News Digest- Sri Lanka

Adani, JKH to start work on WCT at Colombo Port in December – Daily FT
India’s Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) will commence construction of West Container Terminal (WCT) at Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port in December, according to a report in Ship Technology. APSEZ will invest more than $ 675.68 million, what is said to be its second international project after Myanmar. In March, the company obtained a letter of intent from the Sri Lankan Government for the construction of the 3.5 million 20-foot equivalent unit (TEUs) capacity terminal. Officials told Business Line that the concession agreement for the 35-year build, operate and transfer (BOT) contract is scheduled to be signed in November.

COVID death toll crosses 8,000; SL records over 200 deaths in a single day – Ceylon Today
A total of 209 COVID-19 related deaths were confirmed for yesterday (25), making it the highest number of deaths recorded in a single day, so far. This is the first time Sri Lanka’s daily COVID death count exceeded the 200 mark. With this, Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 death toll currently stands at 8,157.

Japan gifts masks – The Island
On the initiative by Sri Lankan Ambassador to Japan, Sanjiwa Gunasekera, two leading Japanese companies donated a consignment of 100,000 surgical masks to Sri Lanka. These surgical masks were handed over to the Ambassador by Agekawa, Chairman of Devent, and Mr. Goto, Chief Executive Officer of A Holdings.

Australia to support SL’s post-COVID economic recovery – Ceylon Today
Australian Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Amanda Jewell has launched two partnerships under the Australian Government’s Business Partnerships Platform (BPP) to support COVID-19 economic recovery in Sri Lanka. “Sri Lanka’s economy has been one of the hardest hit from the COVID-19 pandemic in the South Asian region. Small businesses, informal workers and women have been disproportionately impacted by the economic downturn in Sri Lanka,” Deputy High Commissioner Jewell said. “The private sector will play an important role in Sri Lanka’s economic recovery from COVID-19 as a vital contributor of productivity and participation, which in turn creates economic growth”.

Talks with UAE, Iran on procuring petroleum for SL on long-term credit facility – Adaderana
Sri Lanka is currently looking to procure crude oil and petroleum products from Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on a long-term credit facility. Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila has met with the diplomatic heads of the respective countries to Sri Lanka on Monday (Aug. 23). Accordingly, Ambassador of Iran Hashem Ashjazadeh and Acting Head of the Embassy of the UAE Saif Alanofy have held separate discussions with the minister to discuss the matter.

SL, India agree to further boost ties – Daily FT
The High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay called on the new Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris after his assumption of duties. The Foreign Minister expressed his appreciation for the continuous support being provided by India for combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minister thanked the Government of India for supplying emergency consignments of liquid oxygen from east Indian ports, even by using Indian naval ships.

Total COVID-19 detections exceed 400,000 with 4,483 new cases – Daily FT
Sri Lanka’s total COVID-19 detections crossed the 400,000-mark yesterday with the detection of 4,483 new COVID-19 patients and the addition of over 4,000 delayed cases. According to the Epidemiology Unit, 4,484 COVID-19 cases reported in the last five days were added to the total case count yesterday after being verified by health officials.

Sri Lanka central bank orders 5.0-pct ceiling on foreign currency deposits – Ecoomynext
Sri Lanka’s central bank has ordered a 5.0 per cent ceiling on foreign currency deposits in a bid to reduce a gap between rupee yields and dollar yields, an order under the country’s banking law shows. Sri Lanka last week raised the policy rate at which overnight money is printed to 6.0 per cent from 5.50 per cent and also a 12-month de facto rate through which large volumes of money is printed to keep gilt yields down by 55 basis points to 5.93 per cent, which is still below the overnight rate.

Sri Lanka re-building reserves as predicted with IMF allocation, China loan: Minister Cabraal – Economynext
Sri Lanka is beginning to rebuild reserves from August as promised which were depleted in July following a bond payment, State Minister for Money and Capital Markets, Nivard Cabraal said. International Monetary Fund has allocated 554 million Special Drawing Rights which converts to about 799 million US dollars at current rates, he said.

Chinese Army donates 300,000 doses of Sinopharm to SL – Ceylon Today
The People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) has donated 300,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine to Sri Lanka. The consignment is due to arrive on Saturday (28), and will be used to inoculate the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, Army Commander General Shavendra Silva said.