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Rotary Club Colombo Metropolitan partners with S-Lon, PickMe and Keells to enable safer travel



The Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan in partnership with S-Lon, PickMe and Keells Supermarkets have launched a ‘handwashing unit for three-wheelers’ intending to help ‘Stop the Spread’ during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The initial stage of the partnership will see 500 three-wheelers (Tuk Tuks) that are registered with PickMe in the Colombo District fitted with the ‘hand wash unit’. The project was initiated by the Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan (RCCM) in line with the District 3220’s objective of stopping the spread of Covid-19.

Tuk Tuks are a convenient and flexible method of mass transportation. There are approximately 1.2 million registered Tuk Tuk’s in Sri Lanka, and a single vehicle could have at least 30 hires a day. Tuk Tuks are therefore very popular largely due to their accessibility, convenience and lower hiring cost and while they offer an invaluable service to the public.

The introduction of the handwashing unit in Tuk-Tuks aims to negate some of this by promoting hand hygiene in public areas and also more generally even in homes wherein handwashing with soap remains one of our best defences against the virus, along with other public health measures such as maintaining physical distance, avoiding crowded places, practicing cough etiquette and wearing a mask wherever recommended.

Ruwan Gunasena, President, Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan said, “This project that was initiated by one of our members after seeing a similar product go viral in India in June 2020. The handwashing unit was aptly titled a ‘Coronainvention’. We at RCCM decided to redesign and re-engineer the unit to comply with our motor regulations in Sri Lanka and were thrilled when S-Lon, PickMe and Keells Supermarket saw this product as an opportunity for the greater good of our community”.

The Tuk Tuk hand washing unit aims to promote hand hygiene in public spaces to drive one of the main defences prescribed for reducing COVID-19 infection rates and also as a wider means to raising public mass awareness of the need for responsible care and civic responsibility in driving down the spread of the virus, he added.

Chamara Lokupothagamage, General Manager Marketing from S-Lon Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, speaking at the launch added, “When we were initially approached by the RCCM we saw it as a great opportunity to give back to our community. Our partnership with the RCCM sees us fabricate and manufacture the main cylinder used to carry the water and soap dispenser that would be attached to the Tuk Tuk using S-Lon uPVC pipes and fittings. We have managed to give this unit to the RCCM at a highly subsidized price and we hope from this project to create awareness amongst the public that the pandemic is still among us and it is far from over. We must remind ourselves of the basics that we as individuals can do to keep ourselves and our community safe”.

PickMe comes into the partnership with its reach and logistical potential. Isira Perera, Chief Operations Officer, PickMe said, “Since the pandemic began early 2020, PickMe has been able to ensure safer travel for all our customers and riders with our execution on the ground from educational programs to our Driver Partners, temperature checks and visibility on the App, Separator Screens in the vehicle fleet and various sanitization protocols followed by the fleet. The partnership with RCCM is an extension of our ongoing projects of ensuring safer travel for our stakeholders and we look forward to enabling Sri Lanka to move safer.”


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Pan Asia Bank posts steady performance during FY 2023 –



Aravinda Perera- Chairman & Naleen Edirisinghe - Director CEO of Pan Asia Bank

Profit before Tax increases by 258% amidst external challenges

Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC reflected a steady performance amidst multitude of adversities emerging from challenging macro-economic conditions as the Bank reported its financial performance during 2023, which showed judicious portfolio management and prudency exercised in dealing with possible fallout on its asset quality in challenging times.

The Bank reported a Pre-tax Profit of Rs. 2,328 Mn for the year ended 31st December 2023, which is 258% increase compared to corresponding period last year, supported by improved net interest income, increased trading gains from government securities and reduced exchange losses.

The Sri Lankan economy has experienced some positive signs of gradual economic recovery and a measure of stability in macro-economic factors compared to the previous year, with the appreciation of LKR against USD and the IMF bailout followed by the Domestic Debt Optimization (DDO) announcement. The multiple economic scenario models used regarding collective impairment in 2022 were continued in 2023 to ensure that adequate buffers were in place to absorb any potential credit risk that could arise in the future. The allowance for overlays applied in previous year was continued and maintained during 2023 too. Meanwhile, the Bank managed to end the year with healthy credit quality matrices due to improved credit underwriting standards and concerted collection & recovery efforts despite the contraction in the loan book during 2023 which impacted the Bank’s Stage 3 Loan Ratio adversely.

Furthermore, the Bank increased impairment provision buffers held regarding investments in International Sovereign Bonds of Government of Sri Lanka (SLISBs) further during 2023 with the expectation of possible adverse outcomes of the on-going government External Debt Restructuring (EDR) programme. The Bank recognised an impairment charge of nearly Rs. 2 Bn regarding International Sovereign Bonds during 2023.

The interest income for the year 2023 rose by 39% due to the high interest rates that prevailed during the period under review compared to corresponding period of the last year and the re-pricing effect of facilities in response to the market conditions. Further, the growth in interest income was supported by the increased interest income from Rupee denominated securities of the Government of Sri Lanka (T-Bills & Bonds) due to increased investments and high interest rates offered on such new investments compared to the previous year. Consequently, the net interest income increased by 9% in 2023 compared to the last year. (Pan Asia Bank)

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SLT-MOBITEL celebrates the season of love with exciting giveaways



SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT Solutions Provider, celebrated Valentine’s Day with a series of heartwarming promotions and networking activities, spreading love and joy for customers across the country.

Connecting hearts from all around the world on social media, SLT-MOBITEL invited participants to share their loving memories for a chance to win movie tickets. Customers were also given the opportunity to dedicate romantic ringing tones to their loved ones by dialling special codes.

As part of the Valentine’s Day celebrations, SLT-MOBITEL also offered a special promotion, providing a special screening for the glamorous movie ‘Sihinayeki Adarey’, powered by SLT-MOBITEL. Furthermore, customers were treated to a surprise bonus of 10GB of free data upon recharging their SLT-MOBITEL mobile numbers with Rs. 500 or more through any banking app.

Taking love to the hill country, in a special engagement event at the Kandy City Centre, fans were able to participate in activities and interact with the ‘Sihinayeki Adarey’ cast including Hemal Ranasinghe, Sheshadri Priyasad, and many others.

Through these exciting promotions, SLT-MOBITEL helped spread love and joy this season while enhancing the customer experience with exclusive activities.

To discover more of SLT-MOBITEL’s Valentine’s Day promotions, visit

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Call for Proposals: Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2024



The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) is inviting proposals for the Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2024. The grant is an annual, merit-based grant awarded to an outstanding undergraduate studying in a Sri Lankan university. It aims to promote policy entrepreneurs among undergraduates by encouraging policy-relevant, rigorous and innovative socio-economic research.

The grant was established in 2018 to honour Dr. Saman Kelegama’s legacy of independent research and public policy engagement in socio-economic development in Sri Lanka and the wider South Asian region. Dr. Kelegama was the Executive Director of the IPS from 1995 to 2017.

Fourth-year undergraduates studying economics or a related subject in a University Grants Commission approved university or higher education institution in Sri Lanka are eligible to apply. Proposals must be written according to the guidelines provided and emailed to on or before the submission deadline of 30 April 2024.

HOW WILL THE WINNER BE CHOSEN? The quality of the proposals will be judged for its policy relevance, feasibility, originality and creativity. Three finalists will be chosen and invited to present their proposals at the IPS, where the award recipient will be selected.

OUTCOMES OF THE GRANTS – The recipient will be expected to produce a Policy Discussion Brief within six months of receiving the grant. The research report can be written individually or jointly with an IPS senior researcher.

BENEFITS OF THE GRANT – The beneficiary will be awarded a one-time research grant of LKR 200,000 to carry out the proposed research and a three-month internship at the IPS. The recipient will be able to seek guidance from senior researchers and benefit from IPS resources to complete the proposed study during the internship. To enable students from all over Sri Lanka to benefit from this opportunity, the terms of the internship will be flexible. The internship can either be a fully in-house internship at IPS, or it can be an in-house plus online internship. In the case of the second option, the in-house component of the internship should be at least six weeks. To encourage research dissemination, an additional subsidy will be provided for presenting the research findings at local conferences and workshops.

Important Dates

30 April 2024 – Deadline for Submission of Proposals

01 June 2024 – Announcement of Finalists

23 June 2024 – Announcement of the Winner

Further information is available at:

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