Connect with us

Business

HNB posts Rs 5.5 bn 1H Group PAT

Published

on

Bank PAT of Rs 4.5 bn

Total Deposits grow by Rs 55 bn

Supports over 80,000 COVID affected customers as a responsible   SIB

Maintains stability with CAR at 19% and LAR at 34%

HNB posted resilient financial results during the 1H 2020 amid the unprecedented disruptions of COVID-19 pandemic with Group PAT for 1H increasing by 6.8 % YoY to Rs 5.5 Bn while Bank level PAT declined by 7% YoY to Rs 4.5 Bn.

“Sri Lanka’s performance in managing the transmission of COVID-19 has been outstanding. The health impact has been largely contained and the economic impact of the pandemic will remain a challenge in the near term, given the depressed global conditions it has spawned. To address these economic challenges, the Government has taken bold steps to support the affected by relaxing Monetary Policy in an effective way to revive economic activity, and extending debt moratoriums to those affected – measures that may need further support from the Government given that the recovery will most likely be a protracted one across most sectors, both locally and globally. Consequently, the medium term economic recovery will be closely correlated with the pace at which the COVID 19 pandemic is managed globally.” HNB Chairman, Dinesh Weerakkody said.

As a consequence of the low interest rate regime, the prime lending rate (AWPLR) reduced by 130 bps from December 2019, compounded by low demand for credit. This in turn impacted 1H interest income which declined 8.8% YoY to Rs 53.8 Bn. Interest expenses also declined by 5.2% YoY to Rs 31.4 Bn leading to a drop in Net Interest Income (NII) by 13.3% YoY to Rs 22.4 Bn.

The restrictions on non-essential imports, overall decline in exports and marked drop in Card spends due to lifestyle changes resulting from the pandemic, drove Net Fee Income down by 22.2% YoY to Rs 3.5 Bn. However, a strong surge in demand for digital banking services enabled an increase in fees from digital channels.

Meanwhile, exchange rate movements during the year in tandem with a decline in swap volumes and premiums facilitated an exchange gain of Rs 1.5 Bn as opposed to a loss of Rs 577.2 Mn recorded during 1H 2019.

“With the outbreak of COVID-19, we had to move rapidly to reassess our priorities and restructure operations in alignment with the ‘new normal’. Accordingly, our key focus has been to support customers in need, while ensuring maximum health and safety measures for our Staff and Customers, as well as maintaining stability of the Bank and intensifying our pursuit of digital and technological transformation. As a responsible domestic systemically important bank (D-SIB) we have supported over 80,000 customers who were affected economically during the pandemic by way of moratoriums on loan repayments during the past few months. The Bank has also provided working capital financing under the CBSL relief schemes as well as through the Rs. 5Bn fund set up by HNB to assist affected SMEs.

During the lock-down period, we supported both customers as well as merchants to carry out transactions through our digital payment channels including SOLO, MoMo and IPG. We moved a further step forward by launching AppiGo in May 2020 to support businesses to rapidly set up their own e-commerce presence. Our breakthrough Payments App, HNB SOLO was enhanced with added features and this continues to be an ongoing process. In August, we also upgraded our core- banking system to the latest version of Finacle, enabling us to provide a far superior experience to our customers,” HNB MD/CEO Jonathan Alles said.

 



Business

UNDP study shows need for wider public engagement of tax officials with taxpayers in Sri Lanka

Published

on

Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Finance and Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative, UNDP Sri Lanka at the launch of the research findings from the first ‘Taxpayer Perception Study’ in Sri Lanka

By Sanath Nanayakkare

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Inland Revenue Department, University of Moratuwa, and the National Innovation Agency of Sri Lanka co-convened the first-ever National Tax Dialogue to address contemporary issues surrounding taxation and fiscal policies in the island. The opening was attended by Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Finance and Ms. Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative, UNDP in Sri Lanka.

In light of the ongoing economic reforms and the need to bring in citizens’ perspectives, the National Dialogue drew attention to tax morale, social/fiscal contract, fairness in taxation, transparency and accountability of revenue institutions and digitalisation of public service delivery. The Dialogue launched research findings from the first ‘Taxpayer Perception Study’ in Sri Lanka, collaboratively conducted by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and UNDP in Sri Lanka. The nationally representative study revealed public perceptions on issues surrounding tax burden, evasion, trust in institutions, and experiences with revenue institutions which are particularly pertinent in the context of institutional reform.

By bringing together over 100 stakeholders representing diverse interests and perspectives including policymakers, legislators, bureaucrats, academia, professional bodies, private sector as well as civil society, the dialogue served as a platform for the exchange of opinions and sharing of insights across various awareness levels. The discussions led to a shared understanding of the importance of taxation for the achievement of SDGs and national development, and the need to enhance transparency and accountability in the use of tax revenue. The knowledge and insights generated through this dialogue will serve as a cornerstone for national policy-making institutions, providing valuable input for informed decision-making processes.

The event featured plenaries of global experts renowned for their exceptional expertise in the realm of taxation. Among them are Alex Cobham, Chief Executive of the Tax Justice Network; Lauren Kahn, Director of Strategy and Research, Public Digital UK; and Sudarshan Kasturirangan, Regional Programme Specialist for Asia Pacific for UNDP Tax for SDGs whose contributions enriched the discussions and provided invaluable perspectives on navigating the complexities of tax policies on a global scale.

Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Finance stated, “Taxation equips states with resources to progressively achieve SDGs. These revenues represent public resources that need to be deployed with a view to optimizing social returns. Considering this relationship, a national dialogue on taxation is a necessity and serves a constructive contribution to Sri Lanka’s democratic process.”

UNDP in Sri Lanka, Resident Representative, Ms. Azusa Kubota pointed out that “Sri Lanka’s economic crisis offers a historic opportunity to optimise the use of resources for SDG attainment. This entails concerted efforts to strengthen the linkages among planning, budgeting, monitoring and oversight and citizens’ engagement. Therefore, the National Tax Dialogue is timely to foster a whole-of-society understanding and commitment to improving tax morale for effective SDG attainment. The Dialogue assumes global significance, especially as the UN Secretary-General in February 2023 called for an ‘SDG Push’, a surge in investment of $500 billion annually in affordable long-term finance for developing countries.”

“One of the key recommendations stemming from the Tax Perception Survey is the need for wider public engagement of the tax officials with the taxpayers. UNDP is already supporting the Inland department (IRD) with such efforts in operationalizing solutions which are instrumental towards open and proactive communication and outreach,” she said.

Continue Reading

Business

National economy grew by 5.3 per cent in Q1 2024: CBSL report

Published

on

Industry activities such as steel manufacturing grew by 11.8 per cent in Q1 2024

The national economy grew by 5.3 per cent in Q1 2024, contributed by all three major economic activities, states the weekly Economic Indicators report of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). Accordingly, Agriculture, Industry and Services activities grew by 1.1 per cent, 11.8 per cent and 2.6 per cent, respectively.

During January – April 2024, tea production registered a year-on-year decrease driven by unfavourable weather conditions, particularly in March and early April 2024. Although rubber production remained low in January – April 2024 compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, production has gained pace since the latter part of 2023. Coconut production recorded a marginal year-on-year decline in January – April 2024 due to the lingering impact of adverse weather conditions that prevailed in the first half of 2023.

Index of Industrial Production (IIP) in April 2024 increased by 10.3 per cent to 88.3 compared to April 2023, mainly contributed by the increases reported in the manufacture of Food products (10.2 per cent), Rubber and Plastic Products (39.0 per cent), and Wearing Apparels (9.1 per cent).

Meanwhile, on the monetary sector, the weekly Average Weighted Prime Lending Rate (AWPR) for the week ending 14th June 2024 decreased by 13 bps to 9.15 per cent compared to the previous week, according to the CBSL report.

In the first quarter of 2024, the country’s year-on-year GDP growth rate was estimated at a positive 5.3%, a significant improvement from the negative growth rate of 10% recorded in the same quarter of 2023. This growth is reflected in the increase in GDP from Rs. 3,161,963 million in the first quarter of 2023 to Rs. 3,329,583 million in the first quarter of 2024. This reflects a significant turnaround in the economic performance after the contraction experienced in the previous year and has positively influenced the perception of the economy, boosting confidence in the country’s economic stability and growth prospects.

In relation to this State Minister Shehan Semasinghe said on X,” In the first quarter of 2024, the country’s year-on-year GDP growth rate was estimated at a positive 5.3%, a significant improvement from the negative growth rate of 10% recorded in the same quarter of 2023. This growth is reflected in the increase in GDP from Rs. 3,161,963 million in the first quarter of 2023 to Rs. 3,329,583 million in the first quarter of 2024. This reflects a significant turnaround in the economic performance after the contraction experienced in the previous year and has positively influenced the perception of the economy, boosting confidence in the country’s economic stability and growth prospects.”

Continue Reading

Business

Sri Lanka Insurance City Office branch relocated

Published

on

Chairman of Sri Lanka Insurance, Ronald C. Perera PC and Group Chief Executive Officer Chandana L. Aluthgama at the event

Sri Lanka Insurance Life (SLICLL) and Sri Lanka Insurance General (SLICGL) relocated its City Office Branch on the 12th of June 2024 to, 1st Floor, No 50, Hyde Park Corner, Colombo 02, to offer more convenient and efficient services to their customers.

The event was led by Chairman of Sri Lanka Insurance, Ronald C. Perera PC, Group Chief Executive Officer Chandana L. Aluthgama along with the senior management of SLICLL and SLICGL.

Representing Sri Lanka Insurance Life, Chief Business Officer Namalee A. Silva, Chief Officer – Life Dayarathna Perera, Acting Chief Financial Officer Sriyani Kulasinghe Weerasinghege, Deputy General Manager – Human Resource and Administration Rohitha Amarapala, Head of National Sales Jagath Welgama, Assistant General Manager – Life Chaminda Athauda, Assistant General Manager- Engineering Services Jeevantha Welihinda and Regional Manager – Western I – Upul Gamage. Also, Chief Financial Officer Malaka Bandara, Deputy General Manager- Support Services Chaminda Gunasinghe, Deputy General Manager/Head of Distribution – General Lalith De Silva, Acting Deputy General Manager – Underwriting – General Ms. Nadeera Gunawardene and Regional Manager Western I – Samantha Peiris were present representing Sri Lanka Insurance General.

Continue Reading

Trending