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Money launderers would be brought to justice regardless of social standing – CBSL Governor

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Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal

By Steve A. Morrell

Money-laundering and related financial frauds would be intensely investigated and those suspected of such financial crime would be brought to j1ustice regardless of social standing. The law would be enforced stringently on those who engage in these malpractices, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said.

The CBSL Governor made these comments in response to questions posed by the press at the media briefing addressed by him on December 4 at CBSL’s Atrium complex. At the head table with Governor Cabraal were Deputy Governor Dr. K.M.M. Siriwardena, Deputy Governor Ms. T.M.J.Y.P. Fernando, Deputy Governor Dr. N.W.G.R.D. Nanayakkara and Deputy Director of the Foreign Remittances Facilitation Department Dr. B.H.P.K. Thilakawardena.

It is of importance that banks have assured the Central Bank that such suspect transactions would be closely monitored. The receipt of large parcels of funds that raise suspicions would be thoroughly probed. Banks would be empowered to investigate the origins of such funds. If valid explanations are not forthcoming as to how such moneys were amassed, action would be taken following intense investigations to bring wrong-doers to justice, the CBSL Governor said.

On the subject of Sri Lankan migrant workers, Cabraal said that the number of workers who departed this year was comparatively low. Some 20,000 left for employment. This figure was nowhere near the annual departure rate. Before the pandemic, about 96, 000 or more Sri Lankan migrant workers were employed in other countries.

Cabraal added:

‘The low worker departure numbers this year meant dollar remittances this year were also low.

‘However, such remittances attracted duty free concessions, which encouraged migrant workers to send back earnings.

‘In exchange rates, the dollar was now Rs.210. This meant that depreciation of the rupee was stalled.

‘Inflation is subjected to global prices of oil, coal and other goods Sri Lanka imports. Based on such international prices, import value of such commodities was beyond the control of the local authorities and did influence the inflation that was experienced by Sri Lanka.

‘Departure to other countries for employment by Sri Lankans was now facilitated to ensure such departures were not stalled in any way because of the importance of forex remittances.

‘There was also now a useful pension scheme in addition to the duty- free allowance; mainly to encourage inward remittances.’



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CSE capital-raising in 2021 reaches record high of Rs. 124 billion

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CSE chairman Dumith Fernando

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

A buoyant CSE in 2021 saw capital- raising increasing to a record Rs. 124 billion. The previous highest, in a 10-year time span was in 2018, amounting to Rs. 105 billion, CSE chairman Dumith Fernando said.

“Last year, of the capital raised, a record Rs. 84.4 billion was via debt and Rs. 39.4 billion in equity. The CSE also saw 28 new listings, including 14 debt IPOs and 13 equity IPOs, Fernando told the media while announcing the CSE’s achievements in 2021 and its proposed plans to be implemented in 2022. The event was held at Hotel Taj Samudra last week.

Fernando said that in 2021, the market had its best year, in terms of ASPI gaining 80.5 per cent and the S&P SL20 improving by 60.5 per cent. Market capitalization also reached a 10-year high of 36.7 per cent of GDP or Rs. 5.5 trillion from 19.7 per cent in 2020 or Rs. 2.96 trillion and 34.5 per cent in 2010 or Rs. 2.2 trillion.

“With proactive efforts by both the CSE and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), especially digitization initiatives, the Colombo stock market saw active local investor participation, the CSE chairman said.

The active investor base rose to 63,000 as opposed to the target of 50,000, while the number of new accounts was 37,000, higher from 2020 but fell short of the target of 50,000, he added. Fernando also said the CSE more than doubled turnover to Rs. 4.9 billion per day.

Amid those developments, CSE trading activities were positive throughout the day and at certain times the index reached the 200 level. Most of the blue- chip counters witnessed fresh buying interest and prices in most of them appreciated during the day, stock market analysts said.

Both indices moved upwards. The All- Share Price Index went up by 125 points and S and P SL20 rose by 63.5 points. Turnover stood at Rs 7.1 billion with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in TJ Lanka, which crossed 2.5 million shares to the tune of Rs 139 million and its shares traded at Rs 52 and LOLC Finance 3.9 million shares crossed to the tune of Rs 111 million, its shares traded at Rs 28.

In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Vallibel One Rs 582 million (six million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 557 million (1.4 million shares traded), Softlogic Capital Rs 454 million (3.5 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 318 million (18.7 million shares traded), Chevron Lubricants Rs 263 million (2.1 million shares traded), Central Finance Rs 254 million (2.3 million shares traded) and Hayleys Rs 240 million (1.6 million shares traded). During the day 256 million share volumes changed hands in 61000 transactions.

Yesterday the US dollar was quoted at Rs 202.45, which was the Central Bank controlled price. However, in the open market the dollar rate exceeded the Rs 250 level, sources said.

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CIPM and SLSI collaborate to define National HRM Standards

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CIPM Sri Lanka – the Nation’s leader in human resource management together with the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) has initiated a collaboration to define much needed National standards in human resource management recently. This initiative will replace the use of varying standards and practices used by people managers in different strata of industry and organizations with credible and accepted international best practices and homogeneous benchmarks. The people management profession has risen to take center stage in organizations around the globe due to the advent of the 4th industrial revolution and now people managers are emerging as employee champions and frontline crusaders in response to the changing world of work brought about by the pandemic. In this backdrop, implementing National HRM standards are becoming increasingly important to successfully respond to the unprecedented challenges brought forth by and in response to the pandemic including changes in lifestyles.

“CIPM Sri Lanka is the only professional body in the country mandated by the supreme legislature as the authority in Human Resource Management, Profession and Practice in Sri Lanka. The time is opportune for us to embark on this long overdue initiative of formulating the National Standards in HRM to standardize the world of work in line with international best practices. Upon completion of this exercise, we will be joining a handful of advanced economies who have defined appropriate national standards in HRM to be on top of the changing world of work” said Jayantha Amarasinghe-President, CIPM Sri Lanka.

CIPM together with SLSI has setup a Committee for Developing National Standards on Human Resource Management comprising of nationally and internationally acclaimed HRM and business professionals and academics, and SLSI experts to take this initiative forward. The Committee, which has been approved by SLSI as a special Sectoral Committee to formulate national standards on HRM, is led by Chairman Dhammika Fernando-Chartered MCIPM and Immediate Past President/President-Asia Pacific Federation of Human Resource Management (APFHRM)/Board Member of the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA).

“We have decided to benchmark the existing, ISO, British and American standards in formulating our country specific National HRM Standards with the collaboration and support of the Sri Lanka Standards Institution. SLSI will actively contribute to this initiative by providing their expertise and assigning key members while assisting to establish modalities and SOPs to drive this nationally important project forward. Once such standards are introduced and promulgated, we can see a great potential in unifying and streamlining practices of HR in line with the globally accepted best practices and standards which will auger well not only for the profession but also for whole of the corporate world in numerous ways” said Dhammika Fernando–Chairman, CIPM Committee for Developing National Standards on HRM.

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Emirates adds 5 more flights to Colombo, offering customers 26 weekly flights

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Emirates has announced it will add five more flights to Sri Lanka, offering customers 26 weekly flights to Colombo, including a daily service from Male to Colombo. Starting from 10 February 2022, the added services will offer customers more travel choices and flexibility to Sri Lanka’s commercial capital.

The added services will operate every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Emirates flight EK654 will depart Dubai at 10:35hrs and arrive in Colombo at 16:25hrs, local time. The return flight EK655 will depart Colombo at 22:05hrs and arrive in Dubai at 01:55hrs the following day, local time.

“Sri Lanka is a very important market for us and we’re proud to play an important role with supporting the country’s trade and tourism recovery. The idyllic destination attracted nearly 200,000 tourists in 2021, and arrivals in December and January have been encouraging,” said Chandana De Silva, Emirates Area Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives. “Emirates is happy to be in a position to play a facilitating role by increasing seat capacity to Colombo. The additional flights will also provide more space for export cargo and essential imports like pharmaceuticals.”

Emirates has deployed its modern Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in a three-class configuration on flights to Colombo, offering private suites in First Class, lie flat seats in Business Class and spacious seats in Economy Class. The additional frequencies will add another 1,780 seats into Colombo per week, and Emirates SkyCargo will offer an additional 100 tonnes of cargo capacity each way per week between Dubai and Colombo.

Travellers to and from Sri Lanka benefit from Emirates’ award-winning service and industry-leading products in the air and on the ground across all classes, with regionally inspired dishes and complimentary beverages and the airline’s ice inflight entertainment system which offers more than 4,500 channels of on-demand entertainment in over 40 languages, including movies, TV shows, and an extensive musical library along with games, audio books and podcasts.

Emirates has been gradually rebuilding its global network in a safe and sustainable manner and has resumed passenger services to over 120 passenger destinations, allowing travellers to conveniently connect to the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Asia Pacific via Dubai.

Keeping the health and wellbeing of its passengers as top priority, Emirates has introduced a comprehensive set of safety measures at every step of the customer journey. The airline has also been building on its contactless technology offering and has scaled up its digital verification capabilities to provide its customers even more opportunities to utilise the IATA Travel Pass.

Emirates continues to lead the industry with innovative products and services that address traveller needs during a dynamic time. The airline has taken its customer care initiatives further with even more generous and flexible booking policies, and COVID-19 medical travel insurance.

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