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HEADLINES - 16th October 2018


Evaluation for ‘Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2018’ begins

The Evaluation Panel of the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability (BCCS) Award 2018 commenced its work yesterday to select the country’s heroes of corporate sustainability. The opportunity to submit applications closed on 12 October, 2018.


World Bank forecasts 3.9% economic growth for Sri Lanka this year – Daily Mirror

The World Bank expects Sri Lanka economy to grow 3.9 percent this year and 4 percent in next two years, recovering from the weather disruptions, which negatively affected agriculture, last year. Sri Lanka recorded growth of 3.3 percent in 2017, the slowest in growth rate in 16 years. According to Sri Lanka’s Census and Statistics Department, the economy grew 3.6 percent in the first half. Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy recently said he was hopeful of achieving 4 percent economic growth for this year, although it meant the economy has to grow 4.4 percent in the second half. Both the International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank revised down their growth forecasts on Sri Lanka for this year and 2019. Despite Sri Lanka’s moderate growth expectations, the World Bank said the growth in the South Asian region is set to top 6.9 percent this year and to accelerate to 7.1 percent next year.


National debt amounts to US$ 53.5B at end-June – Ceylon Today

Sri Lanka’s total outstanding debt as of end-June this year stood at US$ 53.5 billion, up 9.5 per cent compared to US$ 48.9 billion reported during the same period of last year, which as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), represents 59 per cent. According to Central Bank data, the country’s long term debt represented 86 per cent of the total outstanding, while short term debt was 14 per cent of the total.


Central Bank begins forensic audits on EPF’s share, bond investments – Daily Mirror

The Central Bank yesterday said the procurement process for several forensic audits is underway on the Employees’ Provident Fund’s (EPF) investment in stocks and treasury bonds and operations of selected entities regulated and supervised by the bank. “The forensic audits are to be conducted by entities with a global practice,” the Central Bank said.


Inland Revenue Department report reveals Tax defaulters dodge Rs.197 bn. – Daily News

The Government had been deprived an income amounting to approximately Rs.197 billion due to taxes in default as at the end of last year, the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) performance report for the year 2017 indicated. Tax evasion remains one of the main reasons for the default of taxes. The report was tabled in Parliament last week.


TDL won’t go to Treasury: SLTPB – DailyFT

Upon reaching a settlement between industry stakeholders and the Finance Ministry, the Tourism Development Levy (TDL) will not be absorbed into a Consolidated Fund, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) said yesterday. “There was a proposal to absorb the TDL into the Consolidated Fund of the Treasury and using it for tourism promotion on a case-by-case basis. However, after industry leaders discussed the matter with Treasury officials, they agreed not to put it through,” SLTPB Managing Director Sutheash Balasubramanium told Daily FT.


Tourism digital campaign to kick off end Oct. – DailyFT

The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) yesterday confirmed it was all set to launch the much-awaited digital campaign by the end of this month.


Better regional infrastructure, rules, mooted at Sri Lanka e-commerce meeting – EconomyNext

South Asian countries need to improve their legal, financial, logistical and telecommunication infrastructure to increase electronic commerce in the region which is small but has much growth potential, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said. “Despite low trade within the region, there are great potentials  for using information and communication technologies to contribute to social and economic progress across South Asian countries,” he said.


Sri Lanka moots higher fines, compulsory community service for marine polluters – EconomyNext

Sri Lanka’s marine environment is under serious threat from virtually unchecked pollution owing poor public attitudes and weak law enforcement by authorities, a marine environment expert has warned. “If Kenya banned plastic bags in one night and Rwanda followed it, why not Sri Lanka?” asked Terney Pradeep Kumara, general manager of the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) in the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy.


Govt. should guard against policy backsliding: IPS – DailyFT

Sri Lanka’s Government should fight against policy backsliding and remain focused on export and investment driven growth strategies as the already beleaguered economy heads towards deepening political and economic challenges next year, hampered by high debt, growing external risks and limited reform implementation, a top think tank said yesterday.   


SL-Thai Trade far behind 2020 target of US$ 1.5B – Ceylon Today

Sri Lanka and Thailand are far from their ambitious trade target of US$ 1.5 billion by 2020, Thai Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Chulamanee Chartsuwan told Ceylon FT. “In 2016, our policymakers set a very ambitious target for our bilateral trade to reach US$ 1.5 billion in 2020, which is only two years from now,” Chartsuwan pointed out.


Hayleys grabs over 92% control of Singer Sri Lanka – Ceylon Today

Sri Lankan listed diversified conglomerate Hayleys PLC and its subsidiaries yesterday (15) grabbed over 92% control of Singer (Sri Lanka) (SSL) PLC by acquiring the remaining 9.47%, or 35.6 million-share stake of SSL for Rs 1.67 billion, Hayleys Group Executive Director Sarath Ganegoda told Ceylon FT.


Sri Lanka state drugs maker doubles capacity with Japanese aid – EconomyNext

Sri Lanka's State Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC) is expected to double annual production of tablets with Japanese aid and meet 70 percent of the island’s drug demand following a refurbishment. It met only 43.6 percent of local demand for medicine in 2011.


Manufacturing and services PMI dips in Sept. – DailyFT

Manufacturing and services sectors slowed down in September according to the latest Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), with cost pressures seen due to higher input costs. 


Invest Sri Lanka ends with first-ever event in Scotland – Daily News

The Invest Sri Lanka capital market road show organized by the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) in association with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) concluded on a positive note with institutional investors based in Edinburgh, particularly those with an investment interest in frontier and emerging markets gathering to hear the investment case for Sri Lankan equities.


Economic transformation only path to growth – DailyFT

The depreciation of the rupee can be offset by Central Bank measures but this will be unsustainable in the long term with strong economic growth needing to be underpinned by greater exports and investment being the only the solution to the problem, a top official said yesterday. Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs Dr. Harsha De Silva speaking at the inauguration of the AAT Sri Lanka Conference 2018 titled ‘Stepping Up; Role of Interpreter to Influencer’ addressed the challenges ahead for Sri Lanka’s economy with special emphasis on the problems created by the depreciating rupee.    


Rupee ends weaker; stocks hit near 5-yr low on foreign selling – Daily Mirror

REUTERS: The Sri Lankan rupee ended 0.7 percent weaker yesterday as banks and importers bought the dollar and as stocks declined for a fifth straight session, hitting a near five-year closing low on continued foreign fund outflow. The rupee ended at 170.60/75 per dollar, compared with the previous close of 169.40/70. 


Sri Lanka's All Share index falls below 5,800 points – EconomyNext

Colombo's All Share index fell below 5,800 points on Monday, closing 0.70 percent lower on selling interest in banking stocks and John Keells Holdings, provisional data showed.


Bond yields continue to dip – DailyFT

The secondary bond market remained active yesterday as yields dipped across the curve on the back of continued buying interest. Yields on the liquid maturities of 01.03.21, 15.10.21, 15.12.21 and 15.07.23 were seen dipping to intraday lows of 11.30%, 11.37%, 11.40% and 11.60% respectively in morning hours of trading. 


Sri Lanka Banking Sector: Status quo as of June 2018 – DailyFT

KPMG Sri Lanka has come out with its second report on the country’s banking sector incorporating the performance up to June 2018. This is a follow up to the first report which captured performance and challenges up to March 2018. 


Kanchana Hewavitharana, appointed COO for HSBC in SL, Maldives – Daily News

HSBC has appointed Kanchana Hewavitharana as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Sri Lanka and Maldives effective September 2018. He succeeds Sriyan Cooray who retired from HSBC in May 2018 having served within the HSBC Group since 1990.


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