By Steve a. Morrell
Government support will be extended to the tea industry to enhance the Ceylon Tea brand. Efforts at value addition to local teas, alongside research and manufacture of tea by products will also be encouraged, Minister of Plantation Industries Dr. Ramesh Pathirane said. He was addressing the 126th AGM of the Colombo Tea Traders Association recently as Chief Guest.
However, the Minister was intensely critical that some tea factory owners were involved in the dubious practice of adulteration of tea in their factories. He said the President, being personally aware of this questionable practice, warned such persons that strong deterrent action will be taken to arrest such practices that seriously affect the prestige of the Ceylon Tea brand.
‘However development of the tea trade includes all aspects of marketing. Tea in a major contributor to foreign exchange. It was also of concern that Ceylon Tea was the most outstanding tea producer in the world in terms of volume in the 1930s but had now slipped to being the 6th largest producer of the product. We must regain our top slot position in production. Replanting should be increased along with provision of technology to achieve these goals. The President, being aware of the importance of the industry to the economy of the country said support to improve Ceylon Tea in all its aspects would be forthcoming, the minister said.
State Minister, Company Estate Reforms / Tea Estate Related Crops, Tea Factory Modernization and Tea Export Promotion Kanaka Herath said modernization of the tea industry is imperative. Value addition would also be vital to the industry’s future.
Chairman CTTA, Jayantha Karunaratne, in his annual report said the tradition of conducting the Colombo Tea Auctions over the past 125 years through an outcry system in the sales rooms of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce commenced in 1894.
‘Since then the auction continued until restrictions were imposed by the COVID 19 pandemic. This necessitated the introduction of an e- auction system to ensure that there would not be any interruption to the movement and export of tea. The tea industry in all its sections from producers, brokers to shippers, was united in its endeavors to ensure there was no breakdown that could stifle normal functions in the industry, the chairman added.
‘The ‘Ceylon Tea Road Map’ initiative with the Ministry of Plantation Industries would ensure effective progress of the industry to produce 350 million tea kilos over the next 10 years, resulting in the industry earning 3 billion dollars. Also such progress would include benefits to smallholders and workers on the plantations, he said.
Chairman, Tea Board, Jayampathy Molligida said Tea prices at the Colombo auctions were stable and on the increase. He commended the CTTA for their leadership to ensure the Ceylon Tea brand would continue with its positive trends.
President, Asia Siyaka Tea Brokers Anil Cooke also spoke.
HNB joins CBSL to promote ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign in Kandy
HNB PLC once again joined the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) to promote the ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign to raise awareness and encourage the public in the Kandy district towards a cashless payment ecosystem.
HNB, together with other financial institutions and telecommunication partners, participated in the day-long event held at the Kandy City Center. The bank raised awareness regarding its LANKAQR integrated HNB SOLO payment app while onboarding merchants during the promotional campaign.
“During the early stages of the pandemic we witnessed many of our customers and members of the public seamlessly adopt our cashless and contactless payment app HNB SOLO. With COVID and the subsequent launch of the ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign the number of users of these types of systems have increased exponentially.
“Given that the mutual vision of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and HNB is for a financially and technologically empowered Sri Lanka, HNB is proud to serve as an enthusiastic partner to roll out LANKAQR island-wide. The fact that we now have merchants in the cultural capital of Sri Lanka making this shift is another major milestone in this digitalization journey,” HNB Deputy General Manager – Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne said.
ComBank’s ATM network sets new records for cash dispensed during festive season
The automated teller machine (ATM) network of Commercial Bank of Ceylon dispensed a record Rs 8.818 billion on 9th and 10th April 2021, shattering the previous records for the highest and second highest cash disbursements for a 24-hour period, as Sri Lanka’s leading private bank facilitated the celebration of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
The disbursements of Rs 4.498 billion on April 9 and Rs 4.320 billion on the following day represented a substantial increase over the single-day values recorded in previous years.
In total, Commercial Bank dispensed Rs 41.748 billion via its ATM network between 1st and 15th April 2021 at an average of Rs 2.783 billion per day, reaffirming the indispensable role it plays in the lives of Sri Lankans, as well as the reliability and robustness of the network. On seven of these 15 days the network dispensed more than Rs 2 billion a day, and on five days disbursements exceeded Rs 3 billion a day, the Bank said.
Comprising of 890 ATMs, the network processed 2.434 million transactions over the 15 days at an average of 168,988 transactions a day, while on 9th April, the number of transactions processed totalled 233,990 at an average of 9,749 transactions per hour or 162 transactions per minute.
The first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for 10 years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 268 branches in Sri Lanka. The Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.
‘Ceylinco VIP Cyber Tharu’ to showcase Sri Lankan talent
Ceylinco General Insurance has announced an online competition with a novel concept to showcase Sri Lankan talent by providing a platform for them with the opportunity to win handsome cash prizes.
“This time, our effort is to organize an online competition that provides an opportunity for Sri Lankan people to display their talent and also to identify hidden talents whilst rewarding them. There will be five overall winners whose prize money will be over Rs. 1 million and each category winner will get Rs 100,000/-. Ten randomly picked voters too will receive handsome cash awards,” said Patrick Alwis, chairman CEO of Ceylinco General Insurance.
The guidelines and the criteria of the competition were announced recently through a dedicated website and other social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, twitter, You Tube as well as LinkedIn. Contestants can perform under five categories, namely, singing, dancing, instrumental performances, fashion modelling and funny videos / Standup comedy. Individuals over 18 years could perform under the individual category whilst the group category will have no age limit.
Under the group category either families or a group of friends could take part. Each entry will have to be specially recorded for this competition. Prior to recording the performance, they should download the image of the logo and have it displayed prominently in the background. Performances could be recorded using a smart phone or a video cam.
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