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Thursday May 23rd, 2024

Sri Lanka’s Pick Me powers JumJum mobike app in Nepal

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka-based ride-sharing company PickMe said it is tying up with Nepal’s FISoft, a fintech company to start a ride sharing app for motorcycles.

The app called JumJum (Let’s Go) will initially launch in Kathmandu, where 40 percent of the 2.5 million motorcycles are said to be used.

“This strategic partnership is the culmination of a long search in South Asia to take our services to another country in the region,” PickMe’s Chief Executive Zulfer Jiffry said in a statement.

“We have done it in a manner that adds value to the Nepali economy, by engaging with an acclaimed Nepalese tech company.”

Motorcycles are in wide use in Nepal accounting for 78 percent of 3.22 million vehicles registered in the country.

“In heralding the arrival of JumJum in Nepal, we witness the  convergence of two technological powerhouses: PickMe from Sri Lanka and F1Soft from Nepal,” Biswas Dhakal, President and Chairperson of F1Soft Group said.

PickMe is a company in which Washington-based International Finance Corporation invested 2.5 million dollars in 2018.

“Over the years, PickMe excelled in diversifying their products and services by expanding beyond ride-hailing to being a logistics company and also a pioneer in delivering necessities, especially during crises,” Alejandro Alvarez de la Campa, Country Manager for IFC in Sri Lanka and Maldives said.

“It also became a platform which helped create jobs and new economic opportunities for many, including for women.”

Chairman of PickMe, Ajit Gunewardene said the firm was started 10 year ago, its capacity to go across borders was expected.

“The vision was to provide a service that would be of international standards,” Gunawardana said.

“Over the years, PickMe has diligently forged partnerships across the region, and as we venture into the Kathmandu valley, our aspirations have been realised.

“While there will undoubtedly be a learning curve, it serves as a vital stepping stone towards propelling PickMe to greater heights with expansion into new markets.”

Jiffry says the move to Nepal Sri Lanka shows the potential to expand digital businesses in the region, and earn foreign exchange.

PickMe hoeps disrupt the Nepalese digital transportation and also plans to use Generative AI to fine tune service to local habits and consumer patterns, he said. (Colombo/May14/2024)

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Sri Lanka to speed up and expand Bingiriya export zone

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is expanding an export processing zone in Bingiriya in Kurunegala and plans to link the area with Puttalam with roads and other infrastructure, Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.

A task force of ministerial secretaries will be appointed to carry out the tasks speedily, following a cabinet paper submitted by President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

The Bingiriya zone already has 157 acres and another 282 acres is being developed by the Board of Investment, he said.

Steps would also be taken to acquire 666 acres.

There was no information whose lands would be acquired. (Colombo/May23/2024)

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Sri Lanka has power breakdowns amidst extreme weather

ECONOMYNEXT – The state-owned power utility, the Ceylon Electricity Board has reported over 36,900 breakdowns resulting in power interruptions to more than 300,000 consumers in the last three days due to inclement weather in the island, the power minister said.

“Additional service staff has been assigned to attend the breakdowns and the CEB management & service staff are working 24 hours to restore power to the affected consumers,” Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera said on social media platform X (twitter).

Wijesekera said consumers could report power interruptions through the CEB hotline 1987, via SMS to 1987 with BD and the electricity consumer number to follow, or use the CEB Care app, or through http://cebcare.ceb.lk.

The South-East monsoon has seen floods, landslides and strong winds do damage to the utility provider’s infrastructure in the last week. (Colombo/May23?2024)

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Sri Lanka President calls for unity, sacrificing for a better tomorrow on Vesak day

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe has recalled a sermon from the Buddha about sacrificing for a better tomorrow, and called for unity to heal and rebuild the country, as Buddhists celebrate Vesak.

Buddhists celebrate Vesak as commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha.

“At this challenging moment, we as a nation should cultivate the same great zeal for enlightenment that Buddha exemplified, inspired by his sermon, “Maththasukha parichchaga- passé che vipulan sukhan” – to sacrifice today for a better tomorrow,” President Wickremesinghe said in his Vesak day message.

“We must remember the advice of Lord Buddha, “Sabbattha Sammanaso,” to treat everyone equally and ensure we put it into practice as a country. This is the greatest offering we can present to the Buddha on this Vesak day.

“Regardless of race, religion, caste, or political affiliation, we must all unite to heal and rebuild our country. ”

The full statement is reproduced below:

The Vesak festival is a profoundly sacred day for Buddhists worldwide, commemorating the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and passing. Buddhists in Sri Lanka, along with their brethren around the globe, celebrate Vesak with deep devotion. They spend this period engaging in religious observances and venerating the Buddha with fervent devotion.

At this challenging moment, we as a nation should cultivate the same great zeal for enlightenment that Buddha exemplified, inspired by his sermon, “Maththasukha parichchaga- passé che vipulan sukhan” – to sacrifice today for a better tomorrow.

We must remember the advice of Lord Buddha, “Sabbattha Sammanaso,” to treat everyone equally and ensure we put it into practice as a country. This is the greatest offering we can present to the Buddha on this Vesak day. Regardless of race, religion, caste, or political affiliation, we must all unite to heal and rebuild our country. The principles of Lichchavi Raja Dharmaya will guide us in this endeavour.

Let us keep in mind that the primary aim of the Vesak festival is to foster spiritual growth and character development in a world rapidly advancing physically. I wish everyone a blessed Vesak festival.

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