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Baurs celebrates achievements of women in its board leadership



Baurs Director Finance Pavithra Samarasinghe (L) and Director Information Technology Anoja Basnayake

Expressing its commitment to gender equality and women empowerment, one of Sri Lanka’s leading diversified business groups A. Baur & Company (Pvt.) Ltd, also known as Baurs celebrates International Women’s Day by recognizing importance of having women in the board and in executive leadership positions.

Various studies have found out that women are still underrepresented especially the higher they go up in the corporate ladder. Baurs takes great pride in being one of the many companies challenging the status quo and understanding that ending gender disparity is a company-wide effort. And what better way than celebrating and recognizing the accomplishments of two of its Directors, Anoja Basnayake- Director IT and Pavithra Samarasinghe- Director Finance.

While staying true to its core values and purpose, Baurs continues to evolve with contemporary and emerging business landscapes. The company embraces and promotes a culture that speaks volumes on equality, diversity, inclusivity and innovation.

Anoja Basnayake’s journey with Baurs spans over 12 years, having joined as Manager- IT in 2008. She now leads the group digital transformation strategy at Baurs as Director- IT. ‘In my journey with Baurs I have always been inspired by the fact that women are actively encouraged to take bold steps and take on every opportunity that will help build their self-confidence. One could always be assured that their views are well heard and contributed to decision making irrespective of their gender.’

‘I’m always excited to engage and work with the wonderful people at Baurs. The diversity and inclusivity is rich and they truly understand the strengths and contribution women bring in to the workplace. The mutual respect and care I find here always aspire myself to grow stronger. I was given the opportunity to take on more responsibilities and oversee more business functions and the continued guidance, training and development I received at Baurs helped me become who I am today.’

Anoja has previously worked with Brandix, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Hayleys Group. She is a board member of Project Management Institute (PMI) Sri Lanka Chapter and SAP User Group, and a member of the Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID).

Celebrating her 20th anniversary with Baurs this year is Pavithra Samarasinghe. Pavithra is instrumental in leading the company’s financial position, growth and long-term sustainability as Director- Finance. ‘I truly believe that diversity brings a lot of value to any company. I should know because I work at Baurs. I’ve never been discriminated nor deprived of any opportunity or benefit throughout my long-standing career. I am no exception, everyone here is treated the same irrespective of their gender or status.’

‘Women are extremely good at building relationships, multi-tasking and negotiations. Many companies are realizing this and paving way for women to take on key leadership positions. There is nothing holding back women from unleashing their potential and reaching to the top with necessary competencies, integrity and the right attitude. Baurs believes in promoting a healthy work-life balance which in my opinion is pivotal for women in workforce. There is a lot of empathy and encouragement across all levels.’

Pavithra Samarasinghe is a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) and associate member of CIMA UK and CMA Sri Lanka, and holds an MBA from the University of Colombo. She is also a member of SLID.

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Cabinet approves rationalization of VAT exemptions and abolition of SVAT System




The Cabinet of Ministers granted concurrence to the resolution forwarded by the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies to remove most of the releases from Value Added Tax (VAT), further retaining releases that ease the pressure on low – income families to secure the fundamental sectors of the economy as well as the releases for sectors such as education, health and agriculture, as well as to revise the provisions applicable for the Value Added Tax (VAT) act so that the Simplified Value Added Tax (SVAT) methodology can be canceled with effect from 01.01.2024 by introducing a more formal methodology for repaying the Value Added Tax (VAT) and to instruct the Legal Draftsman to prepare a draft bill for the purpose.

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Venora Lanka Power Panels to set up assembly plant in Australia



Sagara Gunawardene

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Sri Lanka- based, export- oriented manufacturer, Venora Lanka Power Panels (Pvt) Ltd, with a state of the art electric panel factory at the Export Processing Zone, Biyagama, will set up an assembly plant in Australia.

“Once we set up the electric panel assembly plant in Australia, we will export all our panels from Sri Lanka and that plant will do 30 percent value addition to the product to supply that market, the company’s chairman/ Managing Director, engineer Sagara Gunawardena told The Island Financial Review.

Gunawardena said that the company is a value- addition assembly plant and he would be investing AUS $ 2 million for the project to be set up in Melbourne and hire 100 engineers and other professionals. He explained that the venture has enormous potential.

Venora Lanka provides power panels to mega projects in Sri Lanka and exports to Bangladesh, Maldives, Kenya, Ethiopia, Seychelles and Myanmar. Panel assembling is strictly in compliance with IEC 61439 standards, it was explained.

Gunawardena added: ‘I firmly believe that, being a truly customer focused organization, every employee and every process in the organization has to be aligned behind delighting customers. Therefore, at a time when the country is facing a major dollar crisis, my company would be aiming at bringing dollars into the country, while providing employment for local professionals, especially engineers.

‘At Venora Lanka we do not try to change customers’ mindsets. Instead, we take time to understand what they really want and focus our brand on delivering that. Venora is values- driven first and cost- driven second – creating a unique brand proposition.

‘Since the US dollar rate has come down, it is our concern that importers and suppliers do not change their prices, which is really affecting the manufacturing sector.

Company sources added: ‘The company has several wings of operation, such as local and overseas projects, switch board assembling, telecommunication infrastructure installations, earthing, lighting and surge protection, incorporating world renowned brands.

‘Venora Lanka Power Panels is the first Sri Lankan company to receive the licence, in accordance with the UK Trade Mark Act 1994, to use the trade mark “Best Enterprise”. It won a global award at the event, ‘Golden Awards for Quality and Business Prestige’, held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2015.

‘Within a short span of time, with the perfect blend of progressive thinking and expertise, Venora Group has expanded to consist of, Venora International Projects, Venora Telecom, Venora Industrial Solutions and Venora Lanka Power Panels (BOI approved). Further, Venora has established its overseas presence through Venora Engineering Kenya and Venora Engineering Myanmar.’

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Share market moves into positive territory; indices up



By Hiran H. Senewiratne

CSE trading got off to a positive note yesterday but during the last session of the day the momentum slowed. However, the market is now moving towards positive territory following the Central Bank announcement of a downward trend in interest rates, market analysts said.

Amid those developments the market witnesses improvements in both indices and in the turnover.

The All- Share Price Index up by 12.8 points and S and P SL 20 rose by 6.97 points. Turnover stood at Rs 710 million with one crossing. The crossing was reported in JKH which crossed 430,000 shares to the tune of Rs 60.2 million; its shares traded at Rs 140.

In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; JKH Rs 212 million (1.5 million shares traded), Access Engineering Rs 44.7 million ( three million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 34.5 million (264,000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 28.6 million (5.3 million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 23.8 million (4.7 million shares traded), Capital Alliance Rs 22.9 million (615,000 shares traded) and First Capital Holdings Rs 19.2 million (574,000 shares traded). During the day the 31.4 million shares volumes changed hands in 9000 transactions.

Yesterday, the Central Bank’s US dollar buying rate was Rs 285.16 and the selling rate Rs 298.85.

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