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Dilmah Tea and Kahawatte Plantations donate Rs. 25 mn. High Dependency Care Unit to Nawalapitiya General Hospital

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Nawalapitiya, Sri Lanka – The Merrill J. Fernando High Dependency Care Facility was inaugurated on August 16 at the, Nawalapitiya District General Hospital. The facility, costing nearly Rs. 25 mn., was funded by Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company Plc and its associate Kahawatte Plantations Plc with the facilitation of the MJF Charitable Foundation, Dilmah announced.

Named after the Ceylon Teamaker who devoted his life to tea, the facility will provide specialised medical care for the predominantly tea estate workers in Nawalapitiya, also serving the Central Province, a news release said.

District General Hospital Nawalapitiya (DGHN) currently provides healthcare services for 500,000 people from the surrounding tea estates, and adjacent Kandy and Nuwara Eliya districts. Current hospital capacity is not sufficient to accommodate demand, especially pandemic related patient surges.

“The 680-strong staff at DGHN were treated to lunch alongside the opening, in appreciation of their dedication. A broader, regional food & nutrition programme is being formulated with details to be announced shortly,” the release said.

“The High Dependency Unit is housed in a structure that has been comprehensively refurbished to expand DGHN’s clinical care capacity and strengthen its COVID 19 response. The benefit from the unit will go beyond the pandemic in strengthening the hospital’s capacity to care for high risk patients. The HDU includes the most advanced medical equipment and respiratory support systems to manage patients with severe COVID-19 and other respiratory ailments.”

“We are grateful for the efforts of Dilmah’s MJF Foundation and Kahawatte Plantations. A comprehensive HDU is a timely need for the hospital in the management of COVID 19 patients who suffer from respiratory distress. This will expand our capacity to save lives closer to their source without having to transfer patients and serve the needs of our population locally” said Dr. M. Nihal Weerasooriya, Provincial Director of Health Services in the Central Province.

Dilmah Tea Company PLC Kahawatte Plantations PLC and Package Care Ltd, – all part of the MJF Group – collaborated with the Provincial Health Services in the Central Province to support this initiative. This ensured quick, cost-effective and efficient refurbishment of the facility, procurement and installation of specialized equipment.

The HDU at DGHN is part of a wider Dilmah – MJF Foundation programme overhaul for the plantation sector. The Foundation was established by its Settlor, Merrill J. Fernando to use earnings from his Dilmah Tea business to serve humanity. Its activities in the tea plantation sector include emergency relief for families in COVID related distress, study support, entrepreneurship development, childcare, nutrition, education support and other initiatives related to the general welfare of the workers. Amongst other achievements the MJF Foundation Scholarship programme has produced doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and a magistrate from amongst the children of tea estate workers.

“We face a health crisis of unprecedented magnitude. Every individual and business has an obligation to do what is possible to ease the pain that the pandemic is causing. Our business was formed by my father with the purpose of serving humanity and this Merrill J. Fernando High Dependency Care Unit in Nawalapitiya is a part of the fulfilment of that pledge.” said Dilhan C. Fernando, son of Merrill J. Fernando and CEO of Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company.

Dilmah and Kahawatte Plantations continue to support the plantation community, its initiatives range from healthcare and education to livelihoods support, skills training, and infrastructure including housing. In May 2021, a total of SLR 2.3 million was raised and matched twice over by Dilmah’s MJF Charitable Foundation as part of the sector wide Stronger Together Initiative.

The MJF Foundation is funded by its Settlor’s commitment to 15% for Humanity from the pretax profits of Dilmah Tea and ancillary MJF Group companies including Kahawatte Plantations, Package Care Ltd., Forbes & Walker, PrintCare and Resplendent Ceylon.

In addition to its plantations programme, the Foundation has Centres for Empowerment, supporting communities in some of the poorest parts of Sri Lanka with education, vocational training, agricultural entrepreneurship, support for microbusiness, nutrition support, IT Education, and programmes for women, youth and children with disabilities.

The Merrill J. Fernando Foundation has also partnered with MilleniumIT Esp, 99X, Fortude and Microsoft in developing unique disability and teletherapy apps. Prior to the current restrictions the Foundation supported 6,000 people across Sri Lanka daily, with a larger number expected to benefit once pandemic related limitations can be lifted.



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DFCC Bank’s Ranwarama pawning facility lends a helping hand to those with urgent cash requirements

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DFCC Bank has increased the advances of its “DFCC Ranwarama” Pawning Facility as a solution for families to meet their urgent cash requirements as many families are experiencing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has had a significant impact on the Sri Lankan economy.

Through this scheme, all Sri Lankan citizens over 18 years of age with the contractual capacity to declare themselves as owners of the articles can now pawn gold or gold jewellery. DFCC Bank accepts jewellery made of 18 Karat -24 Karat gold, with the articles being assayed using the latest available equipment. Items of 24 Karate will hold an advanced value of LKR 82,000/-, while 22 Karat pieces will hold an advanced value of LKR 68,000/- at an interest rate of 0.75% per month. Those who engage in these transactions are provided a maximum of 12 months to settle the pawning advances at their convenience.

DFCC Bank’s Ranwarama Pawning Facility offers many other special features including the highest advance amount at competitive rates of interest, confidentiality and guaranteed security for the articles, flexible payment plans with redemption options when required and redemption without prior notification. All of these facilities are available with no hidden charges, offering customers the best service available in the market.

You may visit a DFCC Bank branch closest to you to transact or visit the Bank’s website at www.dfcc.lk for further information. Customers can also contact DFCC Bank’s 24-hour contact center on +94(11)2350000 for further inquiries.

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HSBC Sri Lanka recognised as the Best Consumer Digital Bank by Global Finance

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HSBC has been recognised as the Best Consumer Digital Bank in Sri Lanka for 2021 by Global Finance at the World’s Best Consumer Digital Banks Awards in Asia-Pacific. While this is the bank’s fourth award win for this year, this also marks the 13th time that HSBC Sri Lanka has been named the Best Consumer Digital Bank, since 2006.

HSBC Sri Lanka is also the only market in Asia Pacific to win the prestigious award this year.

According to Global Finance, the global health crisis accelerated the need for digital and contact-free solutions by banks in helping create safe and efficient banking services for customers. HSBC Sri Lanka was quick to react in supporting customers in providing seamless digital bank offerings in an increasingly demanding environment, while ensuring customers have a secure banking service with a full spectrum of client-centric banking services.

Through its wealth of digital capabilities and offerings, HSBC allowed customers to adopt a mobile-first approach, and provide them with faster, easier and more secure banking services 24/7. The bank introduced a virtual on boarding capability for account opening, loans and credit cards supported by Adobe Live Sign, eKYC and virtual PINs to provide a seamless on boarding experience for customers. HSBC also offers credit card activation through SMS and an e2e virtual registration process for online banking, offering a virtual banking experience.

In Sri Lanka more than 90% of its personal customers now use digital channels including mobile banking, e-wallets, real-time cash deposit machines and other digital services.

Nadeesha Senaratne, Country Head of Wealth & Personal Banking said, “We are truly honoured to be named the Best Consumer Digital Bank in Sri Lanka for 2021 by Global Finance in recognition of our digital capabilities, and delivering important everyday services and features that customers need and expect. As a leading international bank, we are putting the power of our bank in every customer’s pocket, with easier and more secure digital banking. We want to take the hassle out of everyday banking, and enable customers to easily manage their money online, from opening a new account in a few clicks, to making real time payments and accessing credit.”

Senaratne added: “We’re also blending the power of technology with the expertise of our people and empowering our frontline teams with the latest data and insights tools, to be better-equipped to check customer satisfaction in the moment, to understand, and respond to their evolving needs and give customers excellent service.”

Winners were selected by a world-class panel of judges and entries were judged based on the strength of strategy for attracting and servicing digital customers, success in getting clients to use digital offerings, growth of digital customers, breadth of product offerings and evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives.

Earlier this year, HSBC Sri Lanka was also named International Bank of the Year by Asiamoney and Finance Asia respectively, and International Retail Bank of the Year by Asian Banking & Finance.

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BoardPAC appointed Strategic Partner of Commonwealth’s Business Network – CWEIC

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BoardPAC, the Sri Lanka-based multinational Board meeting automation solutions company, has been appointed a Strategic Partner of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), the organisation officially mandated by the Commonwealth Heads of Government to promote trade and investment between the 54 Commonwealth member countries.

This prestigious appointment will see CWEIC relying on BoardPAC’s award-winning solutions to conduct board and committee meetings with members and maintain relationships across the Commonwealth network at a time when the global pandemic’s complete disruption of business activity has resulted in a surge in the demand for efficient board meeting automation.

The Company said the partnership will also effectively promote the BoardPAC platform to new users and facilitate its expansion into new territories and focus markets. BoardPAC already has a global user base in excess of 50,000 and a presence in more than 40 countries.

Noting that BoardPAC’s latest partnership serves as yet another testament to the quality of its solutions, BoardPAC Co-Founder/CEO, Lakmini Wijesundera stated: “Our growth plan includes expanding our worldwide network, and our strategic alliance with CWEIC will strongly help us extend our presence into Commonwealth territories. The strategic cooperation between CWEIC and BoardPAC is especially relevant in light of the worldwide pandemic, and the emerging need for secure remote working and filling the void in virtual board meetings.”

CWEIC Chairman, Rt. Hon. Lord Jonathan Marland said: “We are looking forward to work closely with BoardPAC. The alliance will not only help CWEIC to conduct virtual board meetings securely and safely, but also align ourselves with all governance, risk and compliance as well as environmental, social, and governance frameworks.” Echoing this sentiment, CWEIC Deputy Chair, Sir Hugo Swire stated: “We are excited to partner with BoardPAC and extend modern digital governance and compliance solutions to organisations operating in the Commonwealth.”

Disclosing that BoardPAC’s excellent track record inspired confidence within the CWEIC to implement its solution on a global scale, CWEIC Chief Executive, Samantha Cohen CVO added: “We’re delighted that BoardPAC, one of the most renowned virtual board meeting automation providers in the world, joined our network of Strategic Partners. BoardPAC will add significant value to our board and committee meetings, allowing the CWEIC to conduct meetings with its members throughout the Commonwealth more effectively. The partnership also demonstrates the opportunities within the Commonwealth, and the confidence businesses have towards the Commonwealth and CWEIC.”

A commercial, not-for-profit membership organisation, the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council’s network includes around 100 business and government Strategic Partners (members) including Standard Chartered, Zenith Bank, Trade & Investment Queensland and the Government of the Maldives from 30 countries and territories. Every two years, CWEIC hosts the Commonwealth Business Forum in association with the host country of The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

BoardPAC is an award winning, multinational, paperless board meeting automation solutions provider, recognised for driving simple, secure, sustainable and experiential communications for Board and Executive members. Leading corporates such as Petronas, Deloitte, EY, Mercedes Benz, Prudential, Hong Leong Group, Stock Exchange of Malaysia, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Bombay Stock Exchange, Bank Negara, Maybank, Power Grid Corporation of India, Colombo Stock Exchange, and Sri Lankan Airlines are just some of BoardPAC’s success stories, and the Company said the partnership with the CWEIC will pave the way to several more high-profile additions to this list.

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