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    අපේ රටේ තිත්ත ඇත්ත.............

    Video is good but don't fall for JVP
    Last edited by ruwan326; 01-28-2019, 07:43 AM.

  • #2
    Spice sector eyes techno collaborations, fresh investments

    January 30, 2019
    The Sri Lankan spice sector is looking at expanding the sector with technological collaborations and investments following the Global Spice Road Symposium in Colombo in June.

    The industry sources said, the spice industry representatives envision that Sri Lanka as a main spice country and the growers and the exporters will be able to benefit through technological collaborations and knowledge sharing sessions during the symposium. The main objective of this event is to create an upheaval in the main segments of spice, namely, Agronomy, Post Harvesting, Primary Processing, Technological Intervention and Value Addition, Export and Commercials.

    Along with product quality, the hygienic factor of low quality spices augmented through the use of health hazardous chemicals, which in fact has been a negative factor contributing to the diminishing demand for Sri Lankan Spices.

    According to the Global Spice Road Symposium Secretariat, the main challenges and constraints confronted mainly by producers and exporters will be addressed in the forum to secure a holistic approach to identify the most feasible solution.

    The symposium despite being a private initiative has managed to gather sufficient momentum from the government sector, mainly the endorsements from President Maithripala Sirisena and Ministry of Agriculture.

    Further collaboration with the main public agencies such as the Spice Council, Spice and Allied Product Producers’ and Traders’ Association, Export Agricultural Department, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and many academic leaders will be a part of the external committee to drive the main strategies and formation of the event towards its envisioned success.

    The Global Spice Road Symposium will be held at the Bandaranaike International Memorial Hall from July 10 to 13.

    The members of the Strategy and Planning Committee of the Global Spice Road Symposium Secretariat include Dr. Heenkende, Director General of Export Agricultural Department, Gulam Chathoor, Chairman of Saboor Chathoor Pvt Ltd, Manju Gunawardena, Chairman of The Spice Council, Prins Gunasekara, Chairman of The Spice and Allied Product Producers’ and Traders’ Association and Professor Buddhi Marambe, Chairman, Board of Study in Crop Science, Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture (PGIA), University of Peradeniya.


    • #3
      CB Chief says debt challenge manageable but proper fix is higher exports and FDI

      1 February 2019

      Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy last week expressed confidence that Sri Lanka can manage the unprecedented debt repayment challenge, owing to a wide range of initiatives taken, but the long term solution is boosting export earnings and Foreign Direct Investments.

      In his remarks at the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Sri Lanka-organised fireside chat, the Central Bank Chief said that of the $ 5.9 billion foreign debt repayment outstanding in 2019, of which $ 2.6 billion is due in the first quarter, $ 1.7 billion was paid in January. Of the full year figure, $ 1.2 billion is on account of Sri Lanka Development Bonds (SLDBs), which would be rolled over, and a further $ 1.5 billion can be settled via the pipeline of bilateral and multilateral funding, whilst new sources of funding was required only for the balance.

      In terms of new funding arrangements, Dr. Coomaraswamy listed a $ 400 million SAARC Swap with Reserve Bank of India with an option to enhance to $ 1 billion. A $ 300 million arrangement with the Bank of China with option to extend it to $ 1 billion as well as $ 1 to $ 1.5 billion facility from the China Development Bank. Additionally, the Cabinet has approved raising $ 2 billion via Sovereign Bonds, with a Panda Bond and/or Samurai Bond being among options.

      He noted that that the 50-day political impasse in the country derailed the previously lined-up borrowing program and a more favourable pricing, as it was just after Sri Lanka managing a staff-level agreement with the IMF in terms of the Enhanced Fund Facility (EFF) program.

      "The medium term challenge can be managed, though I would say we are actually buying time. The real solution is enhancing exports and Foreign Direct Investments," Dr. Coomaraswamy emphasised at the AMCHAM event, moderated by Stax Managing Director Dr. Kumudu Gunasekara.

      He also said that apart from the foreign debt servicing, Sri Lanka's other challenge was growing domestic debt, with Rs. 980 billion raised by the Central Bank on behalf of the Government. This heavy borrowing by the Government, according to the Central Bank Chief, also prevents a reduction in interest rates.

      The Central Bank directly lent Rs. 310 billion to manage its cashflow during the political impasse. However, the Government will repay the amount to the Central Bank by end February.

      He said that the Government is renegotiating the IMF program to secure greater flexibility, keeping in mind the State's social commitments.

      An IMF team is due on 14 February for a fresh round of negotiations, based on Sri Lanka's macroeconomic achievements as at 31 December 2018, as opposed to previous assessment capturing data only up to 30 June 2018.

      According to the Governor, the Parliament’s approval of the Active Liability Management Act last year is a potential "game changer" , when it comes to managing the debt challenge going forward.

      With regard to a question on the ballooning foreign commercial borrowing of Sri Lanka, the Governor responded saying it was owing to Sri Lanka progressing towards a middle-income nation, as previously, as a low income country, it benefited heavily from bilateral and multilateral concessionary loans, which were as high as over 60% of the total foreign debt. From 2008, the commercial borrowings have taken that share.

      Dr. Coomaraswamy also clarified that the Central Bank is not artificially propping the exchange rate, nor defending any particular rate. However, it will not allow a disorderly movement either way.

      Focusing on the prospects of the economy, the Governor said that favourable weather and relatively low oil prices, which have always been "feel good factors" for Sri Lanka, augurs well for the economy. He also stressed that under the previous regime, the country suffered owing to its anti-export bias, whereas the current Government is focused on a more export and FDI-oriented policy framework, with an aggressive push on Free Trade Agreements.

      He also said that the Government wasn't keen to create artificial growth. "Sure we can create a boom, but it is usually followed by a crash, and this is evident from the fact that Sri Lanka todate has had 16 programs with the IMF," Coomaraswamy recalled, adding that creating a more robust growth framework was more important.

      "The Government vision is clear, though implementation remains a challenge," he opined.

      Nevertheless, the Central Bank Chief said 2019 GDP growth forecast is over 4%, and noted that the Sri Lankan private sector needs to step up, which is a pre-requisite for FDIs to follow suit.

      Given the fact that 2019 is an election year, Dr. Coomaraswamy emphasised the need for fiscal prudence. "We are much closer to the precipice today than before," he added.

      Panellist at the AMCHAM Fireside Discussion and Hemas Holdings CEO Steven Enderby in his comments also emphasised that drawing more FDIs is key, for which the economy needs to meaningfully open up with greater private sector role. He cited success in this regard by India and Bangladesh, who liberalised their economies long after Sri Lanka. "India and Bangladesh have succeeded in overcoming their challenges to boost exports and attract more FDIs. I personally feel there are lot more internal issues to resolve to be truly competitive," Enderby pointed out.

      He said that THE sharp depreciation of the rupee in the last quarter of 2018 caused a huge impact on the private sector enterprises dependent on imported inputs, and consumer demand was dampened during and following the political impasse.

      "When you talk to foreign companies or those in Singapore as to why would they want to relocate in Sri Lanka, the emphasis is That lower cost isn't a convincing argument but investors prefer political stability, policy consistency and greater efficiency which are strengths of Singapore," Enderby emphasised.

      ned during and following the political impasse.

      “When you talk to foreign companies or those in Singapore as to why would they want to relocate in Sri Lanka, the emphasis is That lower cost isn’t a convincing argument but investors prefer political stability, policy consistency and greater efficiency which are strengths of Singapore,” Enderby emphasised.


      • #4
        Economic independence needed for true freedom

        4 February 2019

        To ensure the independence of every citizen, they must have economic independence in every segment of society, University of Colombo Emeritus Professor of Sociology Prof. Siri Hettige said recently.

        Addressing a public forum on Sri Lanka’s independence last Tuesday and how it can be improved at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) organised by the Democratic Social Alliance, he said an individual could not be independent with an unstable economic background and such an individual would constantly struggle to economically stabilise himself.

        “If people are hampered by debt and live in an unstable economic situation, we cannot call that particular person an independent individual,” he said.

        He pointed out Sri Lankan citizens had to face challenges such as traffic congestion and an inadequate healthcare service, which raised questions about the independence of the citizens of Sri Lanka. Prof. Hettige noted that due to ever-increasing economic challenges, uncertainty had arisen over the happiness and self-fulfilment of the citizens of the country.

        “If people are to enjoy economic independence, their economic challenges should have been resolved, but we don’t have such an economy in the country. We can observe that the Sri Lankan economy is distorted. The agriculture sector faces many challenges and sometimes farmers even tend to commit suicide due to the challenges they face.”

        Prof. Hettige pointed out Sri Lanka had recently experienced internal migration from rural areas to urban and this trend should be taken into consideration when making policy adjustments to attain economic goals. He noted the driving force of the internal migration was economic independence and job opportunities in the urban sector of the economy.

        Prof. Hettige argued that Sri Lankans had been facing economic challenges due to the lack of industrial diversification and export-oriented industries.

        “When we consider the industrial sector, we do not produce most of the essential household goods. Therefore, we have to rely on imported industrial goods,” he added.

        He said Sri Lanka had to break free from relying on the apparel sector as the only industrial product that has been successfully produced throughout the country’s history.

        “We need to have a balance between the main three segments of the economy. We mostly rely on remittances to resolve issues pertaining to the trade deficit, but that has to be changed if we want to move forward,” he added.

        Prof. Hettige raised concern over the lack of the research and development in Sri Lanka. He pointed out that investing in research and development would open more opportunities for Sri Lanka to develop its economy.

        “Sri Lanka allocates a very small proportion of GDP for research and innovation. Therefore we have to increase the allocation to encourage research and development for new industries,” he said.


        • #5
          Biz confidence improves post-Supreme Court ruling

          8 February 2019

          The LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) climbed 11 notches to register 101 in January, according to the latest edition of LMD.

          This puts the index only one basis point shy of its average of 102 for the last 12 months. Nielsen’s Managing Director Sharang Pant explains: “Following two months of uncertainty, stability seems to be returning to the Sri Lankan political scenario. This has had a certain impact on [business] sentiment.”

          Furthermore, he notes that “the rupee continues to slide due to dollar pressure but inflation is under control. Sentiment regarding the tourism industry is positive as well – this despite the short-term impact on tourist arrivals late last year.”

          LMD reports that the economy, politics and corruption are considered to be among the main concerns for the nation. Meanwhile, the value of the rupee and inflation are the notable sensitivities in corporate circles.

          “Sri Lanka is currently in a debt trap and the depreciation of the rupee is pushing the country further into debt. The authorities should act first on strengthening the value of the rupee; or else the economy will be adversely impacted,” observes one corporate executive.

          Regarding the outlook for the index, a spokesperson for Media Services, the publisher of the leading business magazine, says: “It is anybody’s guess as to what the future holds for business and the BCI, given that the pre-constitutional crisis status quo has been restored to some degree, and that we may witness one or more elections this year.”

          Media Services says the latest edition of the magazine will be released to leading bookstores and supermarkets on 8 February (for the full BCI report, visit


          • #6
            British medical device manufacturer to set up US$ 10 mn plant in Bandaragama

            BOI approval granted for the first medical device manufacturing plant with 600 new jobs February 8, 2019
            Champika Malalgoda, Director General of the BOI presents the Certificate of Registrations to Ghassem Poormand, Chairman of Flexicare (Group) Ltd. Hash Poormand, Managing Director of Flexicare is also in the picture
            Champika Malalgoda, Director General of the BOI presents the Certificate of Registrations to Ghassem Poormand, Chairman of Flexicare (Group) Ltd. Hash Poormand, Managing Director of Flexicare is also in the picture
            A leading UK manufacturer has gained BOI approvals to begin laying the foundation for its newest state of the art manufacturing facility in Sri Lanka.

            Flexicare (Group) Limited is a UK headquarted manufacturer and supplier of medical devices, with subsidiaries in over 12 countries and two manufacturing sites, providing disposable medical consumables to over 110 countries.
            The agreement was signed on behalf of Flexicare by Ghassem Poormand, Chairman of Flexicare (Group) Limited.

            Also present at the signing ceremony were Hash Poormand, Managing Director and Sanjeeva Jayasinghe, General Manager Flexicare Sri Lanka. Champika Malalgoda, Director General of the BOI also participated.
            Ghassem Poormand, Chairman of Flexicare (Group) Limited stated “We are a privately owned British Company which has been in existence for 20 years. Our products include anesthesia and respiratory products such as oxygen masks and nebulizers.”

            He added, “Flexicare products are exported to 110 countries. The group has subsidiaries in the USA, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, India, China, South Korea and Malaysia.”
            Flexicare Lanka was established in 2018 with a view to build a new bespoke operation in the heart of Sri Lanka, that will seek to support both the local market which Flexicare has been supplying with its exclusive distribution partner Technomedics International Pvt Ltd. This is for more than 15 years, and also the international healthcare arena that Flexicare is active in.

            The project which will be located in Bandaragama is expected to represent an investment in excess of U$10 mn over the course of the coming years and will create 600 new jobs in the region, in what is the first medical device manufacturing of its kind in the country with a fully integrated operation.

            Sri Lanka was chosen as the outright choice for its 3rd manufacturing site due to the excellent infrastructure and forward investments in the country as well as its access to a world class export port that will serve the global markets that Flexicare is active in.
            Ghassem Poormand said, “Manufacture has been done in China since 2003 due to the expansion and growth of the business. We decided to manufacture in Sri Lanka due to market access to South Asia and South East Asia.”

            “In Sri Lanka, the manufacture will initially be for items such as oxygen masks, nasal capula, Aerosol products and later be expanded to anaesthetic products.”
            “We strongly feel that the project will significantly contribute to the growth of the national economy and help towards the achievement of the government’s long term goals relating to “Vision 2025” for the development of the healthcare sector as well as creating jobs and exports.”



            • #7
              Dhammika Perera prescribes policy dose

              11 February 2019
              • Outlines his policy priorities
              • Says education should be core of national policy
              • Insists scaling up education essential for social development and economic growth
              • Suggests ministries and institutions should be locked in so Government cannot change them
              • Advocates adapting policies that have been successful in other countries

              A data-based approach to policymaking was advocated by well-known businessman Dhammika Perera to rapidly expand Sri Lanka’s economic growth, with special emphasis on education.

              Perera, speaking at an event organised by the National Intellectuals Organisation (NIO), last week gave detailed ideas of what should be included in a national policy, which could be implemented by the Government.

              Indicating how complex national policy making could be, Perera nonetheless recommended that education should be at the core of any policy document. NIO is planning to release a comprehensive national policy document later this month, which Perera noted should have a wide range of development goals on labour, employment creation, environmental management, entrepreneurship, exports and investment.

              “Sri Lanka had the Nalanda University before the British had Oxford and Cambridge. At that time, we were far ahead of the British. Then the Nalanda University closed and no effort was made to establish another university. However, Oxford and Cambridge flourished and the British eventually became an empire that colonised us. Even today, when the world is at the cusp of huge technological advances, what is referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, education is the most important thing. So if we want to develop Sri Lanka, we need to focus on education,” he said.

              Extrapolating from data on Sri Lanka’s higher education system, Perera pointed out that a large number of students fail to get into State universities. He stated that popular universities such as Sri Jayewardenepura University had the space to educate double the number of its current student population but resources were unavailable.

              Perera acknowledged the Government would have to funnel in a few billion initially to expand facilities but should then allow universities to generate income and expand to teach thousands of new students.

              “Monash University and Sri Jayewardenepura have the same amount of space, but Monash educates thousands of students more than Sri Jayewardenepura. Why is this? We have to create a change in these institutions so they are able to educate far higher numbers of students. Facilities alone should not restrict their opportunities. If we wait on the Government to provide finances, we never move forward. Different thinking is needed.”

              Education reform is crucial, Perera said, because it is closely tied to social development. With education the population can adapt to a changing economy and be more competitive to be stakeholders in a knowledge economy. The rapid advancement of -driven industries would give Sri Lanka an edge to improve exports and attract investment. It would also enable the population to adapt faster to new job opportunities.

              “Sri Lanka has a labour market of about 8.2 million people. However, this number of employed people can change given different market conditions. According to the latest data, about 400,000 jobs have been lost in the Agriculture sector. This is largely because of drought where 400,000 jobs have transitioned out of agriculture. It may be that they found jobs in other sectors but such serious fluctuations should be avoided as it means that a large segment of the population is affected.”

              Any national policy should have the ability to be relevant even five to 10 years from now, Perera said. Making the policy relevant to the average Sri Lankan is critical to getting stakeholder buy-in and push for implementation. Perera also suggested that the NIO should adopt policies that have been successful in other countries so that it has had real work testing.

              “When someone comes to me with an idea, I ask them to tell me at least four countries where something similar has been implemented, because otherwise we just waste time figuring out whether it would work. One important thing the NIO should do is lock in the number of ministries that each government should have and ensure that even the institutions under those ministries are locked in and cannot be changed by different governments. Then this current discourse on how many ministers and what institutions they should have will all be resolved. This is how countries like Ireland, Singapore and Malaysia formulate policy.”

              Having a stable State structure would allow for national policies to be implemented in a sustainable manner, he added.



              • #8
                Japan’s Odakyu Group exclusively partners TAD Group for unprecedented Rs. 4.5 Bn investment in Sri Lanka

                February, 19, 2019

                Being one of the largest conglomerates, operating in a multitude of mandates in Transport, Real Estate and Retail in Japan; the Odakyu Group together with its consortium partners Stacia Capital and UDS, is no stranger to grand ventures. For the first time in its illustrious 70 year history, it reaches far beyond Japan as it establishes its first offshore partnership, in Sri Lanka.

                Enabling this historic venture is the TAD Group, a multi-faceted conglomerate in its own right, operating in Sri Lanka. With ongoing mandates engaging numerous partners in the Property, Energy and Investment sectors in the country, the exclusive Odakyu-TAD partnership brings in an expected investment of Rs. 4.5 Billion with a number of significant further investment mandates to bolster the Sri Lankan economy over the upcoming years.

                The Odakyu Group operates as a diversified conglomerate with interests in Transport, Real Estate, Merchandising and Hospitality. One of its most significant ventures is the Odakyu Railway Line. Operating a number of these across Japan, the line bridging the Tokyo Central Business District (CBD) and Kanagawa alone, sees over 2 million passengers daily. To put that in perspective, Sri Lanka sees an influx of around 2 million visitors to the country, annually.

                Spread across 44 subsidiaries and generating annual revenues in excess of US$ 4.6 Billion, one of the pioneering drivers of Odakyu’s powerhouse success in Japan, lies in its unique model of diversification. UDS, a fully owned subsidiary of the Odakyu Group, is a renowned end-to-end property solutions provider that has mastered the development and fulfillment of star class award-winning properties in South Asia. Its services reach out from business planning and architectural design to commercial operations.

                This, coupled with the UDS drive for innovation and knowhow extends beyond ownership and into partnerships, much like that of TAD Group. Stacia Capital, a global real estate management and consulting firm is another such partnership that Odakyu has leveraged upon. Together, this innovative trifecta of partnerships hope to create a renewed era of growth and leadership in the Sri Lankan economy.

                The TAD Group prides itself on being one of a handful of end-to-end facilitators for FDIs in Sri Lanka. With interests in Property, Energy, Retail and Investments, TAD has disrupted many industries in its wake. Headed by a dynamic trio at the helm and powered by a versatile team of professionals in a multitude of industries, TAD is poised to expand exponentially with the advent of renewed interest in Sri Lanka as a ‘hub’ for investment and development. Securing yet another first, the exclusive partnership with Odakyu is not only the latest in the TAD Group’s efforts to bring in world-class investments to the country but also one of the largest Japanese company to invest in Sri Lanka.



                • #9
                  Big change in Sri Lanka govt spending seen needed

                  Feb 20, 2019

                  A structural change is needed in Sri Lankan government spending, nearly half of which now goes for salaries and interest payments, with more expenditure required on education, health and infrastructure, a senior official said.

                  “Total government spending has been falling to a manageable level but we need to change its composition,” said C. J. P. Siriwardena, Deputy Secretary General of the National Economic Council, and a former deputy governor of the central bank.

                  “Nearly 50 percent of expenditure now is for salaries and interest payments,” he told a conference for public sector accountants, held by the Association of Public Finance Accountants of Sri Lanka, the public sector wing of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka.
                  “In the long run we need a lesser share of these two and higher public investment, for infrastructure and social development, including social welfare, as Sri Lanka is one of fastest aging countries,” Siriwardena said.

                  The government needs to change its pension and social policies, with allocations in the budget to support old people, Siriwardena said.
                  The country of 21 million people has 1.5 million employees in the public sector..
                  Siriwardena, who has handled public sector financial management for the last 30 years, said better management of public money was needed to help improve the lives of citizens.

                  “Today our public finance management is under stress,” he said.
                  This was because Sri Lanka has been a twin-deficit economy, running a budget deficit and current account deficit in the balance of payments, and also had a 30-year ethnic war.

                  “This is a serious condition for a small, growing economy. Running budget deficits means you have to borrow.”
                  Interest expenditure was now over 25 percent of total expenditure.

                  The government salary bill was also high, and together these two account for about 50 percent of recurrent expenditure.
                  “In the medium term we plan to lower the budget deficit and debt stock and then only achieve sustainable public service financial management,” Siriwardena said.



                  • #10
                    Govt. secures Rs.48bn JICA credit line for Malabe-Fort LRT

                    12 March 2019

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                    • Loan provided at 0.1% p.a. for civil works and 0.01% p.a. for engineering services cost
                    • To be repaid in 40 years, which includes a 12-year grace period

                    The Sri Lankan government yesterday signed a concessionary loan agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to borrow JPY 30,040 million (approx. Rs.48 billion) for engineering services and construction of a light rail transit (LRT) line between Malabe and Colombo Fort.

                    The loan is expected to finance Sri Lanka’s first rail-based, electrified urban mass rapid transit line.

                    A JICA statement said the project loan is provided under special terms for economic partnership, with an interest rate of 0.1 percent per annum for civil works and equipment cost and 0.01 percent per annum for engineering services cost.

                    The repayment period of the loan is 40 years, which includes a 12-year grace period.

                    The JICA statement said the Sri Lankan government had requested for the cost of infrastructure, rolling stock and engineering services to be financed through a series of time-slice loans from JICA, in line with the annual fund requirement for the project.

                    The proposed LRT line has a total length of approximately 16 kilometres, with 16 stations. The stations are placed at frequently accessed locations and include Malabe-IT Park, Battaramulla, Rajagiriya, Cotta Road Railway Station and National Hospital, up to the current Fort/Pettah railway station.

                    The entire rail track and stations will be on elevated viaducts to minimize the requirement of land acquisition. At peak travel times in the morning and evening, trains are planned to run every two to three minutes (headway). Each four-carriage train will have a passenger capacity of over 800, which could be increased by adding more carriages in the future, when necessary. With an 80km/h top speed, the travel time from Malabe to Fort will be approximately 30 minutes (including stopping time at stations) with the LRT.

                    To facilitate inter-connectivity with other public transport modes, multi-modal terminals are proposed at Malabe (together with bus terminal) and Cotta Road (connecting with railway). At Fort/Pettah, the LRT line will connect to the planned Multi-Modal Transport Hub accessible to both railway and bus. The station facilities and LRT carriages will be designed to ensure accessibility to persons with disabilities, as well as passengers with small children and senior citizens.The feasibility study, including the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the project, was conducted with grant financing from JICA. The EIA has been approved by the Central Environmental Authority.

                    Although the elevated viaduct will minimize the requirement, some land acquisition is needed at the depot and some of the station locations.

                    The Megapolis and Western Development Ministry, the executing agency for the project, is expected to conduct such acquisition in accordance with the National Involuntary Resettlement Policy and JICA’s environmental and social considerations guidelines to ensure inclusive development through public projects.Since the railway tracks and stations are constructed at high elevation and over national roadways with high traffic volume, appropriate safety measures during construction are critical to ensure the safety of the construction personnel and the public. JICA said it would continue to pay special attention to the safety aspects in the implementation of the project.

                    The loan agreement for the Malabe-Fort LRT was signed by Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunge and JICA Sri Lanka Office Chief Representative Fusato Tanaka, with the participation of the ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka, Megapolis and Western Development Ministry secretary and other
                    government officials.



                    • #11
                      Japan's Belluna expects Sri Lanka property pick up

                      Mar 14, 2019

                      Japan based Belluna group. which is investing 450 million US dollars in Sri Lanka's tourism and property sectors, said that the country's real estate industry will shift into high gear once the current economic slowdown ends.

                      "We expect the current economic slowdown to be of a temporary nature and once the business picks up an upward trend, the real estate market too will shift into high gear," Belluna Lanka (Pvt) Ltd Managing Director Hiroshi Yasuno said in Colombo.

                      The current conditions are ripe for buying, Yasuno said.
                      Local firms have said that the real estate market is currently stabilizing, after experiencing rapid growth over the past two years.

                      A slowdown in the economy, along with a political crisis had dented market confidence in large investments such as real estate, local firms said.
                      Belluna, a listed firm in Japan is investing in Sri Lanka through the local subsidiary Belluna Lanka.
                      It has invested 450 million US dollars on a 300-room city hotel, a 190-unit luxury apartment project and a mixed-development project in the capital Colombo, and a 57-room seaside resort in Galle.

                      Yasuno said the recent rupee depreciation against the dollar has hit many developers who are pricing their apartments in dollars, while its '447 Luna Tower' apartment project is priced in rupees and has not seen a price escalation.

                      Colombo still has room for apartment development, despite lower demand from locals compared to other countries, he said.
                      "As investors, we see potential in developing luxury apartments in Colombo," Yasuno said.
                      "Compared to other regional capitals, Colombo is yet to see people considering apartments as their home."
                      He said as urban migration intensifies, and Sri Lanka attracts more expatriates with the development of the Colombo Financial Centre, demand for apartments will grow.



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