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Thursday April 18th, 2024

Japan, UN Women support 600 women-led micro enterprises in Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT — Amid some uneasiness in relations between the two countries in light of a cancelled light rail transit project, Japanese funding worth 343,000 US dollars has been used by UN Women and a local organisation to provide assets to 600 women-led micro-enterprises.

UN Women, a United Nations (UN) agency, said in a statement that the initiative was undertaken as part of a larger one-year project ‘Empowering women in crisis’ that began in February 2023.

“Through this project, UN Women and implementing partner Chrysalis have provided humanitarian assistance for women most affected by the socioeconomic crisis in Sri Lanka – in close collaboration with Ministry of Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment,” the statement said.

Speaking at an event held in Battaramulla, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka Mizukoshi Hideaki said: “The Embassy of Japan is pleased to have supported this tremendous initiative which is being carried out in five districts in Sri Lanka and we look forward to continuing this partnership with UN Women to support women’s economic empowerment in the country”.

In light of soaring food inflation and rising cost of living, the entrepreneurs further received provisions to support their daily needs, enabling them to allocate more resources towards their business ventures, said UN Women.

Deputy Regional Director, UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Sarah Knibbs said: “As part of this project funded by the government of Japan, we have provided 600 women-led micro enterprises with advanced training on business development including the introduction to digital tools and resources to better market their products.”

Through the project, the entrepreneurs received comprehensive training ranging from product ideation to financial literacy and were introduced to new tools such as digital marketing to expand their businesses, UN Women said, adding that the project supports women-led micro-enterprises in the districts of Ampara, Colombo, Moneragala, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya. (Colombo/Jan24/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s discussions with bondholders constructive: State finance minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan authorities continue to engage all debt restructuring negotiations in good faith, within principles of equitable treatment among creditors, and with maximum transparency within the norms of such negotiations, State Minister of Finance, Shehan Semasinghe has said.

“It is standard practice, when a representative group of bondholders is formed, to entertain confidential discussions with such group and its appointed advisors. In the case of Sri Lanka, the Ad Hoc Group of Bondholders represents holders controlling more than 50% of the bonds, which make them a privileged interlocutor for Sri Lanka,” Semasinghe said on X (twitter).

“It is well understood that given the price sensitive nature of the negotiations, and according to market regulations, discussions with the Group and its advisors are to be conducted under non-disclosure agreements. This evidently restricts the ability of the Government to unilaterally report about the substance of the discussions.

“The cleansing statement, which was issued on the 16th of April, at the conclusion of this first round of confidential discussions with members of the Group, aims at informing the Sri Lankan people, market participants and other stakeholders to this debt restructuring exercise, about the progress in negotiations. It provides the highest possible level of transparency within the internationally accepted practices in such circumstances.

“As informed in this statement, confidential discussions held in recent weeks with bondholders’ representatives proved constructive, building on the restructuring proposals presented by both parties. During the talks both sides successfully bridged a number of technical issues enabling important progress to be made. Sri Lanka articulated key remaining concerns that need to be addressed in a satisfactory manner.

“The next steps would entail further consultation with the IMF staff regarding assessments of the compatibility of the latest proposals with program parameters. Following these consultations, we hope to continue discussions with the bondholders with a view to reaching common ground ahead of the IMF board consideration of the second review of Sri Lanka’s EFF program.”

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Sri Lanka rupee weakens at 301.00/302.05 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 301.00/302.05 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Tuesday, from 299.00/10 on Tuesday, dealers said. Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed stable at 11.30/35 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.05 percent up from 11.95/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed at 12.10/20 percent down from 12.10/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.03.2031 closed at 12.30/50 percent. (Colombo/Apr17/2024)

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Sri Lanka Treasury Bill yields down across maturities

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Treasuries yields were down across maturities at Wednesday’s auction with the 3-month yield moving down 7 basis points to 10.03 percent, data from the state debt office showed.

The debt office sold all 30 billion rupees of 3-month bills offered.

The 6-month yield fell 5 basis points to 10.22 percent, with 25 billion rupees of bills offered and 29.98 billion rupees sold.

The 12-month yield dropped 4 basis points to 10.23 percent with 18.01 billion rupees of bills sold after offering 23 billion rupees. (Colombo/Apr17/2024)

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