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SLCSMI pays tribute to assistors of SME sector



Sri Lanka Chamber of Small and Medium Industries (SLCSMI), incorporated by an Act of Parliament, as the apex body for SME sector in the country, initiated several measures to assist the SMEs, being the most affected sector due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, during last few months.

The actions included collaborating with other chambers and government institutions in identifying the affected businesses and providing assistance to overcome the challenges, negotiating with banks and financial institutions to ease the loan terms and extend credit facilities and lobbying government institutions including the Central Bank to roll out various relief measures including the extension of the moratorium.

Among the measures, the webinar series organized by the chamber was well received by the SME community and the Chamber gained overwhelming commendations from multiple stakeholders including several foreign agencies and enthusiasts. The webinar series covered a wider range of topics addressing the vital issues faced by the SMEs in the prevailing circumstances and the resource persons included top officials of government agencies, senior officers of leading banks, eminent personalities in the industry, representatives of various chambers and highly acclaimed scholars. The webinar series was moderated by Chaaminda Kumarasiri, who is the strategic adviser to SLCSMI, a leading management consultant as well as a strong advocate of MSMEs and entrepreneurship in the country.

The Chamber recently organized an event at The Kingsbury Hotel – Colombo, to pay tribute to the parties who joined hands with the Chamber in executing its activities during the difficult times. A key item in the event was the felicitation ofthe Minister of Small & Medium Business and Enterprise Development, Industries and Supply chain Management, Hon. Wimal Weerawansa for his yeoman service to support the SME sector and foster entrepreneurship in the country during the last several months, amidst the pandemic.

The President of SLCSMI Prof. Rohan De Silva, on behalf of the SME community, conveyed his gratitude to all the parties who worked hard in supporting the SME sector starting from H.E. the President Gotabaya Rajapaksha, Hon. Minister Wimal Weerawansa, government agencies, banks and other like-minded institutions and people. He emphasized the importance of having a National Policy for the SME sector and pledged his fullest cooperation to the government in driving the sector. Prof.Rohan De Silva also brought to the notice of the minister that, this is the first time in the history SLCSMI felicitating a minister, as the Chamber felt it’s necessary to appreciate the outstanding contribution made by the Hon. Minister to resolve many long overdue issues and his prompt intervention to initiate several policy measures to save the local industries.

Hon. Wimal Weerawansa pledged his commitment to make H.E. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s mission towards a people-centric production economy a reality and commended the outstanding contribution of SLCSMI to the SME sector in the country. He highlighted several measures recently taken by him with the blessings of H.E. The President to save and serve the local industries; such as establishment of the inter-ministerial task force on industrial and enterprise development, curtailment of imports to protect local industries and resuming of operations at the state-owned Valaichchenai Paper Mill.

He further, indicated the government’s intention to establish a dedicated Bank for SMEs, with low interest rates on concessionary provisions and appealed the cooperation of the Chamber and other stakeholders in these endeavors.

The strategic adviser to SLCSMI, Chaaminda Kumarasiri emphasized the importance of the policy consistency between those ministries and government agencies working towards developing the local industries and those in the running of commercial activities, quoting an example from the history where commercial institutions had taken steps to import rice, while another set of agencies striving to protect local farmers. He also highlighted the importance of undisturbed flow of activities within government agencies based on an established road map, which is often hampered due to haphazard changes in the leadership mostly owing to shuffling of ministers.

Emeritus chairman of D. Samson & Sons (Pvt) Ltd.and a past president of SLCSMI Deshamanya Nandadasa Rajapakse, Chairman of IDB, Upasena Dissanayake and Chairman of NEDA, Anushka Gunasinghe also addressed the gathering while representatives of government agencies, banks, chambers, professional bodies, resource persons of the webinar series and over 60 leading industrialists in the country graced the occasion

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Emirates and Dilmah Tea celebrate 30 years of partnership



Dubai, UAE, May 2022 – Emirates and Dilmah Tea have enjoyed a longstanding partnership of brewing the finest teas on board and in Emirates’ airport lounges around the world for the past 30 years. To mark the milestone on International Tea Day, all Emirates’ passengers received a special tea box when they flew from Dubai a few days ago.

 In addition, First Class passengers on flights to the UK were treated to a food pairing, while passengers in the Emirates’ Onboard Lounge were offered Dilmah Tea infused mocktails. The special tea pack for all passengers who flew on Saturday contained three different flavours: Ceylon Breakfast, an Emirates exclusive Turmeric Coconut and Vanilla tea, and the popular Earl Grey with Honey.

 In First Class, Emirates offered the Brilliant Breakfast, one of the many gourmet teas created by passionate Tea Maker and Dilmah founder, Merrill J. Fernando. This was paired with the afternoon tea service on board.

 Moroccan Mint Green tea was exquisitely paired alongside Labneh – a tangy and creamy yoghurt – with roast vegetables for vegetarians. While Dilmah’s Sench Green Extra Special tea – renowned for its delicate taste with herbal finish with a touch of sweetness –  was served with sushi, particularly seafood.

 “Emirates focuses on dishes that emphasise fresh ingredients of the highest quality. We pay special attention to every detail and the quality of the tea we offer our customers is no different. The fact that we have served Dilmah Tea for 30 years across all our cabins is proof of its quality and our satisfaction with the perfect cup of tea.

“We have an exceptional partnership with Dilmah and we have grown in tandem for the last 30 years. Over 9.6 million tea bags are used each year across our fleet with more than 10 tea varieties on offer, including an exclusive Emirates Signature Tea served in First Class,” said Thomas Ney, DSVP, Service Delivery at Emirates.

 Dilhan C. Fernando, son of Dilmah Founder and CEO of the family company explained: “For 30 years we have grown a tea inspired collaboration with Emirates, offering customers a uniquely Emirates experience in tea. To celebrate the Pearl Anniversary of our partnership in tea, we made a tea that is as rare as it is magnificent. A seasonal tea with extraordinary finesse, handpicked from tea bushes prepared for months and crafted into a numbered limited-edition tea.

“Our co-operation with Emirates truly presents the luxury in fine tea, and – in our tea mocktails and food pairings – contemporary, tea inspired hospitality. For the last 30 years we have created these unique moments for Emirates customers either on the ground, in its lounges around the world, or at 40,000 feet and this year is no different. We are excited to have the special 30-year blend on board Emirates’ fleet.”

A world-class partnership

Millions of world class cups of tea have been poured for Emirates’ customers since the airline’s partnership with Dilmah began in 1992.

The airline brings the finest products on board through long standing partnerships worldwide, including support for local suppliers and artisans. Emirates takes the Dilmah brand to more than 130 destinations on six continents.

 The teas offered on Emirates are chosen by popularity amongst customers, catering to different preferences like minty or citrus infusions as well as by looking at tea drinking trends. With an increasing focus on wellness amongst customers, the airline recently introduced a new tea in its airport lounges – Turmeric, coconut and vanilla featuring antioxidant properties.

 On board, the most popular tea in Economy Class is the Dilmah Ceylon Black Tea while passengers in First and Business Class favour Moroccan Mint and Breakfast Tea. Emirates serves a selection of six teas in Business Class and its airport lounges, and a further six teas in First Class.

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AkzoNobel honours students of City School of Architecture at Colour Awards 2021-2022



– Annual design competition celebrates young design talent for fourth year running

AkzoNobel Paints Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., in partnership with the City School of Architecture (CSA), honoured the winners of the Colour Awards 2021-2022 at the CSA Graduation & Awards Ceremony held recently at the BMICH.

A partnership initiated four years ago by the producer of Dulux paints in Sri Lanka, the annual competition hopes to raise the bar of design and innovation standards and encourage young creative talent as important future players in a fast-evolving industry.

Every year the prize invites first year students from the City School of Architecture to face a new colour and architecture-themed design challenge. After several mentoring sessions by the academic staff of CSA -namely Archt. Nela de Zoyza, Archt. Anurangi Mendis, and Archt. Shayan Kumaradas-, participants are then required to produce a final submission and present it to a high-profile selection committee.

This year, each submission was reviewed by a star-studded panel of industry specialists, including Mr. Romesh de Silva, Ms. Charmaine Mendis, Archt. Shevanthi Basnayake, Archt. Kosala Weerasekera, Archt. Rehan Thillakeratne, and Archt Nandika Denipitiya, together with the Managing Director of AkzoNobel Paints in Sri Lanka, Mr. Wasantha Heenatigala.

Following a rigorous judging process, the five most impressive submissions were chosen, with winners being conferred a generous cash reward, as well the prestige of having being recognized by the pioneers of the paint manufacturing industry in Sri Lanka and the world.

Speaking at this year’s ceremony, Upendra Gunawardhana, Head of Marketing of AkzoNobel Sri Lanka commented, “As a leading global paints and coating company, we are convinced that in helping develop and highlight emerging talent, we are also playing a crucial role in shaping the future of the industry. With the Colour Awards we hope to provide a platform through which university students can hone their design thinking skills on an industry level, while at the same time also consistently set benchmarks of innovation for the years to come.”

“Over the years AkzoNobel has played a significant role in supporting the educational growth and creative development of our students through its Colour Awards,” said Archt. Professor Lal Balasuriya, Head of School of the City School of Architecture. “Here, young design aspirants are given the chance to test the limits of both, their creative ingenuity and industry acumen, and we’re sincerely grateful to AkzoNobel for this transformative opportunity.”

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Wing Commander (Retd.) D. Pradeep S. Kannangara elected president, Industrial Security Foundation



The Industrial Security Foundation (ISF) which acts as the sole organization in Sri Lanka to represent the Private Security industry having incorporated by an Act passed in the Parliament, Act No. 51 of 1999, elected Wing Commander (Retd.) Pradeep Kannangara as its President for the years 2022/2023 at its 30th annual General Meeting which was held at the PIM Auditorium in Borella. Wing Commander Pradeep Kannangara was appointed President while 14 other members were appointed to the Executive Committee, strengthening the ISF in order to drive and uplift the standards of the private security industry in Sri Lanka.

He has served on the ExCo consecutively since 2012 under four different presidents where he held the positions of Senior Vice President during the last three consecutive years. He has also been a committed member of the ISF and was awarded prestigious coveted FISF title due to his many valuable contributions to the organization and the Private Security Industry in Sri Lanka in 2012.

Wing Commander Kannangara’s journey into private security began after a successful career in the Sri Lanka Air Force for over 24 years where he served in many capacities finally being the Officer Commanding of the Special Air Borne Force. A recipient of the Ranasura Padakkama (RSP) Gallantry award for his bravery, sacrifices and service to the nation by the President of the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in 1990. He holds a Master’s in business management from the Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia too and serves as a Board Director in AB Securitas (Private) Limited in Sri Lanka and AB Securitas Bangladesh Limited.

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