BOC’s Deputy General Manager (International, Treasury & Investment), R. M. N. Jeewantha, recently discussed BOC’s lead role in foreign remittances in Sri Lanka amid the COVID-19 pandemic, plus the bank’s role in offering uninterrupted banking services at the Bandaranaike International Airport.
The following are some excerpts from his presentation.
“The importance of foreign worker remittances to the national economy cannot be overstated. Remittance-generated income has become even more crucial currently, owing to the ongoing health crisis.”
With over 2 million Sri Lankans residing and working in foreign countries, they amount to approximately 10% of the country’s population and 25% of the local workforce. In the year 2019, a total of USD 6.7 Billion was generated in foreign currency remittances, corresponding to 8.03% of our total GDP. This is indicative of the significance of the contributions by migrant workers, particularly in Middle Eastern, East Asian and Western countries, to our national economy.”
“Of the above stated total in 2019, a notable 40% market share of foreign currency remittances was garnered by Bank of Ceylon, which the bank has consistently maintained over numerous years. An institution that has formed a reputation as Bankers to the Nation, BOC has helped Sri Lankans send money home reliably, safely, and promptly for many decades. The impact that the ability to securely transfer money has on our citizen’s social well-being, is incalculable.”
“Despite remittances being hard hit in the months of April and May by the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, and extended periods of lockdown as a result, foreign remittances in Sri Lanka reached a high of USD 703 Million in September 2020. BOC has maintained market leadership position in foreign remittances in 2020 as well, while managing to retain 40% market share once more.”
“Additionally, for conversion of remittances to rupees plus for foreign currency deposits, BOC provides the most attractive exchange rates market-wide. These benefits feature heavily when Sri Lankans working abroad opt for BOC to facilitate their money transfers.”
“BOC also maintains over 100 direct relationships with exchange houses worldwide. These partnerships are facilitated by BOC business promotion officers across the world in countries such as Qatar, South Korea, Oman, UAE, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Kuwait, and Israel. It is important to note that even amidst the current global pandemic, these BOC business promotion officers have not requested to come back home, and they continue to serve Sri Lankans in those countries and the country as a whole.”
“The bank’s resolve to continue serving the nation even in times of adversity, ensured state corporations, private entities and the country as a whole could operate and continue as before. This fully captures the spirit of Bank of Ceylon, and its determination to lead the country forward.”
More than one-fifth of Sri Lankan workers deployed overseas enter domestic service, data show
By Sanath Nanyakkare
A closer look and comparison between foreign employment figures in Sri Lanka’s External Sector Performance show that in the months of August, September and October 2022, a total of 87,629 Sri Lankans migrated for overseas jobs, out of which 20,368 were domestic aides. Hence Sri Lanka has exported a three-month average of 23.2% of its migrant work force or more than one fifth of its labour resource (mostly poor women) as domestic aides.
Total departures for foreign employment during January-October 2022 were recorded at 251,151 which exceeded the annual departures in pre-pandemic period, according to the latest External Sector Performance report released by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL)
It stated that total departures for foreign employment were recorded at 28,473 during the month of October 2022 which comprised unskilled (11,399), skilled (7,887) and domestic aid (6,165) categories.
The October 2022 report stated that workers’ remittances steadied at US dollars 355 million in that month, recording a growth for the second consecutive month, on a year-on-year basis.
External Sector Performance-September 2022 reported that workers’ remittances had increased to US dollars 359 million during that month, in comparison to US dollars 325 million in August 2022, recording the highest monthly remittances up to that point in 2022.
In September 2022, total departures for foreign employment were recorded at 30,084 which comprised unskilled (10,491), skilled (9,391) and domestic aid (7,027) categories.
In August 2022, workers’ remittances stood at US dollars 325 million in comparison to US dollars 279 million in the previous month. Total departures for foreign employment in August 2022 were recorded at 29,072 which comprised unskilled (9,685), skilled (8,590) and domestic aid (7,176) categories in that month.
These figures show that 20,368 individuals entered domestic service out of 87,629 departures for foreign employment during August, September and October 2022.
In other words, more than one-fifth of Sri Lankan workers deployed overseas entered domestic service and contributed to the monthly remittances of about US $ 346 million during August, September and October 2022.
Currently, certain local television advertisements claim that female domestic aids and cooks are paid monthly Rs. 145,000 and Rs.185,000 respectively in countries such as Kuwait.
Elpitiya Plantations 25th anniversary celebrated with Awards Night
The leading plantations company Elpitiya Plantations celebrated their 25th anniversary by recognising their employees at a recently held event at Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo. The event was graced by the leadership, shareholders, key clients, employees among other important patrons. The celebration marked 25 years under Aitken Spence Plantation Managements PLC.
The grand event commenced with the lighting of the oil lamp, cutting of the anniversary cake followed by speeches. Given this momentous occasion, it included the presentation of awards and appreciation for employees and key stakeholders that have made a profound impact towards the success of Elpitiya Plantations. The award categories included ‘Long Service’, ‘Productivity Champions’, ‘Horticulture Champions’, ‘Industrial Relationship Champions’, ‘Sustainability Champions’, ‘Special Loyalty’, ‘Trailblazers’, ‘Masters of the Past’, ‘Special Shareholders’, ‘Future Leaders’, ‘Masterminds’ and culminating with the Chairman’s Awards.
In addition to the awards, the anniversary book was launched to mark Elpitiya Plantations epic journey that tells a unique story about “A Metamorphosis in Agronomy”. This odyssey captures the passion, sweat and tears of the last 25 years of the company. The book is dedicated to all those who believed and stood by the company to what it has become today. Marking this ceremonious occasion, the company unveiled their new website (https://www.elpitiya.com/) that shows the diversity of product offering and their quest for the future.
The glistening night continued with entertainment and included a special performance by the Elpitiya Plantations team that was well received by the audience.
Managed by Aitken Spence Plantation Managements PLC since 1997, Elpitiya Plantations PLC owns 13 estates and 17 factories producing tea and other diversified crops. The company embarked on producing four types of berries in Sri Lanka (strawberry, raspberry, blackberries and blueberries), providing these berries to local consumers with a lower carbon footprint, with strawberries and raspberries currently in commercialisation. The company introduced their first retail outlet ‘Harrow House’ at Vauxhall Street (Aitken Spence Tower I) Colombo 02. Elpitiya Plantations embarked on a non-plantation investment with a foreign partner in setting up an adventure park in the Galle district; another pioneering venture in its transformation journey and more to come.
LOLC Al-Falaah wins multiple golds at the slibfi-awards 2022
LOLC Al-Falaah was felicitated with two prominent awards within the Islamic Banking and Finance services sector in Sri Lanka, at the 11th edition of the SLIBFI (Sri Lanka Islamic Banking and Financial Institution) awards. Securing the GOLD award for ‘Leasing Company of the Year’ and GOLD award for ‘Window of the Year’ were significant, as LOLC Al-Falaah have won these awards consecutively over the years. Whilst receiving the Bronze award for ‘Entity of the Year’, an innovative product option ‘Wakalah Speed-Draft’ launched earlier in the year secured the Bronze award for ‘Product of the Year’. With the newest additions, Al-Falaah reaffirms the trust placed in them persistently, as the ‘Most awarded Alternate Financial services provider in Sri Lanka.
LOLC AL-Falaah is the alternate financial services brand of LOLC Holdings PLC, Sri Lanka’s largest and most diversified multinational conglomerate with operations in 22 countries in Asia and Africa. The brand dominates the alternate financial services segment in Sri Lanka, as a Strategic Business Unit (SBU) of LOLC Finance PLC (LOFC), Sri Lanka’s largest Non-Banking Financial Institution (NBFI). LOLC Al-Falaah, has a strong brand identity and brand acceptance with a history of over 15 years within the industry. Al-Falaah performed strongly in 2021/22 to record an impressive Finance portfolio growth of over 51% reaching Rs. 23.44 Bn from its previous year’s book of Rs. 15.47 Bn while sustaining a Deposits portfolio of Rs. 12.52 Bn. Committed to safeguarding investors, LOLC Al-Falaah has distributed Profits to Depositors amounting to Rs. 735 Mn, and secured a 36% increase in Profit before Tax, demonstrating a strong stature despite the volatile economic conditions during the year.
Commenting on the remarkable achievement Director/ Chief Executive Officer of LOLC Finance PLC, Krishan Thilakaratne said; “these constant awards we receive reinstates that LOLC Al-Falaah is ahead of the curve in terms of market leadership, innovation and trust, under the umbrella of the largest NBFI in the country, LOLC Finance. We compete even with other banks because of its sound portfolio quality which is 100% asset backed. Our non-performing loans too are the lowest in the industry which reflects the credit quality and professional management of our finances”.
Also commenting, Mr. Shiraz Refai, Head of Alternate Financial Services, LOLC Finance said, “Our commitment to ensuring our Customers financial needs are tailor-made to modern-day complex requirements, together with emphasis on determination and attention-to-detail, customer care service offered by LOLC Finance staff are the key reasons that we were honoured by these multiple awards. On behalf of the Team, we’re honoured to receive ‘Leasing Company of the Year–Gold’ and ‘Window of the Year-Gold’ for the third and second consecutive years respectively and recognition for both Entity of the Year and Product of the Year’. I believe that our performance and recognition roots from the trust and confidence that our Customers have placed in us, together with the untiring efforts of our professional staff members.”
The awarding ceremony was concluded on the 14th of October 2022 at Ramada Hotel, Colombo. The awarding body, UTO EduConsult (UTO), an organization with a long-reputed history, has initiated this awarding event to acknowledge and to recognise the efforts made by the Islamic Banking and Financial sector in Sri Lanka. In awarding the titles, the applicants profiles have been reviewed and accessed based on their audited financial data pertaining to the year under consideration, by a reputed panel of judges.
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