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Japan helps to launch handloom production & training centre

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The Government of Japan, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment launched a handloom production centre in Puthukudurippu, Batticaloa on Nov. 22.

The centre was launched under the project “Supporting the Socioeconomic Reintegration of Sri Lankan Migrant Workers Repatriated due to the COVID-19 Outbreak”, with funding support from the Government of Japan, to uplift the livelihoods of migrant returnees and host communities.
To overcome the socio-economic impact of the pandemic and build back better, a more migrant-inclusive sustainable reintegration response is essential to ensure that returnees recover from the impact of COVID-19 as well as optimize their contribution to Sri Lanka by engaging in a sustainable income generation activity.

Attending the inauguration, Ms. Kaori Imai from the Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka said, on behalf of  Ambassador Mizukoshi Hideaki that she was pleased to see that Japan’s assistance can be of help to the people in Batticaloa in gaining new skills and improving their lives, encouraging entrepreneurship and local industry.”

Andrew Gray, Deputy Chief of Mission to IOM Sri Lanka and Maldives, remarked on IOM’s “interest and capacity to support Sri Lanka’s strategic vision on labour and migration management” and that “IOM and partners will continue to work side by side to ensure that returnees reach levels of economic self-sufficiency, social stability within their communities, and psychosocial wellbeing that allow them to cope with (re)migration drivers.”

Also, in attendance at the inaugural launch in Batticaloa were Yamuna Perera, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment, representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment, Mrs. Sutharshini Srikanth, the Additional District Secretary, Batticaloa and officials from the Batticaloa divisional secretariat.

The establishment of the handloom production centre is part of the 22 livelihood and infrastructure development projects planned across nine districts in Sri Lanka contributing to the ‘National COVID-19 Response Plan for Migrant Workers,’ developed by the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment with technical support from IOM and ILO. The project aims to reduce further vulnerability of migrant returnees by supporting them to sustainably reintegrate to their communities through livelihood support, entrepreneurship, and skills development activities.

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Rs. 20 Bn loan lifeline for SMEs

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The government has taken measures to implement a Rs.20 billion credit scheme to revive the micro, small and medium enterprise sector in Sri Lanka.  

Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers has granted its consent to the proposal forwarded by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies Minister to implement a credit scheme to revive the micro, small and medium enterprise sector.

Speaking at the weekly Cabinet media briefing held yesterday at the Government Information Department, Cabinet Spokesman, Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana said the proposed Rs.20 billion will be spent on the entire project which has two components.

“Out of this, Rs.15 billion will be used to strengthen existing and new enterprises and the remaining amount of Rs.five billion will be used to support enterprises under the non-performing loan category.

A significant number of small and medium scale entrepreneurs involved in manufacturing, import, export, tourism, apparel and various other commercial operations have found it very difficult to continue running their enterprises as a result of the economic downturn and the impact of external factors beyond their control.

The Asian Development Bank has agreed to provide working capital support for the Small and Medium Enterprise sector as a relief. The proposed programme is intended to provide credit facilities to existing micro, small and medium scale enterprises for further expansion and recovery of their businesses through licensed commercial banks and licensed specialised banks at concessional interest rates.

(dailynews.lk)

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Bakery industry in crisis as bread and bun sales decline

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The All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA) has reported a significant drop of around 50% in the sales of cakes, bread, and buns in the local market. The association attributes this decline to the high manufacturing costs currently faced by the bakery industry.

According to the ACBOA, the costs of margarine and butter have surged to Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 3,000 per kilogram, respectively. Additionally, the association cited challenges in obtaining imported eggs from India, forcing them to purchase locally produced eggs at Rs. 60 each.

The chairman of the association expressed concerns about the impact these rising costs have on the bakery industry. In light of these challenges, the ACBOA is urging the government to provide concessions and work towards reducing the prices of essential ingredients before the upcoming Sinhala and Hindu New Year.

The association’s plea emphasizes the need for government support to help stabilize the bakery industry and ensure its sustainability amid the current economic challenges. Further updates on the situation and any government response will be monitored closely.

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Former Minister Ronnie de Mel no more

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Former Minister – Ronnie de Mel has passed away today (27) while being treated at a private hospital, reports say.

He was aged 99 years old.A former civil servant, he was the Minister of Finance from 1977 – 1988 under the United National Party government and holds the record for the largest number of budgets presented by a finance minister.

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