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Marketers call for Sri Lanka nation-branding efforts to be made on a unified theme

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CB Governor Cabraal calls marketers to join hands with the government for trade, tourism and investment promotion

Sri Lankan marketers, while coming forward to support nation branding (one of the most daring challenges in global market entry) have also been asked to effect such promotional branding on a unified theme, instead of the piecemeal messaging style that is being practiced in global markets at present.

The leaders and members of Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM), the apex body for Sri Lankan marketers, took a positive view of the government’s call made on 17 November for marketers ‘to come forward to globally position Brand Sri Lanka’ but also suggested a coherent approach to be adopted in it, across all three verticals of the country’s wealth generation-tourism, investment and international trade.

Marketers’ were forthcoming on the national invitation issued during an address made by the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal at the “Future Ready Economy Budget 2022” Panel Discussion organized by SLIM on 17 November. During the event, Governor Nivard Cabraal praised SLIM’s contribution to the country thus far while calling on Sri Lankan marketers to come forward to join government’s efforts to promote and position the country in the global arena. SLIM’s panel discussion of 17 November focused on the impact of the Budget 2022 on various aspects of Sri Lanka’s economy.

Addressing the session, Governor Cabraal said: “We need clarity to bring stability to the nation. No one realizes the importance of stability until they lose it. For this we have taken several steps during the last few weeks. You will see the effects of these changes in the coming weeks. New infrastructures such as the Colombo Port City and Hambanthota Port have huge economic potentials. You as the marketing community, have a great role to play here. Every facet of these potentials should be reflected in all minds across the world. We are targeting USD 150 billion GDP in the coming years. This will not be impossible if we set out the parameters. As marketers I saw you transform businesses and people but if you (as marketers) can transform the country, that shall be a great victory. Sri Lanka needs to package globally in a way that attracts international investments. This is achieved through such mechanisms as campaigns and roadshows. It is important for marketers and the government to work together to bring new investments to Sri Lanka.”

The reputed panel of speakers at the session consisted of Dr Ravi A. Fernando (Board Member, LOLC Holdings PLC, Aitken Spence Plantation Managements), Prof. Neelika Malavige, Head of Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the Sri Jayawardenepura University, Sujeewa Mudalige (Managing Partner, PWC Sri Lanka), Devindre Senaratne (Managing Director, JourneyScapes (Pvt) Ltd), Pasan Wanigasekara (DG-Board of Investment) and moderated by Shiran Fernando (Chief Economist-Ceylon Chamber of Commerce). The Panel Discussion on Budget 2022 that followed was broadcast live over SLIM’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/slimonline.

Ms. Thilanka Abeywardena, President, SLIM addressing the session said: “SLIM has been the National Body for Marketing in Sri Lanka for the past 51 years. SLIM supports the core objective of a Future Ready Sri Lanka. Through Future Ready Sri Lanka SLIM aims at encouraging entrepreneurship, innovation, skills, and knowledge-based industries for economic recovery in the new normal. Its overall focus on upskilling and education is expected to result in the knowledge based economy. SLIM has been contributing to the country’s development over the past five decades. The Pandemic changed how we live our lives and the way we run businesses changed. The future is about knowledge based and innovation driven industries. SLIM’s Future Ready Sri Lanka role is not one of a ‘plug and play’ but one that involves, in addition to upskilling, changing people’s mindsets to be able to face the future in the new normal. Today we wish to present SLIM’s Report titled “Implications of Budget 2022 on Marketers (Budget Proposals – November 2021)”. SLIM works with entrepreneurs of all sizes and shapes and is present widely in our business sector.”



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Seven factors of concern at upcoming Monetary Policy Review

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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

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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

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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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