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Sarvodaya-Fusion and HSBC collaborate to educate Sri Lankan women on Personal Financial Literacy

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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.



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‘Dollar reserves in SL plummet drastically, putting the economy in jeopardy‘

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Key personnel at CNCI forum

By Steve A. Morrell

Sri Lanka’s dollar reserves have declined from $ 7.15 billion in 2019 to $ 2.8 billion currently. The President conceded economic failures although reasons for such failure were not explained, chairman, National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) Canisius Fernando said.

Fernando added recently at a forum: “Forex reserves are insufficient to expedite payment of import bills. More so that cost incurred on container traffic for imports and or exports was on a rising spiral. In comparison to cost of container shipping recorded at $ 2,800 earlier, it is now $ 12,000, indicating a rise in multiples of 250.

“Additionally, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP +) affecting our trade with EU countries, placed Sri Lanka’s reputation at a risk, meaning that countries could veer away from Sri Lanka prompted by a possible inability to honor our trade commitments. The clear example being trade with the US. Rather than await goods and services transactions with Sri Lanka, that could invariably take three months, US economists and their trade sector opted to transact trade with countries in close proximity to US shores.

“Dearth of container traffic and rising cost for on- loading and off- loading of cargo seriously affect trade imbalances. Consequently, the credit worthiness of the Sri Lankan economy is affected, which in turn seriously affects the GDP.

“Worker wages which were static because of trade shut- downs caused demands for increased wages. Wage demands of Rs 1,500 from employees became a major phenomenon in most sectors. The question at issue was the hypothetical position of business establishments of about 4000 employees demanding increased wages. This would cause closure of those companies resulting in unemployment.

“The proverbial domino effect of such repercussions would cause further chaos in the economy.

“There was no proper policy in most sectors. Suspension of the import of fertilizer and consequent confusion would, in the short run, result in famine and food shortages. Already this was evident in the public panic caused by having to stand in line to purchase essentials. That the crisis is upon us and the question of a quick solution is not feasible in the current context of the economy.

“Foreign investors are lured by the possibility of cheap labour in Sri Lanka to establish their businesses here, but in this instance too, this is only a hypothetical situation but not the reality.”

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Supuni Products gives back by way of welfare initiative, helps to uplift the needy patients with chronic illnesses

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Supuni Products first started in 2016 when the business proprietor, Supuni Lakmalie along with her husband only had Rs. 150 as investment. With that small amount, they purchased kollu (lentils) and kurakkan and ground them using a grindstone. This was the beginning for them and today, Supuni Products is a booming enterprise that specializes in ground spices and cereal, operating from the town of Nildandahinna, Walapane. Their products are of very high quality and 100% natural and consists of 15 different spice and cereal products including chilli, coriander, turmeric, pepper, curry powder, kurakkan, lentil (kollu) etc.

In 2018, Supuni Products received the opportunity to supply kurakkan flour and cereal to be included into the Poshana Malla, which is a nutrition package prepared for pregnant women, instigated by the government. The success of their business was such that they were able to gain an equity of over Rs. Four million during the past three years.

As part of a welfare initiative, they have also pledged to allocate one rupee for every kilogram of product sold, towards supporting patients with financial difficulties and require emergency surgery and for those with chronic diseases. While having had to run a business in the confines of their own home, the grant offering they received from the enterprise project allowed them to complete construction work of their new factory. She now hopes to expand the business, improve their supply chain, and create new employment opportunities.

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Dialog Enterprise offers Dell Technologies Cloud IaaS in Sri Lanka

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Dialog Enterprise, the corporate solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, is working with Dell Technologies Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) in Sri Lanka to offer Dell Technologies Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions to customers to innovate and scale rapidly, reduce costs and increase performance of business-critical infrastructure.

“Together, with our combined forces, we bring the only hybrid multi-cloud partnership in the country, giving access to private clouds as well as to our existing public cloud, and for on-premises infrastructure, robustly powered by Dell Technologies and VMWare. Envisioning a one-stop multiservice solution for all enterprise requirements, we strive continuously to keep to the changing landscape strengthening the cloud play in the arena,” said Navin Pieris, the Vice President – Enterprise Business and Large Enterprise Sales, Dialog Axiata PLC.

Rather than making capital investments in hardware, storage and servers to maintain them, enterprises can harness and scale IaaS resources when needed, paying only for infrastructure services they consume. Mitigating and allowing for any threat of data loss, the cloud partnership also offers cyber recovery as a service with a guaranteed uptime of 99.95%, end-to-end management of data centers and 24×7 support with zero operational burden on the customer. Ensuring the same standardization, self-service, automation and analytics capabilities that exist in the public cloud, the partnership facilitates secure private clouds for customers along with servers, storage and customized enterprise, private and/or public cloud solutions as required by enterprises.

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