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UPI launched in Sri Lanka (Update)

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A virtual launch held today (Feb. 12) introduced UPI transactions via LankaQR, enhancing digital payments for Indian tourists in Sri Lanka.

Led by NPCI International Payments Limited & LankaPay Pvt Ltd, the initiative aims to rapidly expand, with 10,000 merchants set to accept UPI payments shortly after launch. 

By March 2024, this number will reach 65,000, providing a seamless payment solution for Indian tourists, the Presidential Media Division states.

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(Previous News : Published at 2024/02/12 at 9:26 am)

India-Sri Lanka launch UPI to boost tourism

Foreign Minister Ali Sabry says that the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) will be launched between India and Sri Lanka from Monday (12).

The UPI is a digital payment gateway that facilitates instant person-to-person or person-to-merchant transactions using a mobile phone.

Launched in India in 2016, this is currently the most popular payment method in India.

Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said that UPI will be officially launched online on today (12).

The Minister said the system is expected to be implemented centering Colombo and is expected to increase tourism in Sri Lanka.

The agreement regarding the UPI between Sri Lanka and India was signed between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ranil Wickremesinghe in October last year, during President Wickremesinghe’s two-day official visit.

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Won’t be able to offer SriLankan to investors even for free – Minister

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Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday (26) spoke firmly on the national carrier – SriLankan Airlines, stating that the airline’s disruptive employees and tarnished reputation would deter potential buyers in the privatisation process.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday, he said  “We cannot run an airline with disruptive employees. This is a critical moment for SriLankan Airlines. We cannot afford to entertain employees who fail to handle situations under pressure.”

“The deadline for the Expressions of Interest (EOIs) is set for 5 March and in the present scenario, according to the information I received some of the bidders want to withdraw. With the negative reputation plaguing the airline, we will not be in a position to offer it free-of-charge even,” the minister claimed.

However, SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage’s views had contrasted starkly with that of Minister de Silva.

The discussion saw a disagreement regarding ground handling. Minister De Silva advocated for immediate privatization of the service, citing shortcomings. Chairman Pathirage, while acknowledging areas for improvement, argued that the lack of aircraft, not ground handling, was the primary issue. He blamed lengthy government procurement procedures for hindering fleet acquisition.

De Silva justified his push for privatization by citing the airline’s struggles and reports of potential bidders withdrawing their interest. While not inherently opposed to privatization, Pathirage emphasized the ongoing process and the lack of control the airline has in the decision.

Meanwhile, trade union representatives commended Pathirage for his leadership whilst blaming political interventions and its past management. 

“We all undoubtedly praise the Chairman for his leadership and unwavering commitment to operate this airline amidst all odds. Neither the employees nor the current management of the SriLankan Airlines are responsible for the cancellations and bad reputation, but the political intervention,” they stated.

They also slammed the former COPE Chairmen and MPs Dr. Harsha de Silva and Dr. Charitha Herath for disrupting the lease procedure of the airline when the aircraft were at a lower price. “They are responsible for all the operational delays the airline is facing at present,” they claimed.

(Excerpts : DailyFT)

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Australia’s United Petroleum enters SL market

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Australia’s United Petroleum has entered into an agreement with the Sri Lankan government to supply petroleum products to the Sri Lankan market.

According to United Petroleum Lanka, Australia’s United Petroleum entered into the relevant agreement with Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Power and Energy on Feb 22.

Following the signing of the agreement, United Petroleum is assigned 150 existing fuel stations and also has the right to build 50 new fuel stations in Sri Lanka.

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4 SriLankan Airlines flights experience delays

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This morning, four SriLankan Airlines flights experienced delays as ground staff refrained from performing some of their duties, according to reports.

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