Although gender equality and women empowerment are not novel concepts in the modern world, as there have been many changes occurring in the thinking patterns of the minds of people, achieving gender equality is an important part of the Sustainable Development Goals of Sri Lanka. Females play a significant role in the global economy, as they invest more on the socioeconomic life of their families more than males do.
Female participation to the economy is considered a vital factor for a middle income country like Sri Lanka to be at the forefront of the next wave of economic growth. Currently, female participation in the labor force is at 40% which is significantly lower than 75% of men’s contribution. It is a known fact that, female entrepreneurs will reinvest in their business, families and education, assisting a sustainable economic growth. Therefore, empowering women is the key to achieve more entrepreneurs in the country and thereby increasing the contribution to the country’s economy.
The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka established a special setting for women entrepreneurs “NCE Women’s Wing” who are already involved in exports to encourage and motivate them with a long term vision to achieve sustainable economic growth and the achievement of development goals through active participation of women in business. This special section is dedicated to women owned/women led businesses with the intention of contributing to the National Economy through empowerment of women entrepreneurs and exporters. The Chamber has taken this initiative to achieve the following objectives:-
To facilitate women exporters and entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka to enter international markets such as the EU.
To highlight women exporters as a career and encourage women to take on employment in export-oriented companies.
To diversify the export product base through women participation.
To find out opportunities available in foreign markets for women exporter or entrepreneur.
Contribute towards the government’s initiative to increase the women participation in business and legislative framework.
Achieve sustainable economic growth through women participation in business/exports
Contribute towards improving the socio-economic life of society.
In line with the stated objectives, NCE has already initiated connecting local banks with multi-national companies for export related projects such as loan schemes for small and medium enterprises owned by females, whilst seeking foreign funding for projects related to women empowerment in international trade. Also the Chamber has facilitated advice and knowledge sharing forums from top NCE members on their export related issues. We are also representing issues faced by women owned enterprises at various forums related to international trade.
In furtherance, in its business plans for the next year, the NCE is also planning to conduct training programs, seminars and webinars and also identify regional talents of women entrepreneurs for entry into international trade through links with regional chambers. Moreover, we will also create networking opportunities with other women led enterprises both local and international.
In highlighting and recognizing the performance of Sri Lankan women led businesses in the international markets, the NCE confers a special award for “Best Woman Exporter of the Year at the Annual Export Awards, the flagship event of the Chamber. We are proud to mention that the following women entrepreneurs have been able to win this prestigious award during past years.
The Chamber believing in the importance of empowering women to be involved in International Trade has formulated the concept of a Women’s Wing in the chamber dedicated to support women owned and women led enterprises. The Women’s Wing will provide specialized services with the firm belief that this initiative will enable more female entrepreneurs to choose exports as a career and in the long run will contribute as chamber towards the sustainable economic development of the country whilst promoting gender balance in local and international trade.
The National Chamber of Exporter of Sri Lanka is the leading chamber exclusively responsible for serving the export sector with variety of services. The Membership of the Chamber represents leading exporters across all product and service sectors in Sri Lanka, ranging from Large to Small export-oriented enterprises.
CSE Director Board appoints new chairman
The Chairman of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) Dumith Fernando who has served in this role since July 01, 2020, has informed the Board of his intention to retire by rotation on June 23, 2022 at the conclusion of his current term as a Director. Subsequently, at its regular monthly board meeting held on May 19th, 2022, the Board of the CSE has elected Director Dilshan Wirasekara to succeed Fernando as Chairman with effect from June 24th, 2022. Wirasekara is currently Director and Chief Executive Officer of First Capital Holdings PLC.According to the Articles of Association of the CSE, it’s Chair is chosen from among the five Directors elected by the members of the CSE. The appointment of Wirasekara is in line with the CSE’s normal board succession practice.
The outgoing Chairman Fernando said that “We are very pleased with the advancement of the CSE in the last 2 years. The market has set records across capital raising, trading volumes and participation alongside significant wealth creation for investors. The CSE is also financially stronger than it has ever been, and I am pleased to hand over my role following the institution’s highest-ever profitability and capital reserves position. Credit for this is due to my fellow board members, management and staff as well as all those stakeholders who collaborated with us including our regulator the Securities & Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka and the stock broking and investor communities.”
Commenting on the appointment of his successor, he further stated “I have had the pleasure of serving as a Director with Dilshan for five years where he has been a critical and energetic member of the board. The board and I have full confidence that he will continue to work with all stakeholders to build on our recent efforts to transform into a modern-day multi-product exchange. I look forward to supporting Dilshan over the next few weeks to ensure a smooth transition.”Wirasekara thanked both the outgoing chairman for his leadership of the CSE over the last 2 years and the CSE Board for the confidence placed in him. He further stated, “I hope to continue the good progress at the CSE and look forward to working with the Board and the CSE team together with the regulator and the industry to advance our ambitious capital market development plans.”
SLIM Research Bureau embarks on a mission to promote fair trade in Sri Lanka
As corporates and consumers globally are shifting towards best practices such as sustainability, inclusivity, and most importantly, equality to all, “fairness” has become a significant part of how business and buyer decisions are made.With this in mind, SLIM Research Bureau, the research arm associated with the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM), recently signed an agreement with Fairtrade NAPP at SLIM Home, in aspiration of promoting fair trade and consumption of fairly traded products in the local market of Sri Lanka.Through this collaboration, SLIM Research Bureau and Fairtrade intends to launch a project – named “SRI-PROM” funded by AICS, the Italian Agency for Development Co-operation, and supported by Fairtrade Italy – that aims to contribute to the social and economic strengthening of rural areas in Sri Lanka, through the development of much more profitable eco-sustainable supply chains for small farmers.
Commenting on the partnership, SLIM President Mr. Nuwan Gamage stated: “SLIM is thrilled to enter into this milestone partnership with Fairtrade NAPP to instil globally accepted best practices within the corporate circle that help achieve fair, equitable trade relationships. The project will be the first step in inviting businesses across industries to become a trailblazer that sets an example both in Sri Lanka and around the world. We look forward to expand these efforts further in the days to come.”The modern concept of fair trade refers to the ethical and sustainable sourcing of products, where workers and farmers at the foundational level of supply and value chains are treated fairly. This, in turn, offers consumers a powerful opportunity to reduce poverty through their purchases.
Fairtrade International Programme Consultant for Sri Lanka, Standards Committee Chair, and Oversight Committee Asia-Pacific Representative Mrs. Iresha Sanjeewanie noted: “Fairtrade takes a 360-degree approach to address a number of different issues and developmental challenges faced by small-scale producers and workers. Though Fairtrade Standards are a glum eye-opener into the implications of unfair trade, in a broader sense, it advocates reform-oriented research and pushes to raise the bar in trade.”
Bank of Ceylon sponsors Annual Sand Paving Ceremony at Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Temple Anuradhapura
Invoking the blessings of the sacred “Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi” situated in the historic city of Anuradhapura, on the country and on all its citizens, for peace, harmony and prosperity, the Bank of Ceylon conducted its annual ceremony of strewing fresh sand which is known as “weli Athirime Pinkama” in “Uda Maluwa” recently.
The ceremony took place with the participation of the Bank’s General Manager K.E.D. Sumanasiri, DGM Corporate and Offshore Banking Priyal Silva, DGM Human Resource Dhamma Wijeyawardhene, DGM Branch operations and Development Banking Nilantha Meneripitiyage, AGM North Central Province Mahinda Bandara, AGM Marketing Aruna Hettiarachchi, AGM North Western Mrs.Ruchindra Perera and other staff members. The event was organized by the Bank’s Assistant General Manager North Central Province (NCP) G.K.G. Mahinda Bandara and staff members of the NCP province with the guidance of the Atamasthanadipathi of Anuradhapura, the Most Venerable Dr. Pallegama Siriniwasa Thero.
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