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Tuesday November 29th, 2022

IFC, Hemas partner for digital health service in Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT – International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group and Sri Lankam conglomerate Hemas Holdings have partnered to provide an affordable and quality health-care through digital technology  supported by local management consultancy, L.E.K Consulting, the IFC said in a statement.

“Sri Lanka will be the first country to benefit from an IFC global initiative designed to boost access to affordable and quality health-care,” the IFC said in a statement.

The initiative is named to be Global Digital Health Platform (DigiHealth) which will commence in Sri Lanka, is expected to create a platform to partner with healthcare organizations to develop, implement and finance digital transformation strategies.

DigiHealth is to offer a range of digital healthcare solutions including medical care, health education, health information services via telehealth, specialist healthcare via telemedicine, and the means for health-care providers to transform their processes through automation, digitization and advanced analytics.

“Easy access to quality healthcare services has become increasingly important in a post-COVID world, especially for vulnerable communities,” aid Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson, Group CEO of Hemas.

“We hope that with IFC’s backing, we will be able to ensure that DigiHealth will play a pivotal role in ensuring that all Sri Lankans will have access to quality healthcare at their fingertips.”

A grand view research conducted had expected digital health systems globally to reach $95 billion in 2018 and reach $509 billion by 2025.

However, with the pandemic in play, targets an expectation of long-term growth has been channeled for the digital health industry with possibilities to raveling up changes for the industry as a whole.

“The DigiHealth platform is IFC’s response to the rising demand for digital health services, which aim to be delivered at a higher quality and lower cost, which is needed in a country like Sri Lanka were existing private sector players have limited reach,” said Rana Karadsheh, Regional Industry Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services at IFC Asia Pacific.

Sri Lanka is increasingly facing shortage of medical practitioners as more senior consultants and doctors leave the country in the face of the economic crisis while the government policy to reduce the retirement age also has cut down the number of medical practitioners. (Colombo/Sep24/2022)

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Sri Lanka rubber farmers to get boost from France, Michellin

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will start a project supported by France and Michellin group to support 6,000 rubber farmers, cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena said.

Rubber farmers in Badalgama and Medagama in the Moneragala district will be supported improve their capacity and supply chains at a cost of 726,700 Euros.

Financial support will be provided by France’s Michellin group which has a subsidiary in Sri Lanka and the government of France.

The project will be implemented by France’s Ksapa group under the guidance of Ministry of Industries.

The cabinet of ministers had cleared a proposal by the Plantations Industries Minister to enter into an agreement to implement the project. (Colombo/Nov29/2022)

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A new Sri Lanka monetary law may have prevented 2019 tax cuts?

ECONOMYNEXT – A new monetary law planned in 2019, if it had been enacted may have prevented the steep tax cuts made in that year which was followed by unprecedented money printing, ex-Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said.

The bill for the central bank law was ready in 2019 but the then administration ran out of parliamentary time to enact it, he said.

Economists backing the new administration slashed taxes in December 2019 and placed price controls on Treasuries auctions bought new and maturing securities, claiming that there was a ‘persistent output gap’.

Coomaraswamy said he keeps wondering whether “someone sitting in the Treasury would have implemented those tax cuts” if the law had been enacted.

“We would never know,” he told an investor forum organized by CT CLSA Securities, a Colombo-based brokerage.

The new law however will sill allow open market operations under a highly discretionary ‘flexible’ inflation targeting regime.

A reserve collecting central bank which injects money to push down interest rates as domestic credit recovers triggers forex shortages.

The currency is then depreciated to cover the policy error through what is known as a ‘flexible exchange rate’ which is neither a clean float nor a hard peg.

From 2015 to 2019 two currency crises were triggered mainly through open market operations amid public opposition to direct purchases of Treasury bills, analysts have shown.

Sri Lanka’s central bank generally triggers currency crises in the second or third year of the credit cycle by purchasing maturing bills from existing holders (monetizing the gross financing requirement) as private loan demand pick up and not necessarily to monetize current year deficits, critics have pointed out.

Past deficits can be monetized as long as open market operations are permitted through outright purchases of bill in the hands of banks and other holders.

In Latin America central banks trigger currency crises mainly by their failure to roll-over sterilization securities. (Colombo/Nov29/2022)

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Sri Lanka cabinet clears CEB re-structure proposal: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet has cleared proposals by a committee to re-structure state-run Ceylon Electricity Board, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijeskera said.

“Cabinet approval was granted today to the recommendations proposed by the committee on Restructuring CEB,” he said in a twitter.com message.

“The Electricity Reforms Bill will be drafted within a month to begin the unbundling process of CEB & work on a rapid timeline to get the approval of the Parliament needed.”

Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Electricity Board finances had been hit by failure to operate cost reflective tariffs and there are capacity shortfalls due to failure to implement planned generators in time. (Colombo/Nov28/2022)

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