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Celebrating next generation of marketers at the SLIM Graduation Ceremony 2021

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The Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing recently held its Graduation Ceremony on the 13th of December 2021 at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo. With a morning session from 08:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and an evening session from 02.00 p.m. to 06:00 p.m., this ceremony recognised the efforts of students who had successfully completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing (PGDIP), the Diploma in Strategic Brand Management (DSBM), the National Diploma in Sales Management (NDSM), the Diploma in Digital Marketing (DDM), the MBA in Marketing and those who achieved the status of Certified Professional Marketer (CPM).

The graduation addressee for the morning session of the SLIM Graduation Ceremony, Lalith Seneviratne, the Group Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Sri Lanka Telecom Group stated, “It is pertinent that we reflect on what they can look forward to in this unique ‘new normal’ period of pandemic times. Unlike their predecessors, today’s graduating class has studied almost entirely online, using what was once considered ‘futuristic’ tools in day-to-day work. It is apt since the focus and drive of their marketing work in real-time will be mostly in the digital arena. Today’s graduates will be required to contribute to the national digital drive, bringing digitally enabled products and services to a digitally aware audience. It is an exciting and largely unexplored frontier, and I look forward to seeing you making waves in the future.”

As the Guest of Honour for the morning session, Rohan Somawansa, MBA, CIM, CPM (Asia), CMA (Aus.), DBFA (CA), gave insight into the diversification of the role of the marketer in today’s day and age saying, “The role of the marketer has changed dramatically in the current business environment due to many factors. The changes in the business models in most organizations as well as unprecedented changes in consumer behaviour are some of the significant underlining factors. You all have a great opportunity to create local brands that would penetrate the region and finally the globe by redefining the branding strategies as you prepare for a tech-savvy and future-ready Sri Lanka.”

The Graduation Addressee for the evening session of the SLIM Graduation Ceremony, Aruni Goonetilleke, the Chairperson of Hatton National Bank PLC shared her thoughts saying, “As we enter a time of rapid change, it is incumbent on each of us to carefully consider how we can adapt and create the agility necessary to be prepared for the ‘new normal’, and in so doing, have a positive impact on our communities and people.

In a post-COVID landscape, with the flourishing of e-commerce, and new technological capabilities, the role of marketing has emerged as an essential pre-requisite to the success of every business and your contribution has the potential to be unparalleled. Through your efforts, and with the support of SLIM, each of you has been equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to make a notable impact in your careers. You have proved your capabilities and you must now use what you have learned and build on it. Be brave and bold; be ready to evolve and be a lifelong student.

The words of the Guest of Honour for the evening session, Dr Pradeep Edward, PhD, MBA, Pg.Dip.M, Dip.BM, Dip. Fin Mgt, FSLIM, FIMS, FIMM, FCIM, P.Mkt(SL), echoed the aforementioned sentiments, speaking of countless opportunities for the graduates, embarking on their marketing journey. He stated “We are passing an era with numerous challenges of an unprecedented nature, which have affected all the facets of our lives. As flourishing marketers, you ought to be resilient and well equipped with the knowledge and expertise to overcome these challenges triumphantly in the ‘new normal’ circumstances. As Sam Walton once said, you cannot just keep doing what worked once, when everything around you is changing. Rather, you have to stay out in front of change, to succeed.

“Make a difference and bring novelty into all your endeavours as the new breed of marketers, adding your ‘personal brand’ into everything that you do. While paying my gratitude and extending well wishes to SLIM, for its continuous and unstinted efforts in grooming world-class marketers to the nation, I wish all those who are graduating today the best of luck to conquer the horizons of their dreams,” concluded Dr Pradeep Edward.

This SLIM Graduation Ceremony 2021 celebrated the hard work, determination and achievements of the graduands as they stepped forward to collect their scrolls and certificates, having completed their respective diplomas and degrees.

These aspiring marketers, now qualified graduates from a host of different diplomas and degrees offered by SLIM, are ready to step into the world of Marketing as they pursue their dreams. The vast array of academic opportunities, made available by SLIM, encourage and prepare students for the business world.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing (PGDIP) is a comprehensive SLIM qualification on par with other internationally recognized qualifications in marketing. The Diploma in Strategic Brand Management (DSBM) is a practical course to enhance knowledge on the path to effective branding. The National Diploma in Sales Management (NDSM) is a qualification to differentiate SLIM graduates from your conventional salesperson. The Diploma in Digital Marketing (DDM) is designed to educate aspiring marketers on the most important digital marketing concepts, the best practices and emerging concepts in digital marketing.

The MBA in Marketing is offered by SLIM in collaboration with the Wrexham Glyndwr University, providing you with a well-recognised British MBA. Recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC), this fast-track programme has been exclusively introduced for SLIM PGDIP holders and CIM-UK qualified students. Finally, SLIM’s Certified Professional Marketer (CPM) is the highest status qualification in the Asian region in marketing.

Nuwan Gamage, the Vice President – Education for SLIM elaborated on SLIM’s plans for a future with an emphasis on education saying, “We have comprised our five-year strategy with a “Future-Ready Sri Lanka” in mind; set to develop future-ready innovative marketers in Sri Lanka. We believe that education of superior quality is an essential part of promoting the knowledge economy and innovation. SLIM has, therefore, invested in furthering education for future generations of aspiring marketers, and we are planning to obtain university status, implementing a series of new programs. These programs will focus on harnessing the set of skills required for successful marketers of 2030, as we prepare our students for the challenges on their horizon.”

Addressing the graduates of 2021, Thilanka Abeywardena, the President of SLIM, expressed her hopes for the students to “be determined to continue with [your] studies as knowledge creation is the sure way to become a fully-fledged professional, adding value to any sphere as you pursue the career of your choice. In addition, knowledge inculcates self-confidence and enhances one’s personality. To have continuous professional development, a perfect blend of acquired and practical knowledge is required. That is your key to success. Using your intuition, you should convert your learned theoretical knowledge into practical knowledge to overcome challenges as you embark on your journey through life.”

She further elaborated on the mission of SLIM and its prospects, giving insight into “a ‘Future-Ready Sri Lanka’. As the national body for marketing in Sri Lanka, we at SLIM believe in stepping forward to drive this concept of a generation of competent, skilled marketers who are ready to take on the struggles of modern-day businesses.”

SLIM’s effort towards enhancing and continuously developing marketing education in Sri Lanka and its commitment towards the profession is undeniable. Embodying its role as the national body for Marketing in Sri Lanka, SLIM continues to guide students towards their marketing goals, starting them off on their journey towards achieving their business-oriented goals and dreams. Congratulations to the graduates of 2021!



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Conclusion of phase 1 of private placement of Ordinary Shares of JKH to ADB

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Krishan Balendra Chairman JKH

Following is the text of a letter addressed by JKH Deputy Chairman/Group Finance Director Gihan Cooray to the CSE’s Chief Regulatory Officer Renuke Wijayawardhana.

Further to the announcements to the Colombo Stock Exchange on 22 November 2021 and 22 December 2021 regarding the Private Placement of up to a maximum cumulative amount of the Sri Lankan Rupee (“LKR”) equivalent of USD 80 million to Asian Development Bank (“ADB”), through the issuance of up to a maximum of 122,500,000 new ordinary shares of the Company in two phases (Phase 1 & Phase 2), we wish to inform that Phase 1 of the Private Placement of ordinary shares of the Company to ADB was concluded on 19 January 2022.

Accordingly, 65,042,006 ordinary shares (“Initial Placement Shares”) of the Company were allotted to ADB at a price of LKR 154.50 per share on 19 January 2022 for a consideration of the LKR equivalent of USD 50 million. The Initial Placement Shares results in a post-issue dilution of 4.70 per cent in Phase 1 of the transaction.

Additionally, in terms of Phase 2, the Company has issued 39,025,204 non-tradable/non-transferable options (“Options”), which will entitle ADB to subscribe for additional new ordinary shares of the Company (“Option Shares”), for an investment amount of up to a maximum of the LKR equivalent of USD 30 million.

Therefore, the maximum number of ordinary shares that would potentially be issued under the entire transaction, assuming all Option Shares are subscribed for, will be 104,067,210, thereby capping the post-issue dilution on the conclusion of both phases to a maximum of 7.31 per cent.

The salient details of the Options are as morefully detailed in the Shareholder Circular dated 29 November 2021. Based on the subscription date of the Initial Placement Shares, the Option Exercise Period will be from 19 October 2022 to 18 January 2023.

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Bangladesh – Sri Lanka Preferential Trade Agreement: Gains and policy challenges

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By Asanka Wijesinghe and Chathurrdhika Yogarajah

0espite enhanced trade partnerships in South Asia, intra-regional trade is far from reaching its theoretical potential. Similar production patterns and competitive sectors can be the causes. However, bilateral discussions to further lower trade costs continue. The ongoing Bangladesh-Sri Lanka discussions on a preferential trade agreement (PTA) will benefit from knowing the potential gains from reducing bilateral trade costs. In addition, knowledge of products with higher potential for export gains will help optimise the economic benefits from a trade deal.

Bangladesh – Sri Lanka Trade:
The Current Status

In 2018, when discussions on a PTA began to firm up, Sri Lanka’s exports to Bangladesh were USD 133 million, while imports from Bangladesh were USD 37 million. Despite the low trade volume, Sri Lanka’s exports to Bangladesh have grown (Figure 1). In addition, Sri Lanka records a bilateral trade surplus with Bangladesh, which is encouraging given the country’s trade deficit concerns. However, weak growth of exports from Bangladesh to Sri Lanka can be seen from 2001 to 2016 (Figure 1).

The current trade deals between the two countries are still partially restrictive. Both countries keep a sensitive list of products that are not eligible for tariff cuts. Sri Lanka maintains a list of 925 products sanctioned by SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area) while Bangladesh keeps 993 products. Sri Lanka’s sensitive list covers USD 6.2 million or 23.8% of imports from Bangladesh. The sensitive list of Bangladesh covers USD 77.6 million or 62% of imports from Sri Lanka. Thus, the elimination of sensitive lists may benefit Sri Lanka more.

Figure 1: Trade Intensity between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

Source: Authors’ Illustration using Trademap Data.

Theoretically, bilateral alliances deepen trade by removing weaknesses in existing multilateral trade arrangements. A trade deal between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka can simplify trade regulations further. In addition, Bangladesh needs alternative preferential access as graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status will take away preferential access to its key markets. For Sri Lanka, increasing bilateral participation in production value chains, especially in the textiles sector, might be an economic motivation. Financial support extended by Bangladesh to manage Sri Lanka’s foreign currency pressures might be a political motivation for a trade deal.

Eliminating sensitive lists can lead to trade creation, although it may not happen due to political and economic reasons. When it comes to tariff cuts, both countries will act defensively as certain products in the sensitive lists are vital for employment and revenue generation. Thus, the success of a trade deal depends on how many products with high export potential are under its purview. In this direction, a group of products with specific characteristics can be identified as an offensive list. For example, Sri Lanka’s offensive list includes products that Bangladesh imports from anywhere in the world, produced by Sri Lanka with a capacity for expansion. Sri Lanka has a comparative advantage in exporting that good, and Bangladesh already has a tariff on the product.

Export Gains from Tariff Elimination

If tariffs on the sensitive lists are eliminated, there will be modest export gains for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in absolute terms. Sri Lanka will gain USD 24.7 to 49.7 million of exports to Bangladesh, while Bangladesh will gain USD 2.1 to 4.5 million of exports to Sri Lanka. Potential export gains are given in a range due to assumptions on elasticity values used in the partial equilibrium model. Elimination of sensitive lists will generate a higher tariff revenue loss to Bangladesh, ranging between USD 13.5 million to USD 19.1 million. By contrast, Sri Lanka’s revenue loss will be slight at USD 1.4 million to USD 1.9 million.

Whatever the arrangement, it is crucial to include the products with high export potential in the offensive lists (See Table 1 for the major products). Out of 39 products in Bangladesh’s offensive list, 21 are intermediate goods, while 18 are consumption goods. Similarly, 75 out of 115 products in Sri Lanka’s offensive list are intermediate goods. Tariff cuts on intermediate products may induce fragmented production between two countries, which would harness country-specific comparative advantages. Major intermediate goods in the offensive lists are dyed cotton fabrics, cartons, boxes, and cases, plain woven fabrics of cotton, denim, natural rubber, and smoked sheets of natural rubber (Table 1).

The ex-ante estimates predict modest gains for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in absolute terms, even after completely removing the sensitive list. But complete removal is politically challenging for both countries. Moreover, Bangladesh as an LDC may expect special and differential (S&D) treatment. Thus, the outcome can be a limited PTA in line with weaknesses in existing trade agreements governing South Asian trade. The impact on trade of regional trade agreements in force is negative primarily due to stringent general regulatory measures, including rules of origin (ROO), sensitive lists, and prolonged phasing-in. Given that the estimated modest economic gains of a Bangladesh-Sri Lanka PTA do not justify a trade deal that requires substantial resources for negotiations,the PTA should have fewer regulatory measures and tariff concessions for the products on the offensive lists to maximise the economic benefits of a PTA between the two countries.

Link to the full Talking Economics blog: https://www.ips.lk/talkingeconomics/2022/01/20/bangladesh-sri-lanka-preferential-trade-agreement-gains-and-policy-challenges/

Asanka Wijesinghe is a Research Economist at IPS with research interests in macroeconomic policy, international trade, labour and health economics. He holds a BSc in Agricultural Technology and Management from the University of Peradeniya, an MS in Agribusiness and Applied Economics from North Dakota State University, and an MS and PhD in Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics from The Ohio State University. (Talk with Asanka – asanka@ips.lk)

Chathurrdhika Yogarajah is a Research Assistant at IPS with research interests in macroeconomics and trade policy. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Technology and Management, specialised in Applied Economics and Business Management from the University of Peradeniya with First Class Honours. She is currently reading for her Master’s in Agricultural Economics at the Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, Peradeniya. (Talk with Chathurrdhika: chathurrdhika@ips.lk)

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Expolanka boosts bourse by adding 21.7 points to ASPI

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

CSE trading started in negative territory yesterday due to heavy profit- takings but after 1 pm the market began to recover, triggered by index heavy counter Expolanka, which gained by adding 21.7 points to the All-Share Price Index. The stock market yesterday produced a creditable recovery to finish on a positive note after early losses amid a relatively low but healthy turnover level. The Expolanka share price appreciated by 2.5 per cent or Rs 9.50. Its shares started trading at Rs 386 and at the end of the day they shot up by Rs 9.50.

Amid those developments both indices moved upwards. The All -Share Price Index went up by 42.8 points and S and P SL20 rose by 7 points. Turnover stood at Rs 4.9 billion with a single crossing. The crossing was reported in Expolanka, which crossed 100,000 shares to the tune of Rs 39.5 million and its shares traded at Rs 395.

In the retail market, top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Rs 715 million (1.8 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 336 million (19.9 million shares traded), ACL Cables Rs 261 million (2.1 million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 231 million (8.1 million shares traded), JKH Rs 193 million (1.2 million shares traded), Expack Corrugated Cartons Rs 162 million (seven million shares traded) and  Softlogic Capital Rs 161 million (11.3 million shares traded). During the day 154 million share volumes changed hands in 37000 transactions.

Yesterday, the US dollar was quoted at Rs 202.91, which was the controlled price of the Central Bank. The actual price would be more than Rs 250, market sources said.

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