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Thursday July 18th, 2024

Sri Lanka to purchase organic fertilizer from Chinese firm sued NPQS

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka-based Colombo Commercial Fertilizer Company (CCFC) Ltd. will purchase organic fertilizer from disputed China’s Qingdao Seawin Biotech, CCFC chairman said on Tuesday (11), days after the dispute over a contaminated fertilizer consignment ended with Colombo paying 6.9 million US dollars demanded by the Chinese firm.

Qingdao Seawin Biotech sued Sri Lanka’s National Plant Quarantine Service in November for 8 million US dollars and Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co Ltd demanding 8 million US dollars stating the samples were cleared before the shipment and alleged that the Sri Lankan authorities have not followed proper sample tests.

However, Sri Lankan authorities including Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had to eat their own words and pay 6.9 million rupees last week for Qingdao Seawin Biotech just before the arrival of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Commercial Fertilizer Company Ltd. is one of the two companies that ordered organic fertilizer from Qingdao Seawin Biotech.

“Earlier we had agreements for 90,000 metric tons and first we were to get 20,000 metric tons of fertilizer. We will have to come to an agreement soon about the times that the rest will be shipped, after discussion among the government departments and fertilizer organizations,” Methsiri Wijegunawardhana, President of Colombo Commercial Fertilizer Company told reporters on Tuesday.

“The first shipment will be here by the end of February or early March. The discussions about that will take place soon, and the Ministry will make an official statement about that.”

Wijegunawardhana assured that they will not get the rejected fertilizer but a fresh shipment.

“Just because one lot was rejected does not mean it will all be so and we are giving priority for lab testing.”

Sri Lanka is using independent labs to test the standard of the fertilizer as well as SGS labs in Switzerland for the first time.

He hopes to get the first shipment before the next cultivation season begins between March and April.
In October 2021, Ceylon Fertilizer Company Limited got a court order to block payment to Qingdao Seawin Biotech after a shipment was found to be contaminated on a post-shipment examination.

This resulted in China blacklisting a state-bank.

However this was resolved when Sri Lanka paid the Chinese company 6.9 million dollars on Friday (January 08) for the rejected shipment amid a forex crisis.

This week China removed the Sri Lankan state bank from its blacklist.
Wijegunawardhana said the reason behind the decision to go with the same Chinese company was because Chinese fertilizer has high quality Nitrogen and NPK in the optimum amounts,

“That’s why the Department (of Agriculture) and the relevant organizations have come to that decision.”

Colombo Commercial Fertilizer is a government fertilizer distributor who has so far imported Nano Nitrogen and organic fertilizer from China.

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Sri Lanka airport will need tech to cope as volumes set to top pre-Covid levels: SITA

ECONOMYNEXT – Passenger traffic at Sri Lanka’s main airport in Katunayake is set to exceed pre-pandemic volumes by year-end and technology can be used to address congestion, an international aviation technology company said.

Self-service check-in, biometrics, reducing passenger touch points and off airport processing are some of the strategies now used to boost efficiency.

Passenger traffic, which includes regional transit passengers, at the Bandaranaike International Airport has topped 4 million by April and is likely reach 9.5 to 10 million passengers by year, which is more than the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

“The message is positive on Sri Lanka,” David Lavorel, Chief Executive, Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (SITA), a company that was founded by airlines and is currently serving carriers, airports and border agencies.

“You have growth coming. Of course, you have challenges if you do nothing. But I think your authorities are working on taking action.”

Sri Lanka airport agency, the immigration department and SriLankan Airlines have a unified approach to solving coming challenges, Lavorel said, after meeting Sri Lanka authorities.

SITA provides communications backbone that allows airlines to check-in passengers and move and track baggage across global airports.

ITA technology is also used by airline back-office and air traffic controllers to track and manage aircraft as they move around the world, using Inmarsat and Irridium satellite services as well ground stations that are contracted with the company.

Sri Lanka is building a second terminal with Japanese funding which was delayed after Sri Lanka defaulted on its debt and is now three to four years away. Meanwhile an attempt to build an interim airport is also bogged down.

Sri Lanka to build temporary terminal at BIA

The airport can use existing space more efficiently by using new technology and re-engineering passenger processing by reducing ‘touchpoints’ which is currently at seven, according to SITA officials.

SriLankan Airlines has deployed self-service kiosks using SITA technology.

Already about 20 percent of SriLankan passengers are using the self service check-in kiosks, Sumesh Patel, President, Asia Pacific said.

Biometrics is another technology that is used to process passengers fast, by border agencies as well as airlines.

Using biometrics British Airways reduced boarding an Airbus A380 from 50 minutes to 20 minutes, Patel said.

SIA has also discussed using optimal technology in the second terminal but detailed design of technological deployment is perhaps two years away.

Deployment of passenger processing, including self service depends on the needs of airlines, where some budget airlines prefer more self service and the strategy of the airport.

“Once the airport airport has decided, and we come with advice on the technological side,” Lavorel said.

SITA was already serving airports across the world, passenger profiles and help airports come up with optimal tech use.

Sri Lanka’s airport in addition will could also continue to grow 10 to 12 percent year on year, until the second terminal came in. All over the world airports faced infrastructure constraints as it was simply not possible to expand terminals to keep up with passenger traffic.

“We look at what current constrain on the infrastructure is, what is the passenger growth expected, what are the technologies that can be deployed and also the passenger profile.

“Not all airports we can do 100 percent self-service, because there are different passenger profiles.” (Colombo/July18/2024)

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Sri Lanka to conduct threat assessments for presidential candidates

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has submitted a cabinet paper proposing security measures for presidential candidates and former presidents, following the recent attack on former US President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in the USA.

“This proposal suggests the appointment of a committee to conduct threat assessments and provide necessary security for Presidential candidates as well as former Presidents,” a statement from his media division said.

The committee will include the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security as Chair, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of National Intelligence, and the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police/Elections.

A Deputy Inspector General of Police will be appointed to oversee all security arrangements.

The committee and the designated officer will work closely with the Election Commission to ensure seamless coordination of security arrangements, the PMD said.

After today, July 17, Sri Lanka’s Election Committee is empowered to announce a date for the presidential polls due to be held this year.

Minister of Foreign Affairs M U M Ali Sabry has said the election will be held on October 5 or 12.

Members of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) have said that the government should be accountable for the security of Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, the SJB’s presidential candidate. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes flat at 303.80/304.00 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed almost flat at 303.80/304.00 to the US dollar on Wednesday, from 303.70/304.00 to the US dollar on Tuesday, dealers said, while bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.60/75 percent, down from 10.82/92 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2027 closed at 11.60/38 percent, down from 11.65/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 closed at 11.72/78 percent, down from 11.80/90 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.05/10 percent, down from 12.05/20 percent. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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