international trade fair
begins next month
country's first major international trade fair since the peace process
began - IMEXPRO 2003 - is expected to boost imports and exports
through the participation of many foreign trade delegations.
event will be held from March 30 to April 1 at the Exhibition and
Convention Centre. It will coincide with the meeting of the Indian
Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) scheduled to
be held in Colombo from March 29 to April 3.
2003 is being organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) in
association with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Export
Development Board and the Board of Investment.
delegations from 34 countries (of which over half are IOR-ARC members)
have confirmed their partication. They include Australia, Bangladesh,
Canada, China, Czech Republic, Dubai, Egypt, Finland, France, India,
Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malayasia,
Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Sandi
Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Syria, Tanzania,
Thailand, UAE, UK, and Yemen.
expect a substantial number of export orders to be negotiated,"
said Senior Assistant Secretary-General, CCC, Puvi Domingopillai.
from Canada, France, India, Pakistan and South Africa have already
confirmed their participation.
trade fair will include 175 booths, of which 90 have already been
sources said the unprecedented interest in the trade fair by
high-powered foreign delegations clearly indicates that foreign
investor confidence in this country is building up.
added, "The ongoing peace process has paved the way for the right
climate to organise a huge international trade fair of the magnitude
of IMEXPRO 2003 in Sri
Lanka. This is the first major international trade fair being
organised in Sri Lanka after the signing of the ceasefire agreement
between the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE."
Domingopillai said 250 foreign visitors have thus far confirmed their
participation, and they continuously receive inquiries.
chamber feels the trade fair will open new avenues for local companies
to expand their activities in the international market. The organisers
stated that it offers an ideal opportunity for companies to exhibit
and offer high quality products and services and meet prospective
business partners from various parts of the world.
event would also provide an opening for the exchange of technology,
information and tie-up strategic deals, to discuss and negotiate joint
venture proposals and transfer of technology with local and overseas
participants. Buyer-seller meetings between foreign and local
companies will also be arranged.
Domingopillai said this is the first time the IMEXPRO fair is being
held, and they may consider holding it once every 2 years. The event
is being promoted by our missions overseas, counterpart chambers and
other MoU partners of the CCC. The main sponsor will be John Keells
to be displayed at the trade fair include aquaculture and ornamental
fish, boats and yachts, coconut products, chemicals, communication
services, dairy products, finance and banking, floriculture, food and
beverages, gems and jewellery, handloom, home furnishing , bags and
handicrafts, machinery, motor vehicles and accessories, plastic
products, poultry and meat products, rubber and rubber products,
shipping and freight forwarding services, seafood, telecommunication,
textiles, apparel and garment accessories, tiles - floor and wall,
wooden products, airline industry, computer and IT related services,
coffee, culinary products, electronic, electrical and engineering
products, fruits and vegetables, footwear, furniture-wooden, CKD and
metal, gift and home products, Insurance, medicinal herbs and
ayurvedic products, pharmaceuticals, printing and packaging material,
porcelain, ceramic and glass products, silk products, soft toys,
stationery, tourism and travel industry, tea, spices and essential
oils, wooden toys, and yarn.
will be eligible to win awards for excellence in the presentation of
stalls. A panel of judges including experts in exhibitions and
conventions from abroad will select the winners in several product and
service categories. The quality of information provided by the stalls
will be an important factor in the selection criteria.
Sri Lanka Software Exporters Association (SEA) plans to host a
software industry pavilion at IMEXPRO 2003, followed by a Software
Industry Road Show to coincide with the same event.
hopes that the plan to project the Sri Lankan software industry
through a country pavilion would better expose the potential of the
local software industry. The road show will be in the form of an
evening event where the products and services offered by the local
software industry would be presented through a social and interactive
initiatives are part of SEA's commitment to aligning the industry to
the eSri Lanka initiative of the government. The two activities will
also expose the talents and skills available in the industry.
SEA's country pavilion will be open to all organisations that are
members of SEA or the Sri Lanka Association of Software Industry.
achieves record premium income
General Division of Ceylinco Insurance Company Limited (CICL) achieved
a record premium income in 2002. The figure of Rs.2.541 billion is a
34% increase over the previous year, and the highest in the industry.
The average industry growth is believed to have been around 18%. The
company's Life Division recorded a premium income of Rs. 2.4 billion.
- Operations, CICL, H.M. Guneratne Banda said they had increased their
market share in general insurance from 20% to 23%. He also claimed
they have been the leading private general insurer for the last nine
said their record premium income could be attributed to their service
and settlement of claims within 14 days; the wide variety of products;
and their sales force and distribution channels.
company has introduced over 50 unique products to the market, having
moved away from conventional products.
noted that households and industries have their own risks. He added
that they have identified the potential risks and have developed
'package polices' targeted at different segments of the market, in
accordance with their specific requirements and risks.
has 65 branches and 24 VIP (Vehicle Insurance Policy) centres for
motor insurance. There are over 500 salespeople all over the island
who promote their products. The company's distribution network has
increased, and they opened a branch in Jaffna last year.
take the message of insurance to the doorstep and educate people on
the importance and benefits of insurance," Banda said.
company has won some prestigious awards in recent years. In 2001, they
received the award for 'Best Product Innovation' by Asia Insurance
Review and World Insurance Review. In 2000, the company was chosen as
one of the best four general insurance companies in Asia. In 1999,
they won the award for 'Best Product Innovation.'
said that due to the recognition they have achieved both nationally
and internationally for innovative product development and management,
they have been approached by various companies in the SAARC region. In
fact, the company intends entering into strategic alliances with firms
in Pakistan and Myanmar.
already has strategic alliances with Agrani Insurance Company in
Bangladesh and Ceylinco Stella Insurance Company in Mauritius.
also the only insurance company in Sri Lanka to have invested in a
joint venture with a foreign party. This firm, Sagar Matha Insurance
is located in Kathmandu, Nepal. CICL holds a 20% equity in this
venture, and their staff are managing it. It has recorded a
significant growth over the last five years.
said that last year they introduced an affordable insurance product
called 'Support Line' for self-employed people, and the outstation
branches are selling it.
also noted that their 'one day cover' (which can be extended to one
month) introduced for the first time in the world, has received a very
good response. Around 1.5 million such policies were sold since its
launch in March last year upto end December.
Insurance traces its roots to the Ceylon Insurance Company - the first
company registered under the Companies Ordinance. The Ceylon Insurance
Company was registered way back in 1939, under Senator Justin
Kotelawala, father of present Chairman Lalith Kotelawala. When the
industry was de-nationalised in 1987, the company began operating
under the name of Ceylinco Insurance.
contributes Rs. 25 bn
to government coffers
Tobacco Company regained profitability at 2000 levels, and this is
mainly attributed to the government's excise restructure in 2002.
Revenue to the government has also improved during the same period.
Meanwhile, CTC estimates indicate that the illegal cigarette market
has declined by almost 60%.
after tax during the year 2002 was Rs. 845 million, mainly due to the
company's ability to have captured part of the illegal market, its
continued focus on productivity and cost reduction measures. Whilst
this reflected an increase from 2001 levels, the current profit is in
line with the profit delivery in the year 2000 of Rs. 845 million.
CTC, Paul Hiltermann said, "Year 2002 has been a challenging and
exciting year for CTC, during which the company was able to ensure a
reasonable return to its stakeholders. A 45% dividend was paid to
shareholders by way of three interim dividends of 15%, which were paid
in July, October 2002 and in January 2003." There will be no
final dividend proposed for year 2002, to its shareholders in view of
the government's successful restructure of excise reversed an
unavoidable decline in state revenue from the sale of cigarettes.
Thus, government revenue improved to Rs. 24,848 million in 2002. This
represents approximately 10% of the government revenue in 2002.
a subsidiary of CTC recorded an increase in turnover. Advent
International Ltd., was formally incorporated during the period under
review. This is a strategic investment which leveraged the strengths
of the company in a field which is in line with the government's
stated intention of making the country the IT hub of the region.
added that "we are confident that progressively this company will
demonstrate our ability to make this new venture profitable and add a
revenue stream to Ceylon Tobacco Company, as well as earn valuable
foreign exchange for the country."
welcoming the government's peace process, the company should perform
better with the prevailing economic stability in the country,"
whipping boys of the third world
economic reforms that are poured down the throat of developing
countries by the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
appears to be mandatory for many of the developing nations of the
world and some third world countries have in fact suffered both
economically and politically by following IMF and WB sponsored
fact, unlike any other international organisation, the WB and the IMF
have rather unenviable reputations of being formidable fortresses of
monetary orthodoxy with a straight jacket of standard rules and
regulations that govern countries access to its resources.
the Low Developed Countries (LDC) are currently in the process of
development and their needs are different to the needs of industrial
nations, the LDCs often, and not always without justification,
criticise the WB for the uniformity of treatment it gives to its
developing member countries.
the WB imposes stringent conditions on economic policy when it lends.
countries in South Asia have little options but to accept these
conditionalities, for without their compliance, the development aid
the WB gives would not be forthcoming.
countries like Malaysia that have defied institutions like the IMF and
the WB during severe economic crisis have also survived and achieved
WB and the IMF began a process of dialogue between the banks, state
institutions and NGOs some years back to identify the policy changes
needed to accommodate the changing needs of its member countries.
a dialogue was long overdue considering the fact that many third world
countries were openly criticising the WB sponsored Structural
Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) that the two institutions have relentless
pursued since the seventies.
fact, economists point out that they have actually undermined their
the single policy prescription of the WB is not likely to work for all
countries, because countries differ in their structure and capacity.
Yet, that is not the way of thinking of the Western dominated WB and
IMF. They insist on the single prescription.
over one billion people live in abject poverty around the world,
despite the ratification by 106 countries of the covenant on social,
economic and cultural rights and the UNO declaration on the right to
economists in the LDCs have argued that International Financial
Institutions (IFIs) are part of the global problems.
say the WB's SAPs, which most governments has so enthusiastically
adopted, has made it very difficult for the most vulnerable to
survive. The reduction of food subsidies, the decontrolling of prices
and devaluation of currency increase the prices of imports and basic
consumer goods has caused political havoc in many developing
the people who are starving or malnourished in developing countries do
not have time. So they will not wait in patience for the IMF led SAPs
to work and deliver prosperity for them.
forum on economic and social rights and democracy, a then vice
president of the WB said, "We are keenly aware of the need to
protect the most vulnerable." He spoke of social safety nets to
ensure that the poorest suffer least from the imposition of
there is a big gap between the bank's policy and its implementation.
For example, the WB would be hard pressed to find one of its
resettlement programmes that has been a success.
aid is becoming increasingly conditional, the WB should take a dose of
its own medicine and become more accountable.
World analysts strongly recommend that all the international financial
institutions (IFIs) incorporate human rights criteria into their
policies and procedures and that IFIs should inform and obtain the
participation of people affected by their programmes.
order to further protect the poorest communities, the West must allow
poor communities in the third world to submit formal complaints
alleging violations of their rights under any IMF SAPs.
Western governments more than ever must help to create an environment
conducive to economic growth on a continuing and environmentally
alternative is another lost decade for development, with the world's
poorest regions consigned to a future of deepening poverty,
malnutrition, disease and deprivation. The WB must enable all people
in its borrowing countries to enjoy the freedom from poverty.
is indeed one of the most essential human freedoms that are still
denied to more than one billion people, due to the pervasive poverty
resulting from slow growth and rapid population growth exacerbated by
wars, civil strife, natural disasters and the failed policies of many
in Sub Saharan Africa one child in six dies before the age of five. In
South Asia barely a third of adult women can read or write. Three
million children in the developing countries die each year simply
because they lack access to clean water.
full enjoyment of all human freedoms is no doubt diminished by such
wide spread poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and hunger. Hence, the
WB when addressing sticky issues of 'governance' and human rights in
the course of their activities, and particularly in helping to promote
the goals of 'openness,' 'transparency,' 'accountability' and the due
process of law, must also strive to establish the basic framework for
the enjoyment of all human rights whether civil and political or
social, economic and cultural.
the WB, which is the bank meant for international reconstruction and
development ought to take into account national characteristics of
each and every nation before it decides to impose its 'magic formula'
of devaluation, desubsidisation, pruning public spending, retrenchment
and privatisation as the panacea for all economic ills and the sole
perception for the economic development of the developing countries.
the final analysis, while the changes that are being considered
testify to the fact that the WB and the IMF are moving with the times
in a rapidly changing world, the source of this new dynamism has to be
stubborn institutions have not easily been moved before by the clamour
of the third world to recognise their economic problems, but it has
changed now because the pressure for change has come from a different
5 billion investment in SFML
of the Al Ghurair Group of Companies of Dubai, National Flour Mills (NFM)
and Emirates Trading Agency (ETA), plan on bringing a US$ 53 million
(Rs. 5 billion) investment into Sri Lanka through their joint venture,
Serendib Flour Mills (Pvt) Ltd (SFML), they announced in a press
of one of Dubai's largest conglomerates, NFM and ETA together have a
turnover in excess of US$ 4 billion. The investors have had a presence
in the flour milling business in the UAE for the past 25 years,
together with operations in the Middle East and Africa.
currently operate/manage two flour mills in the UAE and one each in
Sudan and Lebanon. A fifth mill is scheduled to commence commercial
production in Algeria shortly. ETA owns and operates 14 handy,
handymax and panamax vessels and also charters many more. They will be
combining their strengths in flour milling, ocean transport, commodity
trading, logistics and local marketing in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan market will undoubtedly benefit from this
international expertise. Wheat flour can be considered an essential
commodity for Sri Lanka. Since wheat is not grown locally, the total
wheat requirement is imported from countries such as United States,
India, Australia and Argentina.
current demand for flour in Sri Lanka outstrips the supply. Industrial
users like confectioners import their supplies due to non-availability
of the required quality and quantities. Market forces and changes in
consumption patterns are likely to increase the demand of wheat flour
in the future. So far 65% of the country's flour requirement are
consumed in four provinces, namely the central, western, southern and
uva provinces. However, with peace hopefully returning to the country,
the demand from the north and east is also expected to see a quantum
project envisages setting up of a state-of-the-art flourmill in the
Colombo port, within close proximity to the consumption centers. The
plant will have an initial milling capacity of 1000 metric tonnes per
day with a provision to increase production to 2000 metric tonnes per
day. Serendib Flour Mills is a turnkey project, with the equipment
needed for milling purposes being imported from Buhler, Switzerland.
The mill is expected to go into production in the third quarter of
2004. The foreign exchange savings from importing wheat for milling
flour locally, compared to importing flour for consumption is almost
US$ 20 to US$ 30 per ton. With an initial milling capacity of 300,000
tonnes, SFML would help save US$ 6 million to US$ 9 million in
valuable foreign exchange annually. Moreover, there would be potential
to export both bran and flour (in case of excess capacity) in the
future, bringing foreign exchange into the country. The Al Ghurair
currently exports flour to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Male, Indonesia and
Africa; which opportunity will be available to SFML.
Cooperative Development Minister, Abdul Cader had expressed concern at
the improper distribution of flour. SFML will considerably ease the
national burden by preventing such shortages. With its initial milling
capacity in the region of 300,000 tonnes, a balanced distribution of
flour within the country would be ensured. This would assist the
government in making considerable savings of national funds that would
otherwise be spent on flour imports for consumption. A regular supply
of flour will be possible with the entry of a new miller, avoiding
stock-out situations. Customers stand to gain by way of competitive
prices and a wider choice. SFML plans to deliver high quality wheat
flour and maintain the same standards of NFM in Dubai, which meets
stringent international standards. The Dubai flour-milling complex
manufactures 42 varieties of flour. One of these is imported by
Maliban biscuits. General Manager/CEO, NFM, Easa Abdulla Al Ghurair
and Group Managing Director, ETA, Seyed M. Salahudeen said that the Al
Ghurair Group has an eye on further investments in Sri Lanka as well.
They are also confident that the success of the SFML project will
encourage others both in the UAE and GCC member countries to seriously
consider Sri Lanka as an investment option.
Peiris on three day tour
of Investment Promotion and Constitutional Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris,
was on a three day tour of the Hambantota and Matara Districts with
the objective of finding out the problems encountered by
industrialists, providing suitable solutions and inspecting the
industrial projects implemented in these districts.
Industrial Development Board regional office and common service centre
were opened by the Minister.
is Chairman, Industrial Development Board, Dr. Bandula Perera
explaining matters to the Minister soon after the inspection of the
common service centre. Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Resources,
Mahinda Wijesekera, Deputy Mayor, Matara, Nandasena Sellahewa and
officials of the Industrial Development Board are also in the picture.