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Starchina International Trade Company to buy 4 million kilo grams annually of Pure Ceylon Tea



Starchina International Trade Company Ltd. of China will buy more than 4 million kilograms of Ceylon Tea annually in terms of an MOU and the import quantity is expected to increase by 10 percent to 15 per cent every year, a government press release said.

The release: The Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with Fujian Starchina International Trade Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of Fuzhou Benny Tea Industries Co. Ltd according to the vision of the government of Sri Lanka to “Promote Investments and Trade”. Minister of Plantations Industries Dr. Ramesh Parthirana and Sri Lanka Tea Board signed a MOU, with one of the largest tea companies in China. The MOU was signed by using Zoom technology in front of the ambassador Dr. Palitha T. B. Kohona of embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing. The other participants were Jayampathy Molligoda, chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, the Group Chairman of Benny Tea Industries Co. Ltd and the Sri Lanka Tea Board representatives in Beijing and the officials of “BEST Energy Co. Ltd” the local representation of Benny Tea Industries Co. Ltd.

This MOU was Initially recognized and approved by the Board Directors of Sri Lanka Tea Board, Plantation Ministry, Attorney Generals office of Sri Lanka, Ministry of Foreign affairs and finally the President and the Prime Minister, head of the Sri Lankan Cabinet.

Chinese market highlights.

• China retail market value: US$ 6 trillion

• Online penetration value: US$ 1.42 trillion

• Estimated foreign imported goods proportion of online: US$ 569 billion

• Internet users in China: 731 million

• Internet users of middle class consumers in China: 400 million (Year 2020 estimation)

• Mobile monthly active users: 620 million

• Mobile transaction on retail online sales: 90%

• Product/brand comments per day: 20 million

China tea market is rapidly growing and converting Green tea to Black tea with a substantial growth. By 2020, China’s Ceylon Tea imports registered 14.2 million kilograms, year-over-year increase by 20%. Sri Lanka average tea production registered 310 million kilograms per year and renowned as the best and cleanest orthodox teas in the world.

Starchina International Trade Company Limited will buy more than 4 million kilograms per year, and predicted to increase the import quantity by 10%-15% annually. Also improving to purchase value added Ceylon tea year by year starting from 60,000 kgs in the first year. The validity of this agreement for 15 years and the advantage is the buying company assures the quantity with an annual increase for the number of years through a legally bound agreement. Starchina International Trade Company Limited currently operating with over 3000, B 2 B clients and more than 180,000 Milk tea shop clients in China.

All Sri Lankan exporters will be enjoying “ZERO” cost to ge into this market as online platform charges, security deposits, annual renewal charges, logistics, operation and promotion fees depend on occasions and cases.

Special credentials of the agreement

• Starchina International Trade Company Limited offers to List Sri Lankan brands on a “PURE CEYLON TEA DEDICATED” O or O online.

• All these teas are marketed with “Original Sri Lankan Brand Names” to market not only in China but also cross border trading.

• All import being done following prevailing rules and regulations. Sri Lankan tea will be shipped tea complying with Sri Lanka rules and regulations to warehouse in Starchina International Trade Company Limited in Fuzhou, Fujian, China

• Starchina International Trade Company Limited will be buying teas from Sri Lankan tea companies under the supervision of Sri Lanka Tea Board on a pre agreed price to ensuring the present trading system.

• Payment will be done every month to the Sri Lankan tea suppliers. Star china International Trade Company Limited will settle all the dues as per the agreement made between the Sri Lankan suppliers. All sales information can be viewed by the respective Sri Lankan tea supplier to secure the transparency and high standards of business ethics, under the supervision of Sri Lanka Tea Board.

• Starchina International Trade Company Limited is responsible and accountable for all their purchases since all requirement parameters will be checked and purchased from the Sri Lankan suppliers and confirmed according to the Starchina International Trade Company Limited requirements.

• Starchina International Trade Company Limited will hold a variety of Ceylon tea promotion activities in China; participate in exhibitions in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other places to help promote dedicated space to Pure Ceylon Tea and Sri Lankan Tea brands.

• Starchina International Trade Company Limited will be participating in the promotional campaigns conducted by Sri Lanka Tea Board and provides fullest support.

• Support on Sri Lanka Tea Factory modernization with technology transfer in aspects of tea plantations systems and tea value addition.

• Business diversification on “TEA TOURISM” involving in services sector by investing a hotel to promote tea culture to the tourist sector.

This is the first occasion that the Sri Lanka Tea Board in getting into signing for an agency (not an exclusive agency ship) agreement with any other country or a private company to increase Ceylon Tea exports. The said MOU and agreement will be uplifted to promote and increase of marketing of Ceylon tea in China in a greater way.


‘Revenue collecting PCs had only Rs. 40 billion for public service in 2021’



Pasanda Yapa Abeywardena

By Sanath Nanayakkare

There wouldn’t be a better time for major political parties to discuss and arrive at a consensus for abolishing the revenue-collecting provincial council system which hasn’t done anything more than just distributing government-sponsored welfare goods to the people, Pasanda Yapa Abeywardena, chief organiser of Lankalokaya and former provincial councilor said at a press conference in Colombo on January 19.

Pasanda who enjoys familial relationships with political higher-ups in the country while being the current chairman of Sathosa said that the President of Sri Lanka can travel across the island by helicopter in just one and a half hours which is only the size of Virginia in the United States, but has so many layers of governance including executive presidency, parliament, provincial councils, district secretariats, local government institutions etc.

“It is a known fact that provincial councils are mere training centres for the offspring of senior politicians and there is a demand in the country for cost-effective small government. In such a context, all political parties should have a dialogue in the next six months to abolish provincial councils, and strengthen the local government bodies through district development councils administered by the central government. Such a mechanism would reduce administrative layers while expanding the effective understanding of policies made by the government. Then the decisions made by the cabinet of ministers will easily flow to the ground level and the implementation process will be more dynamic. The President also has expressed similar views in this regard, he said.

“In the year 2021, revenue of provincial councils amounted to Rs. 331 billion while total expenditure was Rs. 316 billion, out of which Rs. 279 billion was spent on the payroll without having to bear the costs of provincial councilors. All in all, the provincial councils had only about Rs. 40 billion to spend on public services,” he said.

“In fact, I know from experience that nothing meaningful could be achieved through provincial councils other than merely being an institution of the central government that distributes chairs, mammoties etc., given by the government where provincial councilors claim to be the benefactors.”

“Provincial councils came to its end of term in April 2019 and five years have lapsed since the defunct of the system. Nevertheless, there is no public outcry to restore the system. PC system has never contributed to making any laws of the country or has never initiated a good programme on its own. So, we urge the political parties to engage in a meaningful discussion in the next six months before the country goes to presidential and parliamentary elections.”

He pointed out that the abolition of the PC system would help reduce the tax burden on the people, and that decision has to be taken well before PC elections are held.

Pasanda added that neither the people in the North of Sri Lanka or the government of India are interested in provincial councils anymore though the system was introduced by then government as a means of power decentralisation in Sri Lanka.”

“India is keen to have an equitable solution to the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka. However, I have reliable information that India doesn’t see provincial councils in the North and East would be an enabler in that quest. So, the abolition of provincial councils won’t trigger any geopolitical tensions with India,” he said.

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HNB Assurance Group surpasses 20% growth mark for the third consecutive year



HNB Assurance Group recorded yet another year of exceptional performance, marking the third consecutive year of achieving a growth rate exceeding 20% in terms of GWP (Gross Written Premium). The year 2023 witnessed the Group achieving remarkable financial milestones and an array of local and international awards, solidifying its position as a frontrunner in the insurance industry.

HNB Assurance Group recorded a substantial GWP of LKR 18.7 Bn, showcasing a remarkable growth of 20% compared to the previous year. Reflecting on this achievement, Ms. Rose Cooray, Chairperson of HNBA and HNBGI, expressed her delight, stating, “To me personally, the remarkable growth trajectory of the HNB Assurance Group stands as a testament to our commitment to delivering value to our stakeholders. Both teams at HNBA and HNBGI performed an outstanding job, leaving no stone unturned, meticulously analyzing every challenge, and capitalizing on every opportunity. This approach to business was imperative, particularly in the aftermath of COVID-19 and the subsequent economic and social upheaval, where we as a nation encountered numerous challenges in diverse forms. In addition to our consistent growth of GWP, over the past three years, we as a group have so much to celebrate. Our Group assets grew by LKR 10 Bn during the year, well exceeding a remarkable total of LKR 51.2 Bn. Further, investment income for the Group surged to LKR 7.2 Bn, representing an outstanding growth of 49% from LKR 4.8 Bn in the preceding year. In terms of the Group’s profits, we recorded a commendable LKR 1.76 Bn in PAT.”

Honoring claims plays a vital role in maintaining the trust for any insurance company, “I am proud to note that the HNB Assurance Group honored claims of LKR 6.6 Bn, showcasing a growth of 19% compared to the previous year, aptly demonstrating our position as a reliable partner during our policyholder’s time of need.” explained Ms. Cooray.

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Sri Lanka College of Endocrinologists partners with Morison to address the rising challenge of diabetes



The team members from the Sri Lanka College of Endocrinologists and Morison Ltd, present at the MoU signing

The Sri Lanka College of Endocrinologists (SLCE), the leading authority at the forefront of diabetes management and education in Sri Lanka, has announced a collaborative partnership with Morison Ltd, a pioneer in the Sri Lankan pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, to launch a certificate training program for primary healthcare professionals on diabetes management.

Sri Lanka faces a growing epidemic in diabetes, with an estimated prevalence of one in five Sri Lankans living with diabetes. Primary healthcare doctors are often the first point of contact for patients with diabetes, hence equipping them with specialized knowledge and skills is crucial for early diagnosis, effective management, and preventing complications. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between SLCE and Morison on 13th February 2024, reflects a shared commitment to bridge this gap in diabetes expertise and establish primary care as the first line of defence.

The course content developed and delivered by the SLCE, features an evidence-based curriculum, combining theoretical knowledge with practical applications, ensuring participants receive up-to-date knowledge that adheres to the latest Clinical Practice Guidelines and international standards. The program aims to empower primary healthcare professionals to deliver comprehensive diabetes care in their daily practice, including therapeutics, lifestyle counselling, and complication prevention, ultimately leading to improved patient outcomes and reduced burden on the healthcare system. The course, spanning four months, is now open for registrations for the first intake, and the collaboration aims to conduct two such programs per annum.

Dedicated to advancing endocrinology and diabetes care in Sri Lanka, the SLCE spearheads numerous initiatives to educate healthcare professionals on best practices in diabetes management. Dr. Niranjala Meegoda Widanege, President of the Sri Lanka College of Endocrinologists stated, “Equipping our primary healthcare doctors with specialized diabetes knowledge and skills is essential to tackle the growing epidemic effectively. This training program marks a significant step forward in ensuring accessible and quality diabetes care for all Sri Lankans.”

Dinesh Athapaththu, Managing Director, Morison Ltd commenting on the partnership added, “We are pleased to collaborate with the SLCE to bring this meaningful initiative to life. With a patient-centric approach across our value chain, we believe our latest efforts with the SLCE reflects our commitment to deliver a refreshing difference at a time it is most needed by the nation.”

Staying true to their purpose of “Making Premium Healthcare Affordable”, Morison strives to play a major role in the fight against diabetes by bringing the latest therapies closer to the nation with an offering that stands distinctively different with the best of quality and price.

Morison is a truly Sri Lankan pharmaceutical manufacturing company, with a rich legacy of over 60 years of industrial expertise. Their new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Homagama, is the largest investment to date in the local pharma manufacturing industry. Being the country’s largest pharma manufacturing facility for general tablets and liquids, it is also the first such facility in Sri Lanka to comply to European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (EU GMP) specifications.

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