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JAT Holding partners with NAITA to support and develop Sri Lankan woodcraft



In an effort to support wood craftsmanship in Sri Lanka, JAT Holdings PLC has launched the JAT “Pinthaaroo-Shilpee Abhiman” programme to provide training and apprenticeships to woodcraftsmen, thus encouraging a new generation to take up this important age-old craft. This initiative is an extension of the JAT Sayerlack Sathkaraya CSR programme and is being conducted in partnership with the National Apprentice Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), under the auspices of the Ministry of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research & Innovation. Through this programme, aspiring woodcraftsmen can participate in and obtain an NVQ Level 3 Certification for Woodcraftsmen (Furniture Finisher) with all expenses borne by JAT Holdings PLC.

The partnership was officially entered into through the signing of a special MOU between JAT Holdings PLC and NAITA, at a ceremony held at the JAT Holdings Auditorium on the morning of the 10th of December 2021. A press conference was also held at the event, which was graced by top officials from JAT, NAITA and the Ministry, including the Minister for Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research & Innovation, the Dr. Seetha Arambepola, Founder and Managing Director of JAT Holdings – Aelian Gunawardene, Chairman of NAITA – Tharanga Nalin Gamlath and CEO and Executive Director of JAT Holdings, Mr. Nishal Ferdinando. Signifying the launch of the programme, 16 wood craftsmen were registered as part of the inaugural batch, at the event.

Announcing and discussing the programme, Mr. Wasantha Gunaratne – Director Sales & Technical – JAT Holdings PLC said, “At JAT, we are always keen to explore possibilities to support the nation and its growth through a skilled and competent youth and workforce. As a leader in wood coatings, we are aware of the fact that top class woodcraft is a dwindling skill. Thus, we want to work to save this skill from dying out and convince a new generation that this is a viable career and a robust source of income. Through the JAT Pinthaaroo-Shilpee Abhiman programme, we will assess and nominate uncertified but skilled woodcraftsmen who will then be able to obtain the NVQ Level 3 qualification in a shorter time than normal, as a result of our recommendation and assurance to NAITA. Ultimately, this will help uplift the quality of woodcraft in Sri Lanka, while also uplifting the craftsmen, uncovering new talent, and providing craftsmen with a qualification that is globally recognized. As a business that is close to our stakeholders, JAT’s existing loyalty members and craftsmen with whom we have long-term relationships will be given preference for entry to this programme.”

Dr. Sita Arambepola – Minister of State Ministry of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research and Inventions commented, “It is of great importance that we focus on the development of local skills and talent, in order for the nation to progress as a whole. With the support of JAT Holdings PLC, we are hopeful that the Pinthaaroo-Shilpee Abhiman program will play an important role in helping many individuals build their craftsmanship and self-confidence, further establishing their place in society. Therefore, I would like to extend my gratitude to JAT Holdings PLC and NAITA, and wish them the best with this initiative.”

Chairman of NAITA, Mr. Tharanga Gamlath also commented on the initiative saying, “We have very talented people in this country who can go very far if equipped with the right skills and given the right training. Thus, we are pleased to partner with JAT Holdings in this matter, to encourage and support our local craftsmen.”

For more information about the programme, any interested party can call JAT Holdings PLC’s Loyalty Hotline on 011 752 4150. While JAT Loyalty Members will receive preference, the programme is open to all. More information can also be obtained via the NAITA website.

Since its founding in 1993, JAT Holdings has established itself as a market leader in Sri Lanka for wood coatings and as one of the country’s most promising conglomerates. This is further attested to by accolades such as being ranked amongst Sri Lanka’s Top 100 Most Respected Companies by LMD for 4 years consecutively and also ranking among the Top 20 Conglomerate Brands by Brand Finance. Up until its recent IPO earlier this year, JAT Holdings was also the only privately held company in Sri Lanka to receive Moody’s coveted ICRA “A+ Stable” rating for 5 years, consecutively.

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Seven factors of concern at upcoming Monetary Policy Review



by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is scheduled to announce its latest monetary policy review on 20th January 2022, with all eyes on dwindling foreign reserves and foreign currency exchange in the country.

In this context, First Capital Research has named 7 factors of concern that could be taken into account at the upcoming monetary policy review. They are as follows.

* Foreign Reserves USD 3.1 billion – Dec 2021

* Inflation CCPI 12.1% – Dec 2021

* GDP Growth -1.5% – 3Q2021

* Private Credit LKR 60.5 billion – Nov 2021

* 03M T-Bill rate 8.38% as at 12.01.22

Liquidity and CBSL Holdings LKR -364.0 billion and LKR 1.42 trillion

Balance of Trade (BOT) and Balance of Payment (BOP) USD -6.5 billion and USD -3.3 billion for Jan-Oct 21

First Capital Research’s Policy Rate Forecast – Jan 2022-Apr 2022 notes that they believe the CBSL may highly consider tightening the monetary policy rates in this policy review but given the concerns over economic growth, there is a probability of 40% for CBSL to maintain its policy stance at current levels.

“With high frequent indicators improving in line with expectations, we have eliminated any probability of a rate cut. We expect a continued increase in probability for a rate hike in order to prevent overheating of the economy amidst the given fiscal and monetary stimulus,” they said.

As per First Capital’s view, CBSL either can choose to hike policy rates by 50bps or 100bps or hold policy rates steady, while a rate cut is off the table due to the high debt repayment and the high domestic borrowing requirement.

First Capital believes that there is a 60% probability for a rate hike due to the remedial actions required in achieving external stability.

However, there is also a 40% probability to maintain the policy rates at its current level in order to further improve the high frequency indicators.30%, they noted.

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Sri Lanka’s dash brand enters international markets



Multichemi International Ltd, which manufactures and distributes a wide range of products under dash, one of Sri Lanka’s leading detergent and household care brands, has begun exporting its products to several international markets in Asia and Oceania, with plans also to enter Africa. The dash brand includes a wide range of products in car care, household care, home fragrances and laundry care sectors. Multichemi International Ltd, which has been awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification, is a Sri Lankan pioneer in environment-friendly cleaning products, having launched the country’s first biodegradable, safe cleaning products over 28 years ago.

Amila Wijesinghe, General Manager of the Company said,”Having conquered the domestic market, we are now ready to capture the international market. We are confident that our products which are of high quality will receive a good demand overseas as well. The feedback we have received so far from our overseas customers is extremely encouraging. We are dedicated to taking our products to the international market, to bring in foreign currency to the country and help uplift the economy”,

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Janaka Abeysinghe appointed SLT CEO



Sri Lanka Telecom PLC has announced the appointment of Janaka Abeysinghe as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from February 1, 2022.

The incumbent CEO Kiththi Perera will be overseas on leave for a period of two years to pursue higher studies, according to a stock market filing by the company.

Abeysinghe joined SLT in 1991. In his present role, he leads the enterprise and wholesale business of SLT that provides integrated voice and data solutions to enterprises, government institutions, domestic telco operators and global wholesale carriers.

In his career at SLT spanning 29 years, he has held a number of senior positions, including general manager Enterprise and International Sales and has extensive experience in the areas of Enterprise Digital Services, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Data Communications, Business Development, Domestic and International Switching Operations and Global Wholesale Voice & Data Business.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Kansas, USA and a BSc degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering with a First Class Honours from the University of Moratuwa.

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