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Friday March 31st, 2023

Paypal gap holds back Sri Lanka’s online fashion aspirations

ONLINE PRESENCE: Several Sri Lankan brands are already selling onlne.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s apparel firms that have built brands and would like to sell online are constrained by the lack of Paypal or similar facility, an industry official said, joining the chorus of calls by the information technology workers who also want to receive inward payments.

“The growing increase of B2C (business to customer) transactions is clearly visible in that large number of companies engaged in such e-commerce,” Chairman of Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association Rehan Lakhany said.

“This has shown remarkable progress, that traditional retail shop concept will be of minimal value from time to time.

“The major issue that we are facing today is the absence of a mechanism to receive payments online from the consumers if we are engaging in e-commerce in its proper sense.

“In view of growing demand and the need to facilitate transactions of these nature, it will be necessary for the government of Sri Lanka to create a mechanism similar to PayPal enabling us to receive payments online.”

Already Sri Lanka’s apparel firms were permitted to ship up to 3,000 dollars worth of goods to individual customers, allowing firms to supply top online retailers.

“In this connection, we are thankful to you sir for creating an environment at our request for us to undertake B2C transactions on behalf of brands,” Lakhanay said, addressing Sri Lanka’s Treasury Secretary Sajith Attygalle, who was at the forum.

“Though we send the goods to the consumers, he/she makes payments to the brand owner and the brand owner pays us,” Lakshany said.

“We have to go beyond this operation particularly, where we can supply our own products to the consumer directly.”

Fashion and accessory sales is one of the fastest growing e-commerce segments in the world, according to several studies, with China, US and UK, leading in volumes. Many Asian nations are also catching up fast.

According to some studies, more than a third of apparel and footware sales could take place online by 2020, with total sales of around 700 billion dollars.

Some Sri Lankan firms are using payment gateways to receive cash from customers who have credit or debit cards, but in many countries, consumers have got used to using Paypal.

Meanwhile Treasury Secretary S R Attygalle said the government would look into the matter.

“We will address the requirement to have a payment gateway that will facilitate the e-market place where Sri Lankan brands and companies will have more opportunities,” he said.

Paypal is an electronic platform which allows customers to send and receive payments and is widely used around the world where potential customers already have such accounts, without using credit cards.

In Sri Lanka outward payments can be made through Paypal by linking credit cards, but resident customers cannot link their bank accounts to the platform to receive payments.

Sri Lanka’s information technology workers, who do contract work for foreign firms from home, have also called for Paypal inpayments to be facilitated. There are however some other platforms, allowing workarounds.

Sri Lanka’s central bank has said that they have no objection to payments being received through Paypal and have encouraged the firm to make inward remittances to Sri Lanka, but the international firm has not added the island to their network.

There were attempts made by the authorities to get Paypal to add Sri Lanka to their network.

According to some officials, PayPal’s expectations of weak volume, undermining the business case for payments, while another said potential liabilities from Sri Lanka’s forex laws was a concern at one time. (Colombo /Feb17/2020)

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Sri Lanka tax hike: no response from president, professionals to discuss next steps

GMOA Secretary Haritha Alutghe

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s trade unions and professional associations who have been agitating against an International Monetary Fund (IMF) backed progressive tax hike will meet to discuss further union action after a letter to the president went unanswered.

Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) secretary Dr Haritha Aluthge told reporters on Friday March 31 that the unions will meet as the self-styled Professionals’ Trade Union Alliance (PTUA) collective which have so far been organising strikes and demonstrations demanding a revision of the taxes.

The PTUA has been awaiting a promised meeting with President Ranil Wickremesinghe for some days now. Aluthge previously said on Monday that if the meeting did not materialise, the unions would be compelled to go on strike.

The issue has become stagnant due to government inaction, said Aluthge at Friday’s press conference.

“The PTUA informed the president in writing yesterday for the last time to please understand the gravity of this situation and to immediately give us a meeting and present the government’s interim solution, through which the government can take measures to ease the sense of tension among professionals,” he said.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss an “interim solution” to the professionals’ grievances over the progressive income tax hike until a reported revision that’s due in six months when the country’s recently approved 17th IMF programme comes up for review.

“Sadly, there has still been no response,” the GMOA official said.

All unions and professional associations will meet Friday evening together with a number of other unions to discuss further action, he added.

The privately-owned English-language weekly newspaper The Sunday Times reported on March 26 that the IMF had indicated the possibility of revising some of the taxes imposed as part of the IMF’s staff-level agreement with Sri Lanka when the programme comes up for review in six months.

According to the newspaper, IMF officials had conveyed this to representatives of trade unions during a virtual roundtable held last Friday March 24. The virtual meeting was held on the initiative of the IMF and was attended by trade unions and professional associations representing the PTUA including the GMOA. (Colombo/Mar31/2023)

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Sri Lankan transport associations cut haulage and transportation fees after fuel price cut

ECONOMYNEXT –  Sri Lanka Association of Container Transporters and fuel bowser owners has decided to reduce the haulage charges and transportation fee, after the government cut the auto diesel prices by 80 rupees, association officials said.

“Due to the recent reduction in Auto Diesel price from March30, 2023, the committee has decided to reduce haulage charges by 7 percent,” association said.

Sri Lanka Private Petroleum Tanker owners has also decided to reduce the transportation fee of fuel by 8 -10 percent from April onwards.

“We will be meeting with the association members and will be deciding on exactly how much we will be reducing,” the General Secretary of the association Nimal Amarasekera told EconomyNext.

“We hope to reduce it by 8-10 percent and will be applied.”

Meanwhile United Lanka Fuel Transport Bowser Owners Association said, the price reduction will be done, and the specific amount will be calculated using the cost per kilometer for a transporting bowser.

“We have different types of bowsers such as 13,200 litre and 19,800 litre likewise,” Association President K.W. Charles told EconomyNext.

“So the cost per kilometer per bowser is different and after we calculate only we can give a specific percentage.

“It will come to effect from this month and the payments for the next month will be based on the new prices.”

Charles said, this is only based on the price reduction of fuel, however several costs as maintenance and spare part costs should also be considered when deciding the transportation cost, which is also being discussed with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation.

Sri Lanka slashed fuel prices with effect from Wednesday (29) midnight, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said, after a protest by trade unions of state-run fuel retailer Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) resulting in queues at filling stations due to supply disruption.

The price of Petrol 92 Octane will be slashed by 15 percent or 60 rupees to 340, Petrol 95 Octane 95 will be reduced by 26.5 percent or 135 rupees to 375, Auto Diesel by 19.8 percent or 80 rupees to 325, and kerosene by 3.3 percent or 10 rupees to 295. (Colombo/ March31/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s shares edge up in mid day trade

Stock Market. Free public domain CC0 image.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares edged up in mid day trade on Friday, Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) data showed.

All Share Price Index was up 1.09 percent or 100.69 points to 9,329.19, while the most liquid index was up 1.23 percent or 32.86 points to 2,697.12.

The market generated a turnover of 895 million rupees.

Top gainers during mid day trade were Commercial Bank, Hatton National Bank and Expolanka. (Colombo/Mar31/2023)


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