‘53% of Sri Lanka population can’t afford a healthy diet’
Advocata’s latest policy product tracks the average retail prices of a basket of goods and provides an indication of how much prices have changed over time. With the use of such tools, anyone including policymakers and politicians alike has access to track price fluctuations. This could enable anyone to see if policies have direct or indirect effects on food. Which is an essential item and can have a direct impact on the food consumed by households. The indicator launch was held at the Tulip Hall of the BMICH on the 7th of April 2021 and was live-streamed on Advocata’s Facebook and YouTube.
Around 35% of household expenditure is on food and drink. Therefore the Indicator is a tool to see how policies coming into effect directly or indirectly impact food prices. Naqiya Shiraz, a research executive at the Advocata Institute spoke about the rationale behind the Bath Curry Indicator by commenting that the BCI “represents any average Sri Lanka household. The items are Samba rice, beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, brinjals, coconut, green chillies and fish. Therefore it is important to understand the decisions that impact the prices of goods.
According to Economist Deshal De Mel, “The idea behind the BCI is that in Sri Lanka the cost of living is a concern. The inflation in Sri Lanka has been of single-digit levels for the last two years but it is still a concern for the public. So Advocata’s Bath Curry Indicator is similar to the ‘Big Mac Index’ by The Economist. It is simplistic and real.” Rehana Thowfeek Zain (Economic Researcher and Blogger) was of a similar opinion when she commented that such indicators can be used to highlight the impact of policies that affect people’s food consumption. According to her, the BCI will “capture a relatable way to cover the cost of living and also investigate the merit behind politicians when they use the cost of living as a hook in their election manifesto” She further commented that “53% of Sri Lanka population can’t afford a healthy diet, That’s a huge number. We are food secure but are we nutrition secure? Kids don’t develop as they should. Trade policies should focus on the overall objective and cater to the health of Sri Lanka’s population.” Thereby highlighting the socioeconomic impact of rising food prices on the general public. “
OPPO releases new OPPO A54 in Sri Lanka
OPPO, the leading global smart device brand, announces the launch of OPPO A54 in Sri Lanka.
A54’s attention to design and great usability is evident in both its exquisite appearance and how it helps to capture great looking shots. This starts with the Material of the Rear Cover, which uses metallic material for its 3D panel, but contributes to a stronger and less bendable structure but also a comfortable in-hand feel. As a result, A54 weighs about 192g and is 8.4mm thin. To align the overall look and feel of the phone, close attention is paid to the Middle Frame Process.
“A Series is designed to enhance or complement our users’ lifestyles and OPPO A54 achieves just this with a phone that manages to balance a high-end performance with contemporary design. Its large 5000mAh battery and 18W Fast Charge makes sure you’re fully powered to get you through your day. With A54, you’ll also have enough storage and memory to make sure that you’ll enjoy your entertainment without the frustrations of an underperforming smartphone,” said Bob Li, CEO, XINDA Lanka (OPPO Sri Lanka).
The Rear Cameras itself feature a 13MP Main Camera, 2MP Macro Camera for close range shots, and 2MP Bokehfor brilliant bokeh shots that blur the background and highlight the subject of the photo. A54 enhances shots in all environments with Dazzle Color, balancing the saturation and brightness. A54 also supports filming videos including SLO-MO at 720P at 90FPS with the rear camera, and up to 10 video Filters including Original, Gentle, Noon, Subtle and more.
Pan Asia Bank records best-ever Q1 results in challenging times – Profit After Tax soars by 81% to post Rs. 750 mn.
Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC reported the best-ever first quarter financial results during the quarter ended 31st March 2021 to report a Pre-Tax Profit of Rs. 986 Mn and a Post-Tax Profit of Rs. 750 Mn after recording impressive growth rates of 51% and 81% respectively, demonstrating the resilience amidst challenging macro economic conditions. The Bank’s performance was characterised by strength and resilience, despite the heightened uncertainty due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 impact on the Sri Lankan economy, the Bank’s Operating Profits before VAT on Financial Services reached Rs. 1,197 Mn with an increase of 47%, reflecting excellence in core banking performance and the success of cost containment measures evidenced by improvement in all key matrices which now rank among the industry bests. This feat was achieved even after setting aside provisions for probable loan losses amounting to Rs. 638 Mn. The Bank increased the provision buffers for probable deterioration in credit quality through management overlays, experience adjustments and adjustments for the exposures in the elevated risk industries during the quarter. As a result, total impairment charges for the quarter increased by 21% on YoY basis.
The Bank’s Net Interest Income for the period witnessed an increase of 17% due to significant reduction in financial cost of funds at a rate faster than the drop in interest yields of interest bearing assets. Consequently, the Bank’s Net Interest Margin for the quarter improved to 5.07% from 4.41% reported three months ago. In the meantime, the Bank’s Net Fee and Commission Income recorded a growth of 28% with the rebound in demand for credit due to revival of economic activity amidst the low interest rate regime. The volatility in foreign exchange rates enabled the Bank to increase its Foreign Exchange Income substantially as reflected in Other Operating Income.
The Bank is committed to revenue maximisation and cost management despite sector vulnerabilities that prevailed since last year. The Bank’s Cost-to-Income Ratio improved from 45.66% to 38.08% within a three months period owing to the excellence in core banking performance which is reflected in the noteworthy overall growth in key revenue lines and various strategies and measures taken to contain overhead costs. In fact, the Bank managed to bring down its Other Operating Expenses by 9% in 2021 Q1 compared to 2020 Q1. Meanwhile, increased allocations for performance bonuses, development of human capital and staff welfare led to an increase in personnel costs during the reporting period compared to 2020 Q1.
The Bank’s Post-Tax Profits for the reporting quarter also gained to an extent due to application of lower corporate income tax rate of 24% for tax provisioning in accordance with the guideline issued by CA Sri Lanka on 23rd April 2021.
The Bank continues to report solid Key Profitability Indicators which rank among the highest in the industry. The Bank’s Pre-Tax Return on Assets also improved to 2.24% from 1.70%. Further, the Bank reported a stunning Return on Equity (ROE) of 19.27% during the quarter under review which stands among the industry best. The ROE is the most important performance indicator to gauge the attractiveness of the Banking sector and Pan Asia Bank during its last few years has consistently remained an outlier in the industry.
SLIIT nurtures school children at ‘Soft Skills + 2021’
The SLIIT Business School (SBS) organised ‘Soft Skills+ 2021’ concluded on an extremely successful note recently helping students engage, cooperate and thrive in building their talents towards personal development and career progression.
SLIIT Soft Skills+ event is an annual flagship CSR Project of the SLIIT Business School organized with the primary objective of developing secondary school students’ soft skills in positive thinking, creativity, analytical thinking, leadership skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills, and teamwork.
Over the years, the programme has garnered much popularity among schools and participants. Due to its tremendous success achieved in previous programmes, Soft Skills+ 2021 followed an upgraded structure. For the first time in the Soft Skills+ programme history, the event was held via online platforms, including a Soft Skills-based online quiz and an online workshop for students and teachers.
During the Grand Finale, Prof. Samantha Thelijjagoda, Dean of SLIIT Business School welcomed the participants and distinguished guests. Prof. Lalith Gamage, Vice Chancellor, SLIIT also addressed the gathering.
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