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Locally developed ‘Scan&Pay’ QR code saves Rs. 1.5 billion



From left – State Minister of Samurdhi, Household Economy, Micro Finance, Self Employment, Business Development and Underutilized State Resources Development Shehan Semasinhe, State Minister of Cooperative Services, Marketing Development and Consumer Protection Lasantha Alagiyawanna, State Minister of Money and Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena and CBSL Governor Prof. W. D. Lakshman.

by Sanath Nanayakkare

The national ‘Scan and Pay’ digital payment QR code (LankaQR) launched by the Central Bank yesterday has been developed without obtaining consultancy from a foreign firm, which would otherwise have cost about Rs. 1.5 billion for the country, a forum of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) revealed yesterday.

Dharmasri Kumaratunga, Director, Payments and Settlements Department of the CBSL made this revelation at the launch of the National QR Code, LANKAQR.

“Cambodia had paid US$ 8 million for a similar service that it received from Korea. But we were able to develop the National QR code using the technical know-how of our own developers, so it’s tantamount to being able to save about Rs. 1.5 billion which would otherwise have been paid for foreign consultancy,” he said.

Central Bank Governor Prof. W.D. Lakshman pointed out that this facility would encourage digital payments in the economy and reduce the cost of cash management as well as formalise the informal sector.

Ajith Nivard Cabraal, State Minister of Money and Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms said that the use of credit cards in the country has increased and the Central Bank has moved further ahead to introduce the National QR Code to accelerate the empowerment of the digital economy. “We should enable the inflows into the country to be formalized attracting those who transfer money to the country through alternative methods. For this we must offer low costs for such inward remittances. Also, we must follow tech developments in the world on a daily basis and adopt them in our financial landscape ensuring cyber-security of those payment and settlement innovations. We shouldn’t lag behind other countries, he said.

The code enables quick and secure transactions at a low cost bringing numerous benefits to the public and the economy.

Customers can use the LANKAQR system to transfer funds directly to a merchant’s bank account where a nominal fee is charged from the merchant.

The new payment system is expected to be beneficial to small and medium enterprises, which account for 90 percent of all businesses and contribute 52 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).


Ideal Industries acquires home grown e- commerce major



Ideal Group, headed by visionary entrepreneur Nalin Welgama, in keeping with his ethos of growth through innovation, made a move pertinent with the “new normal” by acquiring one of the pioneers in the Sri Lankan e commerce industry,

Having invested heavily in developing capacity in the Sri Lankan automotive sector, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Ideal Group of Companies, Nalin Welgama, is determined that a Sri Lankan built and operated company be in the forefront of e-commerce in Sri Lanka. “The Ideal Group has and always will be driven by innovation, hence our foray into the digital space with is both timely and appropriate, said Welgama. “We promise to strengthen, making it the most valuable e commerce company in Sri Lanka. The collaborative synergies of the Ideal Group of Company’s island wide touch points will further enable us to provide an unmatched service, hitherto not experienced”. commenced operations in 2012 and since then has grown to be a household name in Sri Lanka. Indeed, Takas was the first company to introduce cash on delivery (COD), and enable the tokenization of credit cards. Since inception Takas has taken great pride in being a Sri Lankan company that has served Sri Lankans both here and abroad, adding value and giving satisfaction. Furthermore, the technology stack-which Takas operates on has been built completely in-house, and to date has enabled e-commerce businesses in Sri Lanka as well as overseas markets .

Speaking at the launch which was limited to a few stakeholders due to the Covid situation, Founder and Executive Chairman, Ideal Group of Companies, Nalin Welgama said “e commerce is the way of the future and is the new normal. e-commerce is here to stay, and even when the Covid situation eases, our life styles and methods of business have been irrevocably transformed. We will focus on expanding market share as more companies move their businesses online. What will be key from here onwards will be sustainability of demand from newly acquired merchants. The Covid 19 pandemic has accelerated the trend of online shopping and with it the gross merchandise volumes. Therefore we must capitalise on the prevailing strong e-commerce trends and provide many businesses a life line during these challenging macro economic conditions.”

As per statistics, Sri Lanka’s annual domestic e-commerce sales value including services is an estimated US$40-60 million. This is expected to grow to $400 million by 2022-23. “Currently, only 0.3% of Sri Lanka’s total annual retail sales ( $13 billion) are via e-commerce, thus the opportunity is huge”. is known for its large manage-market place for electronics and under the new ownership will expand on this range of products.

Since it’s acquisition by the Ideal Group, has quickly expanded into the gift giving segment, daily essentials, and cakes/flowers. ” We will be working with Sri Lankan suppliers and empowering them, giving them the ability to function on a basis of ‘business as usual’ during these difficult times”. Takas’ new location on Rosmead place too is more convenient and better equipped to service their customers.


Subsequent to the acquisition, the existing management team including Lahiru Pathmalal will remain to guide the company through its transition and will work together with the Ideal team for a stipulated period in their current roles, ensuring a seamless transition. Commenting on the acquisition, Co founder, Lahiru Pathmalal said, “having been a part of from day one, I have a strong understanding of the key operations required for the success of Takas. I like to think I have a creative approach to the industry, and this combined with the wealth of resources the Ideal Group brings to play in the e-commerce game, makes me excited and motivated to help shape its future.”

Under it’s new mantle, has a vision of becoming ‘The’ one stop-shop for all consumer requirements and is committed to follow a service first philosophy!

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SLT Mobitel awarded prestigious ‘Project Management Excellence Award – 2020’ by PMI



SLT Mobitel, achieved yet another significant milestone by bagging the most esteemed Project Excellence Award (PMI) 2020, by the Project Management Institute (PMI) for its Stage VIII Project themed “Project Rural MPowerment”.

Conceptualized to empower every Sri Lankan with digital inclusivity, the project facilitated rural areas by providing 4G technology across the country. Having embarked on the project in 2018 with two leading strategic partners, namely, Huawei and ZTE, the Mobitel team concluded the project 5 months ahead of its planned schedule. This multi-million-dollar endeavor involved establishing 5400+ base stations including over 3000 4G LTE nodes. As a result, people in and around the rural areas were provided with supreme connectivity and extended broadband coverage.

In 2019 alone, Mobitel made an investment of over USD 100 million in expanding its network and will invest another USD 25 million in 2020 to provide superior connectivity and broadband experience to every Sri Lankan. Having completed just before the COVID-19 outbreak, the project enabled school children to continue their education through e-Learning platforms and helped the corporate sector to adopt to the WFH concept with no interruptions. Further, the project not only enabled people in rural areas to connect with the world but also empowered the SME sector by facilitating them with broadband accessibility thus increasing their contribution to the national economy.

Commenting on the achievement, Lalith Seneviratne, Group CEO, Sri Lanka Telecom Group said “Being recognized internationally for a national level project by the Project Management Institute is a tremendous honor, and I would like to thank the Team Mobitel for their untiring commitment, dedication and loyalty to complete this project in record time. This high level of achievement has not only brought glory to Sri Lanka but has also shown that the skills and capabilities of local professionals to compete in the international market as well. I would like to thank our valued stakeholders, government officials and the PMI Sri Lanka Colombo Division, who went above and beyond duty extending their invaluable support in helping us to secure this coveted accolade”.


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Construction sector counters witness some bounce



By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

Construction sector related counters at the CSE slightly appreciated yesterday following the Central Bank announcement of a new lending rate cap for housing loans of 7 percent, stock market analysts said. 

The Central Bank will introduce maximum interest rates on mortgage-backed housing loans for salaried workers from licensed banks and set lending targets for certain sectors in the near future in conformity with the policies of the government, Central Bank Governor Deshamanya Prof. W.D. Lakshman said while addressing the final monetary policy review press conference for this year. The press conference was held online yesterday.

Consequently, several construction  sector related counters including, Royal Ceramic, Swisstec,  Tokyo Cement, ACL Cables and Alumax shares slightly appreciated. It is said that Royal Ceramic increased by Rs. 1.10 or  1 percent, Swisstec by Rs. 2.40 or three percent, Tokyo Cement voting and non voting 3 percent, ACL Cables 3 percent and Alumax by 4 percent during the day.   

In this context both indices also moved upwards slightly. The All Share Price Index went up by 6.33 points and S and P SL20 by 7.47 points. The turnover stood at Rs. 1,98 billion sans a single crossing. 

In the retail market, companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Rs. 175.9 million (6.9 million shares traded), Hayleys Fabrics Rs. 144.7 million (5.7 million shares traded), Dipped Products Rs. 142.4 million (429,000 shares traded), ACL Cables Rs. 123.7 million (1.8 million shares traded), Melstacorp Rs. 109.8 million (2.8 million shares traded), Tokyo Cement (Voting) Rs. 100 million (1.5 million shares traded) and Tokyo Cement (Non Voting) Rs. 100 million (1.77 million shares traded).During the day 69 million share volumes changed hands in 17616 transactions.

High net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in Dipped Products, JKH and Lion Brewery Ceylon. Mixed interest was observed in ACL Cables, Access Engineering and Tokyo Cement Company non-voting, while retail interest was noted in Expolanka Holdings, Kelani Tyres and Melstacorp.

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