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‘LANKAQR Nationwide Rollout Campaign’ moves to Tangalle, with SDB bank taking On lead role



(Left to right) D. Kumaratunge, Assistant Governor – CBSL, Minister Namal Rajapakse and SDB bank's CEO, Thilak Piyadigama.

Launched by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), the ‘LANKAQR Nationwide Rollout Campaign’ proceeded to the city of Tangalle on Saturday 27th November, drawing the participation of numerous high-profile guests together with many of the country’s top banks, financial institutions, and telcos with SDB bank assuming a lead role.

A continuation of the CBSL-led islandwide LANKAQR promotion campaign, which witnessed the hosting of a series of events across the country in major cities including Matale, Galle, Colombo and Kandy, the ‘LANKAQR Nationwide Rollout Campaign’ with its edition in Tangalle advanced on efforts to introduce LANKAQR as the standard for mobile phone and digital payments countrywide.

Held in Tangalle town, the event was graced by the Chief Guest, Minister Namal Rajapakse, top Central Bank officials including D. Kumaratunge, Assistant Governor CBSL, together with top level representatives from all participating banks, financial institutions and telcos.

SDB bank CEO Thilak Piyadigama, the CBSL-appointed Chairman of the LANKAQR Committee delivered the welcome address, pointing out the critical nature of the vision shared by all participating individuals and organizations, in advancing towards a cashless economy plus a digital-savvy country and improved financial inclusion across Sri Lanka.

The Tangalle-leg of the LANKAQR Nationwide Rollout Campaign furthered the program’s wider vision of introducing digital transactions as the norm locally, an aim that is closely linked to SDB bank-owned mobile payment app UPay’s extensive efforts to take digital payment conveniences to each corner of the island.

The event also featured the conducting of specific transactions on-location through the use of LANKAQR, involving the Chief Guest and top officials from all participating banks, financial institutions and telcos. The numerous activities outlined for the day concluded with the visiting of select merchant stores by participating guests, to conduct further LANKAQR-based transactions.

The greatly improved payment functionality offered by QR-based digital payments allows for a range of benefits to both individual consumers and merchants. While offering customers anytime, anywhere payment capabilities, it also facilitates the ability to track finances and spending patterns with greater accuracy. Parallelly, it provides the convenience of real-time transactions to merchants, nurturing a more vibrant economy in both rural and urban spaces countrywide, specifically through the offering of low-cost digital payment solutions to both SMEs and informal businesses, mirroring UPay’s approach under the guidance of SDB bank.

The consequent digital payment plus transaction ecosystem affords a higher degree of commercial transparency, promotes a greater volume of economic activity, and thereby is set to positively impact the national economy as a whole.

With the recent leg of the LANKAQR Nationwide Rollout Campaign held in Tangalle, further public awareness was built on the convenience, cost-effective nature and security of LANKAQR-based digital payments for customers as well as merchants, amplified by top banking entities like SDB bank adding greater momentum towards the national vision of a progressive transformation to a digital economy.

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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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