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President requests chairman and Board to continue in office, says BOI

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The President has refused to accept the resignations of the chairman and Board of the BOI. The President has instead indicated that he wishes for them to continue in office, a BOI statement said.

The statement:

The Board of Investment wishes to announce that His Excellency the President has refused to accept the resignations of the Chairman and Board members of the Board of Investment who tendered in their resignations last week.

In a letter addressed individually to the Chairman and respective Board members, by Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the President, further stated that His Excellency wishes for them to continue services, as he has highest confidence in them, as they contribute effectively to promote foreign investments to the best interest of the country and help the post COVID economic transformation.

As of November 2021, the BOI has signed USD 2bn worth of investment approvals. During the first half of 2021 alone, USD 760mn has been invested in Sri Lanka, of which USD 400mn is FDI, in contrast to pre-pandemic 2019, where 113 new projects were approved and added to the pipeline, to the value of USD 1.1Bn, of which, the foreign component value was USD 400mn. In 2020, despite the pandemic and slow down in investment decisions, 128 projects were approved with a value of USD 2.2Bn, of which, the foreign investment component was USD 1.6Bn. in 2021, 117 new projects were approved to the value of USD 2Bn, of which USD 980mn is the foreign investment component. Through this, the overall investment pipeline has exceeded 2019 values, despite the pandemic continuing through 2020 and 2021. Added to this, the year-to-date export value for BOI companies has also surpassed 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

Earlier a BOI statement said:

Prominent members of the Board of Directors of the Board of Investment have stepped down from their positions.

The Chairman, members of the Board of Directors and Director General assumed office with the singular intent of supporting His Excellency the President’s vision to double Sri Lanka’s GDP in this decade. In line with this, the Board of Investment’s role in transforming the country into a preferred investment destination by creating a compelling investment climate arose through the conceptualisation and execution of strategic and proactive investment promotions.

To achieve this strategic agenda, the cabinet and the leadership team of the Board of Investment recognised that many transformations were required internally to enable the Board of Investment to compete against over 1,000 international promotion agencies active globally. They also recognised that this task could not be achieved in silos, and that collaborative efforts through a public-private partnership model was essential. This included the infusion of specialist skills through the acquisition of new talent for selected positions and also the obtaining of specialist professional services to attract and create new investment portfolios to stimulate the country’s trajectory towards a knowledge driven economy.

Unfortunately, the efforts of the leadership to achieve this urgently required transformation, was strongly and continuously resisted by isolated factions both within and outside the organization, who have put their self-interest over the public. Such factions either failed or refused to comprehend the competitive realities of the international promotion landscape, in which Sri Lanka needs to compete much more effectively, if it is to attract FDI at the scale the country needs.

It is also a matter of regret that the progressive agenda of the leadership has come into question in public fora, also implying mismanagement based on events that occurred during 2017 and 2019, a period prior to the time of the current leadership. The many distortions and misconceptions publicised about the Board of Investment as a result of this confusion, has affected the reputation of the Board of Investment internationally, as well as the reputations of its key personnel.

Despite these unfortunate developments, the leadership of the Board of Investment remain confident about the significant potential their programme of reforms can provide to support Sri Lanka’s economic progress in future, if it is continued to its natural culmination. They are hopeful that all stakeholders will collectively work in that manner necessary for the greater good of Sri Lanka and all its citizens.



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Berendina bags Silver at the CA Sri Lanka 56th Annual Report Awards

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From left: Sarath Chandra Fernando - Director-BMIC, Charith Fernando - Deputy Managing Director-BMIC, Saman Manatunga - Acting Head of Finance-BMIC, Dilhara Jayasinghe - Assistant Manager Compliance & Corporate Relationship-BMIC, Ranel T Wijesinha - Past President CA Sri Lanka, Jagath Godakanda – Chairman-BMIC, Chaaminda Kumarasiri – Chairman-Annual Report Awards Committee 2021 and Chamila Cooray - Alternate Chairperson-Annual Report Awards Committee 2021

Berendina Micro Investments Company Limited, better known as BMIC among its microfinance clientele and partners, won the Silver award at the 56th Annual Report Awards organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), under the category of Finance Companies and Leasing Companies (total assets up to Rs. 20 Billion). Over 70 companies, ranging from conglomerates, multinationals to non-profit organisations, and SMEs, were honoured at this year’s competition for their excellence in financial reporting. The gala event of this year held on 09th December 2021 at BMICH. Being the first Microfinance Company licensed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, BMIC is no stranger to this annual competition having won a prestigious Gold Award in 2017 and Merit Award in 2018.

The award from CA Sri Lanka is the fourth award to be won by BMIC during the financial year 2021, having won 3 international awards, namely, ‘The Best Microfinance Company in Sri Lanka’ and ‘The Best Agricultural Lending Company in Sri Lanka’ awards from the UK based Global Banking and Finance Review magazine as well as ‘Donor’s Choice Award’ at the international competition conducted by SCALE Green Creative Adaptation Awards in USA in 2021. Focused on poverty alleviation, BMIC as a Microfinance Institution (MFI) extends micro-credit facilities and enterprise development services that ensure long term sustainability and growth of business ventures of its clients, providing loans at the lowest interest rate compared to other MFIs in Sri Lanka. At present, BMIC manages a loan portfolio of over Rs. 3.1 billion and an annual turnover exceeding Rs. 900 million. It supports well over 70,000 microfinance clients through its 30 Branches in 11 districts. The CA award bestowed on BMIC is another testament to its commitment in continuously supporting its clients to overcome the obstacles during difficult times, while preserving its transparency in reporting, corporate governance, sustainability and social responsibility.

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SLIC repositions Business Club insurance with more focus on SMEs

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Sri Lanka Insurance last week announced repositioning of its Business Club insurance, a trade insurance policy which provides a comprehensive business insurance solution to fit for the diverse insurance need of small and Medium enterprises (SME).

“According to the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka SMEs are considered to be the backbone of the economy with a contribution up to 52% of the GDP. SMEs play a crucial role to battle the poverty in the country providing employment opportunities for the youth as the SMEs does not require capital than large firms. Further SMEs increase tax bases much quickly when compared to large firms,” an SLIC news release explained.

“Recognizing the importance and vital contribution made to the economy by SMEs, Sri Lanka Insurance went back to the drawing board to refine the “Business Club” comprehensive insurance solution to cater to the unique requirements of the businesses,” it said.”

“Therefor the insurance solution was developed to reinforce the success and safety of the businesses.”

The insurance plan will provide protection for any businesses be it retail, grocery store, supermarket, pharmacy or any other covering many perils inclusive of environmental dangers such as floods, cyclone, fire, lightning as well as other factors such as breaking and burglary, SLIC explained.

The release further said an array of main covers are available for businesses inclusive of fire and/or lightening, explosion, malicious damage, aircraft damage, earthquakes along with the free covers such as cost of removal of debris, loss of rental, architect, surveyors, consulting engineering fees, cost of alternative accommodation etc..

A range of additional covers are also available at an additional premium for businesses to choose. Money insurance during transit and while at premises, accidental breakage of glass cover, sign board cover, electronic equipment all risk cover are among the many additional covers offered.

Interested parties who’d like SLIC to assist in developing an insurance solution that covers the business risks can contact SLIC call center on 011 2 357 357.

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German fruit and tea importers stresses importance of packaging

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Jan Paul Bethke, a leading German importer of Sri Lankan fruits and tea, at a recent

EDB-organized event, urged Sri Lankan agri-product exporters to practice effective and superior packaging if they are to be successful in terms of capturing markets in Europe.

“If you package your product well, include a QR code (incorporating extensive details such as the farmer who grew products), and convey a personalized story, customers in advanced markets such as Germany and Europe would develop an affinity with your products”, Bethke noted.

He made these remarks at a Jan. 12 forum forum organized by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) on packaging and value addition strategies to enhance Sri Lanka’s agri-product exports to Germany, an EDB news release said.

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