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ComBank expands ‘Dirishakthi’ scheme to transform value chains in rural Sri Lanka

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The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has embarked on an initiative to transform the way it supports micro entrepreneurs using its ‘Dirishakthi’ loans programme as the platform for a wider and holistic intervention encompassing financing and empowerment activities.

The Bank has announced that the Dirishakthi scheme launched to finance commercially viable livelihood opportunities at the grassroots level, has been enhanced to benefit not just individual borrowers but all participants in their value chains, further underwriting the prospects for success and growth.

The enhancements have been designed to increase the capacity of microentrepreneurs’ production chains by providing both financial and non-financial services and have been brought under the twin umbrellas of the ‘Dirishakthi Value Chain Development Programme’ and the ‘Dirishakthi Sustainable Entrepreneurship Development Programme’ that encompasses sustainability initiatives as well as knowledge development and capacity building.

The Dirishakthi Value Chain Development Programme is designed to increase the productivity and profitability of an entire value chain by understanding the needs of the private and public partners involved in it, from the point of production to end-consumer. From an agricultural perspective, the scheme is created to assist entrepreneurs from ‘farm to fork,’ the Bank said.

With this new development, the Bank will identify all participants in a value chain with the assistance of existing customers or Community Based Organisations (CBOs), provide financial services by reaching vulnerable players in the community such as women entrepreneurs and low-income individuals via coordinators of its Agriculture and Micro Finance Units (AMFUs) who will actively approach these members to provide personalized support. They will identify obstacles which hinder the efficiency of the value chain and solve cash flow and capacity issues, provide fund transfer facilities to remit sales proceeds and to pay suppliers through the formal banking sector, and improve technical knowledge and entrepreneurship skills of value chain members with the objective of improving the quality of the products and services they offer.

Under this initiative, the Bank will also facilitate new marketing opportunities to its members by linking them with its SME and corporate clients and provide cash in and cash out (CICO) services through the operations of the Automated Field Cash Collection (AFCC) and the Bank of Wheels (BOW) facility which is a fully-fledged mobile bank branch with a Cash Recycler Machine (CRM) and two teller counters.



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Integrated solid waste management initiative coupled with tree plantation launched at Hambantota Port

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The ceremony to mark the programme was held at the port premises under strict health and safety protocols, with a limited number of staff attending.

 Hambantota International Port launched its first integrated solid waste management initiative on Monday 11th on the Company Day of China Merchants Group (CMG), the parent company of CM Port. The initiative is a strategic approach to sustainably manage biodegradable solid waste. The process covers the source, generation, segregation, transfer, sorting, treatment, recovery and disposal of waste in an integrated manner.

 “The idea is to collect all biodegradable material including garbage from vessels calling at the port that can be converted into compost, and process it.  The processed product will be used as manure for trees that will be planted within the Port and Industrial zone,” says Jeevan M. Premasara, Senior General Manager HR & Admin at HIP.

Members of staff at Hambantota Port planting trees.

The launch of the sustainability drive under the theme ‘Healing the Environment’ coinciding with CMG’s company day, was done under the leadership of CEO Johnson Liu. The program also includes the planting of 500 trees of different varieties, recommended by the Hambantota dry zone Botanical gardens. Twenty-five trees were planted as part of phase 1 of the project, and the port plans to grow and nurture endemic trees that will enrich the biodiversity of the industrial zone and port premises.

“As we launch the first phase of this tree planting and waste management/recycling projects, we will take into consideration planting different types of endemic plants that will thrive in the sandy soil of the Hambantota area in the next phases of the project.  Apart from that, we understand the importance of proper waste management systems and hope to partner with the district’s main waste recycling projects in the future.  As we expand into various industries in the zone, we hope to make our surroundings greener and environmentally friendly, bringing us closer to our goal of becoming an entirely green port,” added the Senior General Manager HR & Admin.

 HIP’s global partner CMPort’s parent company, CMG’s company day commemorated 149 years of sustainable operations this year.  CMG, which is involved in numerous projects to protect and sustain the environment, spreads its sustainability mission across all its members, partners and associate organisations. The ‘Healing the Environment’ project undertaken by HIP is an extension of their international partner’s sustainability drive.

 The ceremony to mark the programme was held at the port premises under strict health and safety protocols, with a limited number of staff attending.

Members of staff at Hambantota Port planting trees.

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Douglas & Sons Great Place to Work® Certified

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Douglas & Sons (Pvt) Ltd (DSL) announced that it is certified as a Great Place to Work® by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work® in Sri Lanka. DSL earned this distinction based on extensive ratings received by its employees in an anonymous survey that was conducted by Great Place to Work®.

Commenting on the certification Saroj Perera, Chairman/Managing Director of Douglas & Sons (Pvt) Ltd said, “We are extremely proud to receive this certification, as it comes amidst a challenging time for businesses in general, when there is a considerable amount of pressure put on both employees and employers to perform at very high levels. We believe that our employees are our strongest asset, and this certification further reconfirms that we are certainly an employer of choice, enabling our employees to reach their full potential, whilst contribution to the growth of the company.”

“We applaud DSL for seeking employees’ feedback and the opportunity to certify itself,” said Kshanika Ratnayake, CEO of Great Place to Work® in Sri Lanka. “These ratings measure its capacity to earn its own employees’ trust and create a great workplace – critical metrics that anyone considering working for or doing business with DSL should take into account as an indicator of high performance.”

“According to the Great Place to Work® study, 92% percent of (total number of employees 372) employees say we are a great workplace,” said, Rohan Ariyawansa, Senior General Manager – Human Resources. “345 of our employees completed surveys, resulting in a 95 percent confidence level and a margin of error of ± 5.”

Douglas & Sons (Pvt) Ltd was established in 1986 with a vision to deliver excellence across the board and has today grown into a strong, diversified conglomerate with a passion for innovation that cares for the environment in the markets in which it operates. Its diversity and close ties with stakeholders in all key aspects of the economy forms the bedrock of its success in the country. Its access to key global players enables it to display and market Internationally reputed auto parts, tires, batteries and agricultural implements funnelled through its island-wide network of dealers.

Great Place to Work® is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programs, including Best Workplaces lists and workplace reviews, Great Place to Work® provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures.

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“DFCC Bank’s new ‘Auto Loan’ scheme provides affordable avenues for purchasing your dream vehicle”

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In its latest step to drive economic and social value creation, DFCC Bank, the pioneer in commercial banking, announced the launch of the ‘DFCC Auto Loan’ facility, an innovative vehicle loan scheme that enables greater affordability for consumers interested in purchasing automobiles.

The new DFCC Auto loan initiative introduces loan facilities of up to LKR 10 Mn, with an extended payment period. The facility provides the borrower with leverage to afford a vehicle of their choice, through a structured repayment plan, inclusive of a residual value. It also includes an embedded rollover option that enables the client to continue the loan for an extra few years without settling the residual at the end of the loan period subject to a maximum overall tenure of 8 years. The borrower thereby receives the option of settling the residual by disposing the current vehicle and obtaining a fresh loan for a new vehicle, instead. The prime goal of the loan scheme is to enable customers to buy their dream vehicle, through an affordable monthly instalment plan with reduced risk and an increased loan period.

The loan facility will be applicable only for all cars, vans, SUVs and double cabs that customers choose to purchase.

DFCC Bank firmly believes that it is of paramount importance to enhance the affordability of vehicles as a path towards uplifting the standard of living, while securing economic growth and the financial stability of its customers. The lack of access to affordable customer-centric loan facilities, and severely restricted cash flows due to stagnant economic conditions in light of the pandemic, have proved to be a significant hurdle in the path of economic development. Having noted the existing economic issues faced by customers, DFCC Bank’s ‘Auto Loan’ scheme, which extends to a significant portion of society, stands to have notable positive outcomes for all stakeholders involved.

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