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Tuesday June 18th, 2024

Sri Lanka tea sector face labour issues as Coronavirus bites

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka tea sector including buyers who process and pack tea for export as well as some factories within isolated areas are finding it difficult to operate at full capacity due to shortages of labour, industry officials said.

“A lot of small buyers are facing a labour issue in the curfew imposed areas,” an official said.

“They are unable to operate since they cannot find labour.”

Exporters who buy tea from auctions have to blend and pack the tea and warehouse it, which involve labour.

Coronavirus had badly hit areas of the capital Colombo which supply labour, while overall curfews also made travelling difficult.

Home deaths have also been reported from areas which supply labour to many industries and services in the capital.

The virus has been found to be highly transmissible but asymptomatic among the younger population.

The tea industry although adopting the e-auction, is still grappling with labour issues since workers are unable to venture out.

“This has affected the larger buyers too who are currently working with limited staff,” a tea broker said.

“The small buyers are facing increased difficulty owing to the lack of facilities to keep their workers standby in house.”

Brokers said some factories have also had to halt and some plucking had also been disrupted.

In areas like Mathugama areas, plucking had been disrupted.

Coronavirus had also spread upcountry through fish traders and public health officials have quarantined workers.

Curfews in the Western Province were lifted on Monday, but some areas which supply labor, have become Coronavirus hotspots and remain isolated.

Restrictions imposed in some areas in some provinces where pockets of Coronavirus have been found have been lifted after Public Health Inspectors track down contacts.

Local authorities have now been given powers to isolate small areas and then lift them as public health officials complete their work, authorities have said. (Colombo/Nov08/2020)

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Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber links up with Gujarat Chamber

ECONOMYNEXT – The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has signed an agreement with the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) to increase trade cooperation between India and Sri Lanka.

The MOU was signed by CCC CEO Buwanekabahu Perera, SGCCI President Ramesh Vaghasia, in the presence of Dr Valsan Vethody, Consul General for Sri Lanka in Mumbai, India.

“With the signing of the MoU, … the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and SGCCI aim to facilitate trade between the two countries via initiatives such as trade fairs and delegations, business networking events, training programmes,” the Ceylon Chamber said in a statement.

“This partnership will open doors for Sri Lankan businesses to explore opportunities in Surat’s dynamic market and enable the sharing of expertise and resources between the two regions.”

Established in 1940, SGCCI engages with over 12,000 members and indirect ties with more than 2,00,000 members via 150 associations. It promotes trade, commerce, and industry in South Gujarat.

The region’s commercial and economic centre Surat has risen to prominence as the global epicenter for diamond cutting and as India’s textile hub, and is ranked the world’s 4th fastest growing city with a GDP growth rate of 11.5%

Surat’s economic landscape is vibrant and diverse. As India’s 8th largest and Gujarat’s 2nd largest city, it boasts the highest average annual household income in the country.

The nearby Hazira Industrial Area hosts major corporations like Reliance, ESSAR, SHELL, and L&T. (Colombo/Jun18/2024)

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Sri Lanka telecommunications bill some clauses ruled unconstitutional by SC: Speaker

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has found a number of clauses in a proposed amendment to the Telecom Telecommunications Amendment bill unconstitutional, speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana said.

“Clause No 8, proposed section 9A 2 of the bill is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution, however this inconsistency shall cease if word ‘may’ will be replaced with word ‘shall’ as set out in the determination of the supreme court.”

“Clause No 9 is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution and only can be passed with special majority required under paragraph 2 of the Article 84. However, the inconsistency shall cease if clause is amended as set out in the determination of the supreme court.

Clause No 12, proposed section 17 10 of the bill is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution and can only be passed with special parliament majority required under Article 84 paragraph 2. However, the inconsistency shall cease if clause is amended as set out in the determination of the supreme court.”

Sections of clauses 13, 18, 20, 33 and 35 were also in violation of the constitution, and could only be passed by a special majority of parliament. (Colombo/Jun18/2024)

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Sri Lanka to exempt one house from imputed rent wealth tax: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will exempt one house from a proposed wealth tax outlined in an International Monetary Fund program, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

About 90 percent of the people’s houses are likely to be exempt from the proposed tax, he said.

“[O]ne house will be exempt from this,” President Wickremesinghe told parliament Monday.

“It is going to have a very high threshold and I do not think the vast majority of the people in this country should even be worried about their house

“Don’t worry your house will be safe.”

The IMF program document however did not mention an exempt on one house, but did mention a threshold.

Taxing houses and thrift in general could have detrimental effects on people’s well-being housing stock and their willingness to remain in the country without migrating, critics say.

Related Sri Lanka to tax imaginary rents on houses under IMF deal

The mechanism of imputed rents was used because rates on houses was assigned to provincial councils and courts could strike it down.

Opposition legislator Harsha de Silva said the Samagi Jana Balwegaya welcomed President Wickremesinghe’s statement. (Colombo/June18/2024)

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