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MarCom Collective continues to engage stakeholders on rebuilding sector

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The MarCom Collective, the industry body comprising of eight associations linked to the advertising and marketing communications sectors as well as businesses and professionals associated with them, continued to engage with its members and other stakeholders to bring to light the diverse issues faced by the sectors and how they could work together to address them in a post COVID-19 business environment.

As part of these efforts, a team of senior representatives from the MarCom Collective met the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, S. R. Attygalle, recently. They apprised him on the significant contribution the sector has made to the national economy which has largely gone unrecognised.

A study undertaken by Ernst & Young notes that the MarCom sector generates Rs.151 billion in annual net revenue and employs over 100,000 people directly and indirectly, with about another 200,000 people depending on it. The sector also contributes 1% to the country’s GDP and it therefore requires immediate and serious attention before the crippling effects of COVID-19 take its toll on the industry and the economy. The revenue yield from the sector as estimated by Ernst & Young is Rs.1.510 million per employee. Thesignificance and relevance of this is accentuated when juxtaposed with the per employee yield from other key sectors such as Tea – Rs.232,000, Textile and Garments – Rs.444,444, Rubber – Rs.452,308 and Tourism – Rs.1.068 million.

The MarCom Collective also facilitated a discussion with members from within the industry. Ernst & Young Sri Lanka presented their findings and recommended proposals to help complement the government’s effort to accelerate the recovery of the sector and the economy. Taking note of the policy framework shared at the forum, representatives from the eight constituent industry associations confirmed that they would be incorporated into the final proposal to be presented to the government in the coming weeks.

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CA Sri Lanka continues to champion integrated reporting

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A team from John Keells Holdings PLC discusses the benefits of integrated reporting with IRCSL chairman Asite Talwatte.

President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), Manil Jayesinghe recently continued to push companies in Sri Lanka to adopt integrated reporting and integrated thinking if companies were truly keen in remaining sustainable and successful in the long term.

Addressing a forum on integrated reporting organised by CA Sri Lanka recently, Jayesinghe urged companies and professionals to adopt the integrated reporting framework for their maximum benefit as it is an important stepping stone that will not only help organisations to bring about integrated reporting but also the key element behind it, which is integrated thinking.

“The world has shown us that profits alone is not the real driver, and we have so many things happening around in the world right now and today health and safety is the key priority for companies, and tomorrow it can be something else,” he said.

Jayesinghe elaborated that profit is no longer the key benchmark of success as there were many other factors to consider in benchmarking success including environment, human capital, and society, among other factors. “It is important to make sure that your business is a sustainable business and for this integrated thinking needs to come through and by adopting integrated reporting, corporates will achieve this,” he added.

Jayesinghe shared these thoughts during a discussion featuring John Keells Holdings PLC on their ‘winning story’ in adopting integrated reporting within the organisation.

He also highlighted that since the inception, CA Sri Lanka has recognised the importance of integrated reporting and has taken the leadership in popularising the concept of integrated reporting among corporates in Sri Lanka. “With new events taking place around the world as well as in Sri Lanka, I hope integrated reporting will have better visibility and companies will start adopting integrated reporting as one of their forms of reporting,” he said.

He added that CA Sri Lanka has taken steps to provide all necessary technical, financial and institutional support to the Integrated Reporting Council of Sri Lanka (IRCSL) headed by Mr. Asite Talwatte to carry out the task of promoting integrated reporting and integrated thinking among corporates in Sri Lanka.

Delivering his company’s success story in adopting integrated reporting, Mr. Mohan Thanthirige, Group Finance Controller of John Keells Holdings PLC highlighted that integrated reporting is articulating the different business processes where everyone can accept it.

“We felt that with our stakeholders getting more sophisticated, we too needed to step up in our reporting,” he said. During the forum, it was highlighted that at numerous stakeholder engagement related studies conducted by John Keells Holdings, more and more stakeholders were asking questions in relation to non-finance that the conventional financial reporting seen in annual reports.

Mr. Thanthirige explained that it was important to look at what is best for one’s organisation in terms of culture and infrastructure. “We did so many test runs and it was a long journey with failures and wins, to get here in terms of ensuring our integrated reporting was a success story,” he added.

The forum concluded following a panel discussion which was moderated by Mr. Asite Talwatte, Chairman of the IRCSL. The panel session featured Mohan Thanthirige, Kalpa Munasinghe, Manager Group Finance, Eneeshya Perera, Manager Corporate Finance, Devmi Jayaweera, Assistant Manager – Sustainability, ERM and Group Sourcing, Daniella De Mel, Assistant Manager – Corporate Finance and Mayurika Silva, Assistant Manager – Group Finance.

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Look for investors to promote innovations-President instructs officials

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President Gotabaya Rajapaksa advised the officials to divert both institutional and independent innovations to the production market immediately, with the assistance of investors.

Researches by a number of institutes had led to groundbreaking innovations that could eventually triumph in the global market. President stated that the production of these would earn foreign exchange income for the Sri Lankan economy and in addition the inventors would be further inspired in their innovations.

President made these remarks during a discussion with the State Ministry of Finance and Capital Markets and Public Enterprise Reforms with regard to its future activities at the Presidential Secretariat .

State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal noted that it has been observed that the interest rate, currency and market stability now remain at a satisfactory state and added that his ministry is enthusiastically striving to identify 10 new priorities in order to pave the way for a swift development in the economy.

When compared with the rest of the world, Sri Lanka has a favourable and appealing economy for foreign investors. “With the assistance of Sri Lanka’s ambassadors abroad and a proper advertisement program, we should devise plans to attract foreign investors to our country”. President added.

President highlighted the requirement of identifying investment opportunities and improving infrastructure facilities along with necessary prior approval accordingly.

It was also discussed to establish an office for pioneering foreign investors in the heart of Colombo.

President noted the significance of state institutes reaching out to village areas and bank loan accessibility for small scale and medium scale entrepreneurs that would ensure rapid development in the country.

President directed the officials to inquire into the feasibility of lowering prices for cement and steel in order to decrease construction cost in the country.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that it is imperative to recover the background suitable for development that existed before 2015. He added that fragmentation of the lands used for coconut plantations should be banned immediately.

289 large scale projects have been launched in the country. Head of the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival Basil Rajapaksa advised them to be completed immediately and added that the conclusion of planned development projects such as roads, water supply projects and school infrastructure facilities and other planned projects would boost the construction sector.

President showed the importance of planning the transactions of the share market so as to attract young and other local investors. “Use of Sinhala language for simplicity and clarity would easily attract the local investors into the share market”, President added.

President advised the officials to take steps to compensate the investors who had invested in bankrupt finance companies. President further instructed them to ascertain the assets of these finance companies and compensate depositors accordingly.

Secretary to the President, P.B. Jayasundera, secretaries to the Cabinet and state ministries, Heads of the line Institutes were present at the discussion.

(PMD)

 

 

 

 

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ComBank joins Sri Lanka Army ‘Thuru Mithuru’ project to drive Sri Lanka towards self sufficiency

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(Left image) Commercial Bank Chairman Dharma Dheerasinghe and Army Commander Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva at the exchanging of the agreement and (Right, top and bottom) senior representatives of the Bank and the Army at the presentation and the agricultural machinery and equipment donated to the “Thuru Mithuru Nawa Ratak” project.

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has announced a partnership with the Sri Lanka Army to financially support the second phase of the ‘Thuru Mithuru Nawa Ratak’ initiative designed to transform Sri Lanka into a country self-sufficient in essential food.

The second phase entails cultivating 125 acres of land with the involvement of 150 low-income farming families to grow various crops in line with national requirements under the close supervision of the Security Forces Headquarters of the Central Province. The Sri Lanka Army will provide the necessary facilities and skills, and disseminate knowledge regarding effective cultivation to encourage these families to cultivate their own lands and help build domestic agronomy.

The funds donated by Commercial Bank CSR Trust will go towards the purchase of agricultural machinery and equipment including hand tractors, mini cultivators, mini rotary slashers, and a tine tiller; irrigation facilities such as ten 1000-litre water tanks and nine water pumps and 620 kgs of carrot, bean and maize seeds.

Commenting on the Bank’s involvement in this initiative, Commercial Bank Managing Director S. Renganathan said: “Commercial Bank has historically been one of the largest supporters of micro and SME in the agrarian sphere through the Bank’s Agriculture and Micro Finance Units because we believe this sector is the backbone of the rural economy of Sri Lanka. By funding this noble initiative of the Sri Lanka Army, we are now part of a greater plan to propel Sri Lanka towards food security and self-sufficiency. This aligns well with our aspirations for the country.”

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