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Kumar Anthony Paul Fernando: Forgiveness incarnate

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“Beautiful Memories silently kept of one that we loved and will never forget” is what’s inscribed in Kumar’s tombstone by his family. It’s been one year for the 12th of September 2020 since my good friend Kumar Fernando left us to go to his creator. Even though he is no more with us, his memory and influence will always live on, in the lives of those who knew him, and were touched by his generosity and kindness. Kumar’s life has left an indelible imprint in the life of his close family and friends and this void can never be filled.

I got to know Kumar initially in 1972 while we were in school, but it was much later that we both entered the same profession as planters and worked in the same area and thus became close friends. This culminated in him inviting me to be his ‘best man’ at his wedding in 1976, a moment I still cherish.

Several years later after excelling in his chosen career as a Planter in Sri Lanka, he had the good fortune of being selected to work in Transkei, South Africa, where he worked with distinction for the Magwa Tea Corporation for 14 years, rising to the position of General Manager – Operations before he decided to leave Transkei for Melbourne, Australia at the pinnacle of his career.

His new home, Melbourne Australia offered Kumar many opportunities. Due to his versatility, entrepreneurial competence, and dedication he set up a successful restaurant business with his wife Nelu in a very short space of time. As always Kumar worked tirelessly to set it up, and the business flourished even in a highly competitive environment like Melbourne, purely because of Kumar’s commitment, perseverance and hard work.

Kumar unhesitatingly shared his success with others by unselfishly sharing his time and advice specially with many Sri Lankans who were learning the nitty grittier of business in Melbourne. I have had personal knowledge of some people whom he has helped, and these were some of his very endearing qualities that are rare in today’s world. Another quality that I found in Kumar as the years went by is that he could easily forgive those who wronged him and even go to the extent of helping such people and encouraged others to do so too.

By this quality he was practising the biblical principles of ‘forgiveness’ which many find hard to do. I know that this characteristic of forgiving others came very easily to him, entirely because of the grace he carried from the Lord. Forgiving and caring for people and assisting them came very naturally to Kumar. During my few visits to Melbourne, we used to discuss this area of forgiveness and spirituality in detail and I was amazed by his faith.

In the Gospel of Luke Chapter 6: verses 27-28 Jesus says ‘but to you who are willing to listen, I say love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, pray for those who hurt you”. I can clearly say that Kumar lived and practised the Lord’s instructions and this is the legacy he left behind for his close friends and family. While I know that Nelu and his children Tehani, Ayesh and Sudesh and the extended family will continue to miss Kumar immensely, they can be proud that Kumar’s life was exemplary, serving the Lord and living the Word to his best always.

Visiting Melbourne will never be the same for me, I will miss Kumar and the special times we shared. I will always hold dear the fond memories I have of him and I am proud to have been his close friend for there many years. I know that the Lord Jesus has granted him eternal rest.

Rohan M Fernando

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New IPS report on ‘Elasticity Estimates for Cigarettes in Sri Lanka’

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• New study finds that increasing taxes on cigarettes will have twin advantages of reducing cigarette consumption and increasing government revenue.

• Calculated tax and price elasticities of demand for cigarettes show that smokers are price sensitive: increasing cigarette taxes by 10 per cent will reduce consumption by 8 per cent.

• A simulation exercise shows that when cigarette taxes are raised in line with inflation and streamlined between 2020-2023, government excise tax revenue will increase by LKR 37 billion by 2023 and 140,000 premature deaths from cigarette consumption can be prevented in the future.

The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) has released a report which provides a comprehensive assessment of Sri Lanka’s historical and current tobacco tax policies to assess whether they are in line with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended best practices. The new report ‘Elasticity Estimates for Cigarettes in Sri Lanka’ is authored by Dr. Nisha Arunathilake, Harini Weerasekera and Chamini Thilanka, and is part of a series of IPS research focusing on health and education.

According to the WHO, significant increases in tobacco taxes are the best means of controlling tobacco consumption. High taxes are an incentive for quitting tobacco, reducing consumption, and for not initiating smoking. The report finds that although cigarette prices have gone up over time, cigarettes are still affordable for smokers as tax increases have not kept up with inflation and income increases. Further, the tax structure is not streamlined, and tax policy changes have been implemented in an ad-hoc manner.

The report provides an estimate of price and income elasticities of cigarettes, and uses these to assess the effectiveness of tax increases on smoking prevalence in the country by conducting a simulation analysis. The results show that increasing cigarette taxes by 10 per cent will reduce consumption by 8 per cent. Finally, the study used the estimated tax elasticities to model the health and fiscal benefits of moving to inflation-adjusted and uniform excise tax system over 4 years.

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DFCC Bank and AIA virtually recognise CEO Club award winners

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Launched in 2018, the ‘CEO’s Club’ Awards organized annually by AIA Insurance for DFCC Bank staff, has since been held in grand style each quarter. The event is intended at recognizing and celebrating DFCC’s staff on their exceptional achievements in providing protection to the bank’s customers by introducing AIA’s insurance solutions.

Despite the limitations posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the management of both DFCC and AIA were determined to continue the tradition of much deserved recognition for the DFCC staff who have excelled in providing insurance solutions to customers. As the first ever virtual AIA-DFCC CEO’s Club Awards Night, the event was held on Microsoft Teams. This pioneering event connected fifteen locations simultaneously, taking digital adoption to a new level, to celebrate award winners.

AIA CEO Nikhil Advani congratulated the winners, while commenting on the long-standing partnership between AIA and DFCC; “AIA are pioneers in Bancassurance in Sri Lanka and DFCC is one of our most valuable partners. Together over the years we have created a strong bond, driven by the common goal of providing protection and financial security to our customers. We are constantly defying odds and challenging the status quo and that is why we were able to take digital to the next level and ensure that these merited recognitions and celebrations took place, uninterrupted.”

DFCC CEO Lakshman Silva also applauded the winners and commented; “DFCC Bank, one of the oldest development banks in the country and now a full-service commercial bank, has had many trail-blazing initiatives. We entered into a partnership with AIA with the objective of enhancing our customer value proposition- and over the years have complemented each other, bringing exceptional value to customers. It was great, that together we were able to overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and create an opportunity out of it, in creating a first of its kind digital event. This is what great partnerships do.”

Fifty-four CEO’s Club winners from across the island were recognized at the virtual Awards Night, for their achievements in 2019, with six others getting special recognition for their contribution as well. The top ten performers were Samitha Jayathilake ( Kottawa Branch) , Chamindu Anjana (Hikkaduwa Branch) , Dilini De Silva (Moratuwa Branch), Dinusha Jayathilaka (Anuradhapura Branch), Nuwan Abeywickrama (Kiribathgoda Branch), Anjalina Kumarihamy (Piliyandala Branch), Dilanka Jayawardena(Kaduwela Branch) , Lahiru Madushan(Central Sales Unit ) , Paskaranathan Ghengatharan (Kotahena Branch) and Lakshman Thambiraja (Batticaloa Branch ).

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Tokyo Cement and Chevron Lubricants quarterly results boost market

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

The CSE turned positive  yesterday with the releasing  of impressive second and third quarter results by two investor favourite counters, Tokyo Cement and Chevron Lubricants, stock market analysts said.

It is said that Tokyo Cement’s second quarter results recorded  Rs. 2.1 billion profit, which was a 183 percent increase compared to the corresponding quarter for year 2019, while Chevron Lubricants recorded Rs. 803 million in profits, which was a 29 percent increase compared to the corresponding quarter the previous year. Therefore, Chevron Lubricants announced a dividend of Rs. 3.50 per share for its shareholders yesterday.

Tokyo Cement’s impressive growth plus Chevron Lubricant’s dividend announcement removed the negative sentiment from the share market, which witnessed negative sentiments as a result of the government’s announcement of the three day Covid 19 curfew from today, market analysts said.  

Amid those developments, the market experienced a day full of fluctuations and both indices moved upwards, i.e., the All Share Price Index was up by 126. 39 points and S and P SL20 went up by 51.82 points    Turnover stood at Rs. 1.64 billion with a single crossing reported in JKH.  The latter’s 1.26 million shares crossed for Rs. 157 million and its share was traded at Rs. 130.50.

In the retail market top five contributors to the turnover were,  Tokyo Cement (Non Voting) Rs. 234.7 million (4.4 million shares traded), Tokyo Cement (Voting) Rs. 176.6 million (2.8 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 162.6 million (9.1 million shares traded), Dip Products Rs. 117.9 million (382,000 shares traded) and Chevron Lubricants Rs. 78.2 million (900,000 shares traded). During the day 55.1 million share volumes changed hands in 16138 transactions.    

 Further, two finance companies are going to merge to meet the co-capital requirement of the   Central Bank, which is, Rs. 2 billion; they are Nation Lanka Finance and Sinhaputhra Finance. With the merger the surviving entity would be Sinhaputhra Finance. At present both companies are struggling to meet co-capital requirements of the Central Bank. Once the merger happens they will be able to meet the requirement, stock market analysts said.

Sri Lanka rupee was quoted at 184.25/40 to the US dollar on Thursday while bond yields were largely unchanged, dealers said. The rupee closed at 184.25/35 against the greenback on Wednesday. Bond markets were dull with little activity, dealers said.

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