Directors and staff from DPL with fertilizer at the distribution ceremony
By Steve A. Morrell
Dipped Products Ltd ( DPL) through its Firstlight Initiative, over a period of some 12 years, empowered around 3000 rubber farmers in Moneragala to expand their rubber growing initiative to ensure their rubber production is absorbed by the company. It is also significant that the company continues to assist these farmers and their families.
At Moneragala we spoke to these farmers who were enthusiastic about their supplier relationship with the company and continuous good standing with it consequent to supplying raw material, latex and sheet rubber; all of which was readily absorbed by the company.
Grower and rubber farmer Kariyawasam Pathirange Karunadasa, who we met at the fertilizer distribution ceremony in Moneragala, informed us about the impact of DPL on the prosperity of rubber growers. He said he commenced planting rubber in his small tract of land in the late ‘70s. He experienced some ups and downs in this planting venture because at that time prices were not attractive and although he was one of the first to plant rubber in the area he had been considering planting some other crops on his land due to fluctuating fortunes. But he continued with rubber.
However, DPL entered the area and bought sheet rubber as well as latex each day from site. The rubber farmers did not have to journey long distances to sell their raw material. Karunadasa said that because of the impact of DPL and their entry to Moneragala, rubber farmers prospered.
DPL paid good prices for their produce. Although rubber prices were currently low, the company paid extremely fair prices for produce collected. We also discussed the benefits of DPL with a few others as well who informed us of positive impact of DPL on production of rubber in Moneragala.
Additionally, each planter family was assisted with school books for their children and urgent cash for emergencies. Karunadasa also told us he was able to have by – pass surgery because his earnings from rubber were growing.
Karunadasa said payment was prompt and all proceeds were deposited in their bank accounts. He said farmers had full confidence in the services of DPL. He added that each rubber grower earned as much as Rs, 75,000 monthly. In some instances earnings exceeded that amount.
Similar success stories were recorded by us from at least five other rubber growers whom we interviewed.
At Moneragala, Deputy Managing Director, DPL R.H.Pushpika Janadheera said when DPL initiated their support for rubber farmers in Moneragala, the original number of farmers who supplied latex and crepe rubber was only around five. But currently, after about 12 years, the number grew to its current supplier base of over 3000 farmers who supply raw material exclusively to DPL.
He explained that this supplier base grew to its current number because of the integrity of the company in its dealings with rubber growers. The position that DPL was prompt in settling dues of rubber farmers was fully confirmed by these suppliers.
DPL assistance to families, including the provision of school books to children and similar Corporate Social Responsibility projects, further enhanced the reputation of the company.
During wet weather, rubber tapping is usually suspended because of expected damage to tapping panels. Such risks were minimized in Moneragala because of its dry zone character.
Production of rubber in Sri Lanka was only about one percent of world production. Leaders in rubber production in the world, Janadheera said, were Thailand and Indonesia, who each produced about 30 percent of the world’s rubber.
Apart from Moneragala, rubber was also purchased from Hanwella, Kuruwita and Bibile. DPL’s entry to Moneragala was also prompted by the need to encourage the use of fertilizer in small grower plots to increase production.
Fertiliser was issued in our presence to growers at subsidized rates.Janadheera said DPL’s advice to rubber farmers was based on instructions issued by the Rubber Research Institute. He confirmed active participation by Regional Plantation Companies in rubber growing.
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Unlimited music streaming platform in Sri Lanka
SLT-Mobitel, the nation’s ICT and Telecommunications Service Provider recently partnered with Spotify, to mark their launch in Sri Lanka. Spotify is a paid premium music streaming app which allows subscribers to listen to music to their hearts content. Both, SLT-Mobitel Post-Paid and Pre-Paid customers will now be able to enjoy Spotify by activating a monthly recurring subscription or one-time subscription plan and access unlimited music streaming and downloading facilities.
The subscription charges will get added to the user’s customary billing, where payment will be deducted in real time. Starting from the payment date, the user will be able to access Spotify and download their favourite songs, for the next 30 days. Users who sign up for their first monthly subscription will receive an additional one month, courtesy of Spotify. The one-month subscription plan is not applicable with one-time subscription plans. SLT-Mobitel data rates, depending on the user’s respective broadband charges, will apply.
Spotify also has some exciting features that will provide SLT-Mobitel customers with the opportunity to listen to ad-free music, access millions of uninterrupted music under one platform, play any song they like, anywhere they go, and also be able to enjoy their music offline.
SLT-Mobitel customers can select their preferred premium package under four categories; Individual, Duo, Family, Student. Each category has recurring and non-recurring plans. After one month of free streaming, the package will activate once the offer period terminates. While both, the Individual and Student premiums are limited to one account user, the Duo package offers two accounts and the Family premium is accessible through six accounts. To view Spotify plans, users can log on to https://spoti.fi/3aLWvce
Sri Lanka using ‘sovereign power’ over economy: CB Governor
by Sanath Nanayakkare
Anyone conversant with the elements of a political economy would know that Sri Lanka is using its ‘sovereign power’ to manage the different dynamics of the economy in a sustainable manner, Professor W. D Lakshman Governor of the Central Bank said on Wednesday.
“Some critics are saying that we adopt a so-called modern monetary theory. That’s not the case. In fact, Sri Lanka is using its sovereign power in a number of economic aspects to honour its external debt repayment commitments as well as to reduce its debt burden in the medium term as well as achieve resilient growth in the medium to long term, he said.
“We make policy decisions to boost our gross foreign reserves, meet our external debt servicing, to facilitate monetary expansion, to boost our GDP growth, to strengthen our current account balance and manage our domestic and external economic variables in a sustainable manner. This is not a modern monetary theory. This is an age-old tool used by central banks around the world when the circumstances demand it, he said.
“Certain trade-offs will be necessary when dealing with an economy which has a big fiscal gap to bridge. There are efforts to push Sri Lanka towards the IMF again which would in turn have influence on our policymaking. We have taken policy measures to stabilize the economy and we have adequate reserve levels to meet our debt repayments. Meanwhile, we are in negotiations with overseas central banks and multilateral agencies to further boost our reserve level and it would materialise within a matter of weeks,” he noted.
“One of the tools the Central Bank has introduced is in respect of repatriation of export proceeds into Sri Lanka and conversion of such proceeds into Sri Lankan rupees in order to strengthen the foreign exchange situation of the country,” he said.
The Governor made these remarks while delivering the keynote speech at a webinar organised by the Veemansa Initiative led by its Managing Director Luxman Siriwardene – the former Executive Director of Pathfinder Foundation.
The webinar revolved round the topic ‘External debt situation in Sri Lanka: Are we heading for a resolution or crisis?’
Professor Sirimal Abeyratne, Prof. Sumanasiri Liyanage, Dr. Nishan de Mel and Dr. Ravi Liyanage were the other speakers on the panel.
CSE on the rebound; indices close positive
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
CSE produced signs of a rebound yesterday with both indices closing positive, though turnover remained low. Central Bank Governor W.D Lakshman’s recent statement on managing foreign reserves gave some boost to the market yesterday, stock market analysts said.
The index experienced a zigzag movement within the early hours of trading; thereafter, it recorded a slight up-trend as it reached its intraday high of 7,439. Later, the market witnessed a down-trend at mid-day, followed by a sideways movement and closed at 7,372, gaining 43 points during the month of February, market sources said.
It is said the banking sector dominated turnover with a contribution of considerable parcel trades in Sampath Bank, Commercial Bank and HNB.
Further, the Commercial Bank’s impressive quarterly results during the recent turbulent period also built investor confidence. Commercial Bank was able to register a18 percent net interest income when other banks were reporting a decline. Its share price increased by Rs. 3 or 3.5 percent. On the previous day, its shares started trading at Rs. 85 and at the end of the day they moved up to Rs. 88. Due to the positive growth results, the bank announced a Rs. 4.40 dividend per share, plus a Rs. 2 script divergent for every share.
Further, Sampath Bank shares also appreciated in both crossing and retail. In crossings its shares appreciated by Rs. 1.At the end of the day they moved up to Rs. 154.50. In the retail market, its shares moved up by Rs. 2 or 1.3 percent. Previously, its shares fetched Rs. 154 and at the end of yesterday they moved up to Rs. 156.
Amid those developments, both indices moved upwards. The All Share Price Index went up by 104.48 points and S and P SL20 rose by 67.78 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Sampath Bank, where 3.9 million shares crossed for Rs. 602.2 million, its share price being Rs. 154.50, HNB 375,000 shares crossed for Rs. 39.4 million, its shares traded at Rs. 105, Pan Asia Power 9.5 million shares crossed for Rs. 33.2 million, its shares traded at Rs. 3.50 and Access Engineering 1.2 million shares crossed for Rs. 28.2 million; its shares traded at Rs. 24.
In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Rs. 450 million (10 million shares traded), JKH Rs. 205 million (1.3 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 199 million (34.9 million shares traded), Sampath Bank Rs. 191 million (1.2 million shares traded) and Dipped Products Rs. 137.7 million (2.8 million shares traded). During the day 101 million share volumes changed hands in 18046 transactions.
During the day, Expolanka, the biggest contributor to the turnover, saw its share price appreciating by Rs. 6.20 or 15 percent. Its share price quoted on the previous day was Rs. 41 and at the end of trading yesterday it moved up to Rs. 47.
Sri Lanka’s rupee quoted wider at 193.50/195.50 levels to the US dollar in the spot next market on Thursday while bond yields remained unchanged, dealers said. The rupee last closed in the spot market at 194.50/195.00 to the dollar on Wednesday.