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AFC raises LKR 1 bn in subordinate debt to strengthen the Tier II Capital

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Alliance Finance Co PLC (AFC) has successfully raised LKR 1 billion in Tier II capital, with the aim of strengthening the regulatory capital of the Company to financially empower and facilitate the development of the Micro, Small and Medium enterprise sector in Sri Lanka. The Tier II Subordinated Debt has a tenure of 5 years and has been structured and arranged by Capital Alliance Ltd (CAL), a leading investment bank in the country.

Commenting on this important milestone, Mr Romani de Silva, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of AFC stated that “This is a reflection of the confidence our investors have in our sustainable business philosophy. Due to the covid 19 pandemic, Sri Lankan micro, small & medium entrepreneurs need more support than ever before and raising of LKR 1 Bn as Subordinate Debt strengthened our Tier II capital which gives us an enormous capacity to develop micro, small and medium scale entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka using our proven business models. Furthermore, we extend our sincere appreciation for the investor, (CAL) for the trust placed in us. Subsequent to an internal restructure with the technical assistance of IFC (private sector arm of the World Bank Group) in 2019,all of the performance metrics of the Company have improved tremendously outperforming its peers in the industry with a Loan book growth of 1.6% ,Profit growth of 169 % and a highly commendable reduction in NPL’s by 23 % for the financial year ended 2020/21, validating the impact of the restructure. As the oldest finance company in Sri Lanka and as a net lender to the rural economy, AFC is focussing on financial inclusivity and sustainable development of all communities.”.

AFC’s approach to sustainability is holistic and goes beyond economic empowerment with an equal emphasis placed upon social and environmental sustainability as well. AFC has institutionalised the values of its founding fathers by adopting the Triple Bottom Line Approach in 2012, followed by numerous other actions to become the sustainable financial institution it is today. In 2020, AFC became the first financial institution in South Asia to be certified for holistic sustainability under the pioneering Sustainability Standards and Certification Initiative (SSCI). SSCI is governed under the International Council of Sustainability Standards for Value-Driven Financial Institutions, Germany. This has resulted in an even greater focus on this unwavering commitment of the Company and better measurements of the impact created.

AFC is also amongst the highest contributors of net profits towards sustainability initiatives in the industry. The Company has dedicated an annual allocation of 4% of profits for sustainability and CSR initiatives. The Company has many initiatives including the “1 Mn trees for Unity” flagship project that aims to plant one million trees by 2024 whilst meeting social and environmental objectives. To date the Company has contributed over 350,000 plants to the nation. In addition, conserving biodiversity, empowering social entrepreneurs, promoting sustainable products and undertaking CSR practices that ensure social and environmental wellbeing remain as AFC’s key priorities under its sustainability mandate.

The AFC business powered by a dynamic and empowered young team of 1300 visionary individuals will continue to support the global and local sustainable development agenda, with its high impact goals in place to ensure focused value creation in line with the UN SDG’s and National Development Agenda. AFC believes that synergistic partnerships with its foreign financing partners such as IFC, FMO, DWM, Tridos Bank and other impact investors will add further value to its approach and facilitate value distribution to a wider range of stakeholders in the country. AFC is eager to uphold these partnerships and collaborations that facilitate sustainable development in Sri Lanka and have confidence that they will undoubtedly accelerate its journey of “making the world a better place through sustainable finance”.



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Passport Office collaborates with banks to boost international monetary transfers from migrants

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Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal hands over a new account to a young migrant worker which he opened at the new HNB counter at the Passport Office yesterday, where Jonathan Alles, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of HNB was present. Pic by Thushara Athapaththu

by Sanath Nanayakkare

People’s Bank, National Savings Bank , Sampath Bank, Hatton National Bank and Commercial Bank of Sri Lanka yesterday established new banking counters at the Department of Immigration and Emigration, at ‘Suhurupaya’, Battaramulla.

The initiative is intended support the Central Bank’s ongoing effort to boost the country’s foreign reserves by offering migrant workers access for safe, official remittance channels from the time they obtain new passports or renew their passports for international jobs.

Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka who was the chief guest of the opening ceremony said,” A lot of Sri Lankans go overseas for jobs and send their hard-earned money to Sri Lanka. Sometimes they face various issues when remitting money. So we thought we should provide the opportunity for them to open an account as they obtain their passports at the passport office which they can operate with greater ease and trust when sending money to their families from abroad. The Controller of Immigration and Emigration, his staff, the officials at the Central Bank and at other relevant banks worked in unison to establish their counters here just within a week. This shows that government institutions can collaborate with the private sector and quickly accomplish any task for the benefit of the country and its people. Our hard-working migrant workforce will enjoy the convenience and reliability of this service. As a result of it, more foreign money will flow into the country and the nation will reap benefits from it,” he said.

Workers’ remittances have been a key pillar of Sri Lanka’s foreign currency earnings that has nearly 100 per cent of domestic value addition, providing a substantial cushion for external sector resilience of the country. Workers’ remittances have covered around 80 per cent of the annual trade deficit over the past two decades, and strengthening remittances inflows to the country brings several socio-economic benefits including the smooth supply of forex inflows to the formal banking system.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka established a new department named ‘Foreign Remittances Facilitation Department’ with effect from November 3, 2021 to facilitate and streamline workers’ remittances inflows to the country.

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SLT-MOBITEL powered SLIOT Challenge 2020 and IESL RoboGames 2020 fostering innovation

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SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT, Telecommunications and Mobile Services Provider was the proud sponsor of SLIoT Challenge 2020 and IESL RoboGames 2020, championing innovation in Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics to reward and further develop a pipeline of tech talent and critical skills among Sri Lanka’s youth. The winners of the competitions were honoured at a special ceremony held recently.

SLIoT Challenge 2020 and IESL RoboGames 2020 was a collaborative effort between SLT-MOBITEL, the Department of Computer Science & Engineering of the University of Moratuwa and the IT and Computer Engineering Sectional Committee of Institution of Engineers of Sri Lanka (IESL). Recognising the value of promoting digital inclusion among youth and to develop new generation technology concepts, SLT-MOBITEL sponsored the event for the fourth consecutive year. Both competitions encourage technological innovation among youth which in turn provides avenues for SLT-MOBITEL to capitalize on its futuristic thinking towards a connected future.

The SLIoT Challenge 2020 theme centred around the current pandemic ‘Overcoming COVID-19 with IoT’ and over 77 submissions were received. SLT-MOBITEL comprehends that IoT is being widely embraced with the number of connected devices growing rapidly. SLT-MOBITEL recognizes that driving an IoT competition for Sri Lankan youth allows students to unleash their potential in the IoT domain and acts as a gateway to support the country’s evolution towards digital transformation.

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Akshata launches unique new tea blends

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Akshata brand, a pioneer in promoting health and wellness the traditional way presents herbal tea alongside honey/jaggery as an alternative to sugar, redefining tea consumption.

Akshata ‘Ranawara’ herbal tea which promotes clear skin and health benefits for the body is dedicated to Queen Soma Devi who was acclaimed for her beauty, bravery, and sacrifice to save King Valagamba in 77 BC.

Managing Director of Grains N Green, Roshan Perera says, “In addition to the myriad of health benefits, consumers are encouraged to experience a taste of nostalgia with each sip of Akshata herbal tea. Today’s health-conscious consumers increasingly buy items that support their nutrition and fitness. Sugar is no longer included in this list due to its negative impact on one’s health. That’s why we have introduced healthy alternatives for sugar. Putting honey or jaggery in tea is a much healthier choice than using sugar as it does not raise blood sugar levels as quickly, and with our product you can get the tea as well as

the sweeteners all in one pack. This saves time, money, and is a healthier alternative to drinking tea with sugar.”

Akshata herbal tea with bees honey/Jaggery is available at Spar and Glomark supermarkets and can also purchase online at askshatastore.com

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