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‘Need urgent to vaccinate SL’s apparel sector workers’



‘The apparel sector represents 47 per cent of Sri Lanka’s total exports. It is imperative to vaccinate the 350,000 export sector workers to be able to meet customer requirements. There is a global demand for apparel but Sri Lanka is falling short in meeting deadlines and important clients are moving towards competitors who are supplying without any delay, chairperson, Joint Apparel Association Forum Sri Lanka A. Sukumaran said.

Sukumaran was speaking at a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) on Februray 2 titled, ‘Recovery of Sri Lanka’s Apparel Sector from the Covid-19 crisis’.

An IPS press release said –

The Institute of Policy of Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) hosted a virtual panel discussion on the ‘Recovery of Sri Lanka’s Apparel Sector from the COVID-19 Crisis’ on February2 . The webinar, held in partnership with Southern Voice and the Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh, is part of IPS’ research examining the impacts of the ongoing pandemic on the apparel sector.

The panel featured Joint Apparel Association Forum Sri Lanka (JAAFSL) chairperson A. Sukumaran; Department of Labour Commissioner Madhavie Gunawardena; and Lesova Holdings Ltd. Director Malith Jayasinghe. IPS Research Economist Kithmina Hewage moderated the discussion.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the Sri Lankan economy. The apparel sector which accounts for a large fraction of our export market was hard hit by the pandemic, particularly during the second wave.

“If workers are not vaccinated before May this year, there will be serious repercussions for the entire sector and the country’s economy. Sri Lanka has a reputation as a reliable supplier and that is now under threat,” Sukumaran said. He added that the apparel sector was ready to bear the cost for the vaccinations and requested the government to help them source the required vaccinations.

“Building a fabric park in the Eastern province as proposed in the 2021 budget will help the industry grow tremendously as we will not bear the brunt of depending on China for raw materials and key players like the USA are looking to shift from China for raw materials thus the fabric park will be a key player in the long-term growth, Sukumaran said. 

“Apparel SMEs were severely affected due to COVID-19 and the major issues faced by the sector were: cash shortages, worker absenteeism, mobility issues, scarcity of raw material, increased cost of production, and loss in demand. The second wave worsened an already difficult situation, Malith Jayasinghe said.

“The pandemic was a unique external challenge, thus the Health Ministry had to come into play. Most of the laws and health guidelines are issued under the quarantine law; that is under the Health Ministry and the DG – Health Services is the respective authority for that. Even though we say that it is the labour laws that prevail in the factories, for pandemic-related issues, it is the health guidelines we have to obey. The Department of Labour cannot intervene when quarantine laws are violated,” Madhavie Gunawardena said.

She explained however that the Labour Department has been working actively to address complaints made, and encouraged workers to contact the department if they face any genuine difficulties.

The webinar can be viewed on IPS’ YouTube channel:


HNB partners CCC Residences to offer prospective residents rare loan facility – ZiF Investments



(from Left) CCC Sales Manager – Sevvanthy Bashkaran, CCC AGM Finance – Amila Niranjana, CCC Senior Manager – Tuan Haniffa, CCC Head of Sales – Suranga Peiris, CCC Director Sales – Hirushka Fernando, CCC CEO – Praveen Methil, HNB Deputy General Manager, Retail & SME Banking Sanjay Wijemanne, HNB Head of Personal Financial Services, Kanchana Karunagama and HNB Assistant Manager – Personal Financial Services, Sampath Dodanwela

Sri Lanka’s most customer-friendly bank HNB PLC becomes the first bank to partner with the Colombo City Centre Residences (CCC) to offer prospective residents of the luxury state-of-the-art apartment complex a unique offer, ZiF (Zero Interest and Fees) for the remaining 38 apartments available for occupancy.

The partnership offers customers the unprecedented opportunity to make a down payment as low as 20% up to 50% and have immediate occupancy while enjoying the financial relief of a two-year interest-free period on their mortgage payment. HNB Deputy General Manager, Retail & SME Banking Sanjay Wijemanne, HNB Head of Personal Financial Services, Kanchana Karunagama and CCC Management were present at the ceremony held to sign the agreement.

“We are delighted to partner with the CCC to offer our loyal customer base this once-in- a-lifetime opportunity to invest in a home of their own, in the heart of Colombo. Given that the demand for apartments is increasing and the markets are set to face and undersupply of apartment stock, we hope prospective residents of the CCC will make use of this opportunity and invest in their dream home,” HNB Head of Personal Financial Services, Kanchana Karunagama said.

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Sampath Bank recognised for its strengths across diverse parameters



Nanda Fernando, Managing Director of Sampath Bank PLC

Looking back at its performance, Sampath Bank noted with pride that it was able to maintain its strengths across diverse parameters, as evidenced by the variety of local and international awards won.

The Bank was able to improve its ranking on many of the corporate leaderboards it was recognised on. In addition to constantly being recognised for its financial prowess, the bank continued to improve in terms of respect from other corporate peers as well as in its perceived value, two non-financial attributes that are crucial, yet extremely challenging to achieve during ordinary times, much less in times of such adversity.

The bank also saw its asset base cross the Rs. 1 trillion mark in 2020, a feat achieved by very few players in the industry. Sampath Bank achieved this milestone in a record 33 years, becoming the youngest bank in Sri Lanka to do so.

Given the volatile market conditions experienced during the past one and a half years, these achievements are a true testament to the strength and stability of Sampath Bank, its resilience and adaptability and the confidence placed in it by investors and customers alike.

“Right from our inception, we have strived to constantly innovate, transforming the nation’s financial services landscape and delivering greater value to all our stakeholders. Helping us earn the trust of our customers and shareholders, our efforts in this regard have been instrumental in shaping our financial success. They also continue to bring us ever more awards and accolades, both at home and around the world,” said Nanda Fernando, Managing Director of Sampath Bank PLC. “On behalf of all of us at Sampath Bank, I would like to thank the nation for their love, respect and support, especially during these turbulent times. We look forward to continuing to serve them and add more value to their lives in the years to come.”

Sampath Bank was rated amongst the Most Admired Companies of Sri Lanka by the International Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ICCSL), the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the Daily FT. The Bank is one of only 5 companies to receive an Honorable mention at the annual Most Admired Company Awards for the financial year 2019/20. The coveted award recognises companies, both listed and unlisted, that are a cut above the rest in terms of not just their financial performance but also the value they create for their shareholders, customers, employees and the wider community in general.

The Bank continued to hold its position in the top 10 line up in the 27th edition of the LMD 100, Sri Lanka’s pioneering listed company rankings for the financial year 2019/20. Sampath Bank was placed 5th in profitability and 6th in turnover in the latest edition of the ranking.

According to LMD’s Brands Annual publication for the year 2020, Sampath Bank emerged as the ‘Most Loved Brand’ in the Banking category and was the only bank to feature among the Top 10 ‘Most Loved Brands,’ while it was also ranked 5th in the ‘Most Valuable Consumer Brands’ category, up 2 places from last year. In the list of ‘Most Respected’ Entities in Sri Lanka the bank rose 2 spots to 6th place, while it also moved up one place to 4th on the Business Today Top 30.

In terms of international recognition, Sampath Bank was acknowledged as Sri Lanka’s ‘Best Retail Bank’ and ‘Best Commercial Bank’ for the 7th consecutive year, at the World Finance Banking Awards organized by the UK based World Finance magazine, making it the only Sri Lankan bank to be recognized at this year’s edition and the only bank in the country to have received both these awards every year since 2014. The Banker Magazine also ranked it among the ‘Top 1000 World Banks,’ an adjudication made primarily based on Tier-one capital.

Recognition such as this further underscore Sampath Bank’s strong financials including steady profitability growth and healthy liquidity levels, as well as its steadfast commitment to customer service and innovation, as it looks optimistically towards the future.

Sampath Bank is a 100% local bank that has deeply rooted itself in the lives of the people of Sri Lanka. Established in 1987, the bank has become a state-of-the-art financial institution that continues to be a market leader today thanks to its constant innovation and customer focused approach to business. It has introduced many firsts to the Sri Lankan banking sector including introducing ATMs to Sri Lanka, extended banking hours and slip-less banking to name a few. The Bank continues to steadily transform itself into a technology-driven financial services provider while upholding our traditions and values.

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Exclusive Intermediate Care Facility now open



Luxury facilities at Jetwing Beach, Negombo.

Ninewells Hospital has teamed up with Jetwing Hotels to offer an exclusive and innovative service for Covid 19 patients. Under this new partnership, Ninewells Hospital has appropriated the Jetwing Beach Hotel in Negombo as a treatment facility for Covid 19 patients. The entire Jetwing facility has become a dedicated, state-of-the-art care center, with the support and guidance of the Health Ministry.

As a facility dedicated to helping the government deal with the daily uptick of Covid 19 patients, this new facility will serve a variety of functions. It will primarily accommodate patients who have recently tested positive either via PCR or Rapid Antigen Test. The facility has been specially designed to ensure that every patient sent over is given the utmost attention, comfort and care. The duration of their stay will be a minimum 10 days during which period they will be under the supervision of trained and professional medical staff, supported by a team of committed healthcare professionals and nursing staff.

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