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State banks could be game changers for Sri Lanka artisan craft industry: PM

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday urged state banks to facilitate financing to skilled rural craft artisans and become a game changer in upscaling their competitiveness and growth in the global market.

“Procuring a business loan shouldn’t be a challenge for these rural entrepreneurs. Adequate infusion of capital should be made available for handicraft makers. The government has taken steps to enhance industries of traditional craftsmen by providing them various resources, entrepreneurial education, product innovation knowledge and also by helping them seek out broader market access. Now the state banks also have a role to play by providing them easier access to capital in order to keep their entrepreneurial spirit alive and grow their businesses,” the Prime Minister who is also the Minister of Finance said.

He made these remarks at the inauguration of ‘Shilpa Thursday’- the special handicrafts marketing promotional programme held at Diyatha, Battaramulla, which will continue to be held every Thursday.

Referring to Sujeewa Rajapakse, the chairman of People’s Bank who was a key invitee of the event, the Prime Minister said,” The People’s Bank chairman is here. The People’s Bank officials may visit these stalls, see these artisans’ real business capacity and assess how the bank can help them to take their business to the next level. Maybe the People’s Bank can set up a temporary banking facility at the site and gain first hand experience how viable these businesses are for further capital infusion”.

Wimal Weerawansa. Minister of Industries and Prasanna Ranaweera, State Minister of Rattan, Brass, Clay, Furniture and Rural Industry Promotion also spoke at the event.

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A ‘phygital’ experience at HSBC Premier Centre in Pelawatte

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With the demographic equation changing and the mass affluent customers now also choosing to live in the suburbs, HSBC is gearing its branches of the periphery of the city to service customers in this segment.

Pelawatte has become the latest HSBC branch to be upgraded to be an exclusive Premier Banking Centre to meet the growing demand of the affluent population in the residential hub of the Colombo metro region.

The newly refurbished Premier Centre was declared open by Mark Prothero, CEO for HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives. Also present was Nadeesha Senaratne, Country Head of Wealth & Personal Banking, together with senior management and staff.

Nadeesha Senaratne, said, “HSBC has established a long history of 128 years in Sri Lanka, and in the past few years we have seen the value of strategically expanding to meet the specific needs of our customers.”

HSBC’s Pelawatte branch was opened in 1998 and is conveniently located at no 418B Battaramulla – Pannipitiya Road, Battaramulla which currently serves a diverse portfolio of retail banking customers. With the new improvements undertaken, HSBC hopes to provide customers with an inclusive banking service, and attract potential new customers with its Premier banking proposition and worldwide banking service, within the expanding residential neighborhood.

The Premier Centre in Pelawatte models HSBC’s flagship Premier Centre located in Flower road- Colombo 7, with an expansive ‘open’ space concept for casual open dialog with customers. The space has been optimized to enhance the customer experience by providing a ‘phygital’ banking experience with private meeting rooms specially designed to give customers an exclusive banking service with the assistance of a dedicated Relationship Manager. It also features video conferencing facility, which enables customers to connect with their Premier RM’s internationally, while enjoying the highest standards of privacy. Customers can walk out of the branch with the ‘Bank in their pocket’ by opening an account in less than an hour and begin transacting digitally, almost instantly.

(HSBC)

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SLT & Mobitel successfully conclude digitization of Lankagama Village

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Fulfilling its role as the nation’s pioneer in Telecommunication Services, the SLT Group successfully completed the President’s directive of providing high-speed connectivity solutions to the Lankagama Village recently.

An event was held to mark this proud achievement on 20th September 2020 in the presence of Oshada Senanayake – Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), Lalith Seneviratne – Group CEO of SLT & Mobitel, Kiththi Perera- Chief Executive Officer of SLT, M.B.P. Fernandez – Chief Operations Officer of SLT, Prabath Dahanayake – Chief Marketing Officer of SLT, Sudarshana Geeganage – Chief Financial Officer of Mobitel, Shashika Senerath – Chief Marketing Officer of Mobitel, Rasantha Hettithanthrige – Senior General Manager, Engineering & Operations at Mobitel along with SLT & Mobitel technology partners Huawei, ZTE and the community.

The SLT Group provided high-speed 4G/LTE broadband and enhanced voice services within record-time despite the fact that the Lankagama Village is located at the southern boundary of the Sinharaja Rain Forest, in the Neluwa Divisional Secretariat, Galle District; posing severe logistical challenges. Further, the SLT Group also offered SMART classroom solutions consisting of tabs, laptops and school supplies including stationery thereby opening up a world of possibilities for the students in the remote village. (SLT)

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Local tyre manufacturers say ‘no need’ to import motorcycle and three-wheeler tyres

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

Local tyre manufacturers request the government not to import motorcycle and three-wheeler tyres as they have the capacity to supply locally produced premium quality tyres for the segment, without leaving room for any supply shortage in the market.

“We have the combination of quality and technology to meet the demand in the market”, a leading local tyre manufacturer said.

“We have the capacity to meet the local demand for motorcycle and three wheeler tyres and we are already supplying the products to the market, fully meeting its demand,” they said.

“In 2019, Rs. 1,062 million worth motorcycle and three-wheeler tyres and tubes were imported to the country. This means we are able to save Rs. 1,062 million in foreign exchange this year by producing all of these locally”, they pointed out.

“We produce sufficient quantities of high-demand tyres for the local market without any supply shortage. We are supportive of the government’s drive to encourage Sri Lankan companies to manufacture goods that can be manufactured in Sri Lanka. We request the continued support of the government to keep our efforts up in this direction,” they said.”Only a few types of tyres of special sizes are not produced locally. Those products are imported in small numbers. There is lesser demand for these tyres as they are not widely used”, they said.

“Apart from establishing ourselves in the local market, we are in the process of further improving our production capacity to boost our current export volumes. As a result of it, we will be able to create new jobs for thousands of Sri Lankans”. they said.

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