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‘Sri Lanka well positioned to become leading trade and maritime hub in Asia’



‘Sri Lanka is a gateway to almost 3 billion people in South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific and is located close to some of the busiest trading routes in the world. The country is therefore well positioned to become a leading trade and maritime hub in Asia, ambassador of Norway to Sri Lanka Trine Joranli Eskedal said.

The ambassador was addressing the 19th AGM of the Sri Lanka – NORDIC Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 21 as Chief Guest.

At the meeting Prasath Mahalingam of 99X Technology Limited was elected unanimously as the president of the Council.

The ambassador noted that the promotion of business cooperation between Norway and Sri Lanka, including increased trade and investment, is one of her key priorities.

The ambassador added – ‘The Sri Lankan – Norwegian bilateral relationship has withstood the test of time and is stronger today because it has always been based on mutual respect and cooperation. On this occasion, I want to make special mention of the ‘Match-Making Programme’ funded by NORAD, and very successfully implemented by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, a few years ago. This project aimed at encouraging Norwegian businesses to invest and initiate commercial co-operation with Sri Lankan partners. Over a 15-year period, it mobilised interest amongst 330 Norwegian SMEs in commercial operations with and in Sri Lanka. This programme had its roots in the embassy support for the Hambantota Integrated Rural Development programme carried out from 1979-1999. ‘Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, which is managed by the Norwegian Central Bank, had a total of USD 114 million investments in Sri Lankan stocks at the end of 2019, investing in 20 Sri Lankan companies.

The ambassador further noted that at a time when traditional development co-operation is on the decline, increasing trade and commercial co-operation will emerge as prime areas of interaction between Norway and Sri Lanka. There are many new opportunities for Sri Lanka to expand trade and investment by identifying new niche markets and products. She concluded by saying that the Royal Norwegian Embassy looked forward to continuing the partnership with the NORDIC Business Council and supporting Sri Lanka on its development journey.

The outgoing president, Merrick Gooneratne appreciated the support extended to local exporters through the ‘Sri Lanka – Norway Match – Making Programme,’ managed successfully by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, and requested Norway’s support to initiate similar programmes for further developing trade and investment between Sri Lanka and the NORDIC region.

Prasath Mahalingam, 99X Technology Ltd. was elected president of the Council, and Jehan Perinpanayagam, of Infomate (Pvt) Ltd., and Andre Fernando, of MAC Holdings (Pvt) Limited were elected Vice Presidents. The Committee members representing Aitken Spence Travels (Pvt) Ltd., Indika Abeykoon, Alpha Industries (Pvt) Ltd., Sarath Weerasuriya, Columbus Tours (Pvt) Ltd., Bobby J. Hansen, John Keells IT Ousman Anthony and Wilhelmsen Meridian Navigation Limited, Maleena Awn, were elected to serve for the period 2020 – 2021.

The Bilateral Business Councils, an integral part of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, play a vital role in the promotion of international business. The main activity of the Councils is expansion of business between Sri Lanka and the partner country. The Ceylon Chamber operates 20 Bilateral Business Councils with the prime objectives of promoting of trade and investment, joint ventures, services including promotion of tourism between Sri Lanka and the respective countries. The first Business Council, Sri Lanka – Japan Business Co-Operation Committee was formed in 1979. Since then, 19 more Business Councils were formed to fulfill the primary objectives.

The Sri Lanka – NORDIC Business Council was inaugurated in 2001 to promote trade, tourism investment and services between Sri Lanka and Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden and vice versa. The Sri Lanka – NORDIC Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce continues to act as the vital link between Sri Lanka and the partner countries, to develop new initiatives and areas of cooperation in terms of trade, tourism and investment. The Business Council membership comprise a wide spectrum of companies engaged in infrastructure, logistics and services, financial services, tourism and leisure, import and export trading, manufacturing, ICT and telecommunication.

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HNB Finance inks partnership with HNB Assurance



Sri Lanka’s leading integrated financial services provider, HNB Finance PLC, has entered into an exclusive partnership with HNB Assurance PLC, making it significantly easier and faster for HNB Finance customers to obtain insurances required for most of the offerings from the company.A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed recently by the two companies enables HNB Finance customers to obtain the insurances they require for personal and other offerings from the company, without even having to leave the premises of HNB Finance. Since representatives of HNB Assurance will now be stationed at the offices of HNB Finance, the process of obtaining the necessary insurance policies will be both more convenient and faster, further enhancing the overall customer experience.

“HNB Finance constantly strives to elevate our customer experience, particularly via partnerships with reputed organisations of the calibre of HNB Assurance,” HNB Finance PLC Managing Director/CEO Chaminda Prabhath said. “This also serves as an example of the synergies and strengths that HNB Finance benefit from, by being part of one of Sri Lanka’s largest financial services conglomerates, the HNB Group.”

“We take pleasure in this partnership with another member of the HNB Group and in offering the customers of HNB Finance the highly customer-centric offering of HNB Assurance,” HNB Assurance PLC CEO Lasitha Wimalaratne said. “Superlative customer experience has always been a core pillar of our strategy and HNB Finance customers can now benefit from these capabilities.”

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Mega training programme in SL in ICT related skills by Trainocate



By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Trainocate, being Asia’s largest IT and human capability development training provider, in a bid to create demand for future ICT related employees will be commencing a mega training program in Sri Lanka targeting youth and corporates.

“With the rapid advancements in digitalization and digital services driven by AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), cyber security and 5G, old paradigms and business models are being challenged. More organizations across sectors are now required to have an online-offline presence and operations, Trainocate’s CEO, South East Asia New Markets and the UAE Zafarullah Hashim told The Island Financial Review.

Zafarullah added: ‘According to a recent World Economic Forum report, by 2022, close to 30 per cent of new job opportunities globally will be in data, artificial intelligence (AI), engineering and cloud computing for the future Digital Economy.

‘The pace of change over the past few years has been accelerated by the diffusion of technology, speed of innovation and rapidly evolving business needs. Jobs have changed and new ones have emerged and replaced existing ones. In tandem with this, the required skills and competencies have also rapidly evolved.

‘Many South Asian countries’ corporates as well as current employees and youth aspiring for employment are not reading this.

‘With a global presence in 15 countries, Trainocate SEANM, a pioneer in delivering cutting edge training and certifications which are industry recognized, will commence helping beginners and professionals to expedite their career advancement through our centers.

‘Trainocate also works with key government and private stakeholders to ensure that beginners and professionals have access to high quality and industry-specific training that meets the demands of different sectors of the economy for an innovative and productive workforce.

‘Knowing which skills are in demand has never been more important. With evolving consumer demands and disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, we function as the bridge between vendors, such as Microsoft, AWS, Google Cloud, and the partner. We are also the bridge between the partner and customers. We do partner enablement programs for partners through the vendors and then from the partner to the customer. A partner has to commit to the vision and the goals of a vendor. You also need to have product knowledge and become certified, which is where we come in.

‘Microsoft has been our main force and we have been providing free fundamental training sessions, as we believe that primary knowledge is key in building the country’s digital transformation journey. Our business operation is carried out between business to business, business to government and business to customers as well.

‘Digital skills are increasingly transferable across different sectors, as more enterprises embark on digital transformation and technology adoption. The Digital Economy entails different types of skills, depending on their job role applications. Tech-Lite roles are job roles that involve the use of foundational digital solutions at work; while Tech-Heavy roles are specialized roles responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of more complex technological solutions and applications.

‘Trainocate SEANM focuses on developing skills, competency, ability and improving employee performances and organizational productivity. Organizations spend millions in acquiring and upgrading systems or hardware and give truly little thought to the training process. As a result, a vast majority of companies do not make maximum use of the features and benefits of the software in which they have invested. Proper training will increase productivity and reduce downtime which will complete IT projects faster.

‘Traincoate SEANM is rapidly reaching new heights by helping organizations that are going through a tough time and are in the transitioning period towards technology. Trainocate SEANM delivers well-informed and stable individuals who can provide their expertise towards the rise of these businesses. We have trained many blue-chip companies, along with their partners. Our goal is to develop individuals in tools that are already available that they don’t know how to use.

“Trainocate SEANM offers a range of resources, tools, certification and training programs and initiatives to help individuals and organizations identify and acquire the necessary skills to facilitate employment, improve job performance and adapt to job content changes in the midst of technological advancements and business operating model shifts.

‘We are not just a training company, but rather, a guidance company. We have been doing this for 25 plus years and have assessment tools that help us analyze and identify any skill gaps within organizations. We can use this to help the organizations’ HR and L&D teams streamline their training methods, as we can help identify these gaps and guide them on what they need the most.

‘Overall the company is helping organizations to think differently, plan strategically, save money and get the best out of technology. That is our secret to success.’

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Sunshine Healthcare appoints T. Sayandhan as CEO



Sunshine Healthcare has appointed T. Sayandhan as the Chief Executive Officer of Lina Manufacturing, the pharmaceutical manufacturing segment of the diversified company. Sayandhan, currently CEO of Sunshine Medical Devices, has more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry. He joined Sunshine Healthcare in 2017 to spearhead Sunshine Medical Devices and has been instrumental in growing the healthcare business to be the key driver of the Group’s financial performance, helping Sunshine Healthcare to sustain its growth over the few years amidst tough macroeconomic conditions.

Commenting on the new appointment, Sunshine Healthcare Managing Director Shyam Sathasivam said, “As a responsible Sri Lankan conglomerate, we believe the local production of pharmaceuticals plays a vital role in maintaining the resilience of national healthcare systems. When escalating macroeconomic conditions are putting immense pressure on the local healthcare sector, producing pharmaceuticals locally will facilitate access to needed medicines and decrease exposure to imports and international supply chains. At this critical juncture, I believe Sayandhan has demonstrated the right combination of talent and drive to step into this key leadership role at the company.”

Commenting on his appointment, Sayandhan said, “It is a challenging yet exciting time to join Lina Manufacturing when the company is advancing its efforts to develop Sri Lankan-made, innovative healthcare solutions.”

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