Land ownership and investment is a factor that has been held in high regard throughout generations, owing to the accompanying self-esteem and independence. Recognized as the most secure collateral by banks across the country, investment in land gives the owner the ability to utilize it for a variety of requirements; residential, construction, leasing, agriculture or even as a tool to raise funds. Thus, focusing on real estate is of extreme value as the return for one’s investments surpasses inequities.
While the capital city of Sri Lanka experiences drastic, under-planned development, investment opportunities are increasingly stagnant. However, a new investment hub for real estate is on the rise. Yatila Wijemanne, the Chairman of CBH Lands, has been driving real estate investment in Kurunegala. With a strong belief that Kurunegala is the next investment hub in Sri Lanka, he expounded on the advantages of real estate in comparison to other investment opportunities and the ways in which the perception of investment has changed following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Highlighting the benefits of the current investment landscape in Sri Lanka, Yatila Wijemanne explained, “In this prevailing low-interest-rate environment, funds held in banks provide negative returns, as they offer only 4% per annum, while the actual inflation is around 6.7%. Thus, one receives a negative return of about 2.7% minimum per annum by holding funds in the bank. Therefore, it is very important that you invest cleverly, and real estate, if selected carefully, offers the best returns. The key is to identify where one should invest in real estate, and choose an opportunity that will provide the highest amount of return as a percentage. Furthermore, the climate is conducive for real estate investment because home and land loans offer low-interest rates in the short and long run.”
Investment witnessed a sudden shift in the eyes of the general public following the pandemic. Influenced by the reduction in interest rates and the lowered taxes, farsighted investors rapidly progressed towards real estate. While a natural reduction in investments occurred at the onset of COVID-19, society has now eased towards the new normal with investment once again on the rise.
Recognizing the potential for investment in Kurunegala, CBH Lands has capitalized on the increase in demand and expansion within the North Western Province, paving the way for potential clients to purchase land plots through the developments undertaken by CBH Lands. Explaining how CBH Lands has set itself apart from competitors, Yatila Wijemanne said, “Unlike any other land developer, we have invested strongly in creating a proper database that equips us to provide the best land plots to our clientele. CBH Lands operates based on a strategic formula that we use for land selection. This is built by our dedicated research-based intelligence unit. We operate within the Kurunegala district, which gives our team an added edge of specialization within the geographic area. As they are trained extensively on Kurunegala, our clients meet some of the best in the business, who can consult and guide them on their investment.”
“For CBH Lands, a sale is not a mere land sale. We focus on providing land which will give you a solid return, and thus can be compared to any financial tool of investment, such as a fixed deposit or equity. The potential for re-sale is highly important to us as we understand the different objectives of clients who invest in real estate. Pricing for us is about transparency and what we can genuinely provide our clients; you will get a fair price and not a high price. This is mostly maintained because the CBH team gets personally involved in the selection of land plots for each of our clients. We take a 360-degree approach to servicing our clients,” Yatila Wijemanne further divulged.
With the current potential growth of the real estate industry in Sri Lanka, a substantial increase in prices is to be expected. In addition, with the increased inhabitation of the areas in the vicinity of the expressways, Kurunegala is an ideal area for affordable and accessible investment. The long term sustainability in real estate investment and the value additions pertaining to it make it a viable option for the future.
ESOFT Metro Campus holds Graduation Ceremony 2021
The Annual Graduation Ceremony of ESOFT Metro Campus was held at the Bandaranaike International Memorial Hall (BMICH) on the 23rd and 24th of November 2021. A total of 1,800 students graduated at this year’s event. Successful students received their Pearson BTEC Higher National Diplomas, Pearson Level 7 Qualifications, London Metropolitan University (UK) Degrees and MBA’s, Kingston University (UK) Degrees and MSc’s.
It was held across two days and split into 9 sessions, to be in full compliance with health guidelines. In addition to the conferring of degrees, batch tops were awarded gold medals and special awards were made to the top achievers of the programmes.
Keynote addresses were by an eminent group of academics and industry leaders including Mr. Conard Dias CEO, LOLC Finance PLC, Mr. Thushera Kawdawatta – CEO, Axiata Digital Labs, Dr. Dayan Rajapakse – Chairman and Managing Director of the ESOFT Group, Dr. Sampath Wahala – Chairman, Sri Lanka Accreditation Board, Mr. Tishan Subasinghe – Managing Director and joint Managing Partner Moore Stephens Consulting (Pvt) Ltd and Moore Stephens Aiyar, Prof. A.A.C Abeysinghe – M.Phil. PhD Programme Coordinator, Senior Lecturer Faculty of Management & Finance, University of Colombo.
Foreign delegates from the University Partners were present virtually and delivered their speeches and wishes for the graduates via video. The Virtusa careers team were also present on both days in order to provide career opportunities to the young and successful graduates. ESOFT prides itself in producing graduates who are work-ready and able to take on the challenges and opportunities presented by the new economy.
ESOFT has a rich history of 21 years and is the largest private sector higher education network in Sri Lanka, and offers a variety of programmes through an extensive island-wide network of over 40 branches and serves over 40,000 learners each year in a range of programmes from school leaver courses to postgraduate programmes.
ESOFT partnered with Kingston University London in 2012 to offer undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in engineering and soon established a dedicated College of Engineering in Katubedda. In 2013, they partnered with London Metropolitan University to offer a range of programmes leading to undergraduate and postgraduate awards in Computing, Business, Hospitality, and Travel & Tourism. A range of MSc programmes in IT and an International Doctoral programme for IT, Science and Engineering research areas, has also been introduced via Kingston University.
The ESOFT Group has won local and international awards from Pearson (UK), BCS (UK), NBQSA, National Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Sri Lanka in recognition of their academic excellence and business performance. Their pinnacle accomplishment was to be recognized by the Sri Lankan Government as a Non-state Degree Awarding Institution in 2019.
Coconut industry products raking in forex to the tune of $ 7000 yearly – State Minister
By Steve A. Morrell
Earnings from exporting coconut products amounted to $ 7000 annually. Such exports include jaggery and treacle, which are key products relating to the coconut industry, State Minister of Coconut, Kithul and Palmyrah Cultivation Promotion Arundika Fernando said.
Although coconut, as part of the plantation industry, was not given due recognition, it was now a distinct contributor to forex earnings and was of significant importance to the economy of the country, Fernando said.
The State Minister added: “Development of the coconut plantations includes value addition promotion to its various products, which are now key to sustaining the coconut plantations.
“Such development included propagation of 600,000 nursery plants for distribution among smallholders and large-scale plantations to add further progress to the industry. As a result, the coconut industry is part of the mainstream economy.
“The coconut industry made a substantial financial contribution to the economy of the country. Value addition in all products was key to development. Coconut products, used extensively in allied local industries, were contributors to value addition. This is efficiently handled by the private sector.
“Collaboration with the Jaffna University was on-going to develop kitul and palmyrah.
“Soil testing and further inputs were envisaged for development.
“Export markets would include Europe, Canada and the US. This is particularly true of kitul treacle and jaggery. Value of these exports would reach approximately $ 2 million.”
INSEE Cement’s 360-Degree Approach Eases Cement Shortage in Sri Lanka
Operating at maximum production capacity with optimized distribution channels for a number of weeks, INSEE Cement has successfully helped to mitigate the cement shortage that was prevailing in the local market. INSEE Cement’s concentrated and immediate contingency measures across its entire operation at the onset of the shortage ensured an uninterrupted market supply of cement, while also logging a record-high 700,000 MT production output during the third quarter of 2021 for the company.
“As Sri Lanka’s leading cement manufacturer, INSEE Cement took on the responsibility to ensure the local construction industry’s post-COVID-19 revival remained on its trajectory,” stated Gustavo Navarro, Chief Executive Officer at INSEE Cement Sri Lanka. “We continued to fully support government regulations and industrial policies to first stabilize the market, and were able to deploy our island-wide distribution and dealership network to ensure an uninterrupted supply across the island. The loyalty and patience of our customers gave us that extra encouragement we needed to overcome the challenge.”
INSEE Cement operates at a 3.6MT maximum capacity, with a 1.5MT production at the Galle plant, a 1.3MT output from the Puttalam facility and a 0.8MT import capacity at the Colombo Cement Terminal. To mitigate the shortage the company introduced two more additional import vessels to its logistics operation to accelerate production and distribution cycles.
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