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Council for Business with Britain to strengthen the UK-SL trade corridor

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Roshanie Jayasundera Moraes addressing the membership. Also in the picture are Linda Giebing, VP, Dinithi Dias, Secretary, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Ameena Ziaudeen, VP and Tania Polonnowita Wettimuny, Treasurer, CBB

The 20th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Council for Business with Britain (CBB) of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce was conducted on August 27.

During the course of proceedings, Roshanie Moraes, Executive Vice president, John Keells Holdings PLC became the first woman to be elected as the president of the Council for Business with Britain.

“Moving forward our efforts will primarily be focused on enhancing business and trade between the UK and Sri Lanka as part of wider government-led efforts to support post-COVID economic revival. We believe that women will also play a greater role in driving this recovery, and to that end, we will also be launching an initiative to improve female labour force participation and gender parity across Sri Lanka’s business environment,” she stated.

Exports to the UK from SL is around USD 1 b and imports from the UK, around USD 370 m. UK is one of the two largest apparel buyers from SL.

Commenting on developments during his tenure, outgoing president, Mark Prothero, CEO of HSBC, Sri Lanka & Maldives said: “As we all know, it has been an unfortunate and difficult period for Sri Lanka with two “Black Swan” events in a row in 2019 and 2020 which brought with it unprecedented challenges to our economy and particular hardship for our tourism and leisure sector.

“However, it is encouraging to see that despite these unique challenges, there are other sectors of Sri Lanka’s export economy which have rebounded sharply in a strong v-shaped recovery. This serves as one of many indicators as to the resilience of the Sri Lankan people and we can be confident that under a united president and government there is still strong opportunity for Sri Lanka to develop and prosper in the years ahead,” he said.

Having served as president during the 20th anniversary of the CBB, Prothero went on to express his gratitude to fellow Committee members – including some of the largest domestic corporates and multi-nationals – for their support and senior-level engagement in the CBB.

Over the past year, CBB organised multiple discussions and events focused on relevant and timely topics, covering financial and forex markets, responsible marketing, urban development and the significance of architecture and sustainable development. Among the other key highlights in the CBB’s calendar over the past year was the launch of the SL-UK trade and investment report and the hosting of a special event to felicitate former Sri Lankan cricketer and captain, Kumar Sangakkara on his appointment as the Chairman of the MCC.

Additionally, the council has also been actively supporting the training of English Language in partnership with the British Council for over 15 years. During this time, the CBB has funded the training of 2,300 teachers countrywide and positively impacted over 300,000 students.

Reading a statement issued on behalf of High Commissioner to Sri Lanka from the UK, Sarah Hulton, Lisa Whanstall, Deputy High Commissioner for the UK said: “I would like to thank the outgoing President Mark Prothero and the CBB committee for all their hard work and for the time they have spent sharing insights and working together with me in my first year in Sri Lanka. I also wish to congratulate incoming President Roshanie Jayasundera Moraes, together with the new office bearers and other committee members, with whom I look forward to working closely in the year ahead to support UK businesses in this challenging time. I understand that we have a first for the CBB on the gender representation front, which is also very exciting, and I am keen to explore activities and initiatives around this as well.”

The 2020/21 committee comprises of Linda Giebing, General Manager, Hilton Colombo Residences and Ameena Ziauddin – Development Director, Norfolk Foods as Vice Presidents, Tania Polonnowita Wettimuny, MD, Inter Air & Sea Logistics, as the Treasurer and Mark Prothero, CEO, HSBC Sri Lanka & Maldives as the Immediate Past President.

Newly appointed committee members include: Shirendra Lawrence, COO, MAS Holdings, Hajar Alafifi, Chairperson, Unilever Sri Lanka, Sarath Ganegoda, Director, Hayleys PLC, S Renganathan, MD, Commercial Bank, Nikhil Hirdaramani, Director, Hirdaramani Group, Arjuna Nanayakkara, Head of Shared Services, London Stock Exchange Group SL, Irfan Thassim, MD, Oceanpick, Dougie Douglas, Country Manager, Etihad Airways, Indika Abeykoon, GM, Aitken Spence Travels and Gihan Jayasinghe, MD, Finlays Group, SL.

Michael Fernandopulle, Head of Trade & Investment at the DIT, of the British High Commission, the Head of the British Council and Shaameel Mohideen, MD of Spillburg Holdings representing SMEs will be invitees to the Committee. Representatives from the BOI and the EDB to attend the meetings as invitees every quarter.

Further details regarding membership of the Council and its activities could be obtained from the Secretariat of the CBB of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, No. 50, Navam Mawatha, Colombo 2. E-mail: dinithi@chamber.lk or Tel.: 011-5588861, 5588800. CBB also could be contacted via www.cbbsl.com https://www.facebook.com/CBBSriLanka/ and on Twitter @CBB_SL.



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HNB partners with Gammadda to develop Yaya 6 village in Anuradhapura

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HNB PLC recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Capital Maharaja Group’s initiative Gammadda Sri Lanka, the country’s largest rural development movement to develop infrastructure facilities of the Yaya 6 village Mahawilachchiya, in the Anuradhapura District.

The project is powered by HNB’s exclusive private banking proposition, The Club HNB, with the goal of engaging members and in opportunities for focused, impactful philanthropy.

A special event was hosted at The Club HNB premises on Greenpath which was attended by special guests from Yaya 6, Gammadda News 1st team and exclusive invitees of The Club HNB, during which HNB Managing Director/ CEO Jonathan Alles and Capital Maharaja Group Director Chevaan Daniel inaugurated the partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.

“Rural communities form the backbone of this nation, therefore, HNB is proud to partner with the Capital Maharaja Group to support their ambitious and vital work under the Gammadda initiative. We are also grateful to The Club HNB membership and our branch network for once again stepping forward and contributing generously towards the upliftment of rural communities across Sri Lanka,” Alles said.

Providing access to clean drinking water is the 1st step in the agenda and a RO plant will be installed under the first phase of the development project. This will not only save lives but also prevent Chronic Kidney Disease (CKDu) prevalent in the region.

A new fully furnished library and computer lab will be just two other infrastructural additions to the village school Saliyamala Vidyalaya Pemaduwa, in addition to new washrooms which are to be constructed for the students and staff members. The project also entails renovation and refurbishment of the main road, the village temple, cleaning of the agrarian tank and construction of a new community hall under the initiative.

“It has been amazing working with HNB to achieve our mutual goal of providing Yaya 6 with much-needed infrastructure facilities. This project would not have been possible if not for the HNB customers, who came forward with their generous contributions to help this village in need. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone of you who made this possible,” Capital Maharaja Group Director Chevaan Daniel said.

Notably, acclaimed Sri Lankan pianist and music director Soundarie David’s composition of ‘Stand up and be the change’, that was created to help raise funds and create awareness about the project was performed at the event by Soul Sounds with music provided by Ranga Dasanayake at the event.

Editor-in-chief and founder of ARTRA magazine Azara Jaleel, who was also present at the event, auctioned off a painting from the ARTRA Canvas collection to The Club HNB members in aid of the project.

“I am happy to be here today, where two great institutions have come together for this great cause. We are fortunate as customers to be able to contribute in any way possible, and we hope to join you in visiting Yaya 6 soon,” a valued Club customer,Mrs Niloo Jayatilleke said.

Those who wish to make a contribution to the initiative can make a payment via HNB SOLO, through a direct payment on the payment app or deposit funds to the account titled ‘We are the change’, account number: 005010173025.

With 252 customer centres across the country, HNB is one of Sri Lanka’s largest, most technologically innovative banks, having won local and global recognition for its efforts to drive forward a new paradigm in digital banking. Over the recent past, the bank was ranked among the World Top 1,000 Banks list compiled by the prestigious UK-based Banker Magazine. HNB has a national rating of AA- (lka) by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd.

HNB was also declared Best Sub-Custodian Bank in Sri Lanka at the Global Finance Awards 2020, in addition to winning the coveted Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka Award for the 11th time at the Asian Banker Awards 2020, in recognition of its sustainable growth and continuous improvements in processes, products and services amidst a challenging macroeconomic environment.

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The Finance Houses Association announces revision of Self-Regulation Code

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The Finance Houses Association of Sri Lanka (FHA) the apex body of all Registered Finance companies has announced the introduction of its revised Self-Regulation Code which has been voluntarily practised by member companies over a long period of time, but has to be adapted to changing times.

The timely revisions to the Code were effected with a view to maintaining the highest standards on strategic and business operations in Sri Lanka’s Non-Banking Financial and Leasing Institutions (NBFI) sector.

The FHA collective of 39 Licensed Finance Companies (LFCs) is the driver of financial inclusion of Sri Lanka’s MSME sector which has a large footprint in the Bottom of the Pyramid segment of the country. The MSME sector is no less than the backbone of Sri Lankan economy involving over 70% of businesses in Sri Lanka, providing employment for 45% of the labor force and generating 52% of GDP.

Titled “Code of Conduct of Licensed Finance Companies Sri Lanka” the updated instrument was handed over to the Governor of Central Bank of Sri Lanka Prof. W. D. Lakshman and Bank’s officials by FHA Council members on March 18 at the Central Bank premises.

Niroshan Udage, chairman of FHA elaborated: “FHA’s time tested gentlemen’s agreement that was codified some time ago needed revisions and updates as per the requirements of today’s changing times. The overall objectives of updating the Code were to comply to all current regulatory and legal requirements while adhering to industry best practices. We take humble pride in the fact that the Code was not imposed on our sector by any authority but was self-introduced by all FHA members on their own will, which demonstrates the members’ strong commitment to sectoral integrity and their social responsibility.”

On March 18 members of FHA also handed over their Sustainability Mandate to the Governor of Central Bank Prof. W. D. Lakshman and top officials of the Bank. “The purpose of the Sustainability Mandate is to serve as the guideline for the LFCs to integrate sustainability principles holistically into their businesses, enabling sustainable value creation through their own financing approaches, in line with defined sustainability guidelines that would ultimately contribute towards national sustainability agenda and UN Sustainable Development Goals” said chairman Niroshan Udage.

 

 

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‘CSE to bounce back, provided Corona-19 is held in check’

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

The CSE was, once again, somewhat sluggish yesterday on account of investor fears over a possible Covid-19 third wave, but the expectation in some sections that May corporate earnings will be exceptionally good had an uplifting impact on the market during the latter part of the day. The CSE could be expected to bounce back, top stock market analysts said.

” CSE will bounce back within the next few weeks if the Covid 19 new wave  does not impact  the global scenario, Head of Sales, Softlogic Stockbrokers (Pvt) Ltd. Eardley Kern  told ‘The Island Financial Review’.

He said that the upcoming quarterly corporate earnings will likely be among the best in recent times and this would enable the market to perform in a positive way.     

Windforce Ltd., the renewable energy firm, began trading above its price of Rs. 16 per share yesterday after raising Rs. 3.2 billion for wind power projects in Sri Lanka and Senegal. It contributed more than 28 percent to market turnover from its IPO, Kern said 

Windforce stocks fetched Rs. 17.90 initially  and rose to as much as Rs. 19.00 in intra-day trading, after being heavily oversubscribed, but settled at Rs. 18, which was an increase of Rs. 2.40 or 15 percent.

Amid those developments, both indices moved downwards. All Share Price Index declined by 105.53 points  and S and P SL20 went down by 47.08 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 2.61 billion with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in Windforce, which crossed 7.2 million shares to the tune of Rs. 131.6 million; its shares traded at Rs. 18.50 and Sampath Bank 400,000 shares crossed for Rs. 20.4 million; its shares fetching Rs. 51.

In the retail market, five main contributors to the turnover were, Windforce Rs. 738 million (40.3 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 281.5 million (44.6 million shares traded), Dipped Products Rs. 195 million (3.4 million shares traded), Piramal Glass Rs. 126.4 million (11 million shares traded) and Hayleys Rs. 113 million (1.5 million shares traded). During the day 139.3 million share volumes changed hands in 19927 transactions.  

  “The indices exhibited significant volatility during the early hours of trading and witnessed a continuous downwards movement during the whole session but Windforce gave some notable impetus to the market yesterday, analysts said.

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