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CSE and SEC Ring the Bell for Financial Literacy

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Podium Participants From Left: CSE Head of Marketing Niroshan Wijesundere, SEC Director Surveillance Prabash Wanigatunge, CSE Chief Regulatory Officer Renuke Wijayawardhane, SEC Commission Member Manil Jayesinghe, CSE Director Ray Abeywardena, SEC Chairman Viraj Dayaratne PC, CSE Chairman Dumith Fernando, SEC Director General Chinthaka Mendis, CSE CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike, SEC Director External Relations and Capital Market Education Tushara Jayaratne, CSE Chief Information Officer Chandrakanth Jayasinghe

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) in association with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) joined stock exchanges from around the world to Ring the Bell for Financial Literacy, as part of the World Investor Week 2021 global campaign.

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) recently launched its fifth annual World Investor Week campaign following campaigns that previously paved the way for financial organizations across the globe to showcase their initiatives for promoting investor education and protection.

Over 80 global financial orgaizations have joined The Ring the Bell for Financial Literacy initiative in 2021, which is an initiative pioneered by the World Federation of Exchanges to bring stakeholders together for a call to action on improving financial literacy. These ceremonies also provide an opportunity for exchanges to promote the work being done within their respective jurisdictions to improve financial education and literacy.

According to key statistics based on a global financial literacy survey done by Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Sri Lanka indicated a significant gap between financial literacy and book literacy. According to the survey data, Sri Lanka has achieved 35% financial literacy while book literacy is around 90%. As per the survey, on average, 65% of adults in the major advanced economies are financially literate. This indicates a further unexplored scope to promote financial literacy among Sri Lankans, and thereby contribute to an economically stable population. Fronted by this objective, CSE and SEC cover a broad range of socioeconomic and demographic segments around the country, targeting various aspects of financial literacy throughout the year.

The Ring the Bell for Financial Literacy Ceremony organized at CSE was part of a series of several initiatives organized in Sri Lanka for the World Investor Week campaign by the CSE and the SEC.

Delivering the opening remarks at the ceremony the Chairman of CSE, Mr. Dumith Fernando commented that the initiative is quite timely and comes at a juncture where a paramount importance should be placed on individual financial literacy in elevating the economy of Sri Lanka post pandemic and in the country’s road to financial revival of our citizens. He further stated “As key stakeholders of the Sri Lankan financial space, SEC and CSE believe that we have a greater role to play in financial education and in promoting a more financially savvy population. Our investment and involvement in education in the Sri Lankan financial literacy is fundamental to our commitment to market integrity, inclusive growth, sustainable economic expansion, and fostering an investor-protected capital market.

CSE has over 400 strategized initiatives throughout the year aimed at broadening investor knowledge and educating the public on how to take advantage of the capital market. Financial technology or Fintech is acting as a catalyst in revolutionizing financial markets around the world. Therefore, we have recognized that it is high time to adopt and surpass the traditional approaches of imparting knowledge and skills. “

The Chairman of the SEC, Mr. Viraj Dayaratne PC, who spoke at the event noted the extensive effort made by the SEC towards educating the Sri Lankan investment community. He added “When you speak of education and awareness, its two fold. One part of education is to ensure that investors or the general public move away from traditional means of savings to investments. So as far as education is concerned, that is a message that has to be taken to masses. Next aspect is the protection of investors, once they come into the market and get involved with investments, it is our responsibility to ensure that their investments are safe.

Investors need to educate themselves, gather information, and the sources that you gather information is very important, because you have to gather that information/knowledge from the proper sources. If not your investments may not be safe. We have the Latin term “Caveat emptor”, that means Buyer Beware, like any other investment, you go to buy some goods from a store, you do some homework and you find out who has manufactured, is there a warranty, the brand and so on. You need to be mindful of that information when you decide to buy something. As a regulator, we can protect you, we have measures in place to protect you. But you need to look after yourself as well. You can’t make investments that are not safe and rely on the regulator or the stock exchange to look after you. You have to look after yourself. This is something that needs to be taken forward, not only at a time like this but throughout the year.”



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‘Dollar reserves in SL plummet drastically, putting the economy in jeopardy‘

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Key personnel at CNCI forum

By Steve A. Morrell

Sri Lanka’s dollar reserves have declined from $ 7.15 billion in 2019 to $ 2.8 billion currently. The President conceded economic failures although reasons for such failure were not explained, chairman, National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) Canisius Fernando said.

Fernando added recently at a forum: “Forex reserves are insufficient to expedite payment of import bills. More so that cost incurred on container traffic for imports and or exports was on a rising spiral. In comparison to cost of container shipping recorded at $ 2,800 earlier, it is now $ 12,000, indicating a rise in multiples of 250.

“Additionally, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP +) affecting our trade with EU countries, placed Sri Lanka’s reputation at a risk, meaning that countries could veer away from Sri Lanka prompted by a possible inability to honor our trade commitments. The clear example being trade with the US. Rather than await goods and services transactions with Sri Lanka, that could invariably take three months, US economists and their trade sector opted to transact trade with countries in close proximity to US shores.

“Dearth of container traffic and rising cost for on- loading and off- loading of cargo seriously affect trade imbalances. Consequently, the credit worthiness of the Sri Lankan economy is affected, which in turn seriously affects the GDP.

“Worker wages which were static because of trade shut- downs caused demands for increased wages. Wage demands of Rs 1,500 from employees became a major phenomenon in most sectors. The question at issue was the hypothetical position of business establishments of about 4000 employees demanding increased wages. This would cause closure of those companies resulting in unemployment.

“The proverbial domino effect of such repercussions would cause further chaos in the economy.

“There was no proper policy in most sectors. Suspension of the import of fertilizer and consequent confusion would, in the short run, result in famine and food shortages. Already this was evident in the public panic caused by having to stand in line to purchase essentials. That the crisis is upon us and the question of a quick solution is not feasible in the current context of the economy.

“Foreign investors are lured by the possibility of cheap labour in Sri Lanka to establish their businesses here, but in this instance too, this is only a hypothetical situation but not the reality.”

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Supuni Products gives back by way of welfare initiative, helps to uplift the needy patients with chronic illnesses

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Supuni Products first started in 2016 when the business proprietor, Supuni Lakmalie along with her husband only had Rs. 150 as investment. With that small amount, they purchased kollu (lentils) and kurakkan and ground them using a grindstone. This was the beginning for them and today, Supuni Products is a booming enterprise that specializes in ground spices and cereal, operating from the town of Nildandahinna, Walapane. Their products are of very high quality and 100% natural and consists of 15 different spice and cereal products including chilli, coriander, turmeric, pepper, curry powder, kurakkan, lentil (kollu) etc.

In 2018, Supuni Products received the opportunity to supply kurakkan flour and cereal to be included into the Poshana Malla, which is a nutrition package prepared for pregnant women, instigated by the government. The success of their business was such that they were able to gain an equity of over Rs. Four million during the past three years.

As part of a welfare initiative, they have also pledged to allocate one rupee for every kilogram of product sold, towards supporting patients with financial difficulties and require emergency surgery and for those with chronic diseases. While having had to run a business in the confines of their own home, the grant offering they received from the enterprise project allowed them to complete construction work of their new factory. She now hopes to expand the business, improve their supply chain, and create new employment opportunities.

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Dialog Enterprise offers Dell Technologies Cloud IaaS in Sri Lanka

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Dialog Enterprise, the corporate solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, is working with Dell Technologies Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) in Sri Lanka to offer Dell Technologies Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions to customers to innovate and scale rapidly, reduce costs and increase performance of business-critical infrastructure.

“Together, with our combined forces, we bring the only hybrid multi-cloud partnership in the country, giving access to private clouds as well as to our existing public cloud, and for on-premises infrastructure, robustly powered by Dell Technologies and VMWare. Envisioning a one-stop multiservice solution for all enterprise requirements, we strive continuously to keep to the changing landscape strengthening the cloud play in the arena,” said Navin Pieris, the Vice President – Enterprise Business and Large Enterprise Sales, Dialog Axiata PLC.

Rather than making capital investments in hardware, storage and servers to maintain them, enterprises can harness and scale IaaS resources when needed, paying only for infrastructure services they consume. Mitigating and allowing for any threat of data loss, the cloud partnership also offers cyber recovery as a service with a guaranteed uptime of 99.95%, end-to-end management of data centers and 24×7 support with zero operational burden on the customer. Ensuring the same standardization, self-service, automation and analytics capabilities that exist in the public cloud, the partnership facilitates secure private clouds for customers along with servers, storage and customized enterprise, private and/or public cloud solutions as required by enterprises.

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