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New MD at Kia Motors



Kia Motors (Lanka) Limited has announced the appointment of Mr Andrew Perera, the Company’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) as Managing Director.

A company news release said “he will provide continuing leadership to the Company’s and the Kia brand’s next phase of growth in Sri Lanka.”

Perera who joined Kia Motors as COO in January 2013 and has played a pivotal role in the development and expansion of Kia’s aftersales service infrastructure and regional presence in Sri Lanka over nearly nine years. He was appointed an Executive Director of the Company in 2015 in recognition of his contributions and his value to the Board, the release added.

Announcing the appointment, Kia Motors (Lanka) Chairman Mr Mahen Thambiah said: “Andrew’s expertise, commitment, drive and energy have been an asset to Kia Motors during good as well as challenging times. With his support we have persevered with our expansion and restructuring plans even through the period marred by the global pandemic and local restrictions, and we look forward to his continuing leadership in the exciting years ahead of us.”

Commenting on his new role Perera said: “On the international stage, Kia is undergoing a transformation and reinvention that is designed to propel the brand to a leading position in the global car market. This is focused on developing more class-leading electric vehicles like the EV6, and introducing a broad range of sustainable mobility services tailored to meet the needs and tastes of individuals and local markets. I believe that the best of Kia is ahead of us, and I am delighted to take up the challenge of driving the brand’s next phase of growth in Sri Lanka.”

A management professional and an accomplished sportsman at the schools, clubs and national levels, Andrew Perera has more than 12 years of experience in the automobile sector. At Kia Motors his tenure as Chief Operating Officer has seen many milestone developments, including awards such as Distributor of Distinction 2013, Most Improved Distributor 2014 and Testimonial Award for Best Sales 2017 for the Company from Kia; the completion of the Rs 800 million Kia Logistics Centre in Malabe in 2018 and the development of a network of owned subsidiaries and franchised satellite sales, service and spare parts (3S) outlets that has significantly expanded the brand’s regional presence.

Perera serves the automobile industry as an Executive Committee Member of the Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA) which is affiliated with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

A past Head Prefect of Royal College, Colombo, and an ardent Royalist to this day, he has a B.Sc. (Hons) in Business Management from the University of Wales and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Leicester. He received his executive education from the National University of Singapore (NUS) focused on Strategic Management and followed the Program on Leadership at MDA Associates International, USA. He has also attained the rank of ‘Green Belt Sensei’ granted by the TSD Consultants, USA, for meeting the training and project implementation requirements in ‘Lean Operations for process excellence.’

Before his move to Kia in 2013, Mr Perera was responsible for overall operations for two automotive brands, Jaguar and Porsche, as Group General Manager at IWS Holdings. Prior to joining the automotive industry, he held several key positions at MAS Holdings Pvt Ltd. , working for global brands such as Victoria’s Secret in the areas of Design, Merchandising and as a Business Analyst.

As a sportsman, he has represented Sri Lanka in Under 17 cricket, the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) at U-23 Level and in the Premier Cricket League and was Vice Captain of the Royal College first XI. Continuing his association with sports, Mr Perera serves as an Executive Member of the Royal College Cricket Advisory Committee and the Games Council of Royal College.

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ComBank partners with PayHere to offer Q+ users a unique eCommerce experience



Commercial Bank’s Group Chief Marketing Officer Mr Hasrath Munasinghe (2nd from right) and PayHere Founder/CEO, Mr Dhanika Perera (2nd from left) exchange the agreement in the presence of PayHere Head of Developments, Mr Karvin Mendis (extreme left) and the Bank’s Senior Manager – Card Centre Mr Seevali Wickramasinghe.

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has partnered with PayHere, Sri Lanka’s largest Aggregated Internet Payment Gateway Service, to offer users of its Q+ Payment App a unique, user-friendly and secure eCommerce experience.

Commercial Bank customers can now conveniently pay for their purchases via the Q+ app to over 3300 registered PayHere Online Payment Service enabled merchants. The Bank’s Credit, Debit and Prepaid Card holders who pay through Q+, the fastest-growing QR app in the country, will not be required to tap in their card details as this information is already stored on the app, the Bank said.

Payments to PayHere merchants via the Q+ Online Pay facility will enhance customer convenience as the transaction will only require the entering of users’ mobile numbers registered with the app. Disbursements via Q+ require authentication using a static PIN which ensures the safety and security of transactions, making the Q+ App more secure than a normal card as the customers’ sensitive data is not transmitted to merchant websites.

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TAMAP drives Stakeholder Forum for Good Agriculture Practice



Secretary of Agriculture Prof. Udith K Jayasinghe addressing the forum

The inaugural meeting of the GAP Stakeholder Forum was held with the support of the Technical Assistance to the Modernisation of Agriculture Programme (TAMAP) at the Department of Agriculture in Peradeniya on 17 November 2021. Prof. Udith K Jayasinghe, Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.

The Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) programme, introduced by the Department of Agriculture in 2016, was a promising step taken to minimise adverse impacts of agriculture on the ecosystem and human health while meeting steadily rising demand for food. Although the programme had an encouraging start, the overall conversion of farmers to implementing GAP remained low. Over the past six years, 1500 farmers registered as GAP producers out of the 1.8 million farmers in Sri Lanka. To align with the current policy of the Sri Lankan Government to improve ecological friendliness of farming, it is important to transform all production units towards GAP farms.

Studies showed that to achieve this goal, the GAP implementation strategies needed to be updated and infused into the mainstream agriculture, facilitating a quick transformation of the current approach towards a macro-level system. Therefore, the requirement for a rapid strategizing of such an approach followed by periodic review of GAP performance arose. This initiated the need for a stakeholder forum.

The key purpose of the forum is to provide a common platform for key stakeholders to meet in formulating a strategy to mainstream SL GAP, propose a way forward for implementation such recommendations, and to regularly review program performance and adopt remedial action to achieve GAP objectives.

Prof. Udith K Jayasinghe, Secretary Ministry of Agriculture who chaired the Forum in his opening statement commented, “GAP programme has emerged a solution to challenges faced by Sri Lankan agriculture today to improve safety of users and ensuring good environmental performance. Reinforced by facilitating legislation and approved national standards, GAP programme provides a strong foundation towards addressing above concerns.”.

Over forty participants were present at the forum, representing the various stakeholder groups comprising producers, distributers, SL GAP team, academics, and market players. Ms D. S. Ratnasinghe, Addl. Director (Agribusiness) and Dr W. M. W. Weerakoon, National Coordinator outlined the status of the GAP programme and the challenges faced.

The deliberations during the forum were broken down into five main areas: Technical, financial, institutional, and social problems faced by GAP stakeholders on maintaining production, supply, product quality, and consumer trust. Gaps in technology transfer and adoption, marketing and quality control measures and means for increased rate of adoption and GAP farm certification; Gaps in current GAP process and procedures, user friendliness and applicability; Future technological needs towards increasing production, productivity, product quality and ecosystem sustainability; and Policy needs for increased adoption of GAP to mainstream GAP into national agriculture agenda.

Prof. G. Pushpakumara, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya and Ms Jayantha Ilankoon, ADG (Dev) moderated the forum through group activity, outcome presentations and strategic discussions on the way forward.

Concluding the forum, Dr Nihal Atapattu, stated, “TAMAP, along with the European Union that provided the funding support is very pleased to have assisted to launch several interventions that would promote recognition of GAP as a premier means of strengthening Sri Lankan agriculture in sustainably meet requirements of the domestic and export markets. TAMAP expects that the Stakeholder Forum launched today will be a milestone event in advancing GAP to achieve its potential in Sri Lanka”.

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HNB’s commitment to expand e-commerce and digital payments wins Daraz award



Daraz Managing Director Rakhil Fernando (fourth from left) handing over the award to HNB Head of Cards – Gauthami Niranjan. Also present (from left): Daraz Partnerships Nimesh Dasanayake, Daraz Senior Manager – Prepayments Sandamina Rajapaksha, Daraz Head of Partnerships Dulika Jayamanne, HNB Cards Business Development Executive - Ashokan Harishanna, HNB Assistant Manager - Cards Business Development and Portfolio Management - Imanka Keshini Hikkaduwage and HNB Cards Business Development Executive – Roshan Chaminda Perera.

HNB has been recognized by Daraz for exceptional contribution to its growth, in an independent endorsement of Sri Lanka’s leading private bank’s commitment to expand e-commerce and digital payments throughout the country.

The award, for the ‘Card Base with Highest Overall Growth’, was presented to HNB at the ‘Daraz Payment Partner Performance Awards 2021’. HNB, which ranks among Daraz’s best banking partners, recorded the highest growth on total payment volume, buyer engagement and total transactions month-on-month, for both credit and debit cards for the year 2020-2021.

“This award is an important validation how the local economy – both businesses and consumers – are benefiting from HNB’s cohesive programme to drive greater adoption of e-commerce and digital payments,” HNB Head of Cards, Gauthami Niranjan said. “These efforts are particularly significant at present, given how digital and contactless payments can assist in reducing the spread of the pandemic and support the Bank’s and the country’s vision to transform Sri Lanka to a cashless economy.”

Currently, HNB Cardholders enjoy multiple offers on Daraz, Sri Lanka’s leading online marketplace, a wholly-owned subsidiary of global e-commerce giant, the Alibaba Group. These include zero-interest instalment plans up to 48 months with attractive discounts for HNB Credit and Debit Cards and 10% off site-wide on Daraz for all HNB Credit Cards on purchases made during Saturdays. In addition, HNB tied up with Daraz for its 11:11 and Black Friday sales, which provided HNB Cardholders access to a range of offers and massive discounts.

HNB has been a pioneer in Sri Lanka’s banking industry in the digital banking and digital payments space. These include the launch of digital wallet and payment app, HNB SOLO and introducing Asia’s first-ever fitness-linked savings product in the form of the HNB FIT Savings Account.

With 254 customer centres across the country, HNB is one of Sri Lanka’s largest, most technologically-innovative banks, having won local and global recognition for its efforts to drive forward a new paradigm in digital banking. HNB has a national rating of AA- (lka) by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd. The bank was also ranked among the World Top 1,000 Banks list compiled by the prestigious UK-based Banker Magazine for five consecutive years. HNB was also declared Best Sub-Custodian Bank in Sri Lanka at the Global Finance Awards 2020.

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