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Friday August 19th, 2022

Sri Lanka blockchain start-up gets venture capital from Japan

ECONOMYNEXT – Tracified, a Sri Lanka-based start-up which is developing a blockchain based solution to track supply chains has received funds from a Japanese venture capital firm to take it forward, officials said.

Tracified was backed by 99x Technologies, a Colombo-based technology firm and StartupX Foundry, a technology accelerator.

Co-founder of Tracified, Dileepa Jayathilaka said Japan-based 360ip Company has invested an undisclosed sum in 20 percent of Tracified.

“While we have built many award-winning products during the past 10 years through our cutting-edge research, Tracified is the first product we have successfully commercialized with an international partnership, providing us both funding and market access.” Jayathilaka said.

Tracified says its public blockchain solution allows authentic sellers to prove the quality of their produce to the intended market.

It can be used by any participant in a supply chain to share information with other participants including end-consumers, in a credible way via public blockchain.

Blockchain technology enables data to be held in distributed public ledgers in a secure and encrypted way and ensure that transactions can never be altered.

Japan’s 360ip was jointly established by Innovation Valley Partners (of where) and Batelle Venture, which is linked to a large non-profit research and development commercialization organization.

In 2017, 360ip Japan launched Japan Fund I with an initial commitment of 1.0 billion yen.

“360ip has a focus on investing and developing advanced science and technology ventures on a global scale,” 360ip Japan Chief Executive Officer, Asashi Fujimori said in a statement issued by the Tracified.

Although Sri Lanka’s potential in developing advanced ICT services and products is known to many, only a very few early-stage technology startups survive beyond seed round, due to the lack of a well-established venture capital financing framework with an effective technology commercialization methodology.”

Fujimori said 360ip wants to supporting promising startup ventures to develop their technology and expand their business beyond Sri Lank (Colombo/Aug 17/2020)

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Sri Lanka suspends distribution at filling stations that didn’t adopt QR system

Sri Lanka has totally dependent on India for its fuel requirement from March to mid June.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has suspended fuel distribution at 12 filling stations that had failed to follow the guidelines of implementing the QR code system for fuel sales, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara said.

The decision was made during a progress review with the marketing division of the state run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC).

“Instructions were given to continuously monitor the stations and to submit complaints received by the public to the relevant police stations,” Wijesekara said.

Wijesekara had previously lodged  a complaint with the CID to investigate CPC and CPSTL activities.


Sri Lanka energy minister seeks police probe into fuel distribution complaints

Since the implementation of the QR code system in early August, the authorities have been on the lookout for individuals who break the guidelines set by the Ministry. A contact number to send in evidence of rule breaking was provided for the public, and police have been carrying out investigations to identify and take actions against hoarders.

The Energy Ministry has been tweaking the system to enable businesses to register multiple vehicles under one phone number, and periodic maintenance activities are being carried out on the site.

Wijesekara has said that fuel quotas will be amended if necessary.

Authorities have said that any person engaged in black market activities will be fined and jailed.

As of Thursday August 17 nearly 6 million users had signed up with the QR code, and a little over 99 million liters of fuel had been consumed. (Colombo/Aug19/2022)


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Sri Lanka’s protestors must bear damages to Galle Face Green: minister

Protestors at Galle Face demanding that President Rajapaksa step down

ECONOMYNEXT – The damages caused to Sri Lanka’s Galle Face Green area due the anti-government protests there must be financially borne by the protestors, Minister of Urban Development and Housing Prasanna Ranatunga said.

“It’s public property and the Urban Development Authority (UDA) has invested a lot of money to develop that area,” said Ranatunga on Friday August 19.

Several protestors had filed fundamental rights petitions at the Supreme Court seeking permission to continue their occupation at Galle Face till August 10. Ranatunga said that the protestors that filed such petitions will be held responsible for the damages in the area.

Sri Lanka’s Aragalaya (Struggle) protestors had occupied the site for 125 days in order to oust ex President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government. Friday marked nine days since the area was vacated by the protestors.The crowd kept thinning towards the end of July and into early August due to a combination of reasons. Political analysts attributed it to protest fatigue, a genuine desire to give newly sworn in President Ranil Wickremesinghe a chance, a semblance of normality following what appears to be an end to cooking gas queues and an easing of the fuel crisis, as well as a climate of fear brought about by an alleged government crackdown.

“Estimates should be taken and a court case should be filed, to find the people responsible. We can tell the auditors that the Aragalaya is responsible for the damages,” said Ranatunga.

“Once the damage has been assessed someone responsible has to take charge because auditing discrepancies may occur. Money has already been spent on Galle Face and if we want to spend more, we will be questioned by the auditors on what happened to the money that was already spent,” he said.

A large number of protestors stormed and occupied the Presidential House, Presidential Secretariat, Temple Trees and Prime Minister’s Office on July 09 and after, into which investigations are underway.

After the protestors had vacated the protest site on August 10, Sri Lanka’s police sought public assistance to arrest protestors that broke into state owned entities, even after President Wickremesinghe said had said he had no desire to crack down on peaceful protesters.

“Some groups are trying to spread propaganda through social media that I am hunting down the protesters. This is not true. I will not allow any kind of prejudice against peaceful activists. I will establish an office to protect the peaceful protesters and support them,” he said, though he and others in the government have said previously that unlawful and “fascist” elements that have hijacked the Aragalaya must be dealt with according to the law.

Some protestors who were occupying Galle Face told EconomyNext that they have lost their jobs, have changed their physical appearance and are being forced to pay for damage.

A key protestor told EconomyNext: “I did it for the country, for myself, my family and all who are unhappy. But now my life is at risk. I have changed how I look, I lost my job and am rummaging about my savings which are depleting just like the country’s reserves.”

“The government keeps failing to understand us. We don’t have money to eat and we are expected to pay a price for loving and attempting to save the country from these good for nothing fellows,” said another protestor. (Colombo/Aug19/2022)

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India has helped Sri Lanka to best of its ability, will assist with IMF: Jaishankar

Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar

ECONOMYNEXT – India has helped the crisis-hit Sri Lanka to the best of its ability and will help the island nation with its negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said.

Indian media quoted Jaishankar as saying at an event in Bangkok on Thursday August 17 that this year alone, India has extended 3.8 billion US dollars in support to Sri Lanka including lines of credit and swap arrangement.

“Any help we can give to Sri Lanka at the IMF that we will naturally do,” India’s NDTV quoted Jaishankar as saying on its website.

Jaishankar’s speech focused on India’s relations with China India, which he said was going through an “extremely difficult phase” after what Beijing has done at the border.

The Asian Century will not happen if the two neighbours could not join hands, he said.

The foreign minister did not make any explicit reference to the recent diplomatic standoff between India, Sri Lanka and China over a Chinese tracking vessel that is currently docked in the island’s Hambantota Port for replenishment purposes.


Chinese tracking vessel Yuan Wang 5 docks at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port

“At the moment (the India-China) relationship is going through an extremely difficult phase after what China did at the border,” he said.

“I think if India and China have to come together, there are many reasons to do so, not necessarily only Sri Lanka,” he said, adding that it is in India and China’s own interest to join hands. (Colombo/Aug19/2022)

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