cuts) employed by the country’s economic bureaucrats since a money printing central bank was set up.
Officials said the government launched the Awesuma programme in response to allegations that the existing welfare scheme system was too politicised, with criticism specifically levelled at the Samurdhi scheme.
Aswesuma was launched by the Welfare Benefits Board following a proposal by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, according to government spokesmen, to “create an entrepreneurial state instead of a welfare state.” (Colombo/Nov10/2023)
Friday November 10, 2023 3:38 pm
Friday November 10, 2023 3:38 pm
ECONOMYNEXT – Chair of Sri Lanka Cricket’s selection committee Pramodya Wickramasinghe has implied the existence of a conspiracy behind Sri Lanka’s less than spectacular performance at the Cricket World Cup.
The beleaguered cricket team along with officials returned to the island Friday November 10 morning and, amid tight security, spoke to reporters at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.
Fielding questions from reporters, Wickramasinghe said he would “reveal all” in two days’ time.
Expressing his disappointment at the team’s dismal performance in India, the chief selector said, while he accepts responsibility for it, there was a “reason for the collapse” in performance.
“I won’t say anything today. Give me two days. I will reveal all,” he said.
“We didn’t do our best. Give me two days and I will reveal the reason for that, and also where the collapse occurred,” said Wickramasinghe.
The official said Sri Lanka went to India with a plan, which will be evident in how the team plays in the future.
“I accept responsibility. I won’t run away. I will reveal in the future whether there was a conspiracy,” he said.
“There was a conspiracy by a certain group. I will talk about it,” he added.
Wickramasinghe said he needs time to study the developments that took place in Colombo with regard to cricket administration during their absence.
Sri Lanka’s parliament passed a resolution on Thursday to remove the top officials of the island nation’s Cricket Board over the 2023 World Cup debacle, a day after a local court granted a stay order for the officials to continue at least for two weeks.
In an unusual manner, the resolution was passed unanimously in a highly divided 225-member legislature. The move comes amid protests near the Sri Lanka Cricket Board head office in capital Colombo, demanding the top cricket officials to be ousted.
Sri Lanka parliament approves to sack top cricket officials after World Cup debacle
“That’s why I’m asking for two days,” he said.
The chief selector also acknowledged that the players too had some issues.
“They are the ones who have to go into the middle and play. The coaches are there to give them a strategy. The players have to go and do it. Some of these things didn’t happen properly,” he said. (Colombo/Nov10/2023)
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