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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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DFCC Bank facilitates the continued growth of Sri Lankan SMEs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic



The unprecedented surfacing of the COVID-19 pandemic has left a lasting scar on the global population and economy. With no precise warning on the horizon, businesses everywhere were thrown into the deep end, and survival seemed uncertain during the peak of the pandemic. In Sri Lanka, a nation where SMEs form the integral backbone of the economy, the ill effects have been taking a heavy toll on businesses both fiscally and mentally.

However, we as Sri Lankans are resilient at our core, and with the integral support of frontline workers, officials, and essential services such as our banking partners, we set forth on a journey to assess, adapt and survive. One such story about perseverance through a valuable relationship comes from K.S.K. Menan of Star Food Store (Pvt) Ltd, and his trusted banking partner, DFCC Bank.

Emerging from humble beginnings, Menan’s story is one that inspires patriotism, and reaffirms the importance of giving back to your motherland. As a self-made entrepreneur, Menan was successfully engaged with the departmental store industry in the United Kingdom, when one day, he decided to leave everything there and come back to his home, Sri Lanka. He was on a mission to give back to the country that had given him so much, and that led to the birth of ‘Star Food Store’ in Kokkuvil, a supermarket equipped with all the necessary household essentials. DFCC Bank had been by his side throughout the entire journey until the opening of his outlet, and even more when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

“When Imoved back to Sri Lanka in 2016, the very first account I opened was with DFCC Bank, and with their support, I was able to open the first‘Star Food Store’ in November 2019. However, when COVID-19 struck, everything came to halt. When restrictions were relaxed, I faced multiple problems with bringing things back to how they were. DFCC Bank stepped in and gave me overdraft facilities, helped clear my cheques, and provided additional funds at a low interest rate”.

Today, Menan has been able to open a second Star Food Store outlet at Achchuveli in August 2020, and a third at Idaikkadu in February 2021. He states that expansion is the last thing most businesses consider during this turbulent time, however, the X factor that has allowed him to do this is his banking partner.

“The confidence an entrepreneur gains with the right banking partner is immeasurable, and I have been able to find that with DFCC Bank. They have always gone out of the way to ensure my venture’s continuity, from sending someone from the branch immediately if there is an issue with the card machine during business hours, or even understanding that loose change is important for a supermarket and sending bags of coins from the Colombo branch for business use. I now have plans of constructing a state-of-the-art shopping complex in Jaffna, and look forward to working with DFCC on this project”.

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Covid-19 third wave fears dampen stock market



By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

The CSE witnessed a steep decline following worries over the possible outbreak of a  Covid 19 third wave in the country and the continuation of selling pressure for certain stocks in the market, stock market analysts said.

CSE investors worried over 52 new cases being detected in two retail stores at Pamunuwa and at a state bank in Colombo at the end of the April holidays. Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry warned of a possible surge in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks, market analysts said.

  Consequently, the All Share Price Index declined by 2.9 percent and S and P SL20 dropped by three percent. Major companies sought after by investors negatively contributed to both indices during the day. According to  market analysts,  these companies  were:  LOLC (27 negative points),  Expolanka (19 negative points), Vallibel One (12 negative points), Hayleys (11 negative points) and JKH (10 negative points).

All Share Price Index went down by 198.39 points and S and P SL20 down by 93.89 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3.7 billion with a single crossing. The crossing was reported in Ceylon Cold Stores (CIS), which crossed 60000 shares to the tune of Rs. 35.4 million, its shares traded at Rs. 594. 

In the retail market, five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were: Browns Investments Rs. 717.6 million (114 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 480 million (9.8 million shares traded), Hayleys Rs. 392 million (five million shares traded), Dipped Products Rs. 389 million (6.9 million shares traded) and LOLC Rs. 193 million (587,000 shares traded). During the day 197 million share volumes changed hands in 31305 transactions.  

Sri Lanka rupee quoted firmer around 192/194 levels to the US dollar in the spot market on Tuesday, while bond yields slightly eased, dealers said. Sri Lanka rupee last closed at 194/198 levels to the US dollar in the spot market on Monday. The Central Banks Telegraph Transfer rates stand at 187.93/191.97 levels below the spot rates on Monday.

Sri Lanka’s rupee has come under pressure amid money printing and low-interest rates, despite the worst import controls since the 1970s, observers said.

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SAT launches F5 portfolio to deliver secure digital experiences



(At left) : Edgar Dias, Regional Vice President of Channels and Partnerships, Asia Pacific, F5. (At right) : Sanjaya Padmaperuma, CEO of SAT.

South Asian Technologies (Pvt) Ltd, announces its appointment to be a distributor for F5 within Sri Lanka and Maldives to deliver secure digital experience to enterprises.

The cutting-edge technology is a portal for delivering applications and data with greater agility, security, availability, performance, and scalability.

F5’s portfolio of automation, security, performance, and insight capabilities empowers customers to create, secure, and operate adaptive applications that reduce costs, improve operations, and better protect users.

“With the increasing necessity for digitalisation in the workspace, now more than ever, organisations need proven solutions to help secure their businesses. Adding F5 to our existing portfolio gives South Asian Technologies, a more omniscient opportunity to equip our partners and customers with best-in-class application security and delivery solutions. As F5 enables adaptive applications, the SAT team is ecstatic at the prospect of securing our clientele with robust security offerings that have a proven history with Fortune 500 companies across the globe,” said Sanjaya Padmaperuma, CEO of SAT.

Every company today is in the digital experience business. In the wake of COVID-19, customer expectations are higher than ever, as the experiences garnered are the primary way that people interact and transact with just about every organisation at present.

F5 helps organisations deliver and secure the premium digital facilities that customers demand by enabling adaptive applications which, like living organisms, will naturally adapt based on their environment – growing, shrinking, defending, and healing themselves.

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