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LOLC Finance opens a new chapter in Pudukuduirippu

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LOLC Finance PLC, the largest Non-Banking Financial Institution (NBFI) in Sri Lanka has announced the opening of its newest branch recently, at Oddisuddan Road, Pudukuduirippu. The newest branch was established to meet the demands for diverse financial solutions arising from the vibrant communities of the area. LOLC Finance, Pudukuduirippu is geared to offer a superior level of financial services with a wide range of innovative and personalized solutions.

The Chief Guest, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of LOLC Finance PLC, Montini Warnakula, Regional Managers and Senior Management members along with the other staff members of LOLC Finance were present at the event. A number of customers from in and around the area also keenly took part in initiating their first transactions at the new branch.

Speaking at the ceremony Montini Warnakula said, “We understand the financial requirements of our customers well, and we offer them a diverse range of solutions. In fetching greater convenience and accessibility to the agri, fisheries, farming and SME communities of this area, we have added this new branch to our expanding footprint. The newest branch will also be dedicated to serve its communities with our high-touch customer service and cutting-edge digital technologies. We will always go beyond our ways to serve our customers efficiently whilst ensuring stability, strength and vitality of service”.

Further to the merger between Commercial Leasing and LOLC Finance, LOLC Finance have become even stronger with a total hold of 20% from the entire NBFI industry’s asset portfolio. As the prime NBFI in the country, the Company now boasts its largest outreach with a total branch network of 210 branches and an active customer base of over 600,000, with its total lending portfolio amounting to over Rs. 200 Bn, coupled with a deposit base of over Rs. 150 Bn.A diverse array of financial solutions ranging from Savings and Fixed Deposits, Microfinance, Lending Services, Gold Loan, Credit Card Facilities, Factoring and Islamic Financial Services, Digital and Online Platform Services among others can be obtained from this branch.



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Tea industry targets USD 1.2 bn export turnover in 2023

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Sri Lanka will earn around USD 1.2 billion from tea exports for 2023 exporting around 260 million Kg, said Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, (SLTB) Niraj de Mel, last week.

SLTB is forecasting a modest growth for 2023 in comparison to the current year estimating an increased production of 290 million Kgs with export revenues expected to increase to USD 1.4 billion. Due to the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, during the first half of the year and a shortage of tea, sales caught up and auction prices increased sharply from March 2022. Despite fuel shortages and logistic issues, the Regional Plantation Companies and smallholders have been able to continue the harvesting of green leaf throughout the year. When compared to 2020 and 2021 volumes, the Green Leaf price to smallholders has increased exponentially from July 2022 onwards.

“The tea smallholder who used to get around Rs. 90 per kg three years ago is now getting around Rs. 250 per kg and some estates have paid nearly Rs. 1,000 per kg. He said that though the glyphosate fertiliser ban is lifted planters should not use it heavily as a ‘global ban of glyphosate’ is imminent for the tea industry. Some countries like Taiwan already reject tea grown with the use of glyphosate.” He recalled that tea production reached an all time high with a record of 340 million Kgs in 2013. “After short increases during the period 2017 to 2019, tea production recorded a decrease in 2020, mainly due to the fallout from the pandemic and now we are taking several steps to increase production.”

The Tea board is offering a host of financial grants and loans to the tea growers, factories as well as for exporters. “These include subsidies for replanting, fertiliser for growers, special grants and loans for factories to upgrade their machinery and soft loans for exporters for packaging. These facilities exceed Rs. 4 billion per year.”

Tea Commissioner E. Edirisinghe said that they would also provide Rs. I million for tea factory expansion which comes as a grant. “In addition, we pay 3% of the capital when factories install solar,” he said.

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Harin urges for ‘breathing space’ to revive tourism

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Minister of Tourism and Lands Harin Fernando said on Saturday that persistent political agitations make his job of promoting Sri Lanka as a safe and convenient tourist destination extremely difficult.

“Now the country has restarted to function although not at a comfortable level to everyone. People undergo many economic difficulties due to high cost of living. These issues need to be addressed and resolved one by one. Creating troubles constantly in a highly political way won’t help the country to come out of the crisis. It will only prolong the crisis.

As Minister of Tourism, I have a hard time promoting tourism in Sri Lanka because it is no easy task to convince potential overseas visitors that the situation is back to normal. So, I appeal to these parties to allow at least six months for the country resuscitate whose breathing had stopped for some time,” he said.

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UTECH Technologies recognised at Sahasak Nimavum Innovation Awards

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UTECH Technologies (Pvt) Limited, Sri Lanka’s leading Industry 4.0 transformation solutions provider won the most prestigious innovation award, the DASIS award at the Sahasak Nimavum National Innovation Awards held recently. The DASIS Award is judged across all competing categories and only awarded to the innovation that shows novelty in technology and has been commercialized successfully. This award is judged by a learned panel of national and international judges including academia and industry experts. UTECH also won overall gold for best commercialized ICT innovation. UTECH has won many national and international awards, including the overall gold for “IoT technology of the year” at the Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) in 2021.

UTECH’s Managing Director, Riyad Ismail said, “Having many Sri Lankan industrial conglomerates as our clients, we have started exporting our hardware and software solutions to world markets.”

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