SL wins ‘Best Destination off the Beaten Track’ at Conde Nast Traveler Middle East Reader’s Choice Awards in Dubai

Sri Lanka Tourism bagged the 'Best Destination off the Beaten Track' award at the Conde Nast Traveler Middle East Reader's Choice Awards, held on 14 November at the Creek Ballroom of the Park Hyatt Hotel in Dubai.

Dubai Consul General Charitha Yattogoda accepted the award on behalf of Sri Lanka Tourism. Sri Lanka made an outstanding appearance as it outperformed New Zealand and Vietnam to acquire the title of 'Best Destination off the Beaten Track', which is awarded based on the votes of the readers of Conde Nast Traveler Middle East Magazine, which covers a wide cross section of the tourism sector including favourite travel experiences, from destinations and hotels to airlines and tour operators.

IMF satisfied with Sri Lanka; releases $ 162 m more
  • Fiscal performance has been encouraging
  • Macroeconomic and financial conditions have begun to stabilise
  • 2017 Budget proposal to strengthen Govt. finances through revenue mobilisation
  • New Inland Revenue Act should result in a more efficient, transparent and broad-based tax system
  • International reserves remain below comfortable levels
  • Complementary structural reforms in tax administration, public financial management and governance and oversight of state-owned enterprises are critical for durable fiscal consolidation

A satisfied International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday approved the release of $ 162 m more to Sri Lanka under its $ 1.45 b three year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program.

The approval follows the IMF Executive Board completing the first review of Sri Lanka's program. The latest release brings the total disbursements under the EFF arrangement to $ 325.1 million. The first tranche was released in June this year.

The Government's reform program, supported by the IMF, aims to reduce the fiscal deficit, rebuild foreign exchange reserves and introduce a simpler, more equitable tax system to restore macroeconomic stability and promote inclusive growth.

UK Minister for UN and Commonwealth Baroness Anelay to visit Sri Lanka

The UK Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Baroness Anelay will visit Colombo and Jaffna from 6 to 9 November, on her first official visit to Sri Lanka.

During her visit, the Minister will reiterate the UK’s commitment to supporting Sri Lanka in strengthening democracy and human rights (including tackling gender based and sexual violence), delivering reconciliation and combating corruption, the British High Commission in Colombo said in a release.

World Bank IFC to support women in biz

Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen meets Head of IFC’s Gender Secretariat Henriette Kolb

Plans to partner with 15 firms to increase jobs for women, four-year plan to help private sector bridge gender gap (strap) 

International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has extended support in the form of a four year effort to directly partner with 15 local companies to involve more women in corporate decision making, the Industry and Commerce Ministry said in a statement yesterday. 

WB shows way forward for SL

The World Bank’s latest Sri Lanka Development Update finds that monetary and fiscal policy corrections and the start of a new IMF program have contributed to improving short-term stability of Sri Lanka’s economy.

Fireworks at COPE

COPE Chairman Sunil Handunetti

  • Major rifts appear over Central Bank Bond report, presentation to Parliament later this week
  • COPE Chairman Sunil Handunetti walks out in protest, says UNP MPs pressured Auditor General to change findings
  • UNP proposes stunning recommendation for CBSL report: demands criminal investigation into Perpetual Treasuries
  • UNP MP Mohamed Mahroof appointed temporary chair of COPE
  • UNP denies trying to protect ex-CBSL Governor; claims other recommendations will be equally forceful
  • Watchdog committee sits for marathon 10 hours; UPFA, JVP, TNA MPs absent
Rupee down on importer dollar demand

Reuters: The rupee ended weaker on Friday due to dollar demand from importers but moral suasion by the Central Bank discouraged trading in the spot currency market, dealers said.

Rupee forwards were active, with the spot-next ending at 147.95/148.05 per dollar, weaker than its previous close of 147.60/70.

The spot rupee was quoted at 146.90/95 per dollar, but there were hardly any trades.

BRICS development bank to lend $ 2.5 billion next year

From left: Brazil’s President Michel Temer, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma pose for a group picture during BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit in Benaulim, in the western state of Goa, India, 16 October - REUTERS  

PM Modi, at BRICS summit, calls Pakistan “mother-ship of terrorism” See page 21


Reuters: The development bank set up by the BRICS group of emerging economies will ramp up lending to $ 2.5 billion next year after making its first loans to back green projects, its President K.V. Kamath told Reuters.

The BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - agreed to create the New Development Bank (NDB) in July 2014 with initial authorised capital of $ 100 billion. The lender was officially launched a year later.

“The second year is scaling up, concentrating on people, getting all the skillsets in,” said Kamath, a veteran Indian banker appointed as the first head of the Shanghai-based NDB.