Sarvodaya-Fusion and HSBC collaborate to educate Sri Lankan women on Personal Financial Literacy
In a concerted attempt to empower Sri Lankan women Sarvodaya-Fusion in partnership with HSBC has launched Personal Financial Literacy Education Programme for women starting June 2021.
“In its essence, financial literacy can be defined as the understanding of how money works and this includes generating, investing, spending, and saving money in ways that ensure a person’s financial stability – an essential life-skill that becomes even more significant in challenging times. This knowledge is the basic building block that enables women to become more independent, and lead more fulfilling, secure lives,” said Stuart Rogers, Interim CEO and Head of Wholesale Banking HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives.
The ongoing crisis in the country, due to the pandemic has affected both working and non-working women. They are currently forced to manage in an extremely challenging environment with wage gaps and gender inequality. Through this programme, non-working women will be educated and made aware of how to manage their household expenses and look for more avenues to earn an extra income apart from the main income received by their spouse. Similarly, working women will learn how to make their way up the financial ladder, with smart investments and savings. Individuals can visit the Sarvodaya-Fusion Facebook Page for more information on registrations.
“We are excited to partner with a leading global financial entity such as HSBC to educate and enable women of Sri Lanka to take stronger control of their finances. We are convinced that these two key segments of the population should have access to not only financial services, but to recognize themselves as economic agents that can make a change in their families and society through their everyday choices,” said Rohan Pandithakorralage, Chairman, Board of Advisors, Sarvodaya-Fusion.
The engaging Zoom based webinars of one and half hours each cover the main aspects of wise spending, managing debts, earning an extra income, saving as a habit, and making smart investments. The sessions are delivered by utilizing appealing elements such as webinar polls, icebreakers, chats, Q & A sessions and online feedback gathering surveys to ensure maximum engagement and interaction.
“We have seen how financial health has significant ramifications in society, particularly during the pandemic. It’s important for us that we provide women across Sri Lanka with access to the right skills, attitude and tools required to manage their finances and make the most of their money. These carefully crafted webinars dispense the practical knowledge needed by women to manage their money with confidence and, grow their economies,” Rogers continued to state.
Sri Lanka’s adult literacy was 92% in 2018, but the country’s financial literacy rate measures at just 35%. Although this is still the highest out of South Asia, the high print literacy rates do not necessarily correlate to financial savviness. Still, the ability to read and write does provide the basis on which one can build, access and use financial services.
Therefore, it is critical to encourage both working women and non-working women to have a stronger grasp of their finances to benefit themselves, their families and society at large, as well as contribute towards reviving the country’s economy, even at an individual level. Additionally, basic financial literacy among households can also lead to healthier family welfare. Consequently, improving financial literacy and financial capability among all community segments irrespective of age, sectors, and gender would lead to higher levels of economic wellbeing of the individual, their family and the country at large.
With this ethos, the Personal Financial Literacy initiative was launched by Sarvodaya-Fusion as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project under HSBC’s Future Skills charity program. Over the past few years, the programme has targeted low-wage workers, undergraduates and entrepreneurs. The initiative aims to provide different sectors in the community with the necessary awareness on handling their finances, ranging from personal financial management to managing business finance.
NSB Chairman hands over annual report to President
Dr. Harsha Cabral, Chairman of the National Savings Bank, formally presented the bank’s annual report for the year 2022 to Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization & National Policies President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat on Thursday (01).
The report, titled “Strengthening Our Strength,” provides an integrated overview of the bank’s performance within the economic framework and its engagements with the social and environmental sectors.
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka relaxes its Monetary Policy stance
The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, at its meeting held on 31 May 2023, decided to reduce the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) of the Central Bank by 250 basis points to 13.00 per cent and 14.00 per cent, respectively.
The Board arrived at this decision with a view to easing monetary conditions in line with the faster than expected slowing of inflation, gradual dissipation of inflationary pressures and further anchoring of inflation expectations. The commencing of such monetary easing is expected to provide an impetus for the economy to rebound from the historic contraction of activity witnessed in 2022, while easing pressures in the financial markets.
‘Damro-revived Agalawatte Plantations in impressive start to 2023’
* Q1 Revenue grows 49.7% to Rs 1.489 billion
* Pre-tax profit up 44.6% to Rs 417.2 million
* Major investments in replanting of rubber and tea to continue in 2023
Agalawatte Plantations PLC (APL) has reported impressive revenue and profit growth in the first quarter of 2023, consolidating on the remarkable turnaround achieved subsequent to the acquisition of a majority stake in the Company by the Damro Group.
Revenue grew by 49.7% to Rs 1.489 billion for the three months ending 31st March 2023, with revenue from tea doubling to Rs 796.2 million over the first quarter of 2022, and revenue from oil palm up 57.5% to Rs 305.1 million. Rubber contributed Rs 216.9 million to the Company’s top line in the quarter reviewed.
Stable tea prices and an increased oil palm crop enabled APL to post pre-tax profit of Rs 417.2 million for the three months, reflecting growth of 44.6%. Total assets grew by 21.2% since end 2022 to Rs 6.448 billion as at 31st March 2023, and the Company’s net assets value per share improved by 23.5% to Rs 26.09.
Nalaka Gunathilake, Managing Director / CEO of Agalawatte Plantations described the growth achieved in the first quarter of 2023 as extremely encouraging in the context of the Company’s achievement of net profit of Rs 1.76 billion for the year ended 31st December 2022, the highest profit in its history.
Once debt-ridden and at risk of liquidation, Agalawatte Plantations became part of the Damro Group in 2017 when the latter acquired the majority stake in the Company and infused Rs 3.2 billion for the payment of unsettled dues and statutory obligations. Timely investments in replanting, factory modernisation, redefining strategic focus and leadership transformed the Company into the strong corporate it is today, Gunathilake said. Good management practices together with agricultural inputs and professional human resources management policies too played pivotal role in this turnaround.
APL produces around 2 million kgs of latex annually and the company has facilities to manufacture Latex Crepe, Ribbed Smoked Sheets (RSS) and Centrifuged latex depending on the demand in the market. The Company’s tea production is around 2 million kgs per year and this volume is expected to increase with the availability of chemical fertilizer and agrochemicals in the country. APL also produces more than 11 million kgs of oil palm crop annually, generating substantial returns for the Company.
With the Company’s acquisition by Damro Group a strategic management decision was taken to prioritise replanting across all estates under APL management. An extent of over 2,600 acres of aged and uneconomical rubber land has since been replanted with high yielding clones to ensure company’s productivity and sustainability in the years ahead.
The Company disclosed that a further extent of over 1,000 acres is to be replanted in 2023 and land preparation and preliminary work in these areas has already commenced. In order to support the company’s ambitious rubber replanting programme, Agalawatte Plantations has its own network of rubber nurseries and has established 400,000 seedlings in six regional nurseries to supply healthy and vigorous plants.
Between 2017-2022, an extent of over 263 acres of tea has also been replanted and the preliminary work on another 150 acres has been commenced in 2023. Five tea nurseries with 900,000 plants will supply the requirement of high yielding vigorous tea plants for the replanting programme.
APL said it is gearing up for a new phase of growth in the tea plantations by obtaining system and quality management certifications. The company has obtained the Rain Forest Alliance (RA) certification for its upcountry tea estates while all tea manufacturing facilities have obtained the ISO 22000 Food Safety Management System certification.
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