SRI LANKA UPDATE | 15 – 21 SEPTEMBER 2023
Sri Lanka & World Bank (WB) discuss economic reforms and potential collaborations – A Sri Lankan team headed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe conducted high-level negotiations with representatives of the World Bank, including President Ajay Banga. The discussion, which took place in conjunction with the President’s presence at the UN General Assembly, focused on a number of important issues including economic reforms and development in the sectors of agriculture, tourism and digitization of the economy.
Sri Lanka targets USD 2 billion from coconut-related product exports – Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, Minister of Industry and Plantations established a target of generating USD 2 billion in export revenue from goods connected to coconuts in the next five to ten years. Minister Pathirana expressed gratitude to the Coconut Research Institute (CRI), Coconut Cultivation Board and Coconut Development Authority (CDA) for their efforts in boosting the export of king coconut. He acknowledged the necessity for more promotion of king coconut farming and also highlighted the immense potential for export revenue from goods connected to coconuts. The highest reported values over the past two years were USD 836 million and USD 817 million, respectively. This indicates a remarkable 20 per cent increase in export income within the sector.
Industrial Development Fund injects new life into micro, small and medium-scale industries –
25 persons received loans from the Industrial Development Fund (IDF) handled by the Industrial Development Board (IDB), coming under the umbrella of the Ministry of Industry. These loans, which have a LKR 500,000 maximum per recipient cap, are intended to help SMEs to grow and thrive. The project seeks to revitalize Sri Lanka’s entrepreneurial scene and pave the path for a more promising economic future. The inaugural phase would see a total of LKR 6.5 million distributed to 25 entrepreneurs, each representing a different district.
Politics & Policy:
Sri Lanka’s new ‘Online Safety Bill’ gazetted – The Online Safety Bill was gazetted on 19th of September 2023 and established the Online Safety Commission in Sri Lanka. The Bill was presented by the Ministry of Public Security in Sri Lanka. The key points of the bill include:
● Prohibition of certain online communications: The Bill makes provisions to prohibit online communication of certain statements made in Sri Lanka, including statements that are false, threatening, alarming or distressing
● Prevention of use of online accounts for prohibited purposes: The Bill aims to prevent the use of online accounts and inauthentic online accounts for prohibited purposes
● Identification of online locations used for prohibited purposes: The Bill makes provision to identify and declare online locations used for prohibited purposes in Sri Lanka
● Suppression of financing and support of false statements: The Bill aims to suppress the financing and other support of communication of false statements
● Establishment of the Online Safety Commission: The Bill establishes the Online Safety Commission to exercise and perform the powers, objectives and functions assigned to it under this Act
President meets Meta Global Affairs President in New York – President Wickremesinghe discussed the Sri Lankan Government’s new attempts to stop the spread of online fake news and hate speech with Meta President of Global Affairs Sir Nick Clegg in New York. The President emphasized that the proposed legislation would allow interested parties to appeal particular provisions in the Supreme Court and that additional changes might be taken into account during the Parliamentary Committee’s examination. The President was briefed on Meta’s developments in AI, with a focus on open-source technology in particular. Both sides looked into prospective Artificial Intelligence (AI) partnerships between Meta and the Sri Lankan government.
Port City Colombo draws global investor attention as Gold Sponsor of i3 Summit in Dubai –
Port City Colombo was the Gold Sponsor of the i3 Summit organised by Khaleej Times in Dubai, on the theme “Redefining Innovation, Inspiring Change and Shaping the Future of Business”. This significant sponsorship successfully attracted the attention of the international investment community while demonstrating Port City Colombo’s constant dedication to supporting innovation and regional collaboration. It amplifies Port City Colombo’s commitment to fostering innovation and enacting constructive change within the vibrant startup and business ecosystem.
Power and Energy Minister engages with 35 trade uions to iron out electricity sector reforms-
The planned changes of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the larger energy industry were the topic of a debate with representatives from 35 trade unions, which was organized by Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera. The Minister gave a thorough report on the state of the changes in the electrical industry during the debate. The discussions, according to the Minister, focused on crucial issues including the new proposed Electricity Act’s structure, anticipated transition dates, tactics for efficient human resource management, transfer plans and considerations for employee perks and pensions.
USA and Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) discussion spotlights need for improved transparency to boost FDI – At the 14th US-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council Meeting, it was emphasized that an increase in openness and efficiency in the approval of FDIs in Sri Lanka would further expand trade ties between Sri Lanka and the USA. The necessity for effective anti-corruption measures was also discussed. The USA informed Sri Lanka that the Biden-Harris administration views promoting workers’ rights with trading partners as a high priority and Sri Lanka responded by outlining its continuous efforts to update its labour laws and its progress toward complying with international labour standards.
Disclaimer – This advisory is intended for circulation among JAAF stakeholders only. Please do not circulate or share on social media.
This Advisory, written for our partners interested in developments in Sri Lanka against the backdrop of the current crisis, is an update on the one issued last week. This document summaries developments covering significant political and economic events. The Advisory includes economic, political, social and governance perspectives. It draws on news reports, analyses, Government announcements and documents, and from other sources that we may be in contact with or have access to.
This Advisory was prepared by the Strategic Communications Unit of Adfactors PR Lanka. For inquiries, contact email@example.com