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SLID sets sights on international network to enrich training of future corporate directors

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID), cementing a relationship with Institutes of Directors (IODs) of India, Singapore and Malaysia and building good contacts and rapport with IODs of the United Kingdom and Australia, is planning to give more from its popular Board Leadership Training Programme to future corporate leaders in Sri Lanka.

SLID Chairman A.R Rasiah made this observation at Cinnamon Lakeside, Colombo on Wednesday at the SLID Annual Membership Meeting (AMM) held with full in-person attendance, ensuring adherence to the guidelines set out by the health authorities.

The 8th AMM unanimously re-elected all office-bearers including Council Members to represent the interests of the Institute and achieve its desired outcomes amid unprecedented challenges in the year ahead.

Many high-profile corporate leaders, directors and professionals attended the event where Fabrice Cavallin, Managing Director of Nestle Lanka was the chief guest.

The AMM re-elected office bearers- A. R Rasiah, Chairman, M.O.F. Salieh, Senior Vice Chairman, Ms. Aroshi Nanayakkara, Vice Chairperson, M. P. Jayawardena, Immediate Past Chairman and Council Members – D. Rodrigo, Ms. N. Tambiah, R Abeysuriya, Vish Govindasamy, Prakash Schaffter, Dinesh Weerakkody and Ms. Aruni Rajakarier and Secretariat/ Secretary to the Council Ms. Radika Obeyesekere -CEO.

Speaking on the plans ahead Rasiah said: “SLID is now updating its popular Board Leadership Training Programme by revamping to take into consideration the modern changes and the “new norm” in the corporate world. I thank the IFC for its support and assistance given to us. SLID is now trying to build a regional relationship with IODs of India, Singapore and Malaysia while making good contacts and rapport with IODs of United Kingdom and Australia. Integration of global insights from these IODs will enrich our Board Leadership Training Programmes”.

“SLID from its humble beginnings has grown to be in stature and recognition in Sri Lanka today. The very fact there were many organisations willing to partner SLID in many ventures and the excellent response from members to be co-opted into various sub committees was certainly proof of the contribution SLID has been making. The theme of propagating Corporate Governance and training the potential and current directors were the main goals which have been carried out very well. SLID team travelled outstations regularly with the support of the local chambers to conduct seminars to promote Corporate Governance. However due to the current Covid-19 situation, this has been somewhat hampered. However the Secretariat, headed by new CEO, Ms Radika Obeyesekere was very active and conducted five webinars on important topics during the curfew period which were very well attended. Key sub committee forums; namely the audit forum headed by Suren Rajakarier, the Independent directors forum (INED) headed by Faizal Salieh and the recently formed Women Directors forum headed by Ms. Aroshi Nanayakkara have been active all along”.

Fabrice Cavallin Managing Director of Nestle Lanka illustrating his presentation with a video clip explained how Nestle Lanka dealt with the challenges during the Covid-19 situation and how the company empowered its staff by giving them visible leadership from the front, to identify and make the best of the new opportunities that arose with it.

Notably the SLID AMM approved by resolution, to ensure that women make up 25% of its Council Members.

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Vehicle emission testing service earns high praise from customers

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Recognised as Sri Lanka’s leading-edge vehicle emission testing network, Drivegreen has won high praise from customers for its knowledgeable, disciplined and polite workforce, according to a recent customer service survey conducted by the company.

A common thread that echoed across the survey was the customer-oriented, friendly and attentive service extended by the team as the main reasons Drivegreen was repeatedly selected by customers for emission testing.

According to feedback received from a customer in Mawathagama, S.N.S Seneviratne who is a veteran driver said, “Firstly I believe, vehicle testing is an extremely valuable responsibility that has been undertaken by the company. I realise that due to the continuous vehicle testing, the release of toxic gas to the atmosphere has been minimized, enhancing air quality in this country. When compared to earlier days, we were engulfed by vehicle smoke and could not even walk on the road. However, now we witness a remarkable difference and we breathe cleaner air.”

“The staff are also extremely pleasant and helpful and as a result we do not waste our time unduly when waiting to be served or for testing,” he added.

Entrepreneur, Thasnim Kiyad from Maradana observed that as a result of receiving a comprehensive inspection via testing, it has helped him in ensuring the roadworthiness of his vehicle. The results of the emission test act as a guide to enable him to carry out the necessary maintenance and also make sure the fuel efficiency of his vehicle is maintained.

“As a result of conducting the vehicle emission test, I am made aware of any necessary maintenance required for the vehicle which I can attend to immediately. Once, my vehicle failed the test. The team instantly offered invaluable advice, and based on that I was able to make the required adjustments. Following this, when I re-tested, not only did my vehicle pass the emission test but the vehicle’s fuel efficiency was enhanced. Since then for several years now I continuously conduct my emission testing and continue to find the staff extremely competent and friendly,” he stated.

 

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BOC targets Rs. 50 bn coronavirus business bounce back loans

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Bank of Ceylon chairman Kanchana Ratwatte engages in religious activities at BOC headquarters in Colombo yesterday with Acting General Manager D.P.K Gunasekera, Board of Directors, senior management and staff. Pic by Sujatha Jayaratne

by Sanath Nanayakkare

Bank of Ceylon (BOC) chairman Kanchana Ratwatte said in Colombo yesterday that the Bank has set its sights on distributing Covid-19 bounce back business loans totaling Rs. 50 billion going forward.

“The government has developed and announced a range of measures aimed at supporting the economy, businesses and employees through the COVID-19 crisis, and the BOC will play a significant role in the government’s business support mechanisms with a view to reigniting the economy back to pre-Covid-19 level”, he said.

BOC chairman made these remarks at an event where BOC celebrated its 81st anniversary, leading the banking and finance landscape in Sri Lanka.

Speaking further Ratwatte said: “The Central Bank has proposed loan schemes to help revive affected businesses and increase money circulation in the country. BOC staff and senior management should work as one to achieve this objective. Under trying circumstances during the pandemic the entire staff rallied round BOC to keep the wheels of commerce moving in the country. BOC made a significant role in moving the economy in the right direction. I want to thank the government and the Central Bank for their guidance and support during this period. Entire staff of the bank had to make many sacrifices too.

‘’Those efforts were never mentioned in the media or elsewhere. In fact, it was under very trying circumstances, services were rendered by the banking sector. Despite the health risk, we kept the banks open throughout the period. Everybody from the lower level employee to the DGM to Acting GM made their fullest contribution to keep BOC operations moving. The health threat is not over yet, But we need to get our 12 million strong customers participating actively in the economy back again. We have started going to regions in the country and encouraging our customers to come to the bank and start their normal business activities.

‘’BOC has a share of 40% of foreign remittances and we have been able to maintain that level up to the end of July except for the month of June where there was a small deviation. Every other month despite the covid situation foreign remittances have flowed to the bank as usual. I would like to call upon the staff and senior management of BOC that despite the challenges we are facing, we need to address the concerns of the government of Sri Lanka. The main focus of the government is to ensure that there is enough liquidity in the system. Most of the relief schemes and moratoriums have been introduced by the Central Bank to ensure that there is adequate money circulation in the market for which purpose we have to think beyond the usual banking practices – without breaking the rules and well within the realm of our accepted banking practices – and help keep the wheels of commerce moving”.

D.P.K Gunasekera, Acting General Manager-BOC said,”BOC has distributed about Rs, 9 billion coronavirus business bounce back loans. Potential loan grants worth Rs. 6 billion have been registered with the Central Bank. In addition to that, our branch network is currently in the process of reviewing loans worth Rs. 12 billion. Thus BOC is working ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the government to achieve quick economic recovery”.

A number of leading businesspeople of the country who are top-line customers of the bank took part in the event.

 

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Nihonbashi partners Luxe Colombo on 25th anniversary

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Nihonbashi, an iconic dining destination has partnered with Luxe Colombo to create a food-hall concept, where premium imported products are available for purchase or can be enjoyed at the ‘Taste Lab’. This is the first space in Sri Lanka where an extensive range of specialty cheeses and cold-cuts are paired with wines from around the world and can be sampled at the space itself.

After 25 years in its original location, a stone’s throw from Galle Face Green, famed Chef-restaurateur Dharshan Munidasa decided it was time to adopt a modern concept of a ‘deli-style’ space where specially curated menus could come into play along with small pop-ups showcasing his love of Japanese cuisine and steaks. It would also be a space for his chef friends to host pop-ups, to capture the attention of a growing segment of discerning luxury diners, while at the same time staying true to the Zen spirit of Nihonbashi, which prides itself on high-quality produce and authenticity that has kept raising the bar over 25 years and was in fact the first restaurant in Sri Lanka to ever make it to the prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant list. Luxe Colombo has fast earned a solid reputation as a purveyor of fine-foods from Europe and delivery options are also available out of this well-located space.

The ‘Taste Lab’ embodies the best of the brand’s personality. Visitors to the space are met with a sense of serenity and anticipation as they walk across the pond. The space has been designed to maintain its Zen interiors in this atrium flooded with natural light. It brings an open-air courtyard feel inside and the leafy-green foliage used as decor adds to the fresh feel. Original features such as the bamboo columns and pond are highlighted at night with subtle lighting.

Ready-made vegan soups, aged soy-sauce, a delectable range of freshly-made mayonnaises and many other Nihonbashi ready-to-go products are also available at ‘Taste Lab’ along with Luxe Colombo’s gourmet collection.

 

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