Friday, October 20, 2017

South Korea to sign economic cooperation agreement with Sri Lanka

  • ·         Agreement will cover the fields of investment partnership, trade relations, tourism promotion, and industrial cooperation

Sri Lanka will sign an economic cooperation agreement with South Korea during the state visit of President Maithripala Sirisena, which is scheduled for next month, the government said. The economic cooperation agreement will cover the fields of investment partnership, trade relations, tourism promotion, and industrial cooperation.
The Cabinet, this week, approved a proposal made by Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama to sign this agreement. In March this year, South Korea’s then Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se visited Sri Lanka as the first South Korean top diplomat to visit Sri Lanka in 31 years. He held bilateral discussions with his Sri Lankan counterpart during which both sides agreed to further strengthen economic ties.

South Korean Foreign Minister said that they want to expand economic cooperation with Sri Lanka from 300 million dollars to 500 million dollars over the next three years. Over 30,000 Sri Lankan workers are officially employed in Korea in fisheries, manufacturing and construction sectors under a special employment quota. Two countries also mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

CEB to purchase 100 Mw of emergency power

Sri Lanka’s cabinet has approved a proposal to procure 100MW of electricity from private power producers for a period of 6 months with the option of extending it by further 6 months. The Power Ministry said cabinet approval has been obtained to purchase electricity in the short term at competitive prices through international bidding.
Island’s power regulator earlier warned of serious consequences to be expected if the timely implementation of long term generation plan is not ensured. Public Utilities Commission said due to planned plants not being built as per the timeline, unforeseen power procurement and change of power mix have resulted the increase in the average unit cost of electricity.
In 2016, actual power purchases from oil based plants have increased by 6 times than planned for 2016. Power Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, releasing a statement, however, said that it is not a problem of state policy and planning.

“Hydropower generation is challenged due to the lack of sufficient hydropower during Southwest and Northeast monsoon rainfall in 2017,” “In this backdrop, the CEB is taking measures to ensure the continuous power supply in the country.” Siyambalapitiya said these emergency power purchases will not result in an extra expenditure to the end consumer. He added that this additional electricity purchase will be less than the cost of some of the gas turbines used by the CEB during the night between 6.30am and 10.30pm, which will be the highest daily electricityrequirement of the system.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

National Agency for Public Private Partnership

                                                  Thilan Wijesinghe – Chairman of the NAPPP
Former BOI Chairman Thilan Wijesinghe to head the new body: Wide range of legal, financial and administrative authority: A high-powered ‘National Agency for Public Private Partnership’ was appointed to fast-track Sri Lanka’s economic development agenda.
The Cabinet granted approval to appoint former BOI Chairman and business professional Thilan Wijesinghe as the head of the new agency. The Cabinet paper with regard to the establishment of the new agency was jointly submitted by Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrema.
The NAPPP (National Agency for Public Private Partnership) will be undertaking the ongoing and potential PPP Project Pipeline that includes:
  •              Transport Sector Projects – Inland Water Transport, highway projects & inland airline system.
  •        Ports – Trinco economic corridor & East terminal through ADB Funding.
  •      Power & Energy projects – LNG Kerawalpitiya, 100Mw Solar Project & Waste to energy project.
  •       Petroleum Sector – Sapugaskanda & Hambantota refinery.
  •       Water – Welivita & Jaffna desalination.
  •       SEZ/Industrial Zone – Hambantota SEZ & Horana industrial zonand – New buildings to be constructed on PPP basis.
  •     Healthcare – 24 Projects related to import substitutions for healthcare.
  •     Education – Berkley University project
  •    Mineral Sector – Graphite & Phosphate extraction
  •      Millenium Challenge Corporation Project

It will also have additional powers to identify suitable projects based on feasibility studies and maintain a ‘project pipeline’ in consultation with government ministries. The board of directors of the new agency will consist of eight professionals with vast experience in the public and private sectors namely:
                      1.       Mr. Thilan Wijesinghe, Chairman of the Board
                      2.       Mr S. R. Attygalle, Deputry Secretary to the Treasury
                      3.       Dr. Sarath Rajapathirane, Economic advisor to H.E. the President
                      4.       Mr. Mangala Yapa, Director of BOI
                      5.       Mr. Mano Tittawella, Senior advisor to the Finance Minister
                      6.       Mr. Deshal de Mel, Advisor to the Finance Minister
                      7.       Mrs. Dhara Wijethilake, CEO  Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
                      8.       Mr. Duminda Hulangamuwa, Tax Partner, EY

The new agency has replaced the division which operated under the Finance Ministry to handle certain areas with regard to Public Private Partnerships (PPP). Under the new NAPP, PPP agreements will be carried out by this national agency with adequate legal, administrative and financial authority.

Monday, October 2, 2017

USD125 Mn loan from World Bank for Transport Connectivity and Asset Management Project

  • $125 million dollar loan from the World Bank for the new Transport Connectivity and Asset Management Project

Sri Lanka’s government signed an agreement to get a 125 million dollar loan from the World Bank for the new Transport Connectivity and Asset Management Project, Friday. The loan for this project is provided by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s grant and low-interest arm, with a maturity of 25 years that includes a grace period of five years.
“The Road Development Authority will monitor the contractor and make payment based on the delivery of safe roads free of pot holes, water logging, with shoulders, drainage, and lighting that are well maintained and comfortable for the road users,” said Amali Rajapaksa, World Bank Senior Infrastructure Specialist and Task Team Leader.
“These types of contracts will benefit the Government, contractors and the general public by saving costs and serving as a model that could be adopted by many other sectors in the future.” The project also supports a program financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The RDA is the lead implementing agency.
A dense network makes roads the preferred mode of transportation in Sri Lanka, carrying 95 percent of passenger traffic and 98 percent of freight. Building on the lessons from the World Bank-supported Roads Sector Assistance Project, the new project will help strengthen the RDA by focusing on the institutional and system changes that can transform the authority from a provider of infrastructure to a service provider.
The contracting approach to be piloted in the project aims to improve construction quality, minimize delays and costs, and address the issue of poor-performing contractors. The project will be implemented on the section between Ja-Ela and Chilaw on National Road A003. The contractor will carry out the design, upgrading, rehabilitation, and maintenance under a long-term contract.
“Maximizing quality and minimizing costs of the island-wide road network will no doubt become a model project of the Road Development Authority,” said Pswarayi-Riddihough. “Better and safer roads will benefit all Sri Lankans and contribute to the country’s prosperity and poverty reduction.”

Tobacco Control Project in Sri Lanka

  •        $20 Million is allocated for this project from the UK Health Department

The British government’s Department of Health is committing £15 million ($20 million) to bolster international support for a tobacco control project in Sri Lanka, which is believed to have the world’s highest rate of oral cancer among men.
The new project will promote accelerated implementation of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in low- and middle-income countries, with Sri Lanka one of just 15 priority countries. British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka James Dauris said 60 countries applied for support from the WHO.
“Priority countries weren’t selected on the basis only of need, but also on level of commitment,” he told a news conference, a statement said. Tobacco use is one of the principal causes of oral cancer and in Sri Lanka oral cancer is the most common form of male cancer, Dauris said. “I understand that Sri Lanka is the only country in the world where this is so.
This alone is a good argument for investing in change.” Evidence from around the world confirms that effective measures reduce the burden of tobacco related death and disease, freeing up money and resource to be spent and invested in more productive ways, he said.

SEIC 2017 kicks off in Colombo: An investment seminar to highlight Sri Lanka’s investment opportunities

The Government yesterday encouraged more than 200 forthcoming financial specialists from China, Wall Street, London, Geneva, Dubai, H...