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Asgi Akbarally appointed Amãna Bank chairman

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Ali Asghar (Asgi) Akbarally has been appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Amãna Bank upon the retirement of the Bank’s Founder chairman Osman Kassim. Leaving a strong legacy in the Islamic banking industry in Sri Lanka, Osman Kassim retired from Amãna Bank having completed the maximum 9 year statutory period of holding a directorship in a Licensed Commercial Bank as per CBSL directions. Despite retiring from the bank, Osman Kassim continues to be one of the bank’s top 10 shareholders.

Asgi Akbarally joined the Board of Amãna Bank in July 2020 as the nominee director from Akbar Brothers, taking over the position vacated by Tyeab Akbarally, who also retired upon completing the maximum 9 years of directorship as per CBSL regulations.

Asgi Akbarally is an Executive Director of Akbar Brothers (Pvt) Ltd, one of Sri Lanka’s largest diversified corporates, globally renowned for its tea exports. Asgi Akbarally holds directorship in multiple subsidiaries and affiliates of the Akbar Group covering sectors such as Manufacturing, Property Development, Hotels & Leisure, Healthcare, Power Generation, Packaging & Printing, Logistics and Environmental Services. He is the Managing Director of Renewgen (Pvt) Ltd and chairman of Windforce (Pvt) Ltd, Hermitage Resorts (Pvt) Ltd, Uthurumaafaru Holding (Pvt) Ltd Maldives, Lhaviyani Holdings (Pvt) Ltd and Cocoon Investments (Pvt) Ltd Maldives. He is also a director of Alumex PLC.

Asgi Akbarrally is currently the Honorary Consul of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordon. He holds a BSc Degree in Industrial Engineering from the California State University and is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Certified Professional Managers. A classic car enthusiast, Asgi Akbarally has authored a coffee table book on “Classic and Vintage Automobiles of Ceylon” and is the Patron of the Classic Car Club of Ceylon.

Commenting on his retirement and appointment of the new Chairman, the Bank’s outgoing Chairman Osman Kassim said “Serving Amãna Bank as its Chairman since inception has been a great honour, specially seeing firsthand how the Bank has grown amidst various challenges to where it stands today. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my fellow retiring directors Tyeab Akbarally, Harsha Amarasekera and Jazri Magdon Ismail who completed the regulatory tenure of 9 years in 2020. They have been great pillars of strength to the Bank since its formation. I am happy to welcome Asgi Akbarally to take over the stewardship of the Bank. It is heartening to know that Asgi, whose business acumen and experience gained through building and guiding a homegrown company to become a world renowned tea brand, will be leading the Bank’s forward journey. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the other Board Members, CEO Mohamed Azmeer, the Management Committee and Staff of the Bank for their continuous contribution, dedication and commitment towards the Bank’s growth and wish them all the best in taking Amãna Bank to greater heights.”

Also sharing his views newly appointed Chairman Asgi Akbarally said “Amãna Bank will be truly indebted for the visionary thinking and guidance of its Founder Chairman Osman Kassim. Stepping in to fill this void will be no easy task, but I am thankful for the foundation laid, from which we eagerly look forward to build upon to achieve the Bank’s strategic goals and continue making our ‘People Friendly’ banking model available for all Sri Lankans with wider reach and accessibility.”

With the recent changes, Amãna Bank Board of Directors constitute as follows : Ali Asghar (Asgi) Akbarally(Chairman), Rajiv Nandlal Dvivedi, Pradeep Dilshan Rajeeva Hettiaratchi, Aaron Russell-Davison, Mohammed Ataur Rahman Chowdhury, Syed Muhammed Asim and Khairul Muzamel Perera bin Abdullah.

Amana Bank PLC is a stand-alone institution licensed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange with Jeddah based IsDB Group being the principal shareholder having a 29.97% shareholding of the Bank. The IsDB Group is a ‘AAA’ rated (S&P, Moody’s & Fitch) multilateral development financial institution with a membership of 57 countries. In June 2020 Fitch Ratings Sri Lanka declared an upward revision of the National Long Term Rating of Amãna Bank to BB+(lka) with a Stable Outlook.

Amãna Bank does not have any subsidiaries, associates or affiliated institutions, other than its unique flagship CSR venture, the ‘OrphanCare’ Trust.  Retiring directors Osman Kassim, Tyeab Akbarally, Harsha Amarasekera and Jazri Magdon Ismail will continue to serve as trustees on the ‘OrphanCare’ Trust.

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CA Sri Lanka continues to champion integrated reporting

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A team from John Keells Holdings PLC discusses the benefits of integrated reporting with IRCSL chairman Asite Talwatte.

President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), Manil Jayesinghe recently continued to push companies in Sri Lanka to adopt integrated reporting and integrated thinking if companies were truly keen in remaining sustainable and successful in the long term.

Addressing a forum on integrated reporting organised by CA Sri Lanka recently, Jayesinghe urged companies and professionals to adopt the integrated reporting framework for their maximum benefit as it is an important stepping stone that will not only help organisations to bring about integrated reporting but also the key element behind it, which is integrated thinking.

“The world has shown us that profits alone is not the real driver, and we have so many things happening around in the world right now and today health and safety is the key priority for companies, and tomorrow it can be something else,” he said.

Jayesinghe elaborated that profit is no longer the key benchmark of success as there were many other factors to consider in benchmarking success including environment, human capital, and society, among other factors. “It is important to make sure that your business is a sustainable business and for this integrated thinking needs to come through and by adopting integrated reporting, corporates will achieve this,” he added.

Jayesinghe shared these thoughts during a discussion featuring John Keells Holdings PLC on their ‘winning story’ in adopting integrated reporting within the organisation.

He also highlighted that since the inception, CA Sri Lanka has recognised the importance of integrated reporting and has taken the leadership in popularising the concept of integrated reporting among corporates in Sri Lanka. “With new events taking place around the world as well as in Sri Lanka, I hope integrated reporting will have better visibility and companies will start adopting integrated reporting as one of their forms of reporting,” he said.

He added that CA Sri Lanka has taken steps to provide all necessary technical, financial and institutional support to the Integrated Reporting Council of Sri Lanka (IRCSL) headed by Mr. Asite Talwatte to carry out the task of promoting integrated reporting and integrated thinking among corporates in Sri Lanka.

Delivering his company’s success story in adopting integrated reporting, Mr. Mohan Thanthirige, Group Finance Controller of John Keells Holdings PLC highlighted that integrated reporting is articulating the different business processes where everyone can accept it.

“We felt that with our stakeholders getting more sophisticated, we too needed to step up in our reporting,” he said. During the forum, it was highlighted that at numerous stakeholder engagement related studies conducted by John Keells Holdings, more and more stakeholders were asking questions in relation to non-finance that the conventional financial reporting seen in annual reports.

Mr. Thanthirige explained that it was important to look at what is best for one’s organisation in terms of culture and infrastructure. “We did so many test runs and it was a long journey with failures and wins, to get here in terms of ensuring our integrated reporting was a success story,” he added.

The forum concluded following a panel discussion which was moderated by Mr. Asite Talwatte, Chairman of the IRCSL. The panel session featured Mohan Thanthirige, Kalpa Munasinghe, Manager Group Finance, Eneeshya Perera, Manager Corporate Finance, Devmi Jayaweera, Assistant Manager – Sustainability, ERM and Group Sourcing, Daniella De Mel, Assistant Manager – Corporate Finance and Mayurika Silva, Assistant Manager – Group Finance.

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Look for investors to promote innovations-President instructs officials

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President Gotabaya Rajapaksa advised the officials to divert both institutional and independent innovations to the production market immediately, with the assistance of investors.

Researches by a number of institutes had led to groundbreaking innovations that could eventually triumph in the global market. President stated that the production of these would earn foreign exchange income for the Sri Lankan economy and in addition the inventors would be further inspired in their innovations.

President made these remarks during a discussion with the State Ministry of Finance and Capital Markets and Public Enterprise Reforms with regard to its future activities at the Presidential Secretariat .

State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal noted that it has been observed that the interest rate, currency and market stability now remain at a satisfactory state and added that his ministry is enthusiastically striving to identify 10 new priorities in order to pave the way for a swift development in the economy.

When compared with the rest of the world, Sri Lanka has a favourable and appealing economy for foreign investors. “With the assistance of Sri Lanka’s ambassadors abroad and a proper advertisement program, we should devise plans to attract foreign investors to our country”. President added.

President highlighted the requirement of identifying investment opportunities and improving infrastructure facilities along with necessary prior approval accordingly.

It was also discussed to establish an office for pioneering foreign investors in the heart of Colombo.

President noted the significance of state institutes reaching out to village areas and bank loan accessibility for small scale and medium scale entrepreneurs that would ensure rapid development in the country.

President directed the officials to inquire into the feasibility of lowering prices for cement and steel in order to decrease construction cost in the country.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that it is imperative to recover the background suitable for development that existed before 2015. He added that fragmentation of the lands used for coconut plantations should be banned immediately.

289 large scale projects have been launched in the country. Head of the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival Basil Rajapaksa advised them to be completed immediately and added that the conclusion of planned development projects such as roads, water supply projects and school infrastructure facilities and other planned projects would boost the construction sector.

President showed the importance of planning the transactions of the share market so as to attract young and other local investors. “Use of Sinhala language for simplicity and clarity would easily attract the local investors into the share market”, President added.

President advised the officials to take steps to compensate the investors who had invested in bankrupt finance companies. President further instructed them to ascertain the assets of these finance companies and compensate depositors accordingly.

Secretary to the President, P.B. Jayasundera, secretaries to the Cabinet and state ministries, Heads of the line Institutes were present at the discussion.

(PMD)

 

 

 

 

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ComBank joins Sri Lanka Army ‘Thuru Mithuru’ project to drive Sri Lanka towards self sufficiency

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(Left image) Commercial Bank Chairman Dharma Dheerasinghe and Army Commander Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva at the exchanging of the agreement and (Right, top and bottom) senior representatives of the Bank and the Army at the presentation and the agricultural machinery and equipment donated to the “Thuru Mithuru Nawa Ratak” project.

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has announced a partnership with the Sri Lanka Army to financially support the second phase of the ‘Thuru Mithuru Nawa Ratak’ initiative designed to transform Sri Lanka into a country self-sufficient in essential food.

The second phase entails cultivating 125 acres of land with the involvement of 150 low-income farming families to grow various crops in line with national requirements under the close supervision of the Security Forces Headquarters of the Central Province. The Sri Lanka Army will provide the necessary facilities and skills, and disseminate knowledge regarding effective cultivation to encourage these families to cultivate their own lands and help build domestic agronomy.

The funds donated by Commercial Bank CSR Trust will go towards the purchase of agricultural machinery and equipment including hand tractors, mini cultivators, mini rotary slashers, and a tine tiller; irrigation facilities such as ten 1000-litre water tanks and nine water pumps and 620 kgs of carrot, bean and maize seeds.

Commenting on the Bank’s involvement in this initiative, Commercial Bank Managing Director S. Renganathan said: “Commercial Bank has historically been one of the largest supporters of micro and SME in the agrarian sphere through the Bank’s Agriculture and Micro Finance Units because we believe this sector is the backbone of the rural economy of Sri Lanka. By funding this noble initiative of the Sri Lanka Army, we are now part of a greater plan to propel Sri Lanka towards food security and self-sufficiency. This aligns well with our aspirations for the country.”

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