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
Aitken Spence invests in yet another renewable energy project in hydropower
Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake – Deputy Chairman and Managing Director Aitken Spence PLC accepting the share transfer form from Harsha Abeywickrama – chairman Sunshine Energy Ltd; in the presence of Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena – Executive Director Aitken Spence PLC, Dr. Rohan Fernando – Executive Director Aitken Spence PLC, Ms. Nilanthi Sivapragasam – Chief Financial Officer Aitken Spence PLC and Leel Wickremarachchi – Managing Director of the power segment from Aitken Spence PLC. Shyam Sathasivam – Managing Director, Sunshine Energy Ltd. and Harin Udeshi – Director, Waltrim Energy Ltd.
Aitken Spence PLC recently acquired Waltrim Energy Limited, a subsidiary of Sunshine Holdings PLC for Rs. 900 million. The company contributes 6.6MW to the national grid via three mini hydropower plants located in the Nuwara Eliya district, namely of Waltrim Hydropower (Private) Limited, Upper Waltrim Hydropower (Private) Limited and Elgin Hydropower (Private) Limited. Waltrim hydropower draws energy from Kothmala Oya, Upper Waltrim hydropower and Elgin hydropower from Dambagasthwala Oya.
Aitken Spence expands its portfolio in hydropower in the pursuit of meeting rising energy demands, sustainable development, access to clean energy and lowering our national carbon footprint. This is the second hydropower plant which is owned and operated by Aitken Spence. Branford Hydropower (Pvt) Ltd. is the other hydropower plant with a 2.5MW capacity located in Matale. The company also owns and operates a wind power plant with 3MW capacity located in Ambewela.
“This is yet another investment made by Aitken Spence that shows our commitment to expand the power generation portfolio with renewable energy projects. Hydro power plays a key role in renewable energy segment in Sri Lanka and this initiative strengthens the country’s efforts to move towards cleaner energy sources and effective and efficient management of sustainable and affordable generation of energy supplied to the national grid,” commented Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.
“Aitken Spence maintains highest environmental, safety and quality standards in the management of our power plants. These stringent management frameworks will be extended to the newly acquired power plants to meet compliance requirements as well as global benchmarks for cleaner production of energy,” added Leel Wickremarachchi, Managing Director of the power segment of Aitken Spence.
The Power segment of Aitken Spence is a leading player in the sector with a reputation for investing in pioneering technologies and has diversified into renewable energy by establishing hydro power and wind power plants to support Sri Lanka’s demand for energy. With their commitment to increase the country’s energy consumption from renewable energy sources, the company recently introduced Sri Lanka’s first waste to energy power plant that was officially launched in February 2021. Moreover, these initiatives are in line with the collective efforts of government and the private sector to produce clean energy sustainably.
Best Woman Entrepreneur at Entrepreneur Awards 2020
Christell Skin Clinic proved their mettle as industry leaders yet again, by clinching the three topmost awards at the recently held Western Province Entrepreneurship Awards Ceremony 2020. The highly-anticipated annual event -jointly organised by the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) and the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka- took place this year at the BMICH.
The event brought together industry leaders and newcomers with the aim to recognise and honour micro, small, medium and large sector entrepreneurs that have contributed significantly to Sri Lanka’s service sector over the past year.
The country’s leading aesthetics and wellness centre took home The Best Enterprise service sector trophy, as well as the Best Entrepreneur of the Year award – the most sought-after prize of the night. More notably however, the Best Woman Entrepreneur title was awarded to the director of the Christell Skin Clinic, Dr. Shanika Arsecularatne, in recognition of her inspirational journey to becoming one of the most successful businesswomen in the country, and also of her outstanding contribution to the field of cosmetology and wellness in Sri Lanka.
“I’m truly honoured to receive this recognition, especially because I believe that no one receives an award like this out of sheer luck, but rather in acknowledgement and appreciation of the hard work, sleepless nights and sacrifices we have all made, to be where we are today,” said Dr. Arsecularatne on accepting her award.
Plastic Modified Asphalt Concrete car park in Sri Lanka
The car park of the Walgama Food City with its new “Paving with Plastic”
As a socially responsible corporate citizen, Cargills holds a strong commitment to serving the nation and preserving the planet for future generations. By partnering with AGC Innovate Pvt Ltd – one of the country’s leading innovative solutions providers – Cargills initiated the launch of “Paving with Plastic” as a means to address Sri Lanka’s plastic waste menace in an ecofriendly and pragmatic approach.
The benefits of plastic are irrefutable – this versatile material is ubiquitous in our everyday lives, due to it being cheap and convenient to produce as well as being highly durable and user friendly. However, once used and disposed, plastic lingers in the environment for too long and does not decompose.
As a result, the inherent problem of plastic pollution is a global crisis, with Sri Lanka generating approximately 7000 metric tons of mismanaged solid waste daily, with 6% accounting for plastic and polythene waste. Therefore, in the absence of a proper waste management system, non-recyclable plastic is dumped in large landfill sites. These sites are now exceeding their maximum capacity, and has led to pressing environmental and social concerns in the country.
As a first step to tackling this waste plastic problem, Cargills made a landmark decision to pave the Cargills Food City Carparks using Plastic Modified Asphalt Concrete, partnering with AGC Innovate.
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