71st Independence Day of Sri Lanka celebrated in Oman with a series of events focusing on economic diplomacy
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in the Sultanate of Oman organized a series of events as a part of “Sri Lanka National Day Week” to celebrate the 71st Independence Day of Sri Lanka, with special emphasis on economic diplomacy.
The official flag hoisting ceremony was held at the Embassy premises on 4th February 2019, with the participation of over 200 Sri Lankan community members. The official ceremony commenced with the hoisting of the National Flag by Ambassador of Sri Lanka M.K.Pathmanaathan, and singing of the National Anthem in Sinhala and Tamil languages by the students of the Sri Lankan School Muscat. Thereafter, two minute silence was observed in remembrance of all who have sacrificed their lives for the nation. The ceremonial oil lamp was lit by the Ambassador, representatives of the Sri Lankan community organisations in Oman, prominent Sri Lankans representing the Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and Christian communities. Religious observances were conducted by selected members of the community representing Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. The Independence Day messages of H.E the President, Hon. Prime Minister and Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs were read out in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages respectively. After the conclusion of the official ceremony, all the participants were hosted for traditional Sri Lankan delicacies.
The Embassy published a special national day supplement with Times of Oman, one of the leading English dailies in the Sultanate, on 4th February 2019. The supplement carried the Independence Day messages of H.E the President, Hon. Prime Minister and Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs as well as articles on Sri Lanka Tourism, Spice Industry and initiatives to make Sri Lanka a hub of South Asia.
A diplomatic reception was hosted on 5th February evening at Grand Hyatt Hotel Muscat with the participation of over 350 guests comprising dignitaries from the Omani Government, members of the diplomatic corps, members of the business community and members of the Sri Lankan community in the Sultanate. The Omani Government delegation at the event consisted of members of the State Council (Upper House), Shura Council (Parliament) and senior state officials including the Commander of the Royal Navy of Oman.
Addressing the gathering, Ambassador Pathmanaathan, highlighted the initiatives being taken to harness the potential to enhance the bilateral cooperation between Sri Lanka and Oman, particularly in the fields of investment, trade and tourism. He also outlined the opportunities the country could provide as the hub of the Indian Ocean. Outlining the achievements by the Mission in 2018, he referred to the Second Political Consultation Meeting held in Colombo in August 2018, signing of the Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion, and the finalization of the agreement on mutual exemption of visas for holders of diplomatic, special, official and service passports. Ceylon tea packets and Sri Lanka tourism brochures were distributed among the guests while Sri Lanka tourism, Board of Investment and Export Development Board video clips were played during the reception. The other main highlights of the event were the cultural performance by the students of the Sri Lankan School Muscat, the serving of traditional Sri Lankan style dinner, and Ceylon Tea.
A 12-member business delegation was in Muscat from 4th to 6th February 2019 to explore the market opportunities in Oman under the Economic Diplomacy Programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The delegation was arranged by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB). The programme for the delegation in Muscat was organised by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Oman in collaboration with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI).
The delegation comprised of representatives from ten companies, i.e. Ceylon Biscuit Limited, Colombo Dockyard PLC, C.R Exporters (PVT) Ltd, Flexiprint (Pvt) Ltd, Dhanusha Marine Lanka Exports (Pvt) Ltd, Ceylon Nutrinut Holding (Pvt) Ltd, Nelna Agri Developments Pvt. Ltd, Napronet (Pvt) Ltd, Kandrick Tea Beverages Lanka and Possible Green Private Limited, representing sectors such as food &beverages, ship and boat building, packing materials, coconut products, tea and fruits & vegetables.
The business delegation participated in the Sri Lanka—Oman Business Forum on 5th February 2019 at Grand Hyatt Hotel Muscat. His Excellency Eng. Redha Juma Mohammed Ali Al Saleh, Chairman, Commercial Arbitration Centre of Gulf Cooperation Council and Executive Board Member of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI)was the Guest of Honour at the inauguration. The inauguration was followed by the B2B session with the Omani counterparts, arranged by the Embassy and the OCCI. Representatives from around 80 companies participated in the B2B meetings. Speaking at the Business Forum, Ambassador Pathmanaathan informed the business community that the two countries have agreed to establish Sri Lanka-Oman Business Council under the aegis of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka and the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
On 6th February 2019, the delegation had meetings with the leading hypermarket chains such as Lulu Oman and Carrefour and leading retail and shopping malls such as Grand Mall Muscat, Avenues Mall and City Centre Muscat to explore business opportunities in Oman.
The Embassy is also organising a Sri Lankan Products Week with the Lulu Hypermarkets, one of the leading retail and hypermarket chains in the Gulf, from 10th to 16th February 2019 as a part of its trade promotion activities for 2019. The Sri Lankan Products Week was inaugurated by Ambassador M.K. Pathmanaathan and Mr. A.V. Ananth, Director, LuLu Group International, Oman, India and Sri Lanka on 10th February 2019. The aim of this promotion is to bring more Sri Lankan products, to Oman and provide the customers with an opportunity to get a feel of Sri Lanka in the hypermarket chain. The event features more than 200 products exclusively from Sri Lanka, including Ceylon tea, fresh fruits and vegetables, coconut based products, rice, biscuits and other traditional grocery items. The ‘Sri Lankan Products Week’ will also include a live cooking demo by a Sri Lankan chef.