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CIMA concludes ‘Hundred & 10%’ – first ever ‘Virtual Career Festival’ on a high

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‘Hundred & 10%’, the first ever ‘Virtual Career Festival’ organized by CIMA, the world’s leading and largest professional management accountancy body, concluded with high praise for presenting a program filled with timely informative sessions, closely fought competitions and real world winners. The festival, held from the 13th to the 19th September 2020, featured global and local industry leaders speaking on a diverse array of business topics, an elevator pitch competition and a hackathon.

The weeklong event attracted over thousand registrations for seventeen sessions built around Technical, Leadership, People, Business, and Digital Skills, the five skills covered in the CGMA Competency Framework. Over 45 speakers from Sri Lanka and overseas came together to discuss, debate and deliberate on a diverse array of topics important for employability over seven days.

Day One of the event focused on technical skills with sessions on pushing oneself above and beyond, and the importance of the ‘Power of Numbers’ was presented to the participants. Day Two was all about people skills, with a forum discussion on ‘Swimming with the Big Fish’ and a focused workshop on ‘Creating a Winning Impression’ leading the agenda. The day also saw the much hyped ‘Hackathon’ event take place, with over 50 teams applying for the 24-hour event with cash prizes on the offer, followed with the winning team members also being offered employment from a leading conglomerate.

Zahara Ansary, ACMA, CGMA, Country Manager for CIMA Sri Lanka was ecstatic with the response to the Virtual Career Festival. “When we conceptualized ‘Hundred & 10%’, we were focused on building the relevant skills that will help youth and assure their employability in the post-COVID 19 world. Our aim to inspire the next generation of Sri Lankan professionals has been fully met with the first-ever Virtual Career Festival organised by CIMA, as evidenced by the enthusiastic participation of youth and professionals in the many forums of discussion, and competitions.” she said.

Leadership skills dominated the conversation on Day Three, with the timely topic ‘Breaking the Glass Ceiling’, starting the day off, with a stellar panel of female leaders followed by a lively discussion on ‘Succeeding Through Collaborations’. The more serious discussions on business skills covering topics such as ‘Guardians of the Money’ and ‘Starting Something Big’ were reserved for Day Four, while the closely contested Elevator Pitch competition with over 25 applicants fighting for 4 spots in the final, and a coveted cash prize for the ultimate winner was the highlight of Day Five, which also hosted the discussion ‘Becoming Entrepreneurial’.

“I am encouraged that the youth of tomorrow are gearing up to go above and beyond in their careers. Every industry leader who participated in ‘Hundred & 10%’, both local and global, gave of their knowledge and experience freely, making the event a truly enriching learning experience”, Zahara Ansary continued, on achieving the objective of the Virtual Career Festival.

The last two days of the event dived into interesting offerings. Day Six was all about diversity, with thematic presentations on ‘Creating Magic’ and ‘Employability in the New World’ capturing talent, diversity and inclusivity in the workspace whilst also showcasing the diversity of the CIMA members who ranged from marketing giants to entrepreneurs. The last day of the festival reminded all participants of the newest and most versatile tool, digital skills. ‘Embracing Opportunities and Riding High’, and ‘Digital Innovation’ were first discussed on Day Seven, which ended on the aptly titled presentation ‘Tomorrow’s Skills’.

‘Hundred & 10%’ – first ever ‘Virtual Career Festival’ organized by CIMA explored the various skills necessary for employability in the future world and aimed to inspire the next generation of Sri Lankan professionals to go above and beyond in their careers. Those who wish to hear what the speakers at the ‘Virtual Career Festival’ discussed, can now access the archives of the event maintained by CIMA on their facebook page at

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New IPS report on ‘Elasticity Estimates for Cigarettes in Sri Lanka’

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• New study finds that increasing taxes on cigarettes will have twin advantages of reducing cigarette consumption and increasing government revenue.

• Calculated tax and price elasticities of demand for cigarettes show that smokers are price sensitive: increasing cigarette taxes by 10 per cent will reduce consumption by 8 per cent.

• A simulation exercise shows that when cigarette taxes are raised in line with inflation and streamlined between 2020-2023, government excise tax revenue will increase by LKR 37 billion by 2023 and 140,000 premature deaths from cigarette consumption can be prevented in the future.

The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) has released a report which provides a comprehensive assessment of Sri Lanka’s historical and current tobacco tax policies to assess whether they are in line with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended best practices. The new report ‘Elasticity Estimates for Cigarettes in Sri Lanka’ is authored by Dr. Nisha Arunathilake, Harini Weerasekera and Chamini Thilanka, and is part of a series of IPS research focusing on health and education.

According to the WHO, significant increases in tobacco taxes are the best means of controlling tobacco consumption. High taxes are an incentive for quitting tobacco, reducing consumption, and for not initiating smoking. The report finds that although cigarette prices have gone up over time, cigarettes are still affordable for smokers as tax increases have not kept up with inflation and income increases. Further, the tax structure is not streamlined, and tax policy changes have been implemented in an ad-hoc manner.

The report provides an estimate of price and income elasticities of cigarettes, and uses these to assess the effectiveness of tax increases on smoking prevalence in the country by conducting a simulation analysis. The results show that increasing cigarette taxes by 10 per cent will reduce consumption by 8 per cent. Finally, the study used the estimated tax elasticities to model the health and fiscal benefits of moving to inflation-adjusted and uniform excise tax system over 4 years.

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DFCC Bank and AIA virtually recognise CEO Club award winners

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Launched in 2018, the ‘CEO’s Club’ Awards organized annually by AIA Insurance for DFCC Bank staff, has since been held in grand style each quarter. The event is intended at recognizing and celebrating DFCC’s staff on their exceptional achievements in providing protection to the bank’s customers by introducing AIA’s insurance solutions.

Despite the limitations posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the management of both DFCC and AIA were determined to continue the tradition of much deserved recognition for the DFCC staff who have excelled in providing insurance solutions to customers. As the first ever virtual AIA-DFCC CEO’s Club Awards Night, the event was held on Microsoft Teams. This pioneering event connected fifteen locations simultaneously, taking digital adoption to a new level, to celebrate award winners.

AIA CEO Nikhil Advani congratulated the winners, while commenting on the long-standing partnership between AIA and DFCC; “AIA are pioneers in Bancassurance in Sri Lanka and DFCC is one of our most valuable partners. Together over the years we have created a strong bond, driven by the common goal of providing protection and financial security to our customers. We are constantly defying odds and challenging the status quo and that is why we were able to take digital to the next level and ensure that these merited recognitions and celebrations took place, uninterrupted.”

DFCC CEO Lakshman Silva also applauded the winners and commented; “DFCC Bank, one of the oldest development banks in the country and now a full-service commercial bank, has had many trail-blazing initiatives. We entered into a partnership with AIA with the objective of enhancing our customer value proposition- and over the years have complemented each other, bringing exceptional value to customers. It was great, that together we were able to overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and create an opportunity out of it, in creating a first of its kind digital event. This is what great partnerships do.”

Fifty-four CEO’s Club winners from across the island were recognized at the virtual Awards Night, for their achievements in 2019, with six others getting special recognition for their contribution as well. The top ten performers were Samitha Jayathilake ( Kottawa Branch) , Chamindu Anjana (Hikkaduwa Branch) , Dilini De Silva (Moratuwa Branch), Dinusha Jayathilaka (Anuradhapura Branch), Nuwan Abeywickrama (Kiribathgoda Branch), Anjalina Kumarihamy (Piliyandala Branch), Dilanka Jayawardena(Kaduwela Branch) , Lahiru Madushan(Central Sales Unit ) , Paskaranathan Ghengatharan (Kotahena Branch) and Lakshman Thambiraja (Batticaloa Branch ).

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Tokyo Cement and Chevron Lubricants quarterly results boost market

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

The CSE turned positive  yesterday with the releasing  of impressive second and third quarter results by two investor favourite counters, Tokyo Cement and Chevron Lubricants, stock market analysts said.

It is said that Tokyo Cement’s second quarter results recorded  Rs. 2.1 billion profit, which was a 183 percent increase compared to the corresponding quarter for year 2019, while Chevron Lubricants recorded Rs. 803 million in profits, which was a 29 percent increase compared to the corresponding quarter the previous year. Therefore, Chevron Lubricants announced a dividend of Rs. 3.50 per share for its shareholders yesterday.

Tokyo Cement’s impressive growth plus Chevron Lubricant’s dividend announcement removed the negative sentiment from the share market, which witnessed negative sentiments as a result of the government’s announcement of the three day Covid 19 curfew from today, market analysts said.  

Amid those developments, the market experienced a day full of fluctuations and both indices moved upwards, i.e., the All Share Price Index was up by 126. 39 points and S and P SL20 went up by 51.82 points    Turnover stood at Rs. 1.64 billion with a single crossing reported in JKH.  The latter’s 1.26 million shares crossed for Rs. 157 million and its share was traded at Rs. 130.50.

In the retail market top five contributors to the turnover were,  Tokyo Cement (Non Voting) Rs. 234.7 million (4.4 million shares traded), Tokyo Cement (Voting) Rs. 176.6 million (2.8 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 162.6 million (9.1 million shares traded), Dip Products Rs. 117.9 million (382,000 shares traded) and Chevron Lubricants Rs. 78.2 million (900,000 shares traded). During the day 55.1 million share volumes changed hands in 16138 transactions.    

 Further, two finance companies are going to merge to meet the co-capital requirement of the   Central Bank, which is, Rs. 2 billion; they are Nation Lanka Finance and Sinhaputhra Finance. With the merger the surviving entity would be Sinhaputhra Finance. At present both companies are struggling to meet co-capital requirements of the Central Bank. Once the merger happens they will be able to meet the requirement, stock market analysts said.

Sri Lanka rupee was quoted at 184.25/40 to the US dollar on Thursday while bond yields were largely unchanged, dealers said. The rupee closed at 184.25/35 against the greenback on Wednesday. Bond markets were dull with little activity, dealers said.

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